Thursday, October 31, 2013

Old Testament Theology - Exploring depth in familiar stories

Hey everyone!

Well if there was any doubt about it before, that doubt is now gone and replaced with an assurance that fall is officially here. The weather lately has been a mixture of eery-fog and the occasional sunny day in between. The leaves are now scattered on the ground and the surrounding trees are starting to look pretty bare. Along with the weather change there has come a shift towards some of the more challenging academic courses of the semester, and so far the students are rising to the challenge.

The course they just completed is Old Testament Literature taught by Professor Don Taylor. This course explores the whole Old Testament and seeks to help students gain a strong foundation and deeper understanding of the biblical narrative. There is a lot of material covered in this course and hearing the students talk at meal times about all they were learning was really encouraging. 

Don Taylor teaching about Old Testament architecture and the temple. 

Here are some words from Don Taylor himself about taking this course in the Kaléo Program. “Setting aside a week to focus entirely in the OT allows the students to draw near to the faithful covenant keeping God of Scripture. It provides an opportunity to explore the deep and important background for appreciating the message and themes of the NT. Studying in this community allows for a space to ask the hard questions and explore the contours of the OT that so often get passed over.” 

One of the major benefits to taking the Kaléo Program is being able to have an oceanside view as your class room. The students definitely appreciated Don's teaching style as he has frequently employed breaks and trips outside to make sure their minds were staying sharp.

One of the big projects they have been working on together as a class is called the Old Testament Video. The goal is to recreate the important highlights of the OT and capture it on video. Three directors were picked from the group and everyone had to work together to pull this project off. It was fascinating watching camp across the week turned into a movie set of all different sorts. Every minute of free time the students had they could be found in costume acting out a story or editing away on their computers. 

On the last day of classes all the staff at camp were invited to the premier and we gathered around to watch all the students hard work. This is a highlight for a lot of the staff as its always a joy to see the way students take on the creative challenge. You get to see a new side of a lot of the students and there was no shortage of laughs on this debut premiere. 

Meet your directors! Kelsey P, Chris, and Sharon!
Don Taylor was really impressed by the work put in by the students, and a comment might have been made about it being one of the best projects he has seen put together so far. 

“Being able to direct the movie was a great experience because you got to see everyones gifts come out and us all working together creatively to get the job done.” - Chris Williams one or three directors. 

Not your ordinary group of directors, but hollywood better keep an eye out for these three.
Stay tuned next week to here stories about the students experiences in retreats and our time at Wildplay! We will also hopefully be having a copy of the film on the internet for you to view soon as well. This next week we are beginning a solid period of continuous prayer for the entire week. Please keep us in your prayers as well, be asking God to be speaking individually to the students as we devote time to listening and responding to God in prayer.

Until next time,


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Surfing in Tofino - West Coast Wave Riding

Trees rolling by, climbing elevation, stunning mountain lakes, epic scenery and winding rolling roads; this surely isn't your typical trip to the local surf spot. It is for us though on this adventure - our drive was nothing short of scenic as we made way in three vans cross island to the largest surfing destination in Canada. Students just finished the first portion of lectures with Sid Koop for Camp and Youth Ministry and were anxious after another good time in the classroom to get outside and make use of the sunny weather. 

Taking pictures inside of trees that towered over our heads at Cathedral Grove.
On our trip we stopped at a few unique tourist sites along the way. One of them being Cathedral Grove an amazing old growth forest sight with trees towering hundreds of feet above us. It surely had an incredible capacity to make us feel really small amongst these giants of trees.  

We arrived the first evening and spent some time exploring Tofino and the famous long beach. During our trip we had the privilege to stay at a church in Uculet which was a fantastic experience, the church had a wonderful 'home-like' feel and we had a great time hanging out and playing games together. You could see even from the previous sailing trip how much closer and comfortable everyone has come as a group; we had such a blast being with each other. 

Looking out over the vast ocean enjoying time reflecting on God's goodness
We spent time at rocky beach in Uculet the first morning, Andrew shared more about our theme together this year. Our theme is Stirred and being near the ocean with all the kinetic energy and force behind each wave was an excellent example of what being stirred up looks like, and how each wave was moved by a force that was greater than itself. We then continued on after lunch to Cox Bay where we met our surf instructors and got on our wetsuits for the first time. Some were more successful with their first attempts than others, there was even one or two wetsuits that ended up on backwards at first.

Enthusiastic to-be surfers in their wetsuits ready to hit the waves
Before we attempted entering the ocean our surf instructor Eddy taught us about the various currents and dangers we could face while out in the water. He explained specifically what to look for at the beach we were at, but also equipped us with some basic knowledge to take to any other beaches we might end up at in the future. After teaching us about tides and currents Eddy taught us some basic surf theory and how to approach riding waves with a board.

Our instructor Eddy showing us proper technique for the 'pop-up'
We then stormed the water and had our own go at something that seemed so simple in movies. Some surprised by the difficulty at first, our group rose to the challenge and gave it everything they had. Across the board everyone went out in the water and did an excellent job.

We had an incredible two days of surfing with optimal conditions for this time of year. One of the instructors Ally said he hadn't seen waves this nice here in over 2 months - it truly was a blessing to get such good conditions on both of our days out. Everyone learned and progressed so quickly, it was encouraging to see everyone having so much fun together and trying over and over again to improve. Instead of hearing more from me, as I already have a biased of loving surfing myself, I thought it would be fun to hear from some of the students and what they thought of their first experience. 

"The trip to Tofino was an awesome opportunity for growth in a new adventure environment! As a first time surfer, I was initially a little skeptical about getting out on the waves, but after the first afternoon, I was pretty much sold on the idea of selling all of my material possession and moving to Tofino for the rest of my life. The trip was a great chance for us to relax and hang out together at the beaches, in the vans, and back at the church; I loved having the time to get to know everyone a little better. It was so cool to be able to enjoy the glory of God in such spectacular surroundings; everything from the crazy Tofino surf to the huge first-growth trees at Cathedral grove spoke of the power and majesty of our Creator!" 

We had a blast together in another ocean themed adventure. Its safe to say many of the students have caught the surfing bug and are definitely eager to try it again. They just finished their lectures for Old Testament Literature with Don Taylor which was another exciting course. They completed a whole 45 minute film during the past 2 weeks as well for one of their assignments. We will be sharing that and many other stories from the classroom next week thursday. For now there are more photos that didn't make it into the gallery available at

Untill next time,

Nic shooting some film for their Old Testament Video project. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sailing with S.A.L.T.S. - Adventures on the Sea

 Just under two weeks ago we had the amazing opportunity to head out to sea with the Sail and Life Training Society, an organization that takes groups like ours on these amazing ‘trips of a life time’ aboard beautiful tall ships.
This is a shot of the Pacific Grace on a different sailing trip, but showing the enormity of this boat. 
Our voyage took us in and around the stunning Gulf Islands that are located in between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia. This trip is the largest trip we have gone on so far, and we had an amazing time. 

Skipper John Andrachuk giving us an orientation before we left port.
 An incredible new way of life took form the minute we stepped aboard. Things got underway before we knew it and one of the students even steered the boat out of Victoria’s inner harbor. The immediacy of everything is slightly intimidating at first as we are thrown into this whole new world, but it wasn't long under the careful instruction of the crew that we started to get the hang of things. Most of the students have never stepped foot aboard a sail boat before, let alone a 138 foot gaff rigged schooner. This unique bonding starts to happen between the students because they are all starting at the same stage, learning and growing together. The students encouraged each other and shared their new found knowledge, opening up through shared experiences and growing closer as a community.

A few students and the female intern Ashley Haarms handling some sails under the carful leadership of Aron Koen
Sarah passes through a sail tie on the main boom getting it ready to be taken down. 

These boats take enormous team work to set and manage the sails. We where split into different watch teams and there is always a group overseeing the running of the boat. Duties include taking the wheel of the ship, watching the bow, sail handling, anchor watch, navigation, radio monitoring, or cleaning up the dishes from our meals. Everyone needs to be taking part and doing their share, otherwise the sailing just wouldn't be possible. It was cool to step back sometimes and see everyone working in unison to work on a single task. An awesome hands on experience of what it's like to work together as the body of christ. 

Working together to haul in the main sail sheet. 

Although it was raining frequently on the trip, students had a positive attitude and there were plenty of smiles going around.
An amazing Humpback whale followed beside our boat for over an hour, here is a shot of it framed under the
beautiful snow caped Mount Baker.

Here is a quick video showing a few moments that we were graced to see this magnificent creature.

Working together to launch the Dories, small row boats that we would take ashore together. 
Stephanie Pauls sharing a smile as she handles a line. 
The food on this trip was incredible. 

A shot of the stars as we spent time together in pairs on anchor watch. 
A personal favourite about our time aboard is the nights spent together as a community. We would gather together and play a few games and then all meet in the hold (a room in the center of the ship) to sing worship songs together. It was close quarters for sure, but being able to hear all the beautiful voices singing together in unison praising God was an amazing. 

Life aboard a sail boat is truly a incredible experience. 
Throughout our time on board Skipper John Andrachuk and the program leader Andrew MacDonald would share leadership principals and how to be intentional with growing in these areas. The whole crew was an awesome model of how to live out your faith and were great examples of humble and confident leaders. Showing as well that leadership is not just in a position but in all areas of your life and glorifying God amongst the people he places around you.
Here is the students of 2014 with the crew of the Pacific Grace!
I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our time aboard the Pacific Grace. The students are currently finishing readings for the upcoming Old Testament Literature course, and we also recently got back from a surfing trip! There is a new blog post coming thursday next week and in the meantime there are plenty of other great photos from our adventures that didn't make it into this blog post available in a gallery linked to bellow.

Until next time,

or click this link

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Spiritual Formations - First Class of the Year

Hey everyone it has been a busy couple weeks here in the program and there is so much to fill you in on. This week I am going to share a glimpse into the Students first class of the year spiritual formations, and also a few photos from a Qwanoes Road Tour.

In this class the students learned all about what it means to be a disciple - a true follower of Christ. They had opportunities to learn different disciplines and practices they can use in their life, seeking to have a healthy faith walk and grow closer to God. They spent time looking into what it means to live in Christian community and how that is important. This class also provided lots of time for inner-reflection and spending time alone listening to God. 

There was beautiful sunny weather most of the week.
It provided awesome times for outdoor chapels as well as opportunities for personal reflection
 all around the beautiful Qwanoes property.


Students were given opportunities in groups to lead different chapels and worship services that took place throughout the week. These gave them opportunities to express creativity and make the chapel their own - it was wonderful to see students gifts come forward as they led their peers in these times of community worship.

Students discussing together in groups different attributes about God during one of the chapels. 
Towards the end of the week the students spent a little under 24 hours in silence and solitude. They spread out in all different areas of camp and didn't speak or see each other for their whole time apart. It was an awesome opportunity for them to really focus and listen to God and reflect on His word and what they had been learning in the course so far. Despite at first wondering what they would do in so much time alone with God, most of the students came back from their time wishing they could have more of it.

We all gathered the morning after their time of solitude to take communion together. It was an awesome moment where each student had the opportunity to share with the group what they had learned. A majority of the students had been fasting during their time of solitude as well, and what better way to break that fast together but with communion.

Here are a few thoughts from the students on this course.

The students have also been busy reading Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. An excellent read that share Bonhoeffer's thoughts on the nature of Christian community and how individuals relationships with God affect the path of a Christian community's path to God. They are currently writing response papers to this book, as well as finishing up work form Camp and Youth Ministry.

A Few of the students had the opportunity to help run a Qwanoes event at a local church called Road Tour. It was sometimes hard to tell who was having more fun, the students or local youth that were attending.

There has been so many exciting things going on, and even more seems to be just around the corner - look forward to a post next week about our previous trip on SALTS!

Until next time,