Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ghetto Camping on Pineapple Beach

Going up Bald Mountain
I live in the little town of Lake Cowichan now. Can you believe that? If you say no that makes sense. It makes a lot more sense that I don't live in Lake Cowichan. Except that God wants me in Lake Cowichan and fighting God is like fighting your own fist times eternity in Pandora's box. That makes about as much sense as me living in Lake Cowichan. But guess what? I love it here. I love living in a beautiful house on River Road with eleven beautiful people: Jim leading us, Sarah his wife supporting us, Jeremiah the male RA, the girl students Katie, Shayla, Gussie, Jen and Stephanie and the boy students Matt, Eric and Brad. Of course, this is only the beginning of the second week of eight months with these people. And what's even more disconcerting, they like me. Which means it is only the end of the first week of eight months of having to keep these people liking me. I don't know why they like me. I have this beautiful room with a bed twice the size of the one I have at home while the five girls share two rooms and live in bunk beds. But I don't feel too guilty because I am living in a house with a dog. I am allergic to it. I have quickly found out that living with the embodiment of what I am allergic to gives me allergies.

This is how the first week went: we hiked up and repelled down Mesachie mountain on Monday and then cleaned the camp on Tuesday and then canoed to Pineapple Beach to camp for two days on Wednesday and then decided it would be a good idea to hike up Bald Mountain (which is three times the size of Mesachie mountain) on Thursday, canoe home and spend all day cleaning the camp again on Friday. I'm telling you, these people mean business. It's Jesus' little boot camp over here. And yet there is nowhere else I'd rather be or anything else I'd rather be doing than going on amazing adventures with these amazing new friends and serving an amazing God with joyful hearts. We are all learning what servant leadership is all about and can't wait for what God is going to do this year in us and through us! FYI Bald Mountain like Pineapple Beach is a misnomer. It is not nearly as bald as you would think it would be, but a lot higher than you would think it would be and a lot harder and scarier than my definition of a delightful hike through the wilderness with the fairies and leprechauns should be. And yet... there is that satisfaction of having hiked up a mountain that no one should ever hike up to see a view that no one should ever see. And you know, the bonding experience and all (they say danger brings people together).
Coming down Bald Mountain. As you can see, some are more enthusiastic than others. Some are pretending to jump...

My greatest memory of that camping trip was washing dishes with Jeremiah and Matt. No one knew what they were doing but we all thought we knew what we were doing and we ended up washing the dishes in three different contradictory ways trying to figure out the most sanitary way, without leaving food in the water to encourage the bears to eat us and without putting all the soap in the water to pollute the planet but also rinsing the soap off the dishes enough that we didn't give everyone diarrhea yet keeping the dishes clean from the lake water which we were told was not clean enough to wash our fruit and vegetables in but was clean enough to wash our hands after going to the washroom. Are you confused? Just imagine how confused we were. All I know is there was way more laughing than is generally acceptable when doing the dishes. At one point Matt rudely asked me for the soap which I told him was no way to speak to an RA and ended with Jeremiah telling him to take out his anger on the lake. At which Matt turned to the lake and yelled, "FAITH, PASS ME THE SOAP!" a la Batman voice. Life doesn't get much better than that.

We call ourselves a family. You know you are a family when you can pass wind in front of each other and everyone feels a little grossed out because let's face it, a fart is a fart (there's no getting around it, only through it) but you still have love for the person that did it. That is the definition of family.

If you want to see more pictures you can look at our Auxano facebook page here!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Auxano, or Something

Camp Imadene, Mesachie Lake
I went to Camp Imadene last week for Senior Coed, cabin leading an amazing group of girls ages 15-17. On the first day I thought I was going to die. On top of my chronic fatigue I went up there with a cold and still tired from getting home the week before from Intermediate 2 where I was the Bead Lady! Finally my dream of being the Bead Lady came true! All the kids loved me, which is weird because on the second day I cut myself on the paper cutters (seriously those things are dangerous, note to self: don't put your finger on the exacto knife part) and I didn't realize it until I was helping one girl put her bracelet on and said, "Where did that red come from?" Um. My blood. That's where. "I'm so sorry! I didn't know I was bleeding," I said. She was all, "That's okay," and unconcerned that the crazy Bead Lady just gave her some kind of blood disease (not really). Sorry for the digression. Anyway for someone who is naturally tired all the time (or would that be unnaturally?), all it takes is a laid back week at camp as the Bead Lady to wear you out enough that you get a cold because the walls of your immune system are made of rice paper. The craft was actually paper beads, which is ironic because we're on a lake and all the kids go swimming and no matter how many times you tell ten-year-olds that paper beads are not waterproof they still need to find out for themselves.

That week as the Bead Lady a friend told me about Auxano. What is that you say? A type of acne cream? No! I shall give you the definition because we all know how much you love reading definitions on my blog:

       Auxano (owx-an'-o)
  1. to cause to grow, augment
  2. to increase, become greater
  3. to grow, increase
    1. of plants
    2. of infants
    3. of a multitude of people
    4. of inward Christian growth
So basically it's a greenhouse for growing plants and infants. Sorry, I was thinking of those little screaming baby plants from Harry Potter called Mandrakes. It's actually a greenhouse for Christians, as in an eight-month discipleship program for young adults aged 17-24 from September to April. My friend Erin told me they still needed a female RA, Resident Advisor. I said, "Oh I could never do that, I'd be too tired." She said, "Well you're tired all the time at home, why not be tired up at camp?" You think you're soooo smart, don't you Erin? Actually she is (she has also struggled with fatigue so she knows what it's like. She is probably one of the only people who could say that to me!). Sometimes the best wisdom is the most obvious. At Senior my friend Katie told me the amazing news that she was going to be one of the students. I was so happy for her, going out and doing this thing, whatever it was, that I obviously could never, ever do. Then Andy the director of camp sneakily started asking me questions that I knew were leading to something to do with the RA position and me. Then I thought, "Do I have to actually consider this? What, now I have to physically sit down and pray about it and ask God if I should do it and wait to see what He says and then have an internal dialogue with myself, or not-so internal because I like to talk out loud like a crazy person?" This was asking too much, people. Too much.

I wanted God to make it clear to me by Tuesday morning SHARP so that I could actually give my two weeks notice at work. And then what did God go and do? He left it up to me. He left the door wide open so that I could decide if I wanted to walk through it or not. It seemed like the perfect time to move out. As some might say I needed to fly the cuckoo's nest, I mean nest, although cuckoo is probably the most appropriate bird for my family (sorry family). And God had already shown me at Senior coed that His grace was sufficient for me, that He could use me despite my tiredness. One by one all the obstacles I thought were so huge (health issues, my parents needing to move, financial problems, my dog) they just started to seem more like changes than obstacles. What's a little inconvenience to my parents? By now they were secretly begging me to move out and get on with my life. So what if I can't afford to get a crown on my sketchy tooth? God would give me dentures. What's a dog, anyway, when you think about it? People in China eat them (just kidding, I mean they do, but I love my dog. Unfortunately she loves my mom more anyway.) One big thing that changed my mind? I told my brother about it and He was totally, completely against it. He reminded me that we are not rich kids who can just give up our jobs at a moment's notice. And then out of the blue during a different conversation he said, "I think you should do it. I will support you financially $20 a month." (What a good brother!) So I gave my two weeks notice at work and will be leaving on the 15th of September for eight months up at one of my favorite places on earth! The ten or so of us will be staying in a house in Lake Cowichan and commute to camp every day for the program. I will be an advisor and leader for the students so I have to be on my best behavior = sarcastic, attention-seeking Faith will have to sit on the back burner (she can come visit me in my room when no one is looking). Room and board and food are paid for but I will most likely have to raise money for a living allowance.

Wait a second, who decided that I would make a good RA? Have they read my blog? Do they know me? I think someone has made a grave error. No one must ever know how unqualified I am to lead a group of girls my own age in discovering their inner selves. I write stories about unicorns for goodness sake's. Thank GOD He is strong in my weakness! If the onus is on me this ship is going down in a giant whirl pool, and fast, with a lot of screaming and throwing up. If the onus is on Jesus then we have nothing to worry about! He walks on water and tells storms to pipe down and they do it. (I tell storms to pipe down too but they never do it.) I am going to have to change my name on this blog before they find out it is me and tell me no one who writes this stuff could ever advise young adults about life and God. I've just decided. I shall change my name to Paith Slenkin... Jr.