Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Toronto, Chapter 4

Yesterday, we visited the largest, Buddhist temple in Canada, Cham Shan Temple. People were praying all around to many different statues and incarnations of the Buddha. It was very interesting to see how their sacred space was so different from ours yet so similar. A few things I remember seeing: flowers, fruit, water, oil, incense, and candles. Our guide, simply a volunteer at the temple, introduced us to many of the shrines and explained to us the basic tenants of Buddhism. We had to take our shoes off at the temple door and wear slippers around all day. With very little time to spare before our afternoon visit, we headed to Tim Horton's for lunch.

Afterwards, we visited the Islamic Foundation of Toronto. A volunteer there talked us through the basics of the Islamic tradition and we were invited to observe mid-day prayer! This was an especially unique experience for most of us, and we felt very blessed to have had that opportunity! After prayer, we toured the foundation which also serves as a school and cultural center for many muslims in the area.
We were given reading materials from both places and can't wait to read more about these faith traditions!

Today was "denomination day." We only met with the Episcopal missionaries and were able to talk a few more specifics than we have been able to up til now. This was incredibly helpful and reassuring, seeing as communication has only been here and there since our discernment weekend in February. We met Peter Ng, the Partnership Officer for Asia and the Pacific in the Office of Global Partnerships of The Episcopal Church (whew...mouthful!) He will be visiting us at least once if not twice or thrice while we are serving in Japan. 

Tomorrow we are back to the large group with everyone to talk about Health & Safety and Security & Risk Management. Our time here in Toronto is quickly coming to a close, two more days of information, Friday we integrate and debrief, and we fly home Saturday! We'll try to post at least once more before we leave, thanks for reading!

Tired (a little cranky sometimes) but excited,

Doug and Jenny

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