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The Online Bridge: Winter 2005
Issue 10, January 2005

Amanda Saipe: St. Albert Teacher, Mission Representative

Since our time at NABC, (Steve 1982 – 84, Marita 1979 – 80) our lives have taken a few twists and turns. After her year at NABC Marita continued her post-secondary training in Ontario and in 1986 moved to Edmonton (where I was working on an economics degree) to take a position as a neuropsychologist at Alberta Hospital. In 1988, we were married and moved to Toronto where Marita took a position at Mount Sinai hospital and I took a position in corporate banking with CIBC.

In 1991 after graduating from York University with a Master of Business Administration, I started with Wood Gundy Inc. (an investment dealer) in the structured finance group. Our daughter Jillian was born in 1992 followed by our first son, Riley in 1994. I continued to work at Wood Gundy Inc. and Marita continued to work with a neuropsychologist in private practice one day a week which she had done since Jillian’s birth.

However, in 1995, partly motivated by a desire to return to Alberta and partly motivated by a desire of mine to go to law school we decided to move back to Edmonton. Many people thought we were nuts to leave a very secure situation but the Lord opened the door and in faith we sold our house in Toronto and packed our stuff for the move to Edmonton where I was to attend law school. I must admit there were days when we really questioned whether we had done the right thing but ultimately we believed that the Lord had allowed us to return to Alberta and in many ways we saw his hand in our decision. Things like Marita getting a part-time position at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton even before we left Toronto, being able to rent a house at below market rates and being able to see my family on a regular basis were affirmations that His gracious hand was on our lives. In retrospect it is amazing to see how the Lord was working in many other ways even when we didn't necessarily see it at the time.

       

In 1997 our son Connor was born and I received an offer from a law firm in Calgary for an articling position upon graduation in 1998. It was a hard decision whether to move to Calgary or stay in Edmonton. After much prayer and discussion we felt led to move to Calgary and in June, 1998 we again packed our belongings and moved to Calgary.

We settled into life in Calgary very quickly and believed that we would be there for a long time. This was only reinforced when my dad (J. Walter Goltz) resigned from NABC and accepted a position as interim pastor at Thornhill Baptist in Calgary thus causing my mom and dad to move to Calgary. I was practicing corporate law and Marita was working on a consulting basis one day a week for the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre in Calgary as well as developing her own private practice. We were involved at Thornhill Baptist in Calgary where we had many good friends.

However, by 2003 I began to seriously evaluate whether the legal profession was right for me in the long term. I had concerns about how much time I was spending away from home (70 hour work weeks were common) and partnership would only cement the situation. Although I always told myself there were other opportunities, we began to specifically pray that the Lord would open up something new if that was His will. Although I looked at various opportunities in Calgary no doors opened. Then in November I had a phone call from a business acquaintance in Toronto who wondered whether I would be open to moving back to Toronto to take a position in the structured finance group at Standard & Poor's.

We thought and prayed about the prospect of moving again and felt led to explore the possibility. Although we were resistant to moving, we felt strongly that the Lord might be answering our prayer in a way we hadn't anticipated. The phone call in November was followed up by interviews in December and January. To add to the situation, the job would require that I move to New York for four months. The prospect of being separated from Marita and the kids was not appealing. In addition, my mom had died 11 months before and we wondered what impact the additional upheaval would have on us and our family. Again, however, we felt led to take this step in faith. So on a February afternoon I flew to Toronto to introduce myself to my group and then fly to New York. By the following Monday I was looking out of my office window at the Brooklyn Bridge when two weeks earlier I had been looking out of my office window at the Rocky Mountains. At that moment all I clung to was the belief that the Lord had led us in this direction.

 
       

By June we had sold our house in Calgary and bought a house just outside of Toronto and were saying our good byes to family and friends in Alberta. We were back in Toronto when we never expected it and I am back in the investment world when I never expected that either. Life had really taken another twist but ultimately one we believed that the Lord had directed.

Settling into life in Ontario hasn't been as easy as we would have liked. We missed the warmth and openness of people in Calgary especially family, friends and our church. However, slowly it is happening. Connor has settled in the quickest. He is the most outgoing of the kids and his gregarious personality allows him to make friends easily. Riley has made some friends at school and the church we have been attending but misses the daily street hockey game that occurred in front of our home in Calgary. Jillian has faced the greatest challenge going into grade 7 where the kids have been together for a year because Oakville has a middle school structure. Moreover, she has had to take French for the first time with kids who have had it for three years. However, notwithstanding these challenges she is doing really well in school. Our most earnest prayer is that our children would find Christian friends.

We have attended a church since September which we will likely make our church home. For us church life implies getting involved and we anticipate that being involved will help us to feel more settled. Although it is sometimes difficult to juggle being involved in a church ministry and the demands of career and family, we believe that we are called to service to His Church. Moreover, it is important to model this to our children so that they don't grow up with the impression that "church" is a passive activity for 75 minutes on a Sunday morning.

Marita has begun to work one to two days a week with a neuropsychologist in Oakville doing neuropsychological testing. Because of the move to Oakville Marita had to leave the practice that she was developing in Calgary. Moreover, the rules in Ontario are different than Alberta so she can't practice as a neuropsychologist without further exams thus limiting her career flexibility. However, she considers this to be time to reflect on what she really wants to do. She has talked about moving into chaplaincy and is praying and waiting to see where God leads her.

For me, returning to the investment world has meant returning to an environment where people are unapologetically materialist and who are relentless in their pursuit of all the world deems valuable. However, having a different perspective on what defines success has opened up numerous opportunities for discussion about priorities, what lies beyond death and ultimately about a living Saviour.

Without a doubt we miss Calgary and sometimes wonder what we are doing here. Ultimately we are reminded that the Lord has led us here and (oddly enough) this creates a sense of excitement in us to see what He has in store for us here. As we look back over the decision to move to Alberta and the time we spent there we know without a doubt that it was the right decision notwithstanding that at the time it didn't always make sense. Likewise we are confident that through the fullness of time we will look back on our return to Ontario and see how the Lord worked in our lives, the lives of our children and the lives of those we interact with for the furtherance of His Kingdom and to bring glory to Him.