Greeting friends and family,
After spending Thanksgiving weekend at our homestays, we returned to CMU on Monday morning refreshed and ready for the nine hour van ride ahead of us. By the time we arrived at Redberry Bible Camp our bodies were sore from sitting all day so we were eager to make ourselves comfortable. Over the next three days, Jacquie and Rick Block, a couple who work with Canadian Foodgrains Bank, led six sessions on “Doing Justly: maintaining a relationship focus as we do good works.”
Jacquie led us to reflect on the passage: “the Lord requires of you to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). She explained that to do justice is the action, to love is an attitude, and to walk with God is to be in a relationship. With Rick we explored doing justly in Development Case Studies. We watched a video about a Manitoban First Nation reserve that has no safe and reliable drinking water and were asked to spot where we found beauty, suffering, and agency.
This past week, we had sessions with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), an amazing non-profit organization that works to share God’s love on a global and local level. We had the opportunity to learn from Str8 Up, a non-profit organization that offers an exit strategy for gang members. Hearing firsthand from two ex-gang members about the trauma they’ve been through and their ability to turn their lives around was inspiring. One thing that they focused on was how instead of viewing people as good or bad, it is critical for us to understand that everyone is on a spectrum of health versus sickness, in their body, mind, emotions and spirit combined, so we should treat them as such. It was amazing to see how the humble work of organizations like Str8 Up provide people with an outlet to transform their own lives and benefit their community.
I really enjoyed this week because of how interactive all the sessions were. MCC ran a simulation called “Forced to Flee” where our goal was to escape an unsafe country successfully as a family. My family encountered multiple barriers, that we had to bargain our way through, and were forced to make difficult choices. Only a small number of families were able to flee. Others were relocated, ended up in a refugee camp, or died. “[Forced to Flee] helped me realize how long the process takes for refugees and how desperate someone in that situation can get.” –Annika.
Next week we are heading closer to the mountains and staying at Alberta Pioneer Ranch near Rocky Mountain House.