Saturday, February 16, 2013

Adventures in Missions, Compost and Snow-Caves

This is an awesome videoWe've had a few adventures lately and I'd like to share them. They might make you feel like you have no life, so if you tend to feel that way better not read this. I'd hate to make anyone feel the way I usually feel just looking at Facebook for five seconds.

Mission's Fest

We went to Mission's Fest three weekends ago. Most of us in Auxano are so deprived that we were more excited to go on the ferry than we were to go to an amazing Christian conference. We did have a pretty exceptional ferry ride. Brad and Eric played their guitars on the ferry deck and we sang songs and pretended we were in the Auxano band. Wait, you didn't do that guys? Oh. Awkward. Anyway, they're lying. They totally did that too. We sang and played under the overhang where the smokers and drinkers were sitting. They seemed to be enjoying it a lot, especially one guy named Kelly who was just eating it up. We were playing mostly secular songs or else Christians artists that were not overtly Christian but through conversation it got out that we were in a Christian discipleship school. Darn! And here I was trying to keep it a secret. Kelly kept inserting "Give me beer" after the line, "What do I gotta do to make you happy?" which is from the chorus of a song the boys made up about the girls. The next line is, "When everything I do just makes you snappy." The song is called PMS... As you can imagine the song did not go over very well with the girls. A couple of times Kelly almost teared up when we were singing about love and grace and Kelly's drunk cousin kept saying we were making Kelly want to go back to church even before we sang anything overtly Christian. You never know how God is going to work.

We went to a lot of seminars at Mission's Fest but the ones I was really interested in had to do with human trafficking and combating the sex trade. Gussie and I have been researching it and find we both feel a passion to do something about it. We're planning an informational night at the church we go to in Duncan to show the documentary "Nefarious" and write letters to the government. It was fun to help out a bit at the Camp Imadene booth in the exhibits room and wander around talking to people with different Christian organizations. I loved two of the speakers at the general sessions where a few hundred people had church together like it will be in Heaven: believers from every tribe, tongue and nation, and even more unusual, every denomination. One was Luis Palau who was British and hilarious and another was Ajith Fernando who was Indian and so passionate. I also loved taking naps on one of the couches up where the seminars rooms were. I even had ear plugs. At one point Brad and a few others came to where I was and were eating their lunches. Bard decided to put his cheesies on me while I was sleeping so I would wake up with them falling everywhere. Thankfully Jen took them off after he left. The last day there we were waiting for Vern, our van, and a bunch of Capenray students were playing this game called Ninja where you have to try to hit each other's hands in one move. We had started playing Ninja earlier in the year and Brad, who had never actually played before but only watched us play, decided to jump in to their game and start playing with this huge group of people watching. Probably one of the funniest things ever. Eventually four of us (not me, I suck too much at it to want to humiliate myself in front of that many people) joined in and Matt was stoked out of his mind when he won the round.

A Rocha

We were staying at the Johnston's (Eric's house) for Mission's Fest who were so nice as to host us and feed us and send us on our merry way to our next adventure: A Rocha (pronounced ah rosha), a Christian environmental stewardship centre that is all about taking care of the earth and educating others on how to do it. As an avid environmentalist and total hippy I absolutely loved it there. Going in I was really hoping it was a commune that I could secretly just join and stay there forever and everyone in Auxano would be like, "Where's Faith?" and someone would say, "She's staying behind," and they'd say, "Why?" and someone would say, "Shhhh, she's with her people now." The farm is on this old estate called Brooksdale in the boonies in Surrey, so close to the US border that my cell phone kept trying to give me roaming charges. I kept yelling at it, "Eh! I'm in Canada, you idiot!" but it didn't seem to make a difference. The estate has this great big Tudor style house and a couple other buildings and the old farm house and it looks like the classic little country manor from the 1800's. It was a present this guy bought his wife as a summer home for riding horses. Pretty nice guy I guess. I felt like I was in Pride and Prejudice and Darcy was going to come around any minute and say something that he meant one way but I took the wrong way but eventually marry him. One night before bed all the girls talked in English accents in one of our rooms and couldn't stop (it's like an addiction) and Shayla tried to tell us a story about a "magic rainbow unicorn mountain." We visited the llama, the sheeps and the chickens, but I was sad to hear they used to have pigs. I was really hoping to steal some piglets. It's probably for the best because the boys (and Steph) would just eat them. To them pigs = bacon. Apparently when llamas are brought up with sheep they think they're one of them and being the biggest of their fellow sheep (because it's actually a llama...) they guard their brothers and sisters. Stupid llamas. When we paid him a visit Steph and Shayla sang a song to him but he must have yawned more than ten times so obviously we were really boring. I tried to befriend the sheep by saying, "Baa ram ewe! Sheep be true, sheep be true!" (I literally said this many times; anyone who hadn't seen Babe didn't understand) but they weren't having it. I assumed it was a universal code of acceptance into the sheep community. Apparently not.

Our days were full of helping around the farm, learning about environmental sustainability and our relationship with creation, praying and praising the Creator and eating amazing home-grown and home-cooked food, almost all of which was vegetarian because they ate what they had, lots of veggies, bean dishes and delicious soups. I was in heaven. One day we turned compost for hours and picked carrots and ate them with the dirt still on them and Jim told a joke about a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac who stayed up late wondering if there was a Dog and when Shayla finally got it she laughed for the longest time anyone has ever laughed at a joke. Another day we raked leaves for hours and shoveled mole hills (I get it now, the whole "don't make a mountain out of a mole hill," because mole hills are small but freaking annoying and the next day there were already a bunch of new ones. Stupid moles) and another day we replanted baby trees into bigger pots and Matt gave them really annoying voices as they were being torn from their roots and transplanted to a different land. Because of A Rocha we have new zeal for composting and the 3 R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and have painfully tried to take on the challenge of eating meat for just one meal a day. Not me, obviously, but others.

Mt. Washington

We came back to the Auxano house just for the weekend and then headed up to Mt. Washington to this beautiful chalet owned by the Tenant family in a winter wonderland. The week up in that chalet was one of my very favorites. We were there from Monday to Thursday, hanging out together, reading I Spy books, knitting, playing Settlers, reading our Bibles, building a sweet snow-cave and every night we would have a naming ceremony (we've just been learning about the First Nations people so it seems even more fitting), names that we wanted each other to grow into. We named Eric "David, the lamb" (you have to whisper the lamb part because he doesn't like it) to grow in meekness and Jeremiah "Moses" to grow as a leader and Brad "Bear" like bearing fruit, not like the teddy kind. We named Jim "John," the disciple of Jesus, to grow in grace and Gussie "Rapunzel" ...the Disney princess, to come out of her tower, and Katie "Lucy," from the Narnia Series, to grow close with God. I've been named since but you'll have to wait for that one. It didn't matter that I couldn't go snowboarding. Only half of us did and only for a day. It was enough just to hang out. In fact, I was so happy sitting in the warm chalet looking at the snow NOT getting the crap beaten out of me down a mountain that I'm not sure I would have wanted to. The day after we arrived we went snowshoeing into the forest into the kind of place where snow-murders happen and you don't find the body until spring. Uh, sorry, that was, weird. Anyway we learned how to build a proper snow-cave that you could survive in if you were lost in the snow and had a snow fight. We didn't get to finish our snow-caves so the boys decided that they wanted to build another one back at the chalet. They worked on it for hours. In fact, I've never seen them more driven. They built benches in it that seated almost all eleven of us and a slide that came in the other side. Everyone loved I Spy so much that the next weekend when I went home to Victoria I brought back up with me all my old I Spy books from when I was a kid. Brad is now so enthralled by the Treasure Hunt edition that he has declared it to be the greatest book ever written. I didn't want to inform him that I doubted whether a list of things to find on each page, even if it did rhyme, constituted the greatest book ever "written," but I couldn't do it. I had to agree.

This is an awesome video we watched at A Rocha:

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