Living the Vancouver Life

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

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Commercial Drive

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Sunday, November 29, 2009

This week we had Bridget, a personal trainer from the States, come to speak to us about living a Christian life. It was pretty awesome, she used loads of good visual metaphors through 3 (painful) workout sessions! It was good to break up the teaching with some much-needed exercise. Must try harder to exercise during the week! It was interesting, one of the things Bridget talked about was the 7 spheres/spokes in our life: physical, spiritual, mental, family, financial, career and social health. We had to rate ourselves on 1-10 on each aspect, and then think about how we could improve the lowest one. The wheel wont run smoothly if one of the spokes is smaller than the others- and God wants to be involved in every part of our lives. It's a good reminder that God wants more than just Sunday morning church! 

Bridget had been through so much in her life- her husband Jack and felt called to go to Afghanistan- and after months of prayer and planning, they booked their flights for September 11, 2001. Events that day obviously meant their flight was cancelled- and so they had to remain in the States, with no idea when they would be able to move. They eventually managed to go a few months later, and from what I could tell, they lived the next 4 years in one of the most dangerous parts of the country, building friendships with the Pashtun people, probably providing an invaluable demonstration that not all Americans follow the 'eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth' mentality. During their time in the country, they experienced the death of friends, the constant fear of living alongside the Taliban, and the terrifying experience of Bridget going into premature labour in a country without a single incubator. The doctors managed to postpone the labour, and 48 hours later their family were back in the USA. They've been told since that it's not safe for them to ever return- the Taliban apparently have them on their 'hit-list' - and so they've had to leave their home, all their possessions, friends, hopes and dreams behind, never to return. Yet despite all this, Bridget is still thankful and dependent on God. She was honest enough to share her struggles, questions and outright depression she's experienced over the last few years. AND as an added bonus, she came with child! Amalia, 4 months old, was one of the cutest and most well-behaved baby I've seen in a while- we all enjoyed the change in atmosphere a baby brings to the room.

So the rest of my week: on Monday Rebekka, Taylor and I elected to go back to Joanna and Wade's for dinner, which was great- despite only ever seeing them once a fortnight or so, they're such lovely people we always feel welcomed like old friends. And Wade lent me more food magazines to chew on over the coming weeks =D 

Tuesday afternoon we had prayer stations again- which was, as expected, totally different to last week. Rebekka and I paired off and spent the first 40 minutes prayer walking around the area, which actually went really quickly. We then got stationed- and 5 minutes in, a homeless guy came to talk and talk and talk to us- for the next 35 minutes! So I did enjoy that- although it wasn't really what we were meant to be doing, I thought out of all the people I'd want to talk to on the Drive, that afternoon, he was probably it. Then in the evening I swung by Chilliwagon in the park to see how the guys were doing. I spent most of the next hour talking to Glen- who I'd spoken to quite a lot in the past, and was totally heartbroken at the change in his appearance, coherence and sobriety. I don't understand how so much could have changed in just 2 weeks but I knew that it didn't make a bit of difference- I was sad for the way things had turned out, but he was just Glen to me, not some drunk on the streets. I really appreciate having the opportunity to get to know these guys, week on week, being able to talk to them rather than just walk by them on the street. We later found out that he was taken into hospital that night as he was so inebriated he could no longer stand up.

On Wednesday afternoon we got out the classroom to go to Yaletown- which is a cool part of town, converted industrial buildings, best restaurants in town, designer boutiques, expensive apartments etc etc. Parts of it really reminded me of Spitalfields in London, you get the picture. However, it was chucking it down, which made strolling around the flooding streets a little less enjoyable! But we recovered with a debrief over a gingerbread latte and banana bread. Happy days.

On Thursday evening, we all went over to Pam's house in Burnaby for a pie party in celebration of Thanksgiving and Rene, one of the staff members, who's returning to Oregon. We ate lots of pie, gave Rene her leaving gift, wrote little goodbye notes and prayers of encouragement for her to take with her when she leaves next week.

Friday was a bit of an unusual day- there's a local group called Fusion who have been working with local schools to organise Advent Pagents, which happen all over the world. The kids get dressed up, parade around a shopping mall singing Christmas Carols and then act out the nativity for the parents and passer-bys. Since we might be organising similar events for our outreach in Jan, we thought we'd help out, so dressed as shepherds, wise men and angels, we descended on Kingsgate mall for the afternoon. Honestly, I felt a little redundant, and like it was far too early to be doing Christmas stuff (it's not even December yet!!) but I enjoyed attempting some facepainting (even if my eagle looked more like a duck.)

I babysat most of Saturday, went to church on Sunday morning and did the shopping for a Christmas hamper my small group are putting together for a family in Vancouver affected by AIDS. Went to a coffee shop with Anne, and am currently watching Ancel and Nathan play ice hockey, despite it being 10:20pm. I am sleepy. Most of my entries seem to end like this, but there we go, it's Sunday night and I have another long week ahead!
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