Friday, February 20, 2009

Men's Life Group - Thursday Nights

When the Boys Club and GEMS meet, several men also get together and hold a Bible Study night. This group has been meeting for many years. It's members have changed, but it's desire to be inviting, relational, and challenging have not.
If you want to know more about this group, email me at

GEMS & Valentine's

That same Thursday evening GEMS held a Valentine's evening. Lots of balloons and ribbons and noise !!
They started off with a game. Not sure what it was because I'm NOT allowed to be there you know : )
Wilma is the crafty person in the GEMS group. Here she gets glue ready.
After the game, the girls all sat down and listened (somewhat quietly) to instructions on how to do their craft.
A cup, decorated with glue and coloured tissue paper. Intricate work.
Here my daughter and a friend are hard a work.
Then end result....for now. Next time they get varnished. A candle will go inside and voila, a candle holder is born.
Here are some of them drying. Again, thanks ladies for giving our girls (there were 16 there last night) a great time every other week. Sometimes it's craft work, other times Badge work, and still other times, simply studying God's Word. You also allow our girls to experience the joy of living the Christian Life. Thanks for your willingness to serve.

ETM working with Clay

On Tuesday, February 17 our group met once again. This night our topic was more practical in nature. Working with Clay.
We began our night with a short game of WHACK. Always fun. Always painful. : )
Then it was downstairs to a room readied for the group. Each person received 1 block of molding clay and some water to work with. Their instructions were to take that block of clay and create a "creature."
Rosalynn doesn't seem to be enjoying the feel of the clay in her hands.
Sam does.
Here is the group hard at work. Some had a harder time using the creative sides of their brains.
Others didn't. Here is a unique creation.
A very cool one.
This one looked more like a Bonsai tree to me. Once the creatures were created, the group was to give it a name and then tell everyone else what their creature was, and why they named it such. Some interesting things came out, I can assure you! : ) The reason we did this exercise was to practically illustrate the fact that just as they created something out of clay (basically dirt and water), so too were we created out of a clay mixture (the ground - See Genesis 2: 4 - 8) and that God shapes and molds us (Isaiah 64: 8) Some of the questions that were asked of the group then were: 1. So, since we are made out of such ordinary material, why are we so special to God? 2. We are all made of the same stuff, but we are all unique. How should that affect the way you treat other people? 3. What do you see when you look at all the different creatures here? A. They are all made the way YOU wanted them to look. God has done that with you and me as well. No two of us are the same (good thing). 4. What else do you notice about your creature? A. It's not perfect, or even finished yet. We are far from perfect, though God sees us through the eyes of Jesus, which allows us to be seen as holy in His eyes. God isn't finished with us. We are all on a journey and each journey is different. If we love Jesus the end destination is the same. 5. What else to you notice about your creature? A. Your fingerprints are all over it. God's fingerprints are all over your life. Do you see them? Do you know what they are? The group was then given 4 minutes to either finish their creature, or change it. They were then asked what they changed, and why they changed it. Point to ponder: God is working on our lives constantly and we change in the process into the end result of what God wants us to look like. Sometimes it hurts, other times it's glorious. I encouraged them to take their Creatures home as a reminder of how God created them unique and is still working on them. Some did, others didn't. For those that did, I hope you remember that God isn't finished with you yet and that you are unique, just like your creature.
We ended the evening with food, of course!!!!!
Oh, and this little picture comes off the camera of Peter. So few are taken of me (good thing), but he went through so much effort to get this one to me from his cell phone that I just HAD to put it in the blog somewhere. Sorry about that!!!! : ) TTFN.

Manly Cooking Night - Boys Club

Every other Thursday evening Calvin Church comes alive with the sounds of children and adults. We host a Boys Club, GEMS (Girls) group, and a Men's Life Bible Study group. The entries listed on this date are all from Thursday, February 19th. This entry is of the Boys Club. Shawn, leader of the group, is always trying to come up with creative ways for the Boys who come to have some fun in the evening. When I heard the idea of "Manly Cooking Night," my curiosity was peaked. I decided to show up and help out when it came about (and eat too of course)! Last night, that event became a reality. The counsellors gathered a bit early to get things ready, and slowly the boys came into the church and began to prepare their dinner (they were not supposed to eat before they came).
Here you see two of the guys cutting onions for frying. A few tears were shed : (
On the menu for the evening was:
  • Steak (marinaded in special ingredients)
  • Fried Onions
  • Fried Mushrooms
  • Caesar Salad
  • Home made dinner rolls
  • Juice
  • S'mores for dessert.
Here you see Shawn with the beloved steaks.....mmmmmmmm
Steaks are properly cooked on the BBQ. This is Shawn's. Apparently he didn't know he actually had a portable BBQ in his home. It looks very nice.
Steve gives a teaching course on the proper way to fry mushrooms. They tasted amazing !!!
Nathan fries up the onions. You could smell the onions and mushrooms throughout the church. The GEMS complained. : )
You can't have salad without properly preparing the lettuce. The boys are hard at work.
Caesar Salad is being prepared here.
The S'mores needed crumbs. Using a rolling pin and a zip lock bag Simon makes quick work of it. He had LOTS of fun. : )
Mixing the ingredients for the dinner muffins. Many secret ingredients made them taste VERY good. Sorry, I can't divulge the recipe. Sworn to secrecy on pain of death!!!!
Another boy takes over as the previous one got a tired arm stirring. Apparently these boys need some conditioning training Shawn. Hey, another idea for a Boys Club night?
The final ingredients placed into muffin tins and ready for baking.
Colwyn is still working hard on the Caesar Salad. He had a GREAT time cooking.
The steaks on the BBQ. Seems like this BBQ is not a state of the art one. Seems like the steaks took FOREVER to cook!
Everything is pretty much ready. Before eating, Shawn gives a lesson on manly cookbooks.
Here is one such cookbook that Shawn recommended.
Here's another.
Finally, after Pastor Ron earned his keep by blessing the meal, everyone lined up to feast on all the heard work.
Seems like the steak is a bit hard to chew! hmmmmm
The food was VERY good actually. A great job done by the boys and counsellors.
The BIGGER boys certainly enjoyed the meal as well.
Dessert was S'mores. The proper way to eat them was with your fingers. Colwyn showed us all how.
All in all a GREAT idea, a GREAT night, and GREAT food. The boys had a hoot making their meal and we all learned that cooking can be fun. Thanks guys for giving our boys great evenings that are creative, positive, and diverse. Thanks for showing these boys that loving God comes in many ways, shapes and forms. There is blessing in cooking. Thanks for giving them a connection point to the church that intertwines fun, faith building, food and fellowship. Cudo's. BTW, if you are visiting this site, and are interested in knowing more about our Boys Club and GEMS group, send me an email at I'd love to share how your son or daughter can join these great groups.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ETM Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser

It's 6:00 a.m. I've managed to stay up the whole night. (I had a computer issue I had to deal with, and this kept me wide awake!). It seems that many of the group stayed awake too. Talking, and running around with way too much energy from all the snack food they had inhaled while watching movies. I had the fun job of getting everyone up. It's one of the joys of youth ministry. : ) John B showed up at 6:00 a.m. with loads of ingredients. On the menu for the day were going to be:
  • Baked Apple Pancakes
  • Pannekoeken
  • Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes
Along with that would be sausages prepared by Chad and others, as well OJ, Coffee, Tea, Syrup and butter if you wanted it. Yummy!
Here you see the group in wake up mode, and John in command mode. There we LOTS of apples to peel and other ingredients to mix. Everyone seemed to get moving eventually.
Well,....almost everyone. Seems like Caleb, Rossy, Katherine and Fontana are a bit stuck at the moment.
We had some of the group set up the tables in preparation for the guests to arrive.
Again, hard at work. I thought that John bought way to much stuff at first, but boy, was I ever glad he did at the end of the morning. : )
Chad DIDN'T stay up with us all night, and yet, well, he has that glazed look about himself too....
Jonah on OJ duty. An important job.
The apples had to be cooked before being baked in the ovens. Caleb did a masterful job on this. The apples smelled REALLY good! Everyone was hungry and asking if they could eat. The rule for me is that no one eats until the guests are full. A learning curve for this group.
I don't think Chris wants to see another apple for a while. He did like the easy way the apples were peeled and cored though.
John giving instructions to Hannah, his daughter.
Leah, you don't look very awake. John's brother came out for the weekend, and his daughter (L) helped us out too. Thanks for coming and helping.
Foo, Foo, didn't sleep at all. I think she's having a minor meltdown right about now. She recovered and continued working. FYI
After the apples were baked and the batter mixed, it was into the glass pans for baking in the oven.
The end result is a pan full of Baked Apple Pancakes. They were a hit to say the least.
We also served Blueberry pancakes and Pannekoeken (very thin pancakes). Here Hannah demonstrates her cooking abilities to us.
Jacob was on the other side of the kitchen cooking more blueberry pancakes. He did a masterful job as well. You can see John in the background working with the Pannekoeken.
Joy is working hard at making sure we have enough batter for everything.
Katherine did an excellent job serving tables. She ended up cutting herself on a plate near the end of the morning. Not a pretty site. I hope you heal quickly. Thankfully we had a nurse in the kitchen with us helping.
Chad, the master sausage maker, barking out instructions. Everyone liked the sausages. We used a secret ingredient to give them their rich flavour (water) : ) !
Now for the ultimate test. Having our guests come and taste our wares. Kevin G is always a good indication. He went away happy. In fact, he came back after leaving, to join his family for another round of food.....I hope you donated twice eh Kevin!!!! (Just kidding man).
Shawn brought some friends along. He didn't feel like cooking breakfast. Good thing we were supplying one, eh Shawn!
Guests sharing some great fellowship together over coffee.
Annette (wife to John, our chef) (r) is smiling. We must have provided a good breakfast for you eh! But you must get this great cooking all the time so maybe it wasn't so great after all.....hmmmm : )
I'm not in many pictures so Peter figured it would be good to take one of me with his camera. If you take out your magnifying glass, you might JUST be able to see me. : )
Saskia took a friend along for breakfast. I thought they were sisters. They aren't. They sure look like sisters. Don't you think? I think so.
My wife (centre) and daughter (r) with others whom we invited to attend.
Rueben and Emily came out for the morning. They had some GREAT news to share, though I wasn't surprised at all to hear about the upcoming wedding (sorry to burst your bubble). Congrats!!!!!
Well, back to the events of the morning. We had two shifts lined up in order to keep things running smoothly. 8 and 9 AM. The first guests began arriving shortly after 8 am (John was feeling like he wasn't quite ready, so he had a few panic moments in the kitchen). Things went very well for the first hour. Then 9 am hit. The guests who signed up showed up, as did 25 others who are from what I call the "Last Minute Club." Don't get me wrong. We love it when we get lots of people for a fundraiser. We just weren't planning on most of them at once. Things were hectic for a while, but we managed. We weren't sure if we were going to have enough food, since we planned on only feeding 100 people, including us in the kitchen. It turned out we fed 130 people, and we had JUST enough. I can assure you, I was a bit nervous for a while. The worst thing (and this is always the case) is the fear that running out of food might actually become a reality. Thankfully, it didn't turn out that way. At 9:30 ish, we began the clean up process. Here you see Joy washing dishes. She does a pretty good job of it, actually.
Chris, Makusi and David realized that washing dishes with a powerful, hot, fast dishwasher can actually be lots of fun.
As always, clean up is the hardest part of the day. People are tired. Some leave early. The rest are left to make sure the kitchen is spic and span. Megan's still smiling as she works to make the stoves shine like new again.
Looks like Hannah is out of gas.
Hannah is still out of gas. Everyone else looked pretty chipper, considering most hadn't slept in 26 hours.
And finally, the man of the hour. The one who made this morning such a huge success. The head chef, party whip, and all around nice guy : ) John! Thanks for all the work in getting us all to work and make some great pancakes. You can't tell here, but he's tired too!
All in all, a great morning. We raised over $1,300 for the youth group, which has been the best take yet. It's comforting to know that John has 6 kids, with only two of them in youth group at the moment. We'll have him around for a loooonnnnngggg time making pancakes in February. Good thing, because my "just add water" pancakes just don't seem to taste the same any longer. : ( Thanks to all of you who came out to support us. Thanks to the young people who worked hard through their tiredness. Thanks to Chad and Janine for your work. Thanks for watching the kids Micheal. Thanks Mary-Jane and Graham for helping in the kitchen. We couldn't have done it without you. I end with this thought. Even if we only made $1 this morning, this time would have been worth it. Worth it because we got to know each other better as a group. We were able to work hard and feel good about the end result. Those who came commented they had never had a better pancake breakfast put on by young people. Nice to hear that about young people. So often it's the negative that comes out first about young people. Today, nothing but positive. I'd be ok with just that! How about you?