It has been a really busy three weeks here at Kaleo. The students had another class week and then we embarked on our two week mission trips! This year our students did two different mission trips. One trip went to downtown Vancouver and worked on East Hastings and the other half stayed on Vancouver Island and did ministry here and on Salt Spring Island. Let's recap all that went down:
Foundations of Church Ministry
Before the mission trips the students had class with David Lee. David is a pastor in Chilliwack but drove out to teach the students for the week. They had great conversations about the church, their own experiences, and lots of different ideas about how ministry should be done. David pulled from many years of experience and was able to share much of his wisdom with the students. It was an informative and enjoyable week of learning before the two weeks open mission.
The next five days were spent finishing up homework, praying and preparing for the mission trip. It was a pretty busy few days before everyone started the trips.
Vancouver Island Mission Trip
The next two days were spent planning and preparing for Valentine's day. Our students organized and ran a ministry that served hot meals, dessert, and encouragement cards to many lonely and hurting people on Valentine's Day. The students ran the whole event and delivered the meals on Valentine's Day. There were many people who were really blessed by this and we received lots of great feedback from this ministry. Day six was our first rest day and we got to sleep in and have an afternoon drinking coffee, sitting by the fire and playing games here at camp.
Our next three days were spent serving in Duncan. We did a variety of ministries serving the elderly, the homeless, and church communities in Duncan. Many of the elderly that we were serving were unable to do physical labour for a variety of reasons and so we blessed them with yard work, cleaning, and company. We also served a local church by helping clean and organize the church building over a few days mid week. The most impactful part of our time in Duncan was doing street ministry. The students were able to go out twice. The first time the students were given money to go out and bless the people on the street with a more substantial need. Some of the things our students bought people were jackets, gloves, phone chargers, and food. They were able to pray with a lot of the people they met and they saw God working lots through this ministry. The second time our students hit the streets was in partnership with the local church again. We handed out care packages, prayed with people, and shared the gospel. It was another really stretching experience but our students grew a lot though it. After our time in Duncan we had another rest day where we had brunch, went bowling, and hung out some more.
The final leg of our mission trip was spent on Salt Spring Island. Our students helped lead worship for Salt Spring Baptist on Sunday and then we were off to work. We partnered with a guy named Grant who is working as a missionary. We were able to bless the people he has been working with by doing all sorts of different jobs. Some of these jobs included cleaning, raking, trimming trees, cleaning up brush, gardening and much more. It was a really cool being able to help Grant further his relationships with those people in order to help lead them to Christ. These four days on the island were a lot of fun but really exhausting. It was a great way to finish off the trip!
Aside from all of the ministries that we were apart of, these two weeks proved to be very formative for our community as well. Together as a group we watched season one of The Chosen (a TV show about Jesus), played so much Uno and Dutch Blitz, had an awesome beach fire with s'mores, and played a lot of ping pong as well. With half of the class in Vancouver it was a great way for our students to hangout and connect with some of the students they weren't necessarily as close with before.
This trip was a huge success!
Vancouver Mission Trip
Starting our journey to the mainland was filled with anticipation and nervousness from the students but once we arrived at New Beginnings Church all of that faded away when the students found themselves face to face with a room full of kids ranging from 6 months old to 13 years old for the after school program called "S.A.Y" Yes program (Save All Youth) and the Kaleo students dived right into playing, chatting, and loving on the kids, and as a leader it was a very encouraging start. Later of that evening, once the kids went home and we cleaned up, the lead pastor of the church, Pastor Byron, sat us down and shared his and his wife Diane's story of ministry with us as well as the story of New Beginnings Church and all that God has done in their East Vancouver neighbourhood. His story was tremendously impactful and would be a huge motivation for the students as they cleaned, repaired, and served at New Beginnings Church the next two weeks.
The last two years of the pandemic New Beginnings Church has not had anyone other than 71 year old Pastor Byron doing janitorial or repairs, so immediately following breakfast we starting checking off a very big list of tasks that Pastor Byron had on his plate, one by one; every surface, chair, car, wall, and window was clean and sanitized to the best of the team's ability. At the end of our work day, before we started our street ministry, Karen from UGM (also known as Union Gospel Mission) shared her time with us over Zoom to help shape our perspective on the community of East Vancouver that is experiencing homelessness and help us in our approach to people. But as many would know these words would be most understood once we had started meeting with people and hearing their stories in our street ministry with Potter's Place Church.
On the 5th day of our mission trip, early Monday morning, we were finally heading to the very anticipated Potter's Place for the week. Before we got there, many of the students thought it was going to be more of a soup kitchen run by Christians that also shared God's love and communicated Gospel, but quickly that assumption was flipped on its head. The mission of Potters Place's is to share the Gospel, and that is THE most important thing that the students could share with the people of East Vancouver; everything else Potters Place does is secondary. We cleaned the facility, served meals, ran worship sets, and everyone had the opportunity to share their testimony or a sermon over the week at the services held twice a day. In everything we did, what was radically shaping for the team was the full reliance on God and devotion to prayer that the staff of Potter's Place had. The students quickly adopted this zeal for God and determination for prayer into the community and over one another. We witnessed the students pray to have their hearts break for what breaks God's, and watched as God answered, bringing different people to individuals on our team. The stories shared with our students were heartbreaking, and motivated the students to pray with all their hearts for the people God drew them to. It was not easy to experience things like a 20 year old female student to be face to face with a 21 year old female woman struggling with addition and homelessness, but as the students continued faithfully loving and hearing stories, they were encouraged to be filled and led by the Spirit, to mourn the suffering and rejoice in the Kingdom victories. And there were victories. One student encountered a man laying in the street saying all he wanted to do was die, which broke her heart so much she felt compelled to continually pray for him the next two days. When she saw him again two days later he was up and smiling and thankful for her care and the blanket she gave him. We saw these glimpses of God's hope and love touching people's lives in little and big ways.
Overall this mission trip was a Kingdom success and has tremendously help reset what are we valuing and prioritizing in our own lives regarding how we love people, adults and kids alike, and honour who and where they are from, and to truly enjoy the company of the people God puts before us.
Engaging the Ideas of Our World
Following the two weeks on mission the students had a handful of days to debrief, catch up on homework, and catch up on sleep! Each mission team created a half an hour presentation for the staff members here at camp and presented them on the Friday following the trip. On the weekend students were back at their respective churches for youth and church.
On Monday the students started their next class. It was an interdisciplinary class that looked at Modernity and Postmodernity and how both have affected our world. Cal MacFarlane was back out to teach the students. He was here earlier this year to teach them Spiritual Theology in September. Throughout the week the students engaged with many different ideas and concepts, unpacking what the world believes to be true versus what the Bible says about truth. They took a look at many different historical events including the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation. They also studied many different philosophers and tracked how each philosophers line of thinking has affected how western civilization views humanity. It was a very stretching class and they wrapped it up with a final exam on Friday.
Currently we are in a week of homework and crabbing. Next week we depart on our French Beach camping trip. And following that they are back in class again.
We would love it if you continued to pray for our students. Specifically for growth in relationship with God and each other. For God to use what they learned on the mission trip to continue to change them and shape them into better followers of Jesus. And for direction for our students who are still figuring out what to do this summer and next fall!
Thanks for reading. Check back later for our next Kaleo update!
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