Steve Klassen – Listening to God

On Sunday October 30th the male students woke up from their short sleep at 5:30am to jump into the vans and make the 2 hour drive to reunite with the female students after being separated for guys/girls week. After many hugs, stories and goodbyes the South Africa and Guatemala sites parted ways and made the their seperate treks to their seperate camp destinations near Hope BC. Our site pulled into the beautiful camp Kawkawa at around 8:30pm and got settled in before crashing for the night after the long day on the road.

The next morning everyone piled into the dining hall for breakfast in their Halloween costumes ready for a fun day. After breakfast we were called downstairs by the incredible sound of a trumpet being played extremely well. We walked into our classroom space to find Steve Klassen playing away on his trumpet. We all found our seat and became focused on our instructor for the week as he captivated us with an amazing tune to start off our day, but even though the trumpet was amazing we quickly learned that it wasn’t what we were going to be learning about that week. As the song finished Steve put his trumpet away and got right to the point. He introduced himself and told us this week we were going to be listening for God’s voice. He told us right away that he couldn’t promise we would hear God but he was fairly certain we would at least get some good teachings this week and he wasn’t wrong one bit. Our sessions that Monday morning and afternoon were focused on finding God’s voice through the scriptures and through stories and writing in the book Steve and his wife Evy wrote together. We each got a copy of Steve’s book and were encouraged to go through it as we went through the week to find how the different types of stories related to us finding God’s voice.

When we went to the scriptures we found ourselves in the gospels of Matthew and Mark and for the most part looking at many of the different inspiring verses and stories that were contained within the books. We looked at the many ways that Jesus listens for God and then how he teaches that back to the people. Some of these ways included going and praying in a solitary place or just simply asking God to give him the words to say. As we continued to look further we found that these things related to our lives a little as well in the sense that prayer and silence are extremely important tools for some to hear God’s voice. Another thing we focused on that Monday was a specific poem in Steve’s book called “My Rule For Life” by Doreen Kostynuik. This poem hit home for quite a few people in the room because of the flow of the poem and how it portrayed our relationship with God and with Jesus. The poem started by telling the reader to follow Jesus around the scriptures and watch how he interacts with his surroundings, the people, and with himself and God. Next the poem went on to instruct the reader to let Jesus look at you, touch, hold, and heal you and to be present with you. Then the poem told us to become all of those things we let Jesus do to us. We read over this poem many times in many different ways and by the end everyone had taken at least one thing from the poem that was sent significant to them. Steve then instructed us to take whatever we had found and sit with it in prayer and bring it before God. This activity gave us a taste into what was to come in the next teachings ahead of us.

Tuesday everyone put their costumes from Halloween away and came back ready to go for another day of sessions with Steve. We were told on Monday that today we were going to get some insight on what to do on our silent day which would be happening on Wednesday. The South Africa site had told us a few stories about their silent day experiences and quite a few of us were excitedly anticipating this session to lead us the next day. We got what we were looking for because Tuesday we went through Steve’s book and touched a little bit on each of the ways to listen for God’s voice. The five ways in the book were Listening to God: through scripture, at work around us, through our hearts, in silence and solitude, and in community. We had touched on scripture on Monday so we went on to talk about God at work around us. Steve lead us through a few stories from his book and got us to pick out where God was at work in the people’s lives in the story. After we had had a bit of practice at this he got us to look back into our lives and find a specific moment where we found God had been working in our lives. When we had found one he got us to look more deeply at the experience which helped us to see more ways that God had been working in our lives. After everyone had a good experience in this activity Steve guided us on to trying to listen for God through out hearts and lead us through a few different ways to pray and open ourselves to God and put everything else to the side. We practiced a few meditations that he encouraged us to remember and try in solitude on our silent day that was quickly approaching. This lead us into listening to God through silence and solitude which was perfect because it helped many of us in the silent day the next day. We went over some different ways to look and listen for God in silence and it gave our group a little more confidence going into the next day because most of our group isn’t usually that quiet so we were all looking at a day without talking as being a pretty big challenge. We ended the day here after a bit more instruction on how to go about our silent day and then Steve left us with one last encouragement for the next day.

Everyone got up and came to breakfast the next morning talking as much as they could because at 9:00am the leaders got up and made a few announcements and then told us the silent day had begun. Everyone dispersed to do whatever they either had or hadn’t planned for the day. We all gathered back at the dining hall for lunch and ate in an awkward silence the entire time and then got back up and headed out to do whatever we had or hadn’t planned once again. At 4:30pm everyone gathered back at the dining hall in the couch area to debrief the day. We all went around the circle and shared how we had or hadn’t seen or heard God through the things that we had done throughout the day. These are a few brief accounts from students on what they experienced through their day of silence.

“I found that God lead me through the entire day. I started with a prayer asking God where I should go and when I started walking around I found whenever I came to a spot where I needed to decide which turn to take God sent a sign like a small bird or a fish jumping out of the water to guide me in the direction I needed to go. I was lead to the top of a tree to pray and into a creek to meditate. God was with me the entire day and I could feel him inside me protecting and guiding me and talking to me the entire day. I learned that God is always with me and that I need to sometimes just stop being so busy with life and let God take control and lead me to a place to just be with him and not be distracted by anything else.”

“Silent day was a very humbling experience for me!  I started my day off with huge plans, and a schedule to keep me preoccupied. I came into the day with high expectations and a real urge to hear from God.. However God didn’t reveal himself to me in the way I wanted, but more so in a way I needed. God spoke to me and said “Be at rest my soul”  and just be still and enjoy me. Through this experience I realized the busyness of life is a huge hindrance in hearing from God, and if I want to hear from God I need to silence myself before him and sit in his presence.”

Through Steve’s week with us our group picked up some valuable lessons about how to better communicate with God and listen to how He is working in our lives. And even though everyone had different experiences throughout the week it’s pretty safe to say the everyone learned something from this week either about themselves or about their relationship with God. We were extremely honoured to have Steve Klassen with us for an amazing week of learning and are very thankful that he was able to grace us with his vast knowledge of scripture and great teachings on listening for God’s voice. This will be a week that is remembered by our site group for many years to come.

Site 1 Guatemala


Early evening on the shore of Lake Kawkawa

Girls Week!


All the gals from Site 1!

Hola Amigos! We’re a little late on this one but I’m here to tell you all about our Girls Week. On October 23 we made our way from Redberry Bible Camp in Saskatchewan to Rivers Edge in Alberta! Here we met up with the girls from the second Outtatown site, South Africa. This was a very exciting time for many students from Manitoba and Ontario who had not seen mountains before! Going into this was also a little bit of a culture shock. Our site consists of 17 students, as well as 3 leaders, and when we met up with South Africa, we realized that they have more girls than we have students! This took a little getting used to. However, soon fast friendships were formed as they welcomed us to the camp they had been staying at for the last week.

Our speaker this week was Darlene Enns-Dyck. Our overarching theme for the week was purity in the eyes of Jesus, and what purity really is. We really delved into difficult topics such as purity rings, sex before marriage, and what it really means to be clean. She brought up the idea of cleanliness being deeper than we envision it, and how Jesus is always redefining purity. She was certainly a speaker we won’t forget.

When we weren’t sitting in sessions, our lovely leaders planned some great activities for us! We had wrestling championships, went on a hike at Lake Louise, did some Holy Yoga (instructed by Alison Goerzen), a spa night with some well-deserved pampering, and went into Calgary to tackle some escape rooms! We also put together 25 or so questions for the guys to answer. We asked them about everything from how often they completely zone out, to what they think of girls who’ve had sex before marriage, and what they think of how the Bible describes a Man’s role. In return, the guys also asked us some questions which we answered. This was a challenging time as we dove into how women are oppressed in today’s society, and shared our own stories.

Girls week was one of the most beneficial weeks that we have had as a community, as we took time to connect with each other, and got some time away from the guy’s crazy shenanigans! We learned a lot, laughed a lot, and grew together, and found excellent friends in the South Africa site. We will certainly cherish these times forever.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Site One Guatemala


The girls from both the Guatemala and South Africa Sites at Lake Louise. 



Gil Dueck & MCC

After a very long hiatus I am extremely excited to get the ball rolling on filling you all in on what our site has being doing over the last half of the semester.

During the week of October 15-23, we spent our time at Redberry Bible Camp just outside of Rosthern, Saskatchewan. As a site, we were very excited to spend a full week in Saskatchewan as this was the first time in Outtatown history that multiple nights had been spent in the province.

We had the pleasure of living, working, and learning with MB Mission’s Discipleship on Mission (DOM) program. Getting to interact with new people was so much fun and we loved getting to know them as both individuals and as a team. They fit right in with us and saying goodbye to them was one of the hardest moments of the week.

While staying at Redberry we had a speaker named Gil Dueck who taught us all about theology as transformation. Before the week began many of us didn’t have a strong understanding of what theology was, yet alone how it applied to our lives. Gil explained theology as “the study of great convictions.” These convictions are critical to who we are and how we see the world. One of Gil’s main points was speaking on the echoes of God’s voice. The four echoes he told us about were: Our longing for justice, our thirst for spirituality, our desire for relationships, and our love of beauty. Through these echoes, we come to the realization that we live in a sinful world because these echoes have paradoxes. Justice is elusive, spirituality is ambiguous, relationships are messy, and beauty is fleeting. Gil also provided us with an illustration to help us understand human being’s fall into sin. He described sinful choices as bad apples, the condition of sin as the bad barrel, and the spiritual power of sin as the bad barrel makers. Gil finished off his lessons by telling us everything the cross accomplished and the transformative power of death and resurrection.


Gill Duecks theology class at Redberry Bible Camp

The second half of our week was spent with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) learning about a local story of reconciliation and the international refugee crisis. Thursday morning, we got to hear first hand from some farmers in the area about Stoney Knoll. Stoney Knoll is also known as The Young Chippewayan Indian Reserve. In 1897 this land was taken from the Young Chippewayans by Mennonite and Lutheran Settlers. For a couple of hundred years nothing was done to resolve this injustice; that was until 2006. In 2006 Young Chippewayans, Lutherans, and Mennonites gathered on Stoney Knoll to draft the Memorandum of Understanding. All three parties agreed to peace and justice! Through this Memorandum has come healing and reconciliation. Although the Young Chippewayan Band has never been compensated for the land that was taken peace is being reached. For our site to hear this true story of forgiveness and reconciliation, especially after spending a week at Roseau River Reserve, allowed us to see hope for a future of peaceful and healthy relationships. That afternoon we were able to visit Stoney Knoll which allowed us to fully appreciate the precious land that the Young Chippewayan’s value.


The snow covered Saskatchewan prairie

Friday we headed into the MCC office in Saskatoon. We got to participate in a refugee simulation activity. We were divided into small groups which represented a family. Each family was provided with some money, food rations, and health rations. Then we had to make decisions that led us to different check points depending on the decisions we made. For example, my family decided that we would risk not getting proper documentation and we would illegally take refuge in another country. This worked for a while but at one of the checkpoints we had to bribe the border security with our food rations because we didn’t have a passport. Another family ended up stranded on the side of the road with two medically fragile family members due to decisions made early in the game. This learning activity really caused each of us to think; although we were just pretending, real refugees make life or death decisions everyday. We were left to contemplate questions such as what would you bring with you if you were forced out of your country? Would you risk not having authentic I.D? What would you consider an illegal immigrant? Overall the day was extremely thought provoking and challenging.

As our week in Saskatchewan ended we looked forward to our time in Alberta. Stay tuned to hear more about our adventures out West!