Friday, October 30, 2009

Peru 2010 begins - deja vous

During March Break 2010 Calvin will once again be travelling to Gamaliel church in Peru to continue to build relationships that have been fostered there over the past 5 years. We will have 17 people going from our Calvin group, as well as seven from Cornwall and 22 from Oakville. I am glad the others have joined with us and it is our hope that all will grow and be blessed by this experience.
As we did two years ago, we will be embarking on fundraising in order to meet our goals of getting to Peru and back. Two years ago we began our fundraising with raking the leaves of Brian and Ruth, and did the same thing this past weekend with a bunch of the YP going from our group. Below are some pictures of our day. After that I have some thoughts about our upcoming Learning Opportunity to Peru which I hope you will take the time to read. Finally, there are a couple of video clips for fun to watch. Blessings as you read on.
It was a warmer spring day, though cloudy. Rain was threatening, but had not begun yet. Here you see Hannah and Megan starting on the front lawn.
Ben and Chris are working hard too. There are A LOT of leaves on Brian and Ruth's lawn.
I put these leaves in piles (yes I DID work). They were so thick, it didn't take much to get them onto the piles ready for taking away.
Ben got that fun job.
The front yard begins to look cleaner and cleaner.
We used tarps to put the leaves on, and then moved them to the back yard for decomposing. If we had to put them into the leaf bags we'd have filled 200 of them I think.
Chris and Rosalynn hauling away the leaves. Some were quite heavy, as they were wet leaves.
Fontana forgot it was Friday, the day for our leaf raking fundraiser. I went to her house at 9:45 am and she was still ASLEEP. She eventually arrived, very apologetic. : )
Megan and Hannah look like they are actually having fun doing this. I was tempted to jump into that pile of leaves, but I think those smiles would have left their faces had I done that.
The finished product in the front yard. They did good work. Doesn't that lawn look green?
Then it was on to the back yard. As you can see there were ALOT of leaves in the back yard. Looks like a solid carpet. They were wet, thick, and full of dog poop!
Here's the group pulling the leaves away from the house foundation. Fontana kept finding dog poop and freaking out about it....especially after touching it as she was loading leaves into buckets. I'm not sure what all the fuss was about : ) .
About 1/2 way through our work, we stopped for a snack. Ruth left us chocolate milk and cinnamon rolls. They were sooooooooooo good. : ) Thanks Ruth.
Here's Chris attempting to get the rolls out of the box.
Proved to be more work than he thought it would!
Hannah is enjoying her cinnamon roll. She's ignoring me because I kept burping from the pop I had (can't have milk) and somehow did that very close to her ear...... : ) Men!
Then it was back to raking leaves. Seems young people don't always listen to instructions (you'd think I'd know that by now, eh!). I asked them to put the leaves in the far left corner of this picture, as per Ruth's instructions, but they didn't, so they had to take all those leaves and move them. A site to behold. Check out the video at the end of this entry.
A nice view of the before and after affect of their hard work.
Here they are with their dirty, grimy, poop filled hands and dirty cloths. This group really got into their jobs today.
The final product. Nice job people. As we left Brian and Ruth's everyone was proud of the job they had done. The lawn looked GREAT. Clean and free of 90 % of the leaves. I did manage to look up, however, and noticed that there were still some leaves left on some trees, but not in the front yard. We hoped that the leaves would fall only onto the back of the back yard.
Little did we know that that evening we'd get a massive wind and rain storm (the rain began JUST as we were finishing up) and all the neighbors leaves descended on Brian and Ruth's lawn.....
A sad realization.....I think we'll just keep these pictures in our minds instead.
Now, on to the next fundraising event.......
Check out the short video clips at the end of this entry to see how much fun the group had.
Peru Thoughts:
Before that, however, just a few words about our continuing trips to Gamaliel Church in Peru. This will be our 3rd time going to the same place. We have decided to continue returning to Peru because we want to foster some sort of relationship with the Pastor and congregation. Many in Calvin have now gone to Peru, and more are hoping to in the future. We have struck up an ad hoc committee to explore what Missional Living means for us, what overseas partnerships mean, and how that translates into everyday living. I'm excited about that.
I'm excited about the relationship we have with Gamaliel church. We have been trying to get the Pastor and Youth Worker to come to Calvin and visit with us. That has proven to be a bit difficult, due to visa requirements for Peruvian's, but we continue to work at this. True partnerships do not exist when North Americans do all the travelling and visiting.
I'm excited that people continue to want to challenge themselves by going to Peru. We/I am quite aware that we are not going to change the issues of justice, poverty, and evangelism that surround Gamaliel church through the trips we make, but these trips will change we who go. They have already.
I'm excited that Cornwall and Oakville have decided to partner with us this time around. That was not something I/we asked for, but just came about. These mission partnerships have their extra work attached to them, but it's worth it to me if the outcomes are such that Cornwall and Oakville begin to see the importance of intentional Learning Opportunities and longer term Mission work through international partnerships.
I'm excited about the Orientation Sessions we are doing to prepare to go on our Learning Opportunity to Peru. Our format has always been to prepare before we go, to debrief each day while in Peru, and to reflect and act once we return. That last part has not always been as easy to guage, but some things are hard to measure, and maybe not necessary for me to measure either. I need to let God take care of part 3, but that doesn't mean I don't offer the opportunity to reflect and act......
At our first Orientation session we came up with a purpose statement for our group. Here's why we are are going to Peru this time around.....

We are going to Patchecutec, Peru to continue to build and enhance our relationship with Gamaliel Church and to continue a sense of church growth in both churches because this relationship hasn't stopped being a God thing yet and there isn't closure yet for either church.

Cornwall and Oakville are coming up with their own purpose statements that reflect where they are at with their first time Learning Opportunity. We've been doing this for 5 years, and I don't expect theirs to look like ours, but the hope is that they put thought into their going and it becomes intentional.

I'm also excited that not everyone is excited about what we are doing. There are those within Calvin who wonder about the cost of these trips, the work involved in making them happen, the benefits for those who go, and those we meet, and the messages we send in all of these areas. These are all valid questions, worthy of discussion and research. My hope is that these discussions will lead Calvin to a better understanding of our place in God's Kingdom. My hope is that we continue to grow in our relationship with Gamaliel church (but we may not) and that this relationship allows us to be changed in ways we didn't even think could be possible.
A wise person asked me recently, "Do you think that Gamaliel church actually needs your money?" As I thought about that.....the answer was yes and no. They have started a feeding program on their own, but are looking for financial help to be able to purchase food and supplies for that. A small group of people have been accumulating funds for that cause. So yes, in a way they do need $$. I'd also have to say no because I am well aware that this church places a much higher value on the relationship that we have begun and continue to develop. That is humbling for me, and I hope is for you as well.
As we forge ahead with our plans for another Learning Opportunity in Peru, may God work in the hearts of those who have already gone, those who are going to go, and those who have never gone. May we all continue to be changed by the things that God places in our lives, be they far from home, or with our neighbor.

The Grossest Snack Ever...not really

This past Thursday our GEMS and Boys Clubs met again. Each week comes with new Bible Stories, games, and snacks. This week was no exception. Halloween seemed to be on the minds of the leaders this night.
Shawn is always thinking outside the box and this night he was definitely leaping.
After a time outdoors in the darkness, the boys sat down to a snack of GEMS fingers. Don't they look tasty? I tried one. A bit dry, but quite good. The dirt was especially yummy.
If you weren't into worries. Jello Brains were also on the menu. Someone certainly lost their mind this evening. I think the boys were scared b/c not too many of them tried the brain jello. : )
Here's Shawn coaxing them to give those brains a try.
A unique drink was also offered. I'm not even sure what it was.
I moved on to the GEMS to discover them making beaded people for their craft. I think someone said they were supposed to be vampires or something, but I could be wrong on that one.
For snack they were a bit more civil. Lots of cupcakes made into a nice looking pumpkin.
I think both group leaders love to fill our kids with sugar, and then send them home to see what happens. Thanks to all you who take the time out to build relationships with our younger crowd here at Calvin. It's awesome to see the creativity and time you all put in. Above and beyond the call, as always.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Best Snack Ever!

This past Tuesday CIA and ETM met again for a night of fun and fellowship and some REALLY GREAT food. We began the night with some announcements, and as I was doing that I noticed that Hannah had a scar on her head. I asked her about her scar story. I then thought to myself, "Self, others must have scar stories too, why not ask the group in general?" So I did! Well did the flood gates open or what....... Scar story after scar story came pouring out of these kids mouths. Some were very interesting, others quite gross.
An interesting way to get to know everyone....I think next time it will be stupid stories....I bet we've all got a few of those....right Janine : )
For our game that night Hannah put everyone in a circle. Someone gets blindfolded, twirled around to disorient them and then that person finds someone sitting down. They then ask for an animal sound, and they have to try to guess who it is making the sound. Hilarious. Here is William taking a shot at it.
Here is Kevin trying to get Fontana to laugh or something. I think he's cheating.
After game time we took some time to learn about Jericho Road. We will be visiting their coffee house next Wednesday and I wanted them to know a bit about the place before we went. I hope parents received the information too???????????
Then it was time for snack. Now I'm not that particular about what gets brought for snack to youth group. The usual fair is chips, pop, popcorn, or cookies. NOT TONIGHT!!!
Take a look at that wonderful looking pizza dough creation made by Simon and Cheryl. Chocolate and strawberries and kiwi, etc. It was AMAZING!
Here is a cold veggie version. Yum, Yum.
Here is everyone digging in. They all loved it.
So parents....the bar has been set.
I expect nothing less from the rest of you!!! (Tee, hee).
Anything else would be so disappointing.
Above and beyond the call Cheryl, above and beyond the call....I think I'll put you in the snack rotation more often now : ) .

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What are you going to do with Jesus

As a post script to our Fall Retreat, Joey showed us this video clip. What are you going to do with Jesus...... It's fast, so listen closely.....or more than once.......

C.I.A. visits Friendship Group

This past Tuesday CIA spent the night with our Friendship Group. We were in charge of the play. We also stuck around to help with the craft and just to socialize.

The play was about John the Baptist baptizing Jesus. Costumes were the order of the night. A simple sheet with a belt. I think Hannah went a bit overboard. Not sure if they had such colourful designs back then. : )

Here everyone is getting bugs from Janine. Locusts were eaten back then. I don't think these were edible though....did anyone eat them?
Here's the group all dressed and ready to go. Notice that great moustache job on Leah. Here's a close up. Great job Leah.
We began our time with song. Here we are singing with the Friendship group.
Many in the Friendship group assist in playing when the songs are happening. We make a joyful noise unto the Lord.
Chris ended up playing the main part of John the Baptist. He's holding is cracker with honey on it. He looks hungry.
Here is Rey, the worship leader. He always does a great job leading the group in song, even when the computer is not up and running with words to the songs.
Tyler loves to play his guitar. A rousing ending to a song as this picture was taken.
Michelle heads up the group. She does a great job of coordinating things. Here she's giving some announcements.
Bible memory verse time. Each word was slowly covered up with squares with $$ on it.
As the squares were put up, the group continued to recite the verse and got $$ if the guessed the word that was covered up.
Then it was time for the youth group to do their play.
Rosalynn reading from the script.
Chris was acting out the actions to the words that were being spoken. At times it looked like he was dancing. Nice moves son.
Ah, he finally got to eat that cracker with honey on it.
The dove descending on Jesus after he was baptized.
After the play, we had prayer time, and then it was into the fellowship hall. The theme for the evening was Halloween so many of the group dressed up for the night.
We enjoyed time together doing a craft and having snack.
Jacob made a craft as well.
Here David and Janine are helping out.
Doug entertained us with a song using the tambourine. Nice Job!
Nice hair Rey and Pieter. I think you need to check out the color on the Grecian Formula box next time. : )
A nice picture.
Here a shot of the whole group as we close out the evening.
It was great to spend another night with our Friends. We hope to do it again in the new year sometime.
We had 1/2 hour to spare, so the group went downstairs to "relax". I don't call indoor football you! ?
Foosball is always popular. I think the boys won.
I guess it was actually indoor tackle football.....hmmmmm
Thanks for another great night CIA. See you very soon.