The weblog of Darren Friesen

Friday, September 23, 2005

Just to let you know that I started a new blog focusing on my job as Saskatoon Community Chaplain. The main reason for it is that I want you to know how better to pray for me in this position. I am not one to openly solicit prayer, but there is so much to this position, and Ifeel I need all the backing I can get. It's simply called Darren's Prayer Blog. Thanks for checking it out. I'll be posting there as often as I can.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Just over two weeks in the new job, and this weekend I'm totally exhausted. I didn't think this would happen this soon, but the toll is heavy on me. I still think this is where I need to be, but the immensity of the task and the circumstances I often find myself in are tiring. I work alone most of thie time, and am still building a group of people around me to talk to when I need to see a familiar face. I've met so many new people in the last two weeks. Some of them are not the people one's parents would normally approve of, and that has it's own kind of weight. I don't think I'm being judgemental of those in correctional facilities. In fact, that is one of my characteristics that drew me to the job. But when you spend hours at a time in an environment where there is people who are so obviously broken and have caused so much pain to others, there seems to be a weight in the air that I am breathing in, and after a while, it chokes you. I know I will get used to this, but for now, that is the way it is.

I miss working in a place where there are familiar faces to greet you in the morning. I am the only one in my office, so I feel quite isolated at times. I am thankful that I have a group of friends that I can get together with. Most of these are from church, and some are still on staff, which has made it a bit hard, but still much better than nothing.

One of the 'benefits' of the new job is that there seems to be a strong tie between people in different parts of the country that work with ex-offenders. I have not met many of them yet, but I participated in a conference call last week with members of an organization called COSA, which helps sexual offenders cope on the outside. Through the conversation that I listened to, there was a lot of love and sympathy for those who were going through tough times, and a bond to help each other with whatever they were dealing with. I loo forward to meeting and getting to know these people, and those like them.

So I'm fairly stressed overall, but hoping that God will once again come through and give me what I need for each moment. I am involved in an all-day staff meeting with MCC tomorrow, and I look forward to hearing about the many ways they are making a difference in this world we call home.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Today I spent a few hours at the Sask. Pen. and Riverbend, a minimum security institution next door. I met with a number of inmates and was amazed at the calm demeanor and attitude of some of the men I talked to. There is a lot of pain there, but God is at work. I think I'll learn a lot from these monthly visits.I also met Debbie, the chaplain at the Pen., and Roy, whe chaplain at Riverbend. Good people.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

4 days in.

Just an update about my new job. In a word...overwhelming. I've visited the psych. center in Saskatoon, as well asn introduced myself to the parole board, whom I will be working alongside. I've also gone through a lot of the old files left in my office, and am chucking 99% of them. There is so much that I could possibly do, so many places where I could put my energy, and it will take a while to gather all the information and then let things shake down so I know where I'm at.

Many of you have been very encouraging in your words, and I thank you for that. I only hope that your prayers and belief in me will prove to be true. Tomorrow I go to Prince Albert to meet people at the Federal Pen., and meet some of the chaplains there. It will be a full day.

On another note, I am a bit of a tennis fan, and I especially cheer for Andre Agassi. He's only a little younger than me, and he seems to be one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. I've been watching him for 20 years, ansd seen him change and grow in his attitude and the way he apporaches anything he does. He is inspiring and very humble. Tonight he beat youngster James Blake in one of the best matches I've ever seen. Coming back from two sets down, he won a 5th set tie-breaker 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5). A great win for the old guy. He was asked whether he had ever doubted that he could come back and win, and I loved his answer.

"I question myself every day. That's what I still find motivating about this. I don't have the answers, I don't pretend that I do just because I won the match. Just keep fighting and maybe something good happens."