All posts by Clayton Imoo

Making the Most out of Lent

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:16)

Ask someone what he might be doing for Lent, and you’ll likely get responses along the lines of:  “I’m giving up Facebook” or “I’m giving up eating chocolate.”

Granted, these may be noble notions on their own, but people – young and old – often get too caught up in what they might be “giving up” for Lent instead of why they are doing it.

Continue reading Making the Most out of Lent

Are You Nervous? (26 Years Together with Gail)

Those 3 words were the first-ever words I spoke to Gail. The date: October 1989. The place: backstage at Richmond’s Gateway Theatre. The occasion: JN Burnett Junior Secondary School’s fall concert. As our respective choirs were getting ready to perform, I passed by this cute, unassuming girl on my way to the restroom. While hurriedly rushing to take care of business, I guess “Are you nervous” was the best and most relevant thing I could come up with!

This encounter started an 8-week courting period, culminating in me asking Gail to be girlfriend exactly 26 YEARS AGO TODAY. On Thursday, December 14, 1989, 2 lives changed forever in the hallowed halls of Burnett. That was the day a scrawny, immature, goofy-haired boy asked this beautiful, humble, quiet girl to go to that night’s school dance with him. Thankfully for both of them, she said yes. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Continue reading Are You Nervous? (26 Years Together with Gail)

Canada vs. USA…Youth Ministry Style

As I eagerly anticipate yet another hockey battle between Canada and the United States (this time it’s the semi-finals of the World Junior Hockey Championships in a rematch of last year’s final when the USA won 6-5) I began reflecting on the relationship between the two nations.  There are some similarities (pop culture, relative geography, and at least one language), many differences (currency, measurement, and health care to name a few), and a lot of cross-over.

One of these “cross-over” areas is the field of youth ministry.  Admittedly, it’s mostly us Canadians (at least in our archdiocese) bringing in (or “importing”) resources and talent from down south, whether it’s keynote speakers, worship leaders, or program resources and ideas.  Once in a while, we will bless our American neighbours with our presence at a conference or gathering, such as the recent NCCYM in New Orleans.  In fact, our American friends even invited us to participate in the relatively (in)famous youth ministry flash mob

It seems like we’ve always been welcomed with open arms and hearts, sometimes receiving shout-outs from the stage, even if we’re referred to as America’s hat (thanks Popple). 

So it’s only natural that this good-natured ribbing would spill over into sports.

Now, a couple of disclaimers here:

  1.  It really is only hockey, as the United States would likely hammer a Canadian team in any other of the big 4 sports (football, basketball, and baseball) as well as some others:  golf, tennis, and NASCAR.
  2. Having said that, Canadians take their hockey much more seriously than Americans.  If Canada had lost the gold medal match back in February, it would have crushed the country (as opposed to the Americans who moved on to the next thing).  It’s just the way we roll up here.

But, since I’m a Canadian living in Vancouver, it’s only natural that I get excited about these Canada-USA showdowns on the ice.  Here are 3 examples:

World Youth Day 2002.  As our parish jostled for position (in a good Catholic way) with pilgrims from the States near the front of the stage for one of the gatherings, the Americans patriotically chanted “USA!  USA!”  Our in-your-face response was to shout back “5-2!  5-2!” which was the final score of the 2002 Winter Olympics gold medal hockey game (a win for Canada over the USA).  We found it quite funny.  They were quite confused.

2009 NHL Playoffs.  What started off as a friend-wager with Orin and Shannon of Oddwalk Ministries turned into a month-long saga of trash-talking, creative videos, and me nearly choking on a piece of steak.  I won the original wager when the Canucks disposed of the Blues in round 1, but then we went double or nothing for round 2.  As the Blackhawks ended the Canucks play-off hopes in round 2, they also ended our wager.  You can trace the whole thing here.  Thankfully, we didn’t do anything for 2010!  I would have gone crazy!

2010 Winter Olympics.   We all know the final result:  Canada over the United States by a score of 3-2 in overtime, thanks to Sidney Crosby.  This moment has topped many Top 10 Sport Moments of the Year lists.  What many people don’t remember is that the Americans handily beat the Canadians in the preliminary round, prompting my good friends Anne Marie Cribbin and Gene Monterastelli to send me flowers and card expressing their condolences

And of course, I re-kindled my fun rivalry with Orin and Shannon in a wager that encompassed both the women’s and men’s hockey tournaments.  You can see their creative end result at the end of this video blog (my last one of the Winter Olympics).

What will happen in today’s hockey game?  It’s hard to tell.  But one thing’s for certain:  I’ll be watching the entire game…and thinking of American youth ministry friends in the process.

CCC – Clay’s Canucks Commentary for December 24, 2010: The 12 Days of Christmas…Canucks Style

For this Christmas CCC, I put together (with a little help from my family and friends) a Canuck rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas, outlining 12 things that we hope GM Mike Gillis will give to us Canucks fans.

Special guests include Joseph San Jose, Jason McBurney, my sons Sean and Jacob, and Kevin Tazumi the foreign exchange student.

Here’s the complete list of our wishes:

-12 scoring forwards
-11 starts for Schneider
-10 dollar parking
-9 Hamhuis hip checks
-8 chirps from Burrows
-7 Louie shutouts
-6 healthy d-men
-5 clipped Red Wings
-4 playoff rounds
-3 months from Salo
-2 healthy twins

Imoo Family Christmas Letter for 2010

Hello and Merry Christmas! This is our 9th annual Christmas letter, and this year we’re changing things up a bit. We’re not mailing out any hard copies, rather we’re emailing everyone along with a pictorial “Year at a Glance” that Gail prepared. As well, similar to last year, each family member has prepared his or her own paragraph. Thus, what you will read is unedited and un-censored!

2010 was another busy year for our family, full of firsts: Kayla started pre-school, Jake made his First Confession, and Sean became an “intermediate” student. We were able to make the most of the 2010 Winter Olympics as we were blessed to attend a few events and ceremonies. As well, we returned to California for the 3rd time in 4 years, this time driving (as we did in 2007). It was there that Gail and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary… by going to watch Toy Story 3 with the kids!

It wasn’t all rosy however. Jacob received 5 stitches in his forehead after an intense game of “Hide and Go Tag” at school, and Kayla fractured her elbow after falling off a kitchen stool. Thankfully, Sean, Gail and I remained relatively unscathed.

Kayla: I liked Mickey Mouse because he’s my friend. I also liked It’s a Small Word because it’s my favourite and it makes me so happy. I love my brothers because they are my friends. I also love Mommy and Daddy and I love Kayla. I like my pre-school because I get to see my cousin Joshua and all my friends.

Jacob: My favourite time of the year was Valentine’s Day because I got to make cards for my friends. I loved our family trip to California because we got to sleep in hotels and go to Disneyland. I liked seeing Mickey Mouse and my favourite ride was Space Mountain. I also made my First Confession: I went face-to-face with Father Luterbach and I felt like angels were running around my body! Next year I’ll be receiving my First Communion and I can’t wait. This year my mom is my teacher and it’s weird: sometimes in the classroom I call her Mrs. Imoo and other times I call her Mom.

Sean: I have a bunch of highlights from 2010. I started grade 4 and now I’m upstairs in the school. I’m doing well in school and I’m one of the leaders in my class. I played organized floor hockey for the first time and my team The Raiders only lost one game in the regular season. We made it to the Provincials representing Richmond and South Delta and finished fourth in the entire province! I played forward: it was really fun to play and I made a lot of new friends. I admit that I’m obsessed with Disneyland and I can’t wait to go back. I even looked up rides on YouTube and read blogs to prepare for the trip. I can’t even pick a favourite thing about Disneyland as I loved everything!

Gail: I went to LA twice this year…once in March for the Religious Educators’ Congress and again in July with the family. I also went to New York in June with Kayla to visit family. I did Zumba for the first time: it was quite funny because I did it with my mom and sister. We couldn’t stand next to each other or else we’d start laughing uncontrollably. I’m teaching grade 2 at St. Paul School once again, and this year Jacob is in my class. He tries to get away with stuff and with being the class clown. Then at home I have 3 other clowns to take care of, the biggest being Clay.

Clay: Thanks for that wonderful segue. I love you too. It was an extremely busy year for me at work, as our office (formerly the Youth Ministry Office) expanded to become the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry in June. Prior to that, we moved our office from the 2nd floor to the ground floor of the building, just in time for the Winter Olympics: we helped staff our Olympic Hospitality Centre at the building. I traveled to PEI and New Orleans for work, and I spoke at a youth ministry conferences in Toronto and Halifax. I’ve been blogging and video-blogging regularly, including doing regular Olympics and Canucks blogs on my website

Thanks for taking the time to read this Christmas letter. We’re looking forward to another great year in 2011. We want to wish you a Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year! We hope that the New Year brings you joy, happiness and good health! Our family will be praying for you!

God Bless and Be God’s,
Clay, Gail, Sean, Jacob and Kayla