A Golden Year’s Thanksgiving

For the past few months, I have carefully thought about how to mark a milestone in my life this year 2023. The past few years afforded me the opportunity of meeting many people who have positively influenced my family, including myself. They have contributed to our growth and progress. I desired to spend a day with such a group of friends.

It is challenging to get friends and family together for interaction and fellowship in a good and enabling atmosphere. Different things bring people together and different things keep them apart. With just one life to live here on earth, how we live and share it determines our impact here on earth and in eternity. Our world is so full of walls and personal spaces that sometimes keep us ignorant of many things. Yet the human in us craves love and companionship. We are so busy with routines of life that we forget what humanity is about.

These days loneliness, depression, and hurt are becoming the norm, maybe because we fight our battles alone and enjoy our successes alone. We know we need one another to succeed in various ways. We need information that would help shape our life, our destiny, and eternity. Sometimes our mental health is revived by breaking out of our self-made prison to interact with others and feel accepted. Although we know we need this, we seem to keep lacking the motivation and initiative to take the first step. We often need to step aside from our routine way of life and do something different.

Occasionally, to achieve a new thing we would need a different approach. A new approach is not always an easy task. There are things to consider. Will this pass? What would people think? What if it fails? How about resources? How will this come across to some people? The list continues. But then, we pause to check our intentions and choose the best approach to the goal we are aiming for.

Inspirational Music

As I had benefitted so much from inspirational music, one of my birthday wishes this year was to fill a day with heart-warming inspirational songs. And being fortunate to have a good number of godly friends that sing well, we formed a friendship choir and prepared ourselves for a mini-concert. Songs were presented as solo, duet, and friends’ choir. We were glad to sing the songs of Zion in an atmosphere of peace, love, and godliness.

It was a great privilege to have Arlene present “His Eye is on the Sparrow”, Stella and Kunle sang “Along the Road”, and Sharon shared her testimonies with tears and backed it up with the song that God gave her when she was going through a very difficult time titled “Be not Afraid”. The friendship choir sang: “What a beautiful name”, “There is power in the name of Jesus”, “Amazing Grace/My Sins are gone”, and “What a Friend we have in Jesus”. Amanda and Olivia drove several kilometers and stormed the place with their piano, guitar, and violin. Obinna opened the floor of the Thanksgiving reception with his assorted music played from the clarinet. We could feel the presence of our dear Heavenly Father in our midst. 


The Tale of a Birth. 

Another desire was to briefly share about my journey in life thus far. Life would never have been life without people in it. So the presentation started with funny stories and funny pictures of some of the guests. As it was unexpected, it caught them by surprise and rent the atmosphere with laughter. It was such an incredible moment. I talked about the first family that invited my family to their home for Canadian Thanksgiving, several friends that have taken me out for breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. and I quickly added that I wasn’t soliciting a dinner invitation, and we all laughed about it. But then, I received three invitations after the event.

Having said all, we gradually dug into the aspect that was very dear to my heart: the place of God in every aspect of human life. Displaying my childhood picture alongside the older one tells a lot of stories scientifically and spiritually. Fortunately, we had a dynamic group that consists of many Medical Doctors, world-class Professors, Seasoned Nurses, Pharmacists, Lawyer, Pilots, Scientists, Accountants, and politicians; the UCP Candidate for Edmonton South was in attendance with his Queen. We also had an audience of passionate men and women of God, like the MC who is giving up his career to minister love and Christ to the homeless and needy, etc. The meeting comprises many ethnic groups of various beliefs. 

Approximately 8 Weeks: “This was taken with a Nikon D200 and a 105 mm miro Nikkor with 3 SB-800’s off camera, fired with an SB-900 on camera, commander mode, TTL”. Credit to: Lunar Caustic (Flickr).

At a point during the presentation, we delved into the science of conception and the beginning of life. We reviewed the principle of procreation picking it up from the point of spermatogenesis and oocyte activities as the pediatric Doctor watched in assertation. Looking at the featured 8-week-old fetus picture that was on display and being reminded that we were all once in that innocent and helpless state at one time, we paused to reflect on the mystery around life. What is life? Who was the original designer of conception, uterus, and fetus, the complexity of the human system, and why are we here? What is the purpose of life? Can science explain life really without a reference to what was made already? Why should people question the existence of Superior power in the creation of life? We knew we can diagnose many things in the laboratory but, not God. I don’t think we need a high level of intelligence to know that whoever designed a human being could never have been a human. We shared the word of wisdom as quoted: 

“Man, who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble.  He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue.” (Job 14:1, 2).

Expatiating on these verses; our age on earth, no matter how old, is but a few days in eternity. Every day comes with its challenges. We were born one day, so fresh, flowery, and radiating. We gradually grow old and one day we will leave our body behind as the spirit and soul go back to their Maker. So, nobody is continuing here forever. That is the mystery around life. There is an invisible Power of the Almighty God behind every life. If we give God a chance in our hearts, we will find Him and feel Him. At the end of the presentation, we had a period of reflection and rounded the section up with prayers asking God to help us know Him and understand His love for us.

Moment of Prayers


Postgraduate Grant Opportunity

Before the meeting was over, I put Greg Goss, a seasoned Professor from the department of Biological Science at the University of Alberta, on the spot to address the people on his active grant for First Nation and Black graduates (for Permanent Residents and Canadian Citizens). There is functioning funding available in Greg’s Lab for training and mentoring the people in that category. This is to encourage the graduates in that group to advance in their careers. The funding could be executed at any Canadian University, starting from the University of Alberta. If anyone is interested in applying, feel free to contact Greg. You can also contact us for more information.