Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Calvin's Youth Group 2023 Christmas Party !!! Whoot!! : )


Christmas is almost upon us once again. 

The final event I usually do this time of year is our youth group Christmas gathering.  

At 7 p.m. we started with a get-to-know-you activity.  
We paired off and answered the following questions. 

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

2. Real tree or artificial?

3. When do you put up the tree?

4. When do you take the tree down?

5. Do you like eggnog?

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

7. Do you have a Nativity scene?

8. Hardest person to buy for?

9. Easiest person to buy for?

10. Worst Christmas Gift you ever received?

11. Mail or email Christmas cards?

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? If so, what?

15. Favorite things to eat at Christmas?

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?

17. Favorite Christmas song/hymn/carol?

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?

23. What is the “silliest” family tradition you do, or miss doing?

24. Ugliest Christmas Decoration ever invented?

25. Which looks best, theme trees or homey trees?

26. Gingerbread or sugar cookies?

27. Do you like Fruitcake?

We then broke off into three teams for some competitive games. Each group was asked to come up with a name for themselves. Megan's group couldn't seem to find the creative energy to do that, so they were given the name "The Jolly Hollies" 

Miranda's group called themselves "The FBJBN"  which stands for...well we don't actually know :) 

Leanne's group called themselves "The Grinches".  

Our first game was "Paper Plate Artwork". 
Everyone took a paper plate and placed it over their head.  Then they grabbed a pen and waited for me to tell them what to draw.  

It looks quite interesting : ) 

The first drawing was a room with a Christmas Tree in it.  
They had to draw the following: 
1. Draw a line for a floor.
2. Draw a Christmas Tree.  Add decorations if you feel so inclined.
3. Draw a star on top of your tree.
4. Draw a fireplace with a mantel next to the tree.
5. Draw a stocking hanging from the mantel of your fireplace.
6. Draw a present below the tree.

Here are some finished products.  

Some weren't actually that bad.  : ) 

Points were awarded for: 
2 points if the tree touches the floor.
2 points if your stocking is touching your mantel.
1 point if your star touches your tree.
1 point if your star is above your tree.
1 point for every Christmas ornament ball that is ON your tree, etc.
1 point if your fireplace doesn’t touch the tree (it’s a fire hazard!).
1 point if you actually drew something decorative on your stocking (or something cute, like a tiny kitten peeking out).
2 points if your present is under your tree.

The second drawing was of a snowperson. 

1. Draw a line for the ground.
2. On top of the ground, draw a large circle for the bottom of the snowperson.
3. On top of the large circle, draw a medium circle for the body of the snowperson.
4. On top of the medium circle, draw a smaller circle for the snowperson's head.
5. Draw a top hat on top of the small circle.
6. Add three buttons to the middle circle.
7. Add eyes and a coal mouth to the top circle.
8. Draw a carrot nose on the top circle.
9. Add two stick arms to either side of the medium circle.
10. Draw a scarf on the snowpeson.
11. Now, look at your drawing!

These turned out a weeee bit less well : ) 

Points were awarded for: 

2 points if the circles are in order and hat is on top.  
2 points if your snowperson is touching the ground.
1 point if your buttons are in the right place
1 point if your face is in the right place.
1 point if the carrot is in the right place.
3 points if your stick arms are in the right place.
4 points if your scarf is in the right place.

Then the points were added up for all team members and applied to that team. 

Next came the Christmas IQ test. 
I've done this before, but it's been about 6 years so this group wouldn't have done it yet.   
You can google it online to find the questions and answers.  
Let's just say that we assume things we shouldn't when it comes to Christmas, be that in the carols we sing, or the things we think we remember : ) 
Some argued about the answer, but the Bible usually gave the right answer : ) 

The next game was the oven mitt gift unwrapping game.
Each team was given a pair of oven mitts, two dice, and a very well-wrapped gift   

When I said go, the person with the oven mitts on started to attempt to unwrap the present.  The others roll the dice and when a double is rolled, that person gets the oven mitts and continues the unwrapping.  

You go until the gift is unwrapped and the box shows the gift inside.  

Emma got a bit tooo aggressive here :) 
My poor box : (  

It was fun to watch.  

You could only use your hands.  Not teeth, or feet, etc.  Though some did try.  

The next game was the Christmas alphabet game.  
Each team got a sheet with the alphabet, and they had to come up with one Christmas word for each letter of the alphabet.  

The first team finished was awarded points.  
And then Scott, our judge for the night, also went over the words to see which ones were in, and which ones were out.  
Some were pretty creative and pretty not allowed : ) 

Our final game was the Christmas Smell test game. 
I put different scented items into different bottles and the teams had to come up, close their eyes, and were handed a bottle to sniff, they sniffed it and guessed what they thought it was.  
They were allowed to take as long as they wanted to guess.  

Here's the list of what I put into the bottles: 
1. Eggnog 
2. Cinnamon Sticks
3. Fudge
4. Gingerbread 
5. Pumpkin Pie Spice
6. Peppermint Oreo chocolate bar
7. Nutmeg
8. Hot chocolate powder

We did it twice.  
Most teams only got 2 - 4 right.  

We ended with snacks and punch and warm apple cider.  

oh, and Eukre as well. : ) 

Pastor Craig tried the smell test and he got 7 out of 8.  What a nose : ) 

Our judge's notes : )  
The first-place team ended up being the Jolly Hollies = $15 Tim's Card
2nd place went to the Grinches = $10 Tim's card
and 3rd place to FBJBN.  = $5 Tim's card.  

Then it was clean-up time. 
Thanks to our great youth leaders for doing that.  

We now are done with our ministry season for 2023.  
See you in 2024 : ) 

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Blessings Residents of 220 Viewmount AND Blessing Carleton U. Students during exams - Carleton Exam Pause Table


Two more events that Calvin has had the privilege of blessing others with. 

The first was our youth group going to bless the residents of 220 Viewmount (a co-op housing development that many CRC's are part of) this past Sunday.  

We arrived at 3:30 p.m. and residents, youth, youth leaders, and mentors sang together the ancient Christmas Carols.  

We had some readings, shared favourite Christmas traditions as well, and then sampled some Christmas baking and socialized.  

It was a nice time, and the residents were very thankful. Thanks to all who came out to be a blessing.   

Yesterday, Megan, Jack, and myself were part of something called the 

"Carleton Exam Pause Table"

This is an initiative that has been run by Trinity Anglican Church here in Ottawa for quite some time, and before that run by the Carleton Chaplaincy. 

The Pastor at Trinity, as well as Pastor Nick (who served as Calvin's Specialized Transitional Pastor several years ago when we were vacant - a.k.a. "quick Nick" because his sermons were quite succinct : ) ) headed this one up. 

I had never heard of this initiative before, but since I'm helping out Pastor Ryan at Carleton every Wednesday co-leading a small student Bible Study group, I was included in an email thread that talked about this. 

Here's a bit more about the history and present day.

The Pause Table was a welcomed presence at Carleton during exams for many years, providing free food and drinks and an opportunity for conversation for students at a stressful time of year.  

It stopped during COVID, but was revived for one day last April. For this December exams, we want to try to hold this for three days.  Nick, who is a member of my parish of Trinity Anglican, and was in the past a chaplain at Brock University, is coordinating this for us.  

Well, when I saw this email, I was intrigued so inquired some more.  Eventually, I committed Calvin to participate.  How could I not? : )   This was a great way to spread the love of Jesus in a very simple way. 

Before we get to the pictures, just some facts to give the pictures context.  

After putting out a request to Calvin's congregation we received donated items as well as cash donations amounting to $510. 

In total, I was able to purchase $750 of items (itemized below) and take them with other donated items. 

I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, never having done this before, so on Monday I took a trip to Carleton to check out the Monday of the Pause Table. 
Here's a set of churches set up and handing out items to students.  They had more baked goods than we did. 

I went on a shopping spree and got lots of items.  

Purchased with cash donations 

  • 576 Earl Gray tea
  • 162 Merci finest assortment of European chocolates
  • 40 little bites from Sara Lee chocolate chip
  • 112 packets of trail mix
  • 600 Ziploc bags
  • 108 bear paws
  • 2 boxes of Lindor chocolates 
  • 100-dole fruit salad 
  • 132 microwave popcorn
  • 198 assorted oatmeal packets
  • 96 chocolate fudge brownies not the ones that Sonja makes
  • 144 sesame snaps packages
  • 108 rice crispy squares
  • 120 assorted juice boxes
  • 90  hot chocolate packets
  • 60 bagels 
  • 300 paper sandwich bags
  • Peanut Butter and Jam and Margarine
Donated items

  • 4 dozen chocolate chip cookies 
  • 60 individual strawberry jam 
  • Assorted boxes of herbal tea 
  • 288 Red rose tea packets. 
  • 166 assorted juice boxes = 286 juice boxes total
  • 40 assorted oatmeal packages
  • 8 fruit snacks 
  • 20 granola bars 
  • 4 chocolate pudding
  • 8 yogurts 

Borrowed from Calvin - more or less :) 
  • Toaster and extension cord
  • Paper plates 
  • Cutting knife for the bagels 
  • Plastic Cutlery 
Provided by Carleton
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Ciders of different Kinds

Once Megan and I got there, we had to cart all the goodies to the tables.  

There, all set up by 9:45 a.m. and ready to receive students.  

Megan helped make sure we stayed stocked up at the tables and chatted with students about how their exams were going.  She did an awesome job!! 

Some close-up pics of the items and signs.  

Jack came soon after and stood at the bagel section.  I didn't realize until a bit later that this was the perfect spot for Jack.   It takes time to toast a bagel.  A perfect moment to engage in conversation with students about life..... faith...and life : ) 

Jack is a master at this and was able to share the gospel message several times with students who were very open to having conversations. 

Next year he gets this job again : ) 

Students came in waves.  
Different exams ended at different times.  

Stephon, a student helper also helped make sure the tables stayed stocked.  He was also our official "student counter" : )  In total 350 + came by for free snacks and chats.  
There were also two other churches present, but it seemed like we provided 90 % of the food items today, which was good because we would have been done in 30 minutes if we hadn't, so THANK YOU to all who donated funds or goods!!! 

Some pics of the tables and students.  

We even had a couple of lineups. 
It's great fun seeing the reactions of students as we call out "free snacks to help you get through exams!"  : ) 
Many were very thankful. 
Some were leary. 
One cried because she was so stressed and thankful. 
My love language of Acts of Service was thriving today :) 

As we approached 12:30 p.m. our supplies dwindled. 

But students still came by.  
Who doesn't want free tea bags by the dozen : ) 
Right Jack?? : ) 

Jack talked the whole time pretty much.  

At 12:45 p.m. I had to leave and things were winding down. 

This was a hoot!!!!  
Another "Pause Table" is to be held in April. 

I will definitely be signing Calvin up for another round : ) so stay tuned for a request for your help so we can be a blessing and ray of hope to students who are really searching for that hope in ways they don't even realize.  

But first, our care package prep and giveaway in January : )  

I love it when a plan comes together!!!!!!