Sunday, September 14, 2008


So, now I'll try to show you some pictures from the last week. I don't have too many, as my hands were busy most of the time.

This is the place I'm staying:

Here is the river that runs next to the camp. (along with a little bit of Brittany)

Here is Kaitlyn with Kayleen's guitar:

This is the bell that brings us to everything: meals, meetings, classes, etc.

This is Zach, on staff at Bighorn, but also one of the instructors for the WFA class.

This is the main instructor for WFA, Sue.

This is when everyone was practicing taking pulses (L to R- Zack, Vanessa, Cori, Mike, Kaitlyn, Erica:

This is Jessi, looking on:

Here are the feet of all the girls in Discover:

This is Robin, one of the daughters of Ruben and Sarah, who host my Impact group every week.

And this is the flag I look at every morning:

Yes, I love the flag. =) I'm enjoying looking at it every day. It's such a beautiful work of art.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

And so I update...

So, another week has passed, and I'm back to update. This last week, Explore went on a 5-day backpack trip while Discover did Basic Missionary Medicine and Wilderness First Aid. The medicine skill week was fun, for sure. The first two days we covered the different philosophies of medicine, the christian view of medicine, and how medical missions worked practically. Then we started WFA.

Wilderness First Aid, or WFA, or, as we pronounced it, "wuhfa," was a ton of fun! Even though I was sick for most all of it, I still enjoyed the learning and experience. We learned about perfusion pressure, ischemia, infarction, and anaphylaxis, to name a few. After each teaching section, we got to practice what we learned on "patients"... half the group were patients and half were rescuers. We "saved" countless people from hypothermia, anaphylaxis, seizure, bruises, broken bones, and spinal injuries. Of course, one of the first things we learned was how to take a pulse...

The head teacher for the course has been a medic at base camp, ski patrol in Colorado, medic for a British news team in the Sahara desert, and numerous other exciting jobs. She was amazing to listen to. After giving little bits of information here and there, it was fun to see her help us piece together the dots and show us what we knew, that we didn't know we knew!

One day during the week, I think it was Sunday, I went with some of the girls to the river. Kaitlyn brought Kayleen's guitar, and we sang a little, some of the girls swam, and mostly just visited or looked at the pretty view.

After class was over Friday, I had a nice relaxing afternoon. I played the piano here for awhile-- it's a really annoying one-- really out of tune, and several glitches. At least it plays "music". ~shrug~ Beggars can't be choosers, huh? Some of the others went down to the shooting range with Darron and I joined them. That was a blast. Between a guy who's in the NRA and the Canadian guys who hadn't shot before, it was an intercultural experience!!!

Later, I went to the river with some of the girls and swam a little. The air was warm, but the water cold, so it was really refreshing and pleasant. I'm definitely looking forward to being on the water next week!

As I mentioned briefly before, I've been sick this week. It's been manageable, but slightly miserable too. Hopefully I didn't pass it on to too many people. =(

Today Discover spent an hour or two getting stuff ready for the raft trip next week. Explore started trickling in at 9 AM, one team at a time, until all were back by lunch. They seem to have enjoyed their trek, hiking the state line trail between Montana and Idaho. It was amazing how quickly they got changed and took showers... one might even think that they hadn't showered for five days! =) I read a book, played with a frisbee, took a nap, played the piano, and visited with Explore friends. 'Twas nice. A few things are different though, now that Explore is back: the internet is slower, the food line is longer, and the lodge is noisier! Not that I mind, they're nice people, after all.

A few details on the raft trip we're taking:

-We'll be traveling 5 1/2 hours to the start point in Idaho.
-The route is around 50 miles on the Salmon River, then 25 on the Snake
-We'll leave Monday morning at 9
-We'll return Friday evening, sometime
-The Discover Director's wife (who is also a Discover Director) will not be coming with us, because she is PREGNANT!!!
-Mauricio, our field coordinator for Guatemala (who lives in Guatemala) is flying in tonight and will be coming on the trip with us.
-We'll be taking class 1-4 rapids.
-It will be fun.

~smile~ Did you know that? Oh, right, of course it will be fun... 'cause everything I do is fun, huh? =) =) =)

Anyway, that's my update. Sorry I can't give you any pictures in this post, the internet keeps cutting out, and uploading pictures just doesn't work right now. Hopefully tomorrow?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Trip to Town

Well, let's see here. I have several subjects to cover in this post, so I'll start with the longest ago event and then continue to the most recent one.

This last week, we did a leadership class. It was a ton of fun, as well as a good time of learning. We did group activities, small discussions, big discussions, and a few lectures. Most of the lectures were held out on the grass, so some of us are a tad bit sunburned. Tough luck to the guys on one team who shaved their heads. =( In my opinion, it was a great time of bonding, learning more about each other's thinking styles and strengths, as well as a good time of personal growth as we each realized areas in which we needed to improve.

Last night, we celebrated with a big game of Sockee. For those of you who have never played, it's an indoor game wherein the players all wear socks and slip and slide on a hardwood floor while trying to kick a whiffle ball through the other team's goal-- soccer in socks. To prepare for the game, we moved most of the furniture and breakable items in the lodge into one corner. Here's Anna, trying to reach the light fixtures to remove the covers... obviously, she was a little short. =)

Others moved chairs, and then they swept up all the random grass and dirt that had collected on the floor. This is Anna and Mike, sweeping up.

Some people really got into the game... my fellow Discoverite, Mike, for example:

Others looked calm and collected, but played a really mean game... like Peter:

Some of the Bighorn staff's kids looked on:

Some people were spectators... not so much spectating the game as spectating their computer screens... but at least they were sorta participating.

Then the game started!

Folks brought the loudspeakers down from upstairs, and got everyone in the mood for a tough game... and believe me, the music was loud and the game tough.

Sometimes things were slow, and players stood around a little.

Other times, the game was so fast, it looked like this:

Here are a couple more shots from the game:

Towards the end of the game, some of the girls (and Mike) decided to dance like fairies... it was amusing enough that I snapped a picture.

So, that was Sockee. Ridiculous game but fun to watch. =)


Today we went to Missoula and shopped. There were two groups that went to town: the "I need everything under the sun" group and the "want a couple things, but mostly just want to get to town and have fun" group. I was part of the latter. We left at 9 and drove for quite awhile. I don't know how long exactly it was, because I slept both ways. =) People-pillows are comfortable... not that I originally intended to use them.

The first stop was REI. A visit to the clearance rack yielded a nice shirt, so I bought that, and then wandered around, waiting for the others to be done. After aproximately an hour, everyone was finished shopping there and decided to continue on.

Second stop-- Walmart. I bought several things there, mostly stuff for the rafting trip, but also a couple other assorted items I forgot to bring to Montana with me.

After Walmart, we visited the "biggest gun shop in Montana." THAT was fun!!! They didn't just have guns, they had knives, fishing gear, sleeping bags, all sorts of other outdoor things... and a HUGE assortment of Carrhart clothing! I had fun trying on various hats there.

4th and final store stop was GoodWill. There wasn't a huge variety of things there, but it was nice to see things with decent prices on them. A couple of guys bought rather, um, disturbing shorts-- well above the knees. They wore them to dinner with socks and sandals and a horrid sweater over the top. If you don't believe on their outfits, I can describe them in more detail, but be assured that you're likely to be scarred for life. =) I bought a belt and a Bing Crosby movie.

Finally, we got to the purely fun stuff. We wandered downtown Missoula for about an hour and a half, taking pictures and wandering in random shops.

No, we didn't go in this place.

I loved this sign in the coffee shop we went into:

The shop had dozens of different kinds of drinks, as well as a lot of coffee beans, loose teas, crepes, and supplies for making all of the above.

After leaving the coffee shop, I went and took a few more pictures. There are murals all over the place:

This is a World War II memorial, with the County Courthouse in the background:

Another picture of the Courthouse:

Timo and Nathan came by, so I joined them.

Then Timo decided to climb a tree:

Oh yes, I bought a hat at Camp Bighorn, so here is me and my hat, with espresso, in Missoula:

Anyway, that's a summary of my last couple days, along with a detailed description of today. Hope you enjoyed it!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The U S of A...

Well, I'm back in the United States, the "land of the free and home of the brave." And very happy to be so too... even though it's still not exactly little-town WA.

Last week was really busy. We, the freshmen class at PBI, did a three-credit course in one week... 6 1/2 hours of class each day plus assignments. Unfortunately, I must admit that I enjoyed it. ~grin~ Intense though it was, I really liked having a complete overview of the Bible, learning (or re-learning) the major themes of each book, backgrounds, people, places, and observing throughout the grand scheme of Scripture-- Heilsgeschichte-- God's plan to redeem mankind. (okay, so I like that word... I'm going to practice it in my sleep.)

Monday, Explore and Discover did the exam for the previous week's class at 7:30 AM, then had meetings most of the rest of the day. That evening, after quickly packing, I went for a walk.

It was beautiful outside... the sun was setting, the crickets were chirping, and the town had quieted down a little. Walking out towards the railroad tracks I decided to snap a picture:

It wasn't actually that dark out, but I decided to see if I could catch the twilight effect. After looking out, I glanced down, and decided to take another snapshot:

It doesn't appear that amazing in the picture, but the intricacy of the tiny flowers was really neat.

Anyway, that was Monday night. Tuesday morning, bright and early, we headed out, got breakfast, and loaded the bus. We took a greyhound-type bus with most of the people and luggage, and a couple people drove a van down with the rest of the luggage. All ready to go at 7:15... and then discovered that three guys hadn't appeared! So, a couple people went to wake them up and bring them down while another person grabbed them lunch bags. Finally, around 7:45, we were off!

For the first hour it was quiet. Some people slept...

... while others read books or listened to music. Eventually, the bus came to life again and became noisy. After not too long, we could see the Rockies in the distance to the west.

Sorry about the glare, it was impossible to avoid. After awhile of driving next to the mountains, we started to go through some:

For some reason, around the time we got to prettier scenery, others decided it was time to watch a movie... so we did. I say "we" in a non-inclusive sense, because some of us didn't appreciate it as much as others. ~laugh~ And I was part of the some. Needless to say, I continued snapping pictures... however, due to the fact that the bus was moving, not all of them came out well. This is the Frank Slide:

Shortly after Frank Slide, we stopped for a brief "washroom" and caffeine break. Of course, a loaded bus doesn't take a very quick break, so some people started climbing around on the different walls and barriers. =)

Here are a few more pictures along the way while still in Canada:

We crossed the U.S. border, of which I didn't take any pictures. For once, we had some really friendly customs people, so that was fun. It took awhile, but that's no surprise, considering that they had to check every single person's passport. Just after we were cleared to go, we discovered that one of the tires was leaking... so, another stop. I took a panoramic picture of the view looking away from the tire shop and visited while others played ultimate and wandered around.

The flat fixed, we continued on our way, south through Montana, then east. Finally, we arrived at Camp Bighorn. This is the lodge building:

The view across the road and rive from the lodge:

Another view of the lodge:

And I'll tell you right away, it's lovely to be in a place where I wake up in the morning, go outside, and see this:

Yes, I love my country. Hopefully I'll be able to keep you all updated a little better for awhile. We have leadership class this week, then wilderness medicine next week. The week after (15-20th) is a raft trip. Take care, everyone.

P.S. Ruth, whom I believe I mentioned in a previous post, did get an apartment! She's doing better now, and enjoying her own space. =) ~A