Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sights of Christmas

Well, Christmas has come and gone, but I thought I'd leave you a few pictures of what the morning held. Enjoy!

Early morning view of the field:

A calf, trying to lick his way through ice on the water bucket:

Stockings, full and ready to be discovered:

The first batch of morning coffee (quick quiz: how much coffee will 4 1/2 coffee drinkers consume in one Christmas morning?)

And lastly, Sherpa the cat, waiting for wrapping paper to play with:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

He does all things well

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones asked the question, "Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?" I find that this is often the case in my life.

I was meditating today on Isaiah 28:23-29 which says,

"Give ear, and hear my voice; give attention, and hear my speech. Does he who plows for sowing plow continually? Does he continually open and harrow his ground? When he has leveled its surface, does he not scatter dill, sow cumin, and put in wheat in rows and barley in its proper place, and emmer as the border? For he is rightly instructed; his God teaches him. Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin, but dill is beaten out with a stick, and cumin with a rod. Does one crush grain for bread? No, he does not thresh it forever; when he drives his cart wheel over it with his horses, he does not crush it. This also comes from the LORD of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom."

The farmer knows the times, he knows the seasons, and he knows how to treat each crop which he plants according to its type. This is all because of wisdom from God. God too knows the seasons, He knows the materials with which He is working, and He is "wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom."

This relates to the song by Chris Tomlin,

You Do All Things Well

Mountain maker
Ocean tamer
Glimpses of You
Burn in my eyes
The worship of heaven
Fills up the skies

You made it all
Said, "let there be"
And there was
All that we see
The sound of Your voice
The works of Your hands
You do all things well
You do all things well
You do all things well

Star creator
Wind breather
The strokes of Your beauty
Brushed through the clouds
Light from the heavens
Touching the ground

Imagination runs wild
And breathes the breath of life
Across the fields
Across the miles

Are you discouraged? Unhappy? Talk to yourself a little. Remind yourself: God does all things well.

P.S. You can listen to the song on YouTube here:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mud Pies

Once upon a time there was a little boy. This little boy loved to play with mud. Unfortunately, his mother did not like him to play with mud because then she had the difficult task of cleaning him off. One day she offered him a deal: she’d take him to the beach for a day if he would leave off playing with mud that day.

The little boy thought about his mom’s offer. Regretfully, he had no idea what the beach really was. He’d heard of sand: that it was nice. He’d heard of the ocean: that it was beautiful and satisfying to look at and play in. The more he thought about it though, the more he wanted to play with mud. Mud was familiar, he’d been playing with it all of his life. He just couldn’t imagine how spending a day at the beach could make up for playing with the pleasant mud. So he refused his mother’s offer. As delightful as a day at the beach could be, he would rather stick with the familiar—and dirty—mud.

We bear many similarities to this little boy. While we could put away our lives of self-centeredness and pursue eternal rewards, we cannot seem to imagine what more life could hold, and so stay with what is comfortable. C.S. Lewis phrases it this way, “Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thoughts on an important topic

Holiness is an uncommon word these days. I mean, think about it—when was the last time that, in the middle of a casual conversation, the other party said, “You know, I’m just all about pursuing holiness.” What is holiness anyway? According to one source I found, holiness is, “a purity of the heart, undefiled and separate from sin.” Why is holiness so unpopular?

Holiness is unpopular because it requires denying one’s desires. Doing wrong has its pleasures, and mankind likes to enjoy them when he can. Romans 12:1 is a call to holiness. Paul says, “I appeal to you brothers… to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” To sacrifice something is very difficult, especially if the sacrifice is you. To sacrifice another person is hard, to sacrifice a loved one harder, but your own self? That is one of the most difficult things you can do.

So then, we realize that it is hard to be holy because of our desire to save ourselves. Yet we are still called to be holy. God says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). So why are we called to holiness? Because of God’s holiness. God is pure in heart, undefiled, and separate from sin; we should be also. As Christians, we are sons of God (1 Jn. 3:1) and are called to behave as sons of God (1 Jn. 2:29). As sons, and heirs of the grace of God, we are to be holy, sanctified, set apart for His service.

However hard we may try, we can never be completely holy. We cannot, of our own accord, set aside sin and pursue right living. Paul relates this struggle, even as a Christian, in Romans 7:19, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Later he exclaims, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” The conclusion? “Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom. 7:24-25) Practically speaking, how often do you want to do the right thing, yet find a battle within, unable to do what you should?

As holy as we may be, we can never earn God’s favor by holiness, nor can we merit salvation through good deeds. As God says in Jeremiah 31:3: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued in my faithfulness to you.” God’s love does not depend on what we do, but on His character. Romans 5:8 states “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This demonstrates that even while we were in rebellion to God, He loved us.

However unappealing the idea of holiness may be, we are still called to it and must answer the call. We were bought with a price; therefore, we must glorify God with our bodies as well as our hearts, being pure, undefiled, and separate from sin.

The Rest of the Semester

After Specialization, we settled in at Camp Bighorn for a couple weeks. The first week I had Spiritual Formation classes, going through the Beta Series with Neil Anderson via videos. Second week I started a leadership class which continued on campus after we returned to Prairie. That concluded our time in the States.

October 16th we returned to Prairie. I rode with Krysti in her truck and we drove through part of Glacier National Park. 'Twas pleasant.

Back at Prairie, classes started up in earnest. I took Psalms and Wisdom Literature, Leadership Foundations, and Pauline Epistles I (including Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Galatians), along with more Spiritual Formation and the internship (with staff meetings).


Now I'm home! I arrived Saturday, leaving the land of ice and snow called Alberta and returning to WA. So far, things are good. Maybe I'll post some pictures from the last couple months... maybe not. =)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rotations and Specialization

After the rafting and camping trip, we settled into doing skills rotations and then specialization. I led the ministry rotation and specialization.

For rotation, we went to Missoula, Montana, touring different ministries in the city and learning about what they do. I don't have a lot of pictures from that, but here's the debrief circle at a coffee shop in Missoula:

For specialization, we went to Spokane, Washington, and helped out at two homeless ministries: Cup of Cool Water, which is a place for homeless youths to drop in and get help; and City Gate, which is a church that runs a drop-in place for homeless and low-income people of all ages. If you want to see a little more about their ministries, check out their websites: and

Here are some pictures from specialization:

Outside of CCW:


Different people's tags:

A painting at CCW:

Cool people who volunteered at CCW:

A prank we pulled:

Hanging out at CCW:

A cool mural we posed next to:

At the City Gate:

Walking through Spokane:

My team:

Monday, December 7, 2009


On August 31st, 2009, we traveled down to Montana to begin our adventures outside of the classroom. Two days after arriving we left on a rafting trip, quite similar to the one last year. The difference was that our time outdoors didn't end with the rafting trip, but continued straight into a camping after that. In total, we spent 9 nights outdoors. To put that in perspective, we had 10 days without showers, toilets, stoves, houses, tents (we had tarps), and many other luxuries which we normally enjoy. Here are some pictures from that time:

Before taking off, we loaded things up:

Then we got our picture taken by a tree:

Going through a rapid:

Waiting to jump off a cliff:

At the end, we got our picture taken by the van:

Alyssa and me in the van on our way to the camp site:

The shelter that all 17 girls stayed in:

Wilderness First Aid Class!

We did some initiatives... Jordan and I working on MISdirecting Jon:

The entire group, after rafting AND camping:

I'm Back!

Well, it's been ages since I posted anything on here. I'll be updating you all with what I've been doing and pictures soon, but until then thought I'd post what is of primary importance in my life. Because I sometimes fail for the best words to say things with, I thought I'd say it all in quotes:

- Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
- Genesis 2:7, “Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
- 1 John 4:7-8, “Love is from God… God is love.”
- Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
- Isaiah 59:2, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God.”
- Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.”
- 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord… is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
- 1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
- John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
- Romans 10:9-10, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
- 1 John 3:1, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Life Goes On

So yes, life does go on. I continue to do things and stay busy. =)

The students arrived a little over a week ago. I spent one Saturday moving people into the dorm, passing out paperwork, collecting paperwork, and trying to explain why there was a steady stream of water coming down into the hallway. The dorm had a little roof problem, caused by the wind ripping off a large portion of the roof... and thus we had rainwater dripping from the 5th floor all the way to the 1st.

Since the students arrived, I have continued to try to collect paperwork, get ready for Montana, and worked on developing relationships with the students. It's busy, but good.

In less than a week (the 31st), we travel down to Montana, then head out on a rafting trip (the 2nd).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Back at school... but not (quite) doing school

Well, I'm in Canada yet again, preparing for the next batch of Discover students to arrive. I arrived in Calgary the 25th of July, then left on a canoeing trip the next day. We, the intern team plus our directors, went to Lakeland Provincial Park, up near Lac Le Biche, Alberta. I thought, instead of just telling you about it, I'd put up some pictures, and add words to tell you about the trip. So, let's start.

We began by driving north to Edmonton, where we shopped for food and picked up the canoes. After getting the canoes, we did a semi-traditional picture-next-to-the-vehicle.

Then, we continued on into the sunset, David driving...

While Krysti consulted the map.

We arrived at a campground on Touchwood Lake, where we laid out a tarp and went to sleep. The next morning, we packed up our gear, drove to the staging area, and got ready to begin our first portage.

Portaging was definitely the most physically straining part of the trip. Some of us carried gear...

while others carried canoes.

I soon found that I preferred the latter.

During the trip we paddled the canoes,

We portaged many kilometres (This was the shortest portage. The longest was 3K)

We built shelters

We rested after portages

We whittled spoons for eating

We watched pretty sunsets

We got sore feet

We built a teepee

We got wounds

We consulted many maps

And we took pictures of our paddles.

At the end, we were very happy.

Then we cleaned up.

You might be wondering to yourself, "Why is a week-long canoeing trip part of school?" Well, in short, it wasn't about school. It was about building our group of friends into a strong team, focusing ourselves on God, and having an opportunity to process what God was teaching us. While intense, it served its purpose.

So, what's next? The new students arrive on Saturday, at which point they will have orientation (which we will lead) over the weekend, then start a two-week version of the one-week class I did last year-- The Way. I will be working on getting ready for the students, getting details in place for our time in Montana, as well as travel to there, and finishing up the distance ed course I was working on over the summer.

Over and out,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Well then.

So, obviously it's been awhile since I did anything with this blog. My apologies. I did make it back from Guatemala, and I did go to El Salvador too... and now I'm home on summer break! Here's a brief sketch of what's happened since then:

- We spent 5 weeks at GBS, doing Cultural Anthropology and Preparation for Intercultural Ministry classes during the week and helping with a church on the weekend. My team went to that church that I showed you pictures of, starting up a Sunday School program with the kids there.

- At the end of our time at GBS, we went to Panajachel, on the shores of Lake Atitlan. There, we had one day off, a weekend of Spiritual Retreat, which included different sessions given by our directors, worship, solo time, and silent evenings. At the end we had another day off, during which we went to a pool at the hotel next door and swam, then spent time preparing for practicum which started the next day.

- For Practicum, we went to El Salvador. My team went to the community Loma De la Cruz, just outside of the town of Jucuapa. During our time there, we built a wall out of rock, taught ESL, played soccer with the kids, had a kids' club, taught crafts to the older girls, and showed an evangelistic movie. It was a great time with the team, building relationships with the people in the community and learning a new type of Spanish accent. El Salvadorans are hard to understand! (Think of a non-native English speaker talking to someone from Arkansas)

- After practicum, which lasted for 10 days, with one day on each end for prep and debrief, we returned to GBS for the rest of the week to debrief our entire time in Central America. The seminary students threw us a goodbye party, and many tears were shed. I also worked on getting the last details in place for our travel back to Canada (as one of the two travel apprentices, I was responsible for the group's travel from Guatemala to El Salvador and back to Guatemala, then to Canada... quite the adventure!).

Then, Sunday, the 5th of April, we flew back to Canada. Everything went smoothly, except for the intern who didn't make it through customs quickly enough to make the connection in Houston. The poor girl had to stay at a 5-Star hotel overnight and fly to Calgary the next day.

We had one day off, then class started up. This was Theology class, and I loved it! We learned the history of theology, and the progression of the church's theology, as well as different theologians in history and went through the basic beliefs of the church. We had a little over 2 weeks of Theology, then it was graduation time.

My family came for graduation, surprising me by bringing one of my cousins and one of my aunts! It was a great time together, even though some of my time was taken up with Discover closing activities and graduation rehearsal. We had Thursday evening, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning together before they started the drive home.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking, "why didn't you go home with them?" Well, because I had to stay! Yeah, yeah... that explains a lot. =) Remember when I told you that I got an internship with Discover? Well, part of the internship was staying 2 weeks after graduation for a class.

The class was part training and part class-oriented. We learned about how to build a team, develop a team culture, work better cross-culturally, and be a servant leader. Towards the middle of the class, we went on an overnight orienteering trip, spending all day with a topographical map and compass, looking for different caches of food/supplies for the night. After it was all done, we made dinner and relaxed together, singing with Kyle's guitar, before turning in to bed. Next morning we had breakfast, then left for solo time, then returned to debrief with our director, David.

After 2 weeks on a VERY quiet campus, we departed for home. And that's where I am now! I've been working on a distance ed course (also part of the internship), painting a house, and taking short trips. Last weekend my older brother and I went backpacking with a couple of our cousins.

What's next? Well, I return to Prairie the 25th of July to go on a canoe trip with the other interns, then we have 2 weeks on campus to prepare for the new students coming in. Then it's off to do a repeat of last year's activities, but as a leader... or rather, a servant-leader.

I may put up some pictures sometime of the last part of Guatemala/El Salvador... but no promises. On the other hand, I may post some random theological wanderings here, because that's what I am-- a purposeful wanderer. I know what I'm doing, I know where I'm going eventually, but until then, I'm wandering this earth, and enjoying it fully. =)

Abby/Abner/Abigail/Abby Sue

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Culture Day

Us, waiting for our ride. (I labeled in the previous post)

After returning to GBS, we had two culture days with our field coordinator, Mauricio, and his wife Myrna and daughter Andrea. Here is our friend Mauricio:

We went to a breakfast all-you-can-eat buffet that serves authentic Guatemalan food. This included: black bean paste, tortillas, plantain, cantalope, watermelon, papaya, pineapple, fried potatoes, salsa, rice, eggs, and coffee and juice. And it was only 20Q per person! (about $2.50)

Here is the place that they cook the tortillas. There is a fire underneath and a flat surface on top where the tortillas are fried.

Decor: an old pot.

Outside, three sheep were grazing. Jake still owes me 20 Q... he promised it to whoever could pick up the lamb. No one else could, but I did! (It wasn't really fair, I've had experience catching such things without causing trauma to the mother) [I don't think he'll ever pay me =)]

A couple flowers that I found to be really pretty:

A little place that sells "queso crema," or cream cheese.

Another little building on the property.

After breakfast, we drove to a Mayan ruin. It was pretty neat. There was a little museum with diagrams of what the ruin was thought to have looked like, artifacts from it, and descriptions of different people and events.

Wouldn't you like to have your head bashed in like this guy?

A model of the ruins, then a diagram.

The ruins!

Mayan people still perform sacrifices at the ruins, and there was one happening while we were there, so we observed for awhile. It wasn't an animal sacrifice, it was mostly flowers, alchohol, and some groceries.

This is the end, where the people doing the sacrifice are kneeling while a firework goes off. It was a loud firework.

After watching the sacrifice, we had our cultural anthropology class. It was quite fitting that that was the day Vanessa, Brit, and Sarah did their presentation on Guatemala's magic, religion, and worldview. After their presentation, we helped Myrna prepare a Guatemalan meal: refried black beans, meat cooked over a fire, salsa, guacamole, onions, tortillas, and I don't remember what all else. It was good!

Learning the culture of Guatemala with Mauricio was a lot of fun. =)

Here is a final picture, one of Mauricio, Myrna, and their daughter Andrea: