Oh my goodness! I am so excited about this!!
I want to introduce you to an incredible couple in our Westwood Family. Brian and Val Ray. Craig and I have tremendous respect and love for this very special couple. They have been amazing leaders, and mentors over the years. Brian and Val have demonstrated a selflessness and steadfastness through the ups and downs of life.
They have learned so much in the ups and downs of life. When speaking earlier this week, I felt they had some insight we could all learn from.
Val, thank you so much for taking the time to do this!
WW: Let’s start with you telling us about yourselves. Where did you grow up?
Val: Brian and I both grew up in southern BC. Brian was the oldest of three kids and raised in residential North Vancouver. I grew up on a farm in Aldergrove, the 2nd oldest of four kids. I
WW: How did you meet and how long have you been married?
Val: We met in 1980 while working at the TD bank in Vancouver’s west end. I was Brian’s supervisor. We got married in 1982
WW: How long have you been in Prince George?
Val: Working with the bank brought around a few transfers within the province. We moved to Prince George from Vancouver Island, in September 1990. It was the furthest north we would be willing to move to. By then we had four children between the ages of 10 months and 6 years. So, what was only going to be about a two year stay has turned into almost 30 years.
Tell us a bit about your family:
What do you do for fun together?
Val: By far, one of the top things we enjoy are road trips, usually in the Camaro. At one time we had cars of matching colours – one the Camaro and the other a Mustang. Lots of fun to drive. Though if asked, we both have the same favorite. Due to my hip issues, the Mustang is now gone. We love spending time with the grandkids here and in Calgary. Five grandkids – 11, 6, 5 (2), and 4. Gardening is something we both enjoy, though I am probably more motivated in that way.
WW:How long have you been at Westwood Church?
Val: We have attended Westwood since week one of September 1990, when we moved here. We came to Westwood as I knew a few people who attended here, from Bible School days. I still remember at least two people who impacted us in our newcomer days. Contact with newcomers is SO important. Having four kids 6 and under, did not make us prime company to have over in those early days. So feeling like fitting in was hard. So, with much prayer, we decided we would be the ones to have people over. And yes, that first year, we counted well over one hundred different people we invited over … and low and behold, we finally felt like we fit in.
WW: How have you volunteered and served at Westwood?
Val:The first 25 or so years here, saw us involved in many different leadership roles. Brian was on the board as well as church moderator. Together we lead two fellowship families – young families and young marrieds. Besides being heavily involved in music here, I also headed up the single moms ministry and then Westwood women ministry.
WW: We enjoyed getting to know you both during the years of the young married and young famy groups. Also time together at Elders and Staff retreats!!
What has life been like for you the last few years?
Val: Approximately six years ago was the start of change for us. Over the course of 2.5 years, life changed forever. It started with a quad incident; to a T bone in the Mustang; and finally ended with Brian being struck as a pedestrian, by a truck. Each accident caused further brain trauma. Life changed for Brian. And therefore, mine. A new normal started. Memory, light, noise and being in crowds is hard normally, and at times, almost impossible. So from being very social, Brian, is now more comfortable in peace and quiet. Isaiah 40:31 “they that wait upon the Lord…” became my prayer through all of this
WW: How are you doing with social distancing and the Corona virus situation? How has your relationship with God impacted this?
Val: Now, in the middle of social distancing, this all fits into our lifestyle. Staying at home is normal for Brian, and it’s maybe me, that is a little antsy. Focusing on crafts, going for walks around the block, going through Timmy’s for a tea, a curbside visit with grandkids, or FaceTime with the grandkids in Calgary works, and fills the bill. We’re even going to try baking via SKYPE. Not perfect but definitely workable.
When Brian and I pray, we like to pray specifically. This virus has made sure there’s lots to cover. Whether its about a social grandchild who is struggling to be the only child in the home (now we get to think creatively); checking in and sending encouraging messages/gifts to the friend who is alone; praying for the friend in rehab; for family that works on the front lines; or the friends whose parents have tested positive. The list is long. We have been blessed with much and now more than ever, prayer plays a big part in calming and staying focused on the important things. God is good
WW: Thank you Val Wiens Ray for sharing some of your story! Thank you for giving of yourselves so freely to our church family over the years. What a blessing you both are. Much love as you continue to trust God on this journey