By Grace Jones
To start off the week back at Camp Squeah we participated in various camp work projects including lots of raking, splitting and stacking wood, and other random odd jobs. It may have been cold, wet, and raining, but we made the most of it by singing songs and doing RWPI’s (random work project interruptions). To end our camp service days on a high note, we witnessed two of the staff at Squeah get engaged. It was a very exciting way to end the night!
Wednesday was the day that brought about the most mixed feelings. Our group was a combination of very excited, nervous and/or unsure. We were going caving. I would like to clarify that this is not what you may be thinking of your typical “exploring caves” activity. We were in Talus caves – the small tunnels formed between and underneath the boulders that pile up at the bottom of mountains. Yes, we were exploring, but it was through spaces that, at first glance, you didn’t think your body could fit through. We were in the dark, surrounded by broken rock, with only our headlamps for light. Lets just say that I have never been so happy to see sunlight. This was definitely not the easiest activity for everyone, but in my opinion (as someone who HATES small spaces) it was worth it. The way teams worked together to encourage and support one another was incredible. Watching those who overcame fears and claustrophobia was inspiring. Finally, the feeling of exiting the cave, with your team, knowing that you did it together was such an empowering moment. This is one of the best team building activities I have ever done, and I would highly recommend it!
There were also some pretty sweet life lessons that came out of the caving experience. Just as in the cave there are many possible paths to get to the final goal, we were reminded that life offers us many different, but equally valuable paths. We don’t always know what the right path is, so we have to take the risk to explore. Even though this may bring a time of uncertainty, going through challenging ups and downs makes us stronger as we know that God will be there through it all, cheering us on.
Our Wednesday ended with Outtatown’s annual ball hockey game against the Squeah staff. Despite the intense competition on the court and organized cheers from the bench, Squeah staff ultimately came out on top. Nevertheless, it was a great way to finish the day.
On Thursday we began to learn about our second semester destination – Guatemala! It is surreal that this semester is quickly coming to an end and that we are already preparing for Guatemala! We were introduced to some of the work we will be doing second semester, including volunteering at a variety of organizations and building a family home. We began to send out letters to start fundraising for the service opportunities that our group will have in Guatemala. The donated funds will pay for supplies and other costs as we support the local organizations that we will be working with. We were also introduced to our Guatemala Research Projects which is a way we are learning more and teaching our fellow students about life in South America. Finally, Dave led us in a beginner Spanish lesson. Thursday was a busy day as we also enjoyed celebrating the birthdays of Tana and Elaina!
This past weekend we drove to Abbotsford where we met up with our “guide” for the weekend, J Janzen, at his home church, Highland Community. Throughout the weekend, we visited a total of 7 churches, experiencing a wide variety of denominations that many of us, coming largely from Mennonite Brethren backgrounds, had never experienced before. This included a home church, a Catholic Mass, a multi-campus Mennonite Brethren Church, an Intercultural Mennonite Brethren service, a United Contemplative Church and an Anglican prayer service. Growing a broader understanding of the Anabaptist Mennonite tradition, along with learning the similarities and differences of other denominations has been an eye opening experience of realizing the diversity in how we, as Christians, can worship. Many of us have been empowered to continue to explore and learn about different denominations as well as bring what we have learned from this weekend back to our home churches.