This article was originally published in Compassion Canada’s Summer 2020 Magazine.
James and April Reimer spend their time between British Columbia and North Carolina along with their two daughters Nevaeh and Hope. The family sponsors Compassion children in Rwanda, Burkina Faso and Kenya. We spoke with them about making the most of the summer after James, who is the goaltender for the Carolina Hurricanes, is done the busy NHL season.
Compassion Canada: What are some ways your family creates meaningful time together after the busy NHL season?
Reimers: The way we create time together is to go back to our home in Kelowna, BC, Canada. We like to be home as soon as the season is done so we have some time to just be back into the regular swing of life. During the season, James is consistently gone or is not able to be as present at home, so when he finally does get home, April has a long list of things on her to-do list, so James will help out with the girls while she runs around doing things.
When we get around to summer it’s a nice blessing to just do life all together. We can all go to the park, or to the beach or to the store instead of just one or the other. We also set aside time for quality family time. As excited as we are to be home, we try our best to make sure our schedules are left open to spend time with our girls or if we are busy doing things, it’s together as a family.
CC: What kind of activities do you do as a family for fun and relaxation in the summer?
Reimers: We live on the water, so we enjoy multiple water sports. From boating, wake surfing and Sea-Doos to swimming and paddleboarding—that’s generally what we have fun with.
CC: What things do you do in both the busyness of life and during times of rest to build your faith as a family?
Reimers: Pray. Life gets hectic and as our kids get older and get more of an understanding, we try and teach them the truths of the Bible and the love of Christ. But our emphasis has been on prayer and simply talking to Jesus. Our three-year-old is adamant about praying. It’s very cute. She will get upset if we prayed without her. We also make attending church and being a part of a church community a high priority.
When you are living in different cities from one hockey season to the next, only April and the girls get to attend regularly (because James is either travelling or playing on Sunday) but in the off-season, we get to go together. We have a great amount of support from our church in Kelowna and it’s a place where we get to just be ourselves with fellow believers.
CC: How is sponsoring kids with Compassion meaningful to you as a family?
Reimers: It really comes down to just serving Christ. It’s pretty simple that we all need to help when we can and where we can, and so we try and share what we can. Helping less fortunate kids with basic needs is the least we can do. So many kids around the world are needing the necessities of life and if we can make a difference in the lives of our sponsored kids, it’s all worth it. Now having girls of our own, it really brings this issue close to our hearts and we love that we can help kids around the world.