Can You Hear Me Now?

After returning to Camp Squeah from beautiful Whistler, I have to say it was quite a change for all of us. We were pumped to return to the cooking of Tony our chef at Squeah. During the van ride back as we got closer we began to talk about what Tony had prepared for us when we got back for dinner. Big downside I have to say is the rain! It’s been raining here currently for seven days straight, not exactly the greatest thing to wake up to each morning and then realize it doesn’t stop. But, all that aside, I have to say that we all have had a great week out here.

Steve Klassen trekked in from Abbottsford on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday to talk about hearing the voice of God, with a particular focus on the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament. Through stories from his life and the lives of others that he has encountered over the years Steve shared of people hearing the voice of God. On the first day he had us share different ways that we can hear God’s voice. Ways that were shared during this time were: music, scripture, creation or nature, rest, silence, thoughts and through people. We experienced some of these ways during this week that Steve shared with us.

On Wednesday we had a day of listening to God. It was a new experience for many of us; to be silent from the moment we wake up until seven that night. Initially, the night before I had hoped that the rain would stop for the day so that I could venture out on a hike up the mountain from the camp. Like you may have guessed, the rain did not stop, but this brought a new aspect to the day. The nearby river was that much stronger meaning the rapids that I ventured out to ran faster and louder than I had anticipated. When I got to the river I sat on a rock, hearing and seeing the power of our almighty God. What the rain also did was make things more slippery, though I guess you could say waterfalls without the added rain are slippery enough as it is. That didn’t stop someone from our site from literally hiking up the stream and climbing up a waterfall that morning. When he arrived back for lunch we all wondered what had happened, as we sat in silence trying not to laugh while he came in muddy, soaking wet and scratched up. If you have a chance I recommend talking to whoever you know on this program about how they spent their day of silence connecting with God. I guarantee that they will have something amazing to share with you.

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On Friday the rivalry between Site 1 Guatemala and Site 2 South Africa continued over another match of hockey at Camp Squeah. The crowd roared, encouraging our teammates. Some of the cheers were, “G-U-A-T-E-M-A-L-A” and, “Jer-e-my, mar-ry me!” The series is currently tied at a game each!

The end of the semester is nearing, as we hear more often now. But as we continue in community on the Outtatown experience each day is a new adventure that we’re learning to cherish more as we realize that the semester to drawing to a close.

Peace out,

Key-Air-A

Idol Week.

Two weeks ago (the last week in October), we had the pleasure of having Nathan Rieger come talk to us. In the beginning he started off with some crazy stories that caught your attention. Then he continued talking about idols in our lives which was the topic for the week. He did an awesome job because he went into depth about what Idols are and how they are different here in North America vs. the rest of the world. For example, in Asia they have man made statues that they bow down to and worship. Whereas some idols in our lives here are materialism, electronics, the need to please other people, and power. He challenged us to find out what our Idols are, to think deeply about what we struggle with and determine if  it is an idol? I really enjoyed what Nathan had to say and how he presented this topic.

After our week with Nathan we had aIMG_3660-23 fun filled Halloween games party where we all dressed up in costumes for a change of pace.

Sincerely, Michael (aka Thomas the Train Engine)

Yo, Vancity!

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After travelling for five hours from Hope in our big white creeper vans last Friday (Nov.1), we arrived in my homeland of Vancouver (whoop whoop!). I was quite excited about the familiarity of the surrounding areas, especially because of the constant movement and relocation of Outtatown. Our new home for the next six days was the Ivanhoe Hostel on Main Street, which I can’t say was a very familiar place for me. We all dispersed from the lobby on our own adventures, attempting to discover the gems of Vancouver during our free weekend.  Monday was our first day with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) Vancouver, who organized and facilitated our week on the Downtown Eastside. After an intense week in Vancouver, we ventured out to Whistler for a retreat weekend. But instead of me typing out my overall impression of the week, Willow and I decided to interview some of our friends to give you different perspectives and a better-rounded overview of our week in Vancity. Waddup?!

-Jen

 

Did this past week in Vancouver provoke any emotions? Why?

Jordan: During the Urban plunge there was an exercise where our group had to sit in front of a store for 15 min. The point of the exercise was to sit on the street and observe what happens on Robson Street, a popular shopping area, especially the kinds of people there and what they were doing. I started to feel angry at how the passersby reacted to me sitting there.  While I was sitting on the sidewalk people would either give me a pity smile or glance at me and pretend not to have noticed me. I then realized that that’s something that everyone does; I did it myself twenty minutes before when I wasn’t sitting on the sidewalk. This made me feel hypocritical and guilty. It helped me put things into perspective.

 

Describe something that shocked you.

Brian: When we were walking down East Hastings, a street with a high concentration of homelessness, my group and I saw a clean needle clinic and we decided to go in and check it out to learn more about it. We knocked on the door and they let us in. They were nice people. On-Site is a facility that gives clean needles to drug addicts and, with the supervision of nurses, they can take their drugs that they bought on the street in the building. As we were talking with a staff member, there were dozens of people who came in. It was a really sobering and saddening sight to see all the people who need On-Site services. When you drive down East Hastings, you have no way of knowing who is addicted to drugs or not, but at the clinic, everyone who passed through the doors were addicted to some sort of substance. The staff were very familiar with their patients; they knew them by name. Seeing the people come in put a face to the stats of people being addicted to drugs.

 

Discuss someone that impacted you.

Desiree: I met Nancy during the learning tour. We walked past her and I felt called to talk to her but I didn’t because I didn’t know if the rest of the group would agree. Even after we had passed her, I was still thinking about her so I talked to my group and we turned around.  We approached her and asked if she would like to share lunch with us, introduced ourselves and got to know each other a bit. She was very timid at first, as anybody would be if they were approached by a stranger to share lunch, but as the conversation went on, it was evident that she was experiencing an internal battle where she wanted to open up but couldn’t. The little bits of her story that she shared basically broke my heart.  At first glance it might not have seemed as though she needed food but after interacting with her it was evident that she did need it and more importantly, she needed someone to talk to and show her that she is important.

 

What was the most humbling experience you had?

Anna:  I guess I should start at the beginning… The first day of the Urban Plunge, we were told to explore downtown Vancouver, find out some answers to questions we had and then to end the day, find a place to eat because we had no money. When the time came to find some supper, I was feeling kind of anxious and uncomfortable with the idea of going to a soup kitchen. It was hard for me to take the ticket to get in the food lineup because I was scared I would be taking food away from people who actually needed it. At the soup kitchen, I was welcomed by the people running it, but also by the people eating at it. Once sitting down with our food, we were at a table with two other men. The conversation felt natural and we enjoyed each other’s company. I have found that eating food with other people is a great way to find commonality and connections.

 

How did your experience of Vancouver compare to your experience of the Winnipeg Urban plunge?

Willow: Overall, I found the Vancouver Urban Plunge to be way more challenging.  During the Winnipeg Urban Plunge, not only did I get a lot out of the experience, but I felt that I was also able to give back in a meaningful way.  Whether this was through volunteering at Siloam Mission or buying lunch for a few people living on the streets, I could see God at work and felt a sense of joy by seeing hope amongst the brokenness.  Vancouver, on the other hand, was not like this.  I don’t want to sound overly pessimistic, but it was just really hard to see God, or feel hopeful in downtown Vancouver.  I’m not sure if I just wasn’t looking hard enough, or in the right places, but walking down East Hastings just saddened me in a way that I don’t really understand.  It gave me more of a bleak, empty feeling instead of prompting an emotional response, which is how I usually cope with difficult things.  It was a really challenging and less enjoyable experience for me, but Vancouver was definitely more eye-opening than Winnipeg.

It was also very different in the sense that Vancouver is much more culturally diverse.  One of the most interesting and enjoyable days of our week was when we went on a Temple Tour throughout the city which included visiting a Mosque, a Sikh Gurdwara and a Buddhist temple.  We also ate Ethiopian cuisine, Pho (a Vietnamese dish), Sikh food and south-east Asian food.  There were many differences between the two, and I’m glad to have had both experiences.

 

What was your highlight of the week?

Brian: My bed at Copperdome (retreat centre in Pemberton, near Whistler BC)!

Jordan: BUNGEE JUMPING! IMG_3743-16

Anna: The Temple Tour!

Desiree: Prayer Stations!

Willow: Exploring the city and dipping my toes in the ocean!

Tim: Seeing Peter and the Moontime Girls in concert!

Elisabeth: Jumping dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium!

Jill: Making food at Chilli Wagon and the chance to go home for the weekend!

Katrina: Reaching the top of the Grouse Grind!

 

As you can see, we had an eventful, thought-provoking week. Stay tuned for more to come!

Peace out.

Strong Horse and Willowcakes

Hi, Our Names Start With ‘E’ and We Love the OT!

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Another fulfilling week of Outtatown has come to an end for Site 1. To begin, there was an awaited reunion between the guys and the girls at Pioneer Lodge after Guys/Girls Week. For this momentous occasion, we (the girls) had played High School Musical’s ‘The Boys Are Back’ as a welcome. However our jubilant cheering drowned the song out. Who could blame us? For our male counterparts had arrived dressed in their finest attire.

(As much as this reunion was built up in the previous paragraph, it really was not the highlight of the week. I mean, it was wonderful, but it was just the beginning.)

This week we welcomed a new speaker, Jodie Smith, into our community. Jodie shared ways of approaching the Old Testament; she explained that it is not to be seen as separate from the New Testament as it contains critical historical background.  For some of us, harboring minimal understanding where the Bible is concerned, this was mind-squeezing, in the sense that we were drawn to reflect on our underlying presumptions. New knowledge was inspiring and refreshing. One such example of this, for some of us, was looking at the creation story on a deeper, allegorical level.

Before, after and in between thoughtful sessions indoors we ventured outside; the weather was unbelievably gorgeous. It was hard to remember that it was almost November. There were many games of Bump and Horse going on (basketball games). IMG_3514-3There were walks to go on, horses to ride, and naps to take, all under the late-Autumn sun. In the evenings we could see the beautiful sunset behind the mountains in the distance and the sky inflamed with breathtaking shades of red and orange. 

Indoors, puzzles were pulled out and crocheting became a popular activity. Every day there seemed to be a new member of our site picking up the skill. So, family and friends, you can be expecting some handmade gifts this Christmas season.

We closed off our week of learning with Jodie by doing a ritual that can be read about in the Old Testament. We made an altar of stones, sometimes called an ebenezer (see Joshua 4), in an act of remembrance. As we set our stones down, we shared the things that God has taught us or is teaching us. It was a meaningful time where we heard of God’s patience in people’s lives and His never-failing love. We heard of trusting in God and discovering where He fits into our lives in a way that is most glorifying to Him.

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Cheers,

The E Team

(Erin and Elisabeth)