Thursday, November 20, 2008

Secret confessions.

I LOVE editing stuff. I do it without thinking...which sometimes can be a hassle. Ever see something that you know is wrong, but you can't change it? Like on Facebook, when someone has written "knew" instead of "new"...but I can't do anything about it other than stare at it. Erg.

Anyone know of part-time editing jobs that require no experience? Let me know.

Also I've realized that I'm a super visually-oriented person...but mostly just with words and letters. When I look at a picture of someone and try to remember the person's name, I actually see it written out in my mind's eye. Sometimes even my sentences, as I'm thinking them, or speaking them, I'm writing them out in my mind.

Maybe a lot of this has to do with working in a role which requires huge amounts of reading every day. Overall, I chalk it up to the phonics lessons at age 4. Thanks Mom!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Anyone else concerned that Superstore's eggnog sits out, NOT in refrigeration? Guaranteed I'm steering clear of that...

My other concern for today...the fact that college students seem to think that by using spell check they reserve the right to not edit their own papers. Do you know how many papers I've read in the last three months that allowed spell check to change "definitely" to "defiantly"? There's nothing like stating, "I defiantly agree that we need to help with the homeless situation in Canada". So you are in defiance, but agree? Interesting...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


"We must build a new world, a far better world - one in which the eternal dignity of man is respected."
- Robert H. Schuller

Monday, September 29, 2008

Another one come and gone...

Today I spent in rest...after a weekend of Urban Mission Adventure with my students and fellow leaders. I have to admit that I have a fascination for the city, an admiration and dare I say, a love? Coming from small-town Island life...I had always feared the's fast cars and business suits and panhandlers. I only knew that as part of the city, and not part of my small safe town. And so, these UMAs (as from day 1 almost 8 years ago) have changed my perspective...
This weekend, I was privileged to once again bring a team of 40 students (and leaders!) into Vancouver to learn and listen...and to be changed.
I always marvel when I'm sitting with all these students on Sunday, hearing their stories, and hearing their words change from "those guys, those homeless, prostitutes, drug dealers" to "those people that are really just the same as us", and for some, even words such as "there is no 'them', it is only 'us'". I have to smile...knowing that these are the same words coming from those that dreaded coming on this trip, maybe even tried to convince me that they didn't need to come, or for some reason I should excuse their credit.
Do you know what Sodom's sin was?

Our Sunday School teachings come to mind...and we resoundingly agree: Homosexuality and sexual sin! But are we right?

We are reminded of the story in Genesis, when Abraham apparently barters with God for this city. "Let me find 50 righteous, and save this city!" God agrees. Abraham keeps throwing out numbers, and finally God agrees that if Abraham can find just 10 people in the city that are righteous, God will save it.

God did not save Sodom.

And I think you may agree with me, that growing up, I had always assumed that because the stories in Genesis were about the people and their dysfunctional sexual acts, that that must have been Sodom's sin.

But look at this:

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen." (Ezekiel 16:49-50)



Did not help the poor and needy.

These were Sodom's sins. For these, God destroyed Sodom. And Abraham could not find 10 righteous people among them. My question now is: would he be able to find 10 among us?

Arrogant. Proud. "I deserve what I have."

Overfed. The unbalance of full cupboards and growling stomachs.

Did not help the poor and needy. The very fact that we have poor and needy tells me that we are not helping them. Or at least, we are not successful in our attempts, and therefore our attempts are not accurate at what the help that they need truly is.

And so, I struggle with this all. I hope you do as well. We need to...we desperately need to.
One of the students this weekend made a great point after listening to a guest speaker talking about the downtown eastside (DTES) of Vancouver and the role of the government. We sat after the speaker left and chatted about what they all had just heard. The leader of their team asked them, "what do you feel after hearing what they had to share?" The response from one: "I hate government." But quickly, another student jumped in and said, "No, I'm not angry with the government. This is not their responsibility. This is our responsibility. If the church was truly taking care of the needs of the people, this area would not exist."

Do you know that there are 30,000 "unadoptable" children in Canada? They have been born into addiction, or they struggle with fetal alcohol, or some other consequential disability. Aaron White from the Salvation Army came and shared with us about this fact. In response to "what can we do about the DTES?", he shared, "adopt and love these 'unadoptable' children". If we as Christians truly believe what we are preaching, we should be the first in there, adopting these children.

Oh there is so much more to say. And I could go on and on...
This is the struggle that goes on in my mind day in and day out. How do we live the gospel? Especially in North America, with mutual funds, big houses, lots of unnecessary food, and of course, new cars. (!!)

I love that my job continues to make me struggle with it. I fear the day that I stop.
Did you know that turtles live in the city?I love Chinatown. I think it is my favourite part of the city. And it reminds me that God has brought the nations to us. China, a closed country to the Gospel, lives amongst us.
Bryan (my boss) told the students as we left on Thursday that they were only allowed to go shopping this weekend, if they found something really cool. On the left here you see dried lizards on a stick. Bryan owns one from a previous UMA trip - he showed it as an example. To the right, you see entire dried snakes. This particular store also had dried starfish on a stick, but the lady stopped me from taking any more photos... The idea is that you plop either of these into boiling water and drink it down...evidently they have great medicinal properties! (I'll leave that up to you to try)
So that is that. For now, I will continue to struggle...and will be bringing another group of 40 into Vancouver again in 4 weeks.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The biggest purchase of my life to date...

Let me introduce you to my new friend (yet to be named): Can I just share with you for a moment the ways in which God worked to get me this car? I have to say that while my dear Wanda has been a great car for the last four years...I was getting tired of the calls to the mechanic (who knows me by first name...not the best sign?), and the "what's next?" that for some would not be a big deal...but for a single female trying to live a life with missions options, WAS a big deal.

As difficult as it was to admit, it was time to say goodbye to Wanda, and start looking for something newer. (But isn't she beautiful?)

Anyways, this all lead me to start the search...and start the prayers. Funny thing is that Chris's constant reminder to be praying before each activity this summer in Costa Rica, translated to me here in Abbotsford. I have programed my phone to say 'pray first' on the screen...I see it every time I check my phone. And so, as I looked online to search for cars, I prayed first. As I booked an appointment to talk about loan options at the bank, I prayed first. As I made an appointment to test drive the new car, I prayed first. And at each point, I saw God working.

I walked into my bank appointment, really unsure if what I was going for was feasible. I mean, I may have a new big office, but I work for a private Christian college that fundraises more than 60% of the budget every year. This does NOT equate for a great salary. But, wouldn't you know it, my loan officer ended up being a Christian lady who remarked on my career choice...and after hearing about my summers in Costa Rica, decided that I needed this loan. And so, I walked out of her office with a whopping $17,000 loan to my name. I had a hard time breathing at that point.

So, on to the test drive. I had found this car online at a Ford dealership in North it was an hour away, but it sounded amazing. And...they had already started lowering the price online. I sent an email, and within the next week I received 4 phone calls and 3 emails from the salesman, asking about a test drive. In his last voicemail he actually said "let me know if you want me to stop calling you". I knew he was determined. I definitely knew he was determined when he agreed to meet me halfway for a test drive. Thankfully Misty and Sandra were with me for the test drive, and could ask all the necessary questions, while I simply drove the thing, and fell in love.

So then, two days later I had had to resubmit my loan application - turned out I had mis-calculated my income, and had to hand in a letter of employment with a lower number than anticipated. And so, I prayed first. And guess what? Loan STILL went through.

I prayed again, and sent an offer to my friendly salesman. And guess what? After a few emails back and forth, I ended up being offered than $3000 less than the ticketed price. So, I sat in my room, in awe that this was really happening, called the dealership, put down a deposit and then quickly called the bank to finalize the loan process. Whew.

Can I tell you that this has all been by God's hand? I started to doubt myself last week...wondering if I was asking too much, and if this would really end up being my car. I even told Misty and Sandra after the test drive, "well, that was fun, but it's probably a pipe dream".

And then I prayed.

What I heard so clearly in response?

"I like to give good gifts to my children."

And so, Saturday afternoon, Gary graciously drove me the hour into North Vancouver, I signed papers, shook my salesman's hand, and cruised home in disbelief...and thankfulness.

After driving my trusty 92 Jetta for 4 years, now at 237,000kms, I am the proud owner of a 2007 Honda Fit, with only 13,500kms. I practically pinch myself every time I get in. But I also remember to pray first.

Oh, and I have to tell you all as well, that Charlee was incredibly excited when I drove up. I don't know how much a 2 year old grasps concepts, like new cars...but she squealed and jumped in...and even put on her own seatbelt. Here she is enjoying the car almost as much as I do:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

New blog address

Hey folks - changed the blog address to - please change your link if you have one on your blog!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The last days in Costa Rica, and the first days back home...

Is it true that I've been back in Canada almost a week already?! Well, I've finally got the internet connection and the time to spend properly on this blog.

Here we go...

So the last night we all spent together was done right - 5 stars! We stayed at a beautiful hotel called "La Condesa" which means "The Countess" - it was her summer home, back in the 1600s, and what a beautiful sight it is. Also a great place to take pictures!
I greatly appreciate DeLynn and Gloria, the Directors of PVM. They have blessed and challenged me throughout the years, and aided my growth!
My last day in Costa Rica, I got to do something I've never done before...attend a real live Costa Rican soccer game! We had a blast.
Here we're eating frozen jello...a great treat in the sun for only 70 cents.Jeremy and Missy demonstrate the team rivalry. Jeremy is dressed in La Liga colours, while Missy sports the Heredia jersey. La Liga won 3-1.
What good times. What great friends made. I always am shocked at the depth of friendship that one can attain in only 7 weeks. To think that many of us were strangers at the beginning is such an odd thought now, after all that we walked through together. I am blessed.
I have to admit that at the end, I was ready to come home. I was missing people...especially a couple of little ones that are rapidly growing here. Thankfully I was able to come home in time for Charlee's 2nd birthday party, with a fun pixie/fairy theme. Here's the little pixie herself.
And here's the crew of troublemakers...
Here Sophie makes her escape...

Another fun event was today's triathalon! Gary competed in his first race...and did great! Here he is at the very beginning...ready to go!

Charlee and I cheer him on...well, we try.

And he finishes!

Here's one of my favourite families. It is a blessing to come home and feel that I truly am at home with the Daveys. Getting lots of kisses and hugs (and hair-pullings) from Charlee and Bodhi are a huge benefit of living with little kids.

Well, that's about it for now! Work starts "officially" on Friday. Otherwise, I'm bumming around for a few days...and enjoying it immensely!

Monday, August 04, 2008

In the airport. On the way home. In disbelief that I left Costa Rica...again.

Today's been a very reflective day. I'm about to board my third flight today...perhaps the length of the day has added to the "reflectiveness" of the day.

I promise that I will comment later on some of these brilliant thoughts that I've been having well as add some more fun pictures from the last couple of days in Costa Rica - the "true end" to the summer for me.

In the meantime...I'm about to board. Sleep tonight will be blissful, I am sure.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The almost end to the summer...

So we are saying good-bye to our last team tomorrow. Is it really that time already?

Let me share with you, in picture form, the stories from this last week.

To begin with, Nate tried to kill Chad...but Chad was okay with it...

The Canadian staff came together, dressed like Costa prove that we love all cultures.

Missy and I considered changing professions as Costa Rican dancing ladies...but then changed our minds.

Dan and Stephen tried to join Nate's gang...but we converted them.

And then, getting past all of that, we headed into Barva to do outreach with the team. A large part of my outreach experience - and highlight - was working at a centre for youth with disabilities. This centre is an extension of the church's ministries. Here I am with my new friend Cindy, who is one of the reason's that the centre started. Her mom, Ligia, is the one that felt led to provide a place for people like her daughter to go and spend time together with people who just want to love them. I was privileged to join a few youth from the team and spend the mornings at this centre, singing songs, sharing Bible stories, making crafts, and playing with bubbles and sidewalk chalk.
Here is my new boyfriend...he was insistent on blowing kisses my way.
Here we are...singing and dancing. These adults LOVED to dance, and insisted that we do one of the songs over and over again.
Here we have the craft from the first day, which was a big hit!
This seemed like a good idea at the time...probably a better idea for an inside game than an outside one. But it was fun to chase balloons anyways.
Joe had a fun time...and started a lot of bubble wars.
Here's craft from day 2, featuring David and Goliath, another big hit. I thought the whole thing was kinda "Veggie Tales" style for those of you who know and love Veggie Tales. I think this is how the whole phenomenon got started...socks filled with rice.

Well that's all I have for now...when I get more pics from my fellow team members, I will add more for your enjoyment. Also, in a few days, I should have some great pics of fun staff times to come...and perhaps some teary good-byes. We shall see... :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

What we do in our free time....

Well, the video that I've been trying to download the last few days just isn't coming we'll have to wait until I can use the internet in Canada and see if it's any faster...

In the meantime, I want to share with you the joys of living with 25 others...and the fun that results. Last weekend we had our first annual PVM staff talent show - I was amazed at the talent that lurked beneath the surface of our group of staff.
Patrick and Ethan opened us with an Abbott and Costello routine...and then concluded with a "most likely" list of all of us staff members. I was given "most likely to bear the brunt of all Canadian jokes"...which is true.
Nat and Lauren did an impersonation of many of the Lauren impersonates DeLynn, which had us all laughing. Well, all except DeLynn. :)Carmelinda brought out new knock-knock jokes for us...Alex impressed us all and recited Pi to 80 decimal points...and we assume it was right.And of course, the boys had to treat us with their own which they dressed ridiculously and sang with their most beautiful voices for us. My vote was for them and their humility.

There were a number of other great acts...including DeLynn's classic story of the "Crooked Mouth Family". I have appreciated working with this staff this summer...and will miss them terribly when we all part ways in just over a week!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Canadians in Costa Rica!

I have to say that this last week was one of my favourite's in the last four years, because for the first time, we had a group from Canada! (And from Chilliwack, nonetheless...) We had a blast...and I think I laughed more this week than most, which was also a blessing. Here is a pic of the team, dressed in their Sunday finest:
Of course, a great week isn't complete without some random jumping with children...
These girls break my heart...and probably could get anything they want from me (let's be honest here, who could say no to those faces?).
Apparently, they won over the boys' hearts as well...
A highlight...and tiring part of the week as well...was spending all day, every day, with a few of the kids from the neighbourhood. As soon as we arrived each day, they would show up, ready to play...and would be with us until we left at 7 each night (this week was vacation from school, so the kids were free to roam as they pleased...)
One of my favourite parts of outreach is when we go hang out in the local park and perform dramas and share with the people in the park. Here Rachel shares her story, while Jeremy translates...
This group worked hard and accomplished more than I thought they would be able to! With only 10 of them (and the three of us leaders) we painted, painted, and painted more...notice the joy on Mike's face at that fact:
Jeremy loved the excuse to be on the roof...
And of course, the kids jumped in and "helped" us paint.
One of the other blessings of having this group here, was the CBC connection: Steve Klassen, who graduated last year, and Eric Tiessen who is returning for his third year this fall, were part of the team - and made it a lot of fun and very comfortable! And of course, Eric was helping me recruit future students...
I am trying to upload a great video for you all from our time of kids' ministry, and hope that the internet will be happy with me soon...again the joys of living in Costa Rica is the inconsistency of things like internet or phone...

After spending such a great week with the Chilliwack team (and the other four teams that we had here as well!), us staff needed a good fun night together...and so we went in full force to go see the new Batman, and of course had to be masked for the event.
Some took it more seriously than others...
And here we are again on the brink of another team...our last! Tonight is the highly anticipated staff talent show...followed with two more days of leadership training and then we welcome another 80 or so youth on Wednesday, for the last time this summer!