We always must make decisions. And recently, I have made a very big one for myself.

Following a two-year absence from school, I have decided to take the next step in getting back into school by joining a program through the Canadian Mennonite University called Outtatown. After months of consideration, I feel this is the where I need to go next year. Come September, I will be going to Winnipeg, Manitoba to embark on this incredible adventure with fellow students ranging from 18 to 22. The program has about 100 students, divided up into 3 site groups of approximately 30 students. For the first semester we will be travelling to some of the largest cities across Canada. Spending 4 days to 2 weeks at each location, we could be in classrooms listening to guest speakers, or in a houseboat on a desolate lake, or doing a bible study on the Rocky Mountains. One day we may be standing in line at a soup kitchen getting to know the some of the homeless, and the next we could be learning from Canada’s aboriginal people about the struggles they have faced over the many years. Through all the teaching that the program has to offer, they take advantage of the locations and make it an incredibly fun experience!
After returning home for a month during the Christmas holiday, I will be heading back to Manitoba to begin setting out for the second semester. Like I said, the program is divided into 3 site groups, and for the second semester the three groups split off; two will travel to Guatemala, and one will travel to South Africa. I have been accepted for the South Africa site group, which was my choice. I will be living in South Africa for 3-4 months traveling every two weeks from town to town. From participating in building projects, to working in orphanages, to praying over those dying of Aids in the local hospice, I hope to gain a clearer understanding about service, love, and poverty. Amidst this, we will have teaching from South Afrikaners learning about their struggles with poverty, conflict and apartheid. We will also take advantage of the beautiful location and spend time doing hikes, sleeping in caves, going paragliding, bungee jumping, and swimming with sharks among many other things. Where this may lead me to next, I don’t know yet, but I can’t tell you just how excited I am to embark on this possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I hope that you can share in my excitement as I prepare for this journey.

At the beginning of May, I came back here to Camp Mini-Yo-We. Along with almost 20 other students, we have worked hard on preparing the camp property for the summer. From building projects, to raking and mowing lawns, to training as guest group team leaders, we’ve been having a blast getting to know one another. We’ve had many laughs, cries, conversations and arguments. All in all, I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we are having a great time! Just the other night, when we had no guest groups in, we made a campfire at the Junior Camp site, and had a nice worship time for over an hour. Although our team is quite diverse in our attitudes, personalities, and personal time agenda’s, we do get along well and are gaining greater appreciations for things in life that we may have taken advantage of before.

In just a few weeks, following my 20th birthday on June 15th, the camp will fill up with all our summer staff for Staff Week and Skills Week. After these two incredibly fun two weeks, our summer camp will officially take off. I am the Ministry Director again for Boys Camp this summer, which is a position that directly oversees the bible studies and worship. I have been doing my planning and preparation over the last few months for this, but there is still much work to be done. Time is cutting close now, but as much stress as there is linked to this deadline, I can’t help but just be excited for the summer and having our camp be trampled on by the hundreds of campers that will be coming every week.

Again, I will do my best to update you and share my thoughts and struggles with you when I can, but until then you can put your mind at ease in knowing that I am still fully alive, living in God’s creation, and enjoying every minute of it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Ben,
I almost applied to be a site leader with outtatown. One of the staff at school did that for a few years and thought I might like it. I am sure it will be an incredible experience. Hope your summer is going well.
all the best,