It's the final countdown...

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

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Friday, December 18, 2009

Well, here we are, 3 months down the line, in the final week of DTS Lecture phase. At last!! I'm so not cut out for studying any more, 15 years is plenty! But this week has been fun- the staff have been stepping into their teaching skills and taking a session each, which has meant the week has been really varied. On Monday Stu talked about Worship (since he's a worship leader) and Money (two separate topics), and then I went to Joanna and Wade's (again!) for a delicious dinner. 

Bobby kicked off Tuesday morning talking about animal instincts. He's a hunter at heart- and is a pro with both a gun and a bow, and loves nothing more than going out tracking a deer and enjoying vension that night :) So his spin on it was demonstrating how much instinct animals have- and how much more we have through the Holy Spirit guiding us. Next up was Anne- who didn't really give us a title, so I can't remember what she said! But I did take lots of notes and remember it being v.good...!

Then in the afternoon we had our final prayer stations. It had the potential to be great fun, as we were giving out hot chocolate, candy canes, and carol singing along with 2 people still offering free prayer. However, it was a little bit chaotic, which stresses me out, and it was literally pouring with rain. I mean, torrential, bouncing off the streets. They'd forecast snow- and it would have been a good few cm, but no, it was just too warm, so we nearly drowned standing outside. To make things worse, I didn't realise how heavily it was raining until we got out there, so I was wearing jeans. And it was getting dark. There's only so much carol singing one can stomach when standing cold and wet by the side of the road, watching the clock until the leader (who arrived half an hour after us) says we can go home. But yet again, I stayed. Not happily, mind you, but I don't know why I didn't just walk home! I suppose I felt too much of a sense of responsibility for the other cold wet people, it wasn't fair if I deserted them. But seriously, it felt like torture. 

Anyway on a lighter note, after a long hot shower I felt much better and we went for a huge turkey dinner with the Chilliwagon team as a final farewell. It's been great working with them for the last few months, hopefully I'll be able to help out again in February, I'd certainly rather that over prayer stations! 

On Wednesday morning we had Julia, talking about vision. Julia has been doing a lot of soul-searching recently, and has received a provisional job offer to be a children's worker in a church she used to work with in Virginia. Since it's primarily children she wants to work with, she has decided to leave the DTS at the end of the lecture phase, and not to come with us on outreach. I could see how much of a hard decision it was for her, but really respected her for getting up at the front of the class and telling us all, I know how hard it is (having rowed for at least 2 months more than I wanted to because I didn't know how to tell my coach.). We were all a bit shocked, but ultimately happy for her, that she's pursuing her dreams and following what God's calling her to do. 

So anyway, she was asking us if any of us were pregnant with vision: again, very interesting stance. We looked at the virgin birth (since it's nearly CHRISTMAS!!) where Mary became pregnant with God's vision for redemption. While we (hopefully!) will not become physically pregnant, we've all had a part of God's vision put inside us, growing until it's ready to come into being. So we were joking about what trimester we were in, how the guys felt to be pregnant etc. but it was a good message.

In the afternoon, we had our final Mike's Tours, which was great. He and Wade drove us around seeing 3 very different parts of Vancouver- first stop, Little India. Just a few blocks square, this predominantly Indian community felt quite like home! We shopped for beautiful saris, I brought a bag full of sugar- I mean Indian sweets, and then before we knew it, we were off again, to Shaunesy, one of the richest parts of the city. Huge houses, big wide streets, high hedges, brick walls- it actually reminded me of my grandparents' street in Leeds, quite a similar style. Maybe a cross between Leeds and Henley, if you can imagine that! Everyone else was certainly more surprised by the grandeur than I was; I suppose you get used to it, living in the south of England. From there we drove perhaps 15 minutes down the road- through the expensive, attractive, commercial Yaletown and downtown area- to Downtown Eastside: the area of the city with the majority of the homeless, drug addicts and alcoholics living on the streets. We walked down quite a way, trying to think of ways we could help the community, taking in what we were seeing - and as the 15 of us walked down the streets, curiously looking around, I felt painfully like we were tourists, coming to see the 'grimier side of Vancouver', recommended as an eye-opener by our Lonely Planets. Eugh. My feelings were confirmed when we gathered for a debrief outside a community home, and one of the residents stopped and started asking us why we were there- and how people like us always just come and look at them like they're animals in a zoo, when what they actually need is for us to talk to them and see what they need- it often goes beyond just a hot meal, into the politics and legality of the city.

Thursday was a bit different: we started off with breakfast at Randy's house. Sitting around the living room, I thought back to that Welcome Meal all those months ago, and wondered where the time had gone! I got there early to start the food prep... we had a feast! Eggnog French Toast, Baked Oatmeal (porridge), Freshly baked Swiss Bread, Scrambled Eggs, and Yoghurt. Not a bad start to the day! We then returned to the classroom for my intercession on England. We've each been taking turns to lead a time of prayer for our home country, so I had the almighty task of trying to decide exactly what we should be praying for England. We ended up praying for the church and all the issues it's currently facing. It was fun to show videos of my home country, get people to fall in love with England, and play them the national anthem!

After lunch we had a reading of Acts. The whole book. Yes, you heard me right, in groups of 3 and 4 we read, out loud, all 28 chapters of Acts. I don't really know why, it felt a little bit like a time filler, but it took just over two hours for my group to finish. It was interesting, it read very much like a travel blog with Paul saying where he went on his travels. I'm also reading through Samuel and Isaiah from time to time, which is helping me realise the Bible isn't just something you pick up and study a short passage of- it is actually a book that has a storyline (mostly) and can be read cover to cover! (Although I may never get through Chronicles and Kings...)

Then Friday, our final day. We joined the YWAM Vancouver staff for their meeting in the morning, to share what we had learnt over DTS to encourage them it hasn't been a waste of time and to help us think too. They then prayed for all of us on outreach- we fly to Montreal on Dec 31st for 5 weeks, before coming back to do stuff during the Olympics. 

After our final lunch prep and lunch, we had a quick summary time of the whole DTS so far, giving feedback on what weeks were most significant, which we liked or didn't etc etc. And then we finished early, at 2:45pm!! 

******** Christmas Break!!!!********* 

We bade farewell to Nathan, Jenny and Alex, who were driving back to Alberta for the holidays, and Julia, who was leaving us :( Dinner that evening was very strange, with only 7 of us instead of 10 and doubtless got even stranger when Taylor flew home to Idaho on Saturday morning and I got the coach up to Whistler. Then there were 4! 
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