Celebrations and ice cream!

Trip Start Sep 08, 2009
Trip End Jun 07, 2010

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Where I stayed
Commercial Drive

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Sunday, October 4, 2009

Our topic for the first official week of DTS was Listening to God. Quite an interesting one as while I'm good at praying and asking for stuff, I rarely think to actually sit and wait for a reply. But imagine sitting in a coffee shop with a friend: you talk non-stop, asking questions but then running onto the next question before they can get a word in edgeways. After 15 minutes, you get up and leave, frustrated that your friend never answers you- it doesn’t make any sense! So anyway our guest speaker for the week was Donna MacGowan, who runs the DTS in Denver, Colorado, and is an amazing woman. She has so many testimonies and stories of when God’s directly impacted her life, and really knows her bible. Another thing I’m not so good at!

One of the tasks Donna set us was to do a secret santa-esque prayer for each other, committing to praying for the person we picked out a hat overnight. Then the next morning we had to sit in front of everyone else with our chosen person and tell them what God wanted to tell them. Eek! Everyone was really honest and open with each other though, and it worked really well – some of the bible verses and phrases people came out with really hit the hearts of their person, relating to something they hadn’t even told anyone about. Then later in the week a group of us (with the other YWAMers who live and work in Vancouver) were praying about a particular topic- and people started coming out with all these interlinked and fairly obscure images, words and bible verses, seemingly from nowhere. So it was an exciting week!

Every Monday we go to another YWAMer’s house for dinner- it’s an important part of the YWAM values to practice hospitality, welcoming people into your home etc, which I love. So a couple of others and I went to Crista’s house- she doesn’t normally cook much, but as we were coming, she’d spent hours slaving over a chicken and pesto lasagna, which was incredible. Then it was my birthday on Tuesday – and courtesy of mummy and daddy Cobbold, we all went out for Thai on the Drive, followed by Italian icecream and then went on to a jazz bar for a cocktail. During the day I had my first Angel Food cake too, made by the lovely Henry (also from England!) on Wednesday evening a group of us went to a Jason Mraz gig which was awesome, and then on Thursday it was Trix’s birthday so we went out for icecream again! I’ve been drinking lots of coffee – there’s such a coffee culture here, I have to limit myself to one a day – which involves turning down a cup at least twice a day. I don’t want to leave a caffeine fiend.

One of our mini-tasks for the week was to talk to meet 3 new people on Commercial Drive. Before too long I was viewing every person as a potential conversation- which felt a little bit false- but it was fascinating to just realize that each and every person walking around here has a story they (mostly) want to tell. I met Mark in one of the druggy stores (selling bongs, marijuana scented body spray and the like) who spent 6 months in Ghana a couple of years ago and had a funny story about a goat on a bus. The next day I met Marie, a sixty or seventy-something (I would guess) year-old hairdresser, heavily made up, slightly incoherent and shaking, who went to the Reformed church of Jesus Christ and wanted to get out of her apartment because her neighbours were all hooked on crystal meth. I went with Johnny, a homeless guy who was trying to find some dinner for him and his girlfeidn, to the local Subway to get the biggest sandwich they could make for $5. All too often we just walk past every other person, never taking the time to stop and really look or consider what their lives might be like. Skip on by if this is getting a bit too philosophical for you, but I was kind of thinking of the potential in each street, train carriage or room. All those potential connections and conversations, just waiting in the realm of possibility. For that one moment in time, our paths cross and we have the opportunity to talk to each other- but hesistate just 5 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds, or 2 seconds and that possibility is gone forever. Hm, maybe I think too much!

This weekend has been lovely though- the sun returned (after a torrential day of rain on Wednesday) and I had what can only be describd as a normal day yesterday. Heidi and I went to the local East Vancouver Farmers & Craft Market, and then I wandered up the length of the drive, and sat in the park reading my book for an hour or so. Michelle, who I met in tofino a couple of weeks ago, met me for lunch but was running a bit late, so I had half an hour reading the weekend papers over a latte, before a big brunch/lunch of scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes and buttered baguette. All very good and was great to catch up with Michelle again and see a different face! I love the guys on the DTS but we do spend nearly every minute of the day with each other- so talking to someone different was refreshing! If you remember (and have been reading the entire blog), you’ll remember that Michelle and I bonded over our love of food- and as a seasoned Vancouverite, she recommended this cookery warehouse. So off we trundled, and it was a veritable treasure trove… every trinket, gadget, foodstuff, decoration, storage and display case you (or perhaps that should read I) could dream of. Never would have found it otherwise, so thanks Michelle!

Anyway I’ve rambled on for far too long – today has been a little less eventful. I went to church downtown again, then walked down to Stanley park for a picnic lunch and tried to get into a screening of The Insanitarium of Mr Something-or-other. I cant remember all that much about it, but it was super-popular because it was Heath Ledger’s last film. They had a system of 'returns only’ tickets available- and I happened to be in the area quite early, so I joined the queue about 20 people back, in the hope I could get a ticket. I knew it was fairly unlikely, but it was a sunny day on a pedestrianised street, and I’ve just bought a new book so other than the fact I was standing, I had a very pleasant 80 minute wait, and wasn’t too disappointed when they eventually turned us away as they were full. Pretty exhausting though! Sunday evening I have been writing this and we’re just about to watch Gladiator. Need a night off before the next intense week of teaching begins. I’m looking forward to sleep!
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