Don’t be Sad it’s Over, Be Happy it Happened.

Hello everyone back home! It won’t be long now until we are back with you again! It’s crazy that it’s the final week of semester one already! It feels like just yesterday we were leaving the comfort of our homes and entering into this journey that we didn’t quite know what to expect on.

This week we travelled back to Rivers Edge in Alberta to debrief the semester. We participated in discussions with our leaders on what to expect on the break, what to stop, start, and continue as a community for next semester, and how to have crucial conversations. It was amazing to look back at September and reminisce on all we accomplished as a team in the span of three months. We took the time to reflect on emotions, events, and growth as a community within the time we have spent together. It was so encouraging to see how we have grown in our individual walks of faith but also as a community. In the evenings we would gather together and share our experiences and reflections on the semester and how we have been impacted or challenged thus far. After each person shared, the group had the opportunity to speak encouragement into that individual’s life. It was such a cool experience hearing from your peers about how you may have impacted them, or what qualities you brought to the group that you might not have been aware of. It was a time of celebration and vulnerability within the group, and it felt like this was when the group really connected as a whole.

Between the sessions and sharing we found time to squeeze in some fun, as always. The Rivers Edge staff were amazing and set up a bubble soccer game for us to release some energy, as well as a dodgeball tournament later in the week. I’ve so appreciated the times this semester where we could just let loose and have fun together.

We loved staying at Rivers Edge and were so grateful for the amazing hospitality they showed us. On Thursday and Friday we had service days and the group participated in various tasks around the camp to give back. I personally, have appreciated the work days and the opportunities to show the camps how thankful we are in a small way.

On Tuesday night, we had worship and it was a really amazing night. Each of us had a log and we built an Ebeneezer together (a monument symbolizing God’s presence and the things God has done throughout the semester). We reflected on who God has been to us this semester and what we have learned from Him. Once we built the structure we lit it on fire and sang worship songs around it. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that evening; full of worship and praise to God for how He’s worked through each of us this semester.

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As the week of debriefing came to an end we entered a week of fun in Banff. We left Rivers Edge and checked into a hotel in Banff. The last four days have been time to relax and have fun together before the break. We got to explore the town and even sang some karaoke one night. Banff is truly an amazing place to just bask in God’s creation. We hiked around Lake Louise and other lakes with amazing views of the mountains, beautifully covered in snow. A highlight of the week was our ski day on Wednesday. For many of us it was our first time ever skiing or snowboarding, and let me tell you we felt it the next day. It was an amazing day full of laughter, falling, and memories that will last a lifetime.

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So as the week comes to an end we’re all experiencing the bitter sweetness of saying hello to our families we left in September, but goodbye to the family we’ve created over the last three months. I’m so thankful to God for giving my heart a reason to ache as everyone goes their separate ways for now. I am even more thankful that we will be reunited again after a much-needed break and time of refreshment and celebration. I’m so excited to see what God has in store for each of us as we look forward to travelling to Guatemala together in January.

Thanks for staying tuned and following our journey across Canada this semester. We’ve appreciated your thoughts and prayers throughout our time away from home.

Until our next adventure,
-Bethany

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