Wednesday, April 28, 2010

P.A.T.H. Worldview & Animism module

We have just completed the first module of our P.A.T.H. training. We've spent the past three days looking at Animism, Syncretism and Worldview in Intercultural and cross-cultural context. These sessions were brought to us by John Cosby, whom you have met in one of the vLogs (video blogs). We have all very much enjoyed all of the teaching that we have received in these sessions. I am very sorry that they have come to an end. We had a lot of great conversation and interaction in the classroom and discussed some very practical and important issues faced by missions and the church. We unfortunately were short on time and had only the opportunity for a brief look into Animism, John will be returning again prior to the end of the training, so we'll have opportunity to learn under his teaching again.

There is a lot of discussion about Worldview these days, determining just what that means is a key to the task. The principles, that we have been studying here are biblical, sound methodologies with a focus on missions. However, the ideas and principles behind Worldview Teaching (and understanding) are pertinent and applicable to everyday life and evangelism on a personal level.

It's a great start to training, the bar has been set high to be sure. We're both looking forward to whatever comes next.

Monday, April 26, 2010

P.A.T.H. Training • day (five)

Our first Sunday at P.A.T.H., we will be having service together as trainees and staff each Sunday. The men will be responsible to prepare one (or more) messages to share over the course of the eight weeks.

Each trainee is assigned a mentor, Liz and I met with ours yesterday, a couple from Southern California who work with a mission in Northern British Columbia. We will have meetings with them over the next eight weeks as they share their experiences with us.

After lunch we met in the P.A.T.H. classroom for an orientation class. In the evening was the 'family fun bash' which was several ice breakers and get to know you games. We had a casual meeting in the dorm with the other trainees to discuss some of the 'housekeeping' issues. It is a part of the P.A.T.H. leadership training program that the trainees are responsible to organize dish crew and cleaning in the dorm.

Today will be our first day of classes, should be interesting!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

P.A.T.H. Training • day (four)

Well folks, we've arrived. Today Pat and Roan Elford escorted us to Nipawin Bible College where we've begun to settle in. It's going to be a very interesting eight weeks!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

P.A.T.H. Training • day (two)

Yesterday we traveled from Cumberland Bay, New Brunswick to Prince Albert Saskatchewan. Len and Lorrayne Breen drove us to Moncton in the camp truck with all the luggage and Pastor Mitchel Foley drove the Strout family in their van. We flew from Moncton to Toronto with a three hour layover at Pearson. We arrived in Saskatoon at about 8:30pm (Atlantic Time) and were greeted by Gary and Ardys Winger. After a brief supper we then drove the nearly two hours to Prince Albert. We were greeted with open arms by the Reimer family, and have enjoyed staying in Lydia Goede's apartment during our short stint in PA. We were also greeted by an armed standoff that was just concluding across the street from the Reimer's home. Although somewhat concerning, it posed no immediate problems for us.

We spent the day today picking up some necessities before we head off to Nipawin to begin our training!

Friday, April 23, 2010

We've arrived!

Well, it was a full day, and we have arrived safe and sound. We had smooth travels, there were no delays and the kids seemed to enjoy the adventure, they were great! We arrived in Saskatoon at 5:30pm local time and were met by Gary and Ardys Winger with a 15 passenger van pulling a trailer for our luggage! We had a quick bite and were off once again for Prince Albert. We will spend the next couple of nights here and be off to Nipawin on Saturday. I'll touch base tomorrow with an update of our day tomorrow!

We have just found out that there are still some difficulties with P.A.T.H. and accommodations for about 7 days of the training. It seems that the Bible School will be unavailable for these times and we will need to vacate the property for both classes and living. This is a discouragement, and we are hopeful that there will soon be some clarity and completion of plans for these meetings.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

P.A.T.H. Training • day (one)

We're going to try to keep you posted on our 2 month training program via our blog. Watch for regular video updates while we're away!

P.A.T.H. Book Report (vol. 5)

The last book required to be read before training... and we leave tomorrow... talk about cutting it close. Well, here's the last book review, then I'm off to pack!

Don't Step on the Rope
Walter C. Wright

As I began to read this book, I found myself wondering why it had been so very difficult to acquire. It was easy to read, seemed to be well written and had a clear intent and focus. As I read through the model of teamwork presented by the author, I found why perhaps this book was not available at my local library.

I did find that the book was heavily bogged down by the metaphor presented in the title. For someone, like myself, who knows very little of the subculture that exists in the hiking and mountain climbing community, it took a long time for me to break through all of that cultural nuance before I began to feel the beat of the metaphor. The author drops a lot of names and uses a lot of rather specialized examples to convey his teamwork model, this served somewhat to illustrate his point, but ultimately muddled it (at least for me, the uninitiated). The focus becomes the concept and metaphor and not the methodology.

As books on leadership and teamwork go, this one wasn't too bad. The principles and practices presented through the metaphor of mountain climbing were relatively sensible and seemed to hold a practical wisdom that could certainly be applied. This model of leadership and teamwork will only work if the team is dedicated to the task at hand. In a ministry application it is quite likely that this would be an effective model, however in an organization where the objective of the employee is a paycheck and the objective of the owner is savings and profits it would be a difficult model to implement. Many organizations do their very best to engender a pride in their staff that will translate into an objective more in line with the company objective (profits and savings). Sometimes this is even done through profit sharing or stock options, sometimes simply by trying to draw a correlation, for the benefit of the staff, between company profits and their paychecks. This can be effective for a time, but I can see this model of 'team' and leadership being only moderately successful in that sort of environment (to quote one of my favourite movies, "that'll only make someone work hard enough not to get fired"). An example of this can be seen, somewhat broadly in the so-called 'pyramid schemes'. The leadership and teamwork is an ever expanding pyramid of invested team members focused on the goal of expanding their 'net'.

This book would certainly be highly enjoyed by someone immersed in the mountain climbing culture. I didn't find it un-enjoyable, but would recommend that you not become overly burdened with the illustrations, and focus on the leadership model being presented. And keep in mind that it is just a model being presented in a sterile environment. Working with people (especially in a leadership role) is never textbook and never clinical, it requires wisdom and discernment and although leadership books can offer a guiding principle or concept. You will ultimately need to step up.

Monday, April 19, 2010

P.A.T.H. Book Report (vol. 4)

Well, I have to say, I was a bit disappointed in this one. But I've tried to give as honest a response as possible, there were certainly truths in this book that are vital to ministry, I just found myself so distracted by the negative political, socio-religious, and racial overtones that the message was certainly muddied at best.

White Man's Gospel
by Craig Stephen Smith

This book was not what I expected. I was under the impression it would examine the relationship of the Gospel to Native American Spirituality and Animism. It broached this topic only briefly.

A brief synopsis of the subject matter would clearly reveal a healthy understanding of a need for good Worldview Training and a clear and biblically grounded presentation of the Gospel. A presentation of the gospel, untainted by the prejudices and legalisms (and liberalisms) of the modern church. With this there is no argument that can be made, it is a widely acknowledged fact that there is dysfunction in the church and the way it seeks to fulfill it's mandate to GO and preach the gospel. Further to that, there is a growing understanding among mission organizations of just how to go about this (or at least the necessity of examining it). A studied, practical and culturally appropriate method is certainly what is called for biblically. However, to come to this conclusion from reading this book requires a fine tooth comb and a grain (or kilo) of salt.

Throughout the book Smith attempts a level of humor and what would seem to be tried cuteness that comes across rather poorly. At one point he shares a rather racist poem, although intended cutely, it took away dramatically from his credibility as an author. The purpose of sharing this poem was to correlate the sense of funny among Australian Aborigines and Native Americans. I failed to see the value. From page one to the end scene the author uses broad generalizations and sweeping indictments, these serve only to steal from his credibility and lend to an overall tone of bitterness and resentment. Although his point is good and sound, and his conclusions accurate, his presentation is poor and highly self-contradictory.

It is vital to be sensitive to the needs, history, culture and traditional values of Native Peoples. I feel strongly that discipleship, mentoring and a clear presentation of the gospel with an ultimate goal of building self sustaining Native churches is what the great commission is calling us to (and indeed what is presented in this book) without question. However, there are books available that present this method more clearly and under a much less questionable tone. I would recommend one of those be read long before this.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

this just in...

There has been a change of plans with respect to P.A.T.H. training.

The training had initially been slated to be held at the Minahik Wasau Center in Timber Bay, Saskatchewan. On Friday we received a phone call from Dan Woodard, the director of P.A.T.H. training. He was calling to inform us that the venue had changed from Minahik Wasau to the Nipawin Bible College in Nipawin Saskatchewan. There were some concerns with the dining facility that prevented P.A.T.H. leadership from operating efficiently at the original venue.

Our travel plans are not impacted as we will still be flying into Saskatoon on Thursday. The kind folks at NCEM headquarters are sending the mission van and a trailer to meet us at the "Toon" airport. We will spend Friday at mission headquarters and doing some shopping for necessities in Prince Albert. Since we will be there for eight weeks, we are going to pick up toiletries, snacks and other necessities after we get there. This will reduce our luggage compliment. Pat Elford, the candidate coordinator at NCEM headquarters has arranged for us to borrow sheets, towels and facecloths as well, which is a huge help with respect to packing and travel!

Today, our field directors, Len and Lorrayne Breen are arriving. They will be holding down the fort for the majority of time we're away. We are excited to see them! We're all going to the Strout's for a BBQ tonight! It'll be fun to spend the week with them before we go.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jacksontown Baptist Church

It's a bright beautiful Monday morning, and the week promises to be full of opportunity. This morning, I've been building my schedule for the week and so far it looks like tomorrow will take me to Fredericton, Wednesday to Moncton, Thursday to Sussex and Friday to Saint John. It feels like the closer the date of our departure comes the busier it gets. There is certainly a great deal to accomplish between now and next Thursday. I still have two book's to read and reports to write as well. I am into "The Whiteman's Gospel" right now, I'll post a brief review when I've finished.

We've received an update on our upcoming P.A.T.H. training, and are quite concerned about one complication that seems to have arisen. It is sounding quite likely that there will not be internet access at the Center where the training is held. If that is the case it will make our camp prep work and communications (not to mention paying bills etc.) impossible, or at best very complicated. So, as an item of prayer, please keep this in mind.

This past Saturday was full of fun. The Strout's have been involved in a missions conference in Sussex and have been there the past four days or so. Liz went with Marcia to a Ladies brunch on Saturday morning. They enjoyed some wonderful fellowship with some of the ladies from Sussex.

Last week while Kevin and I were traveling back and forth to the meetings in Fredericton, we noticed a sign out front of an auction warehouse. The sign advertised an upcoming auction of office furniture. We stopped in to find the owner very friendly and accommodating. The auction was for NB Power office equipment and vehicles. We decided we'd return and see what we might acquire for our new office building. Kevin was busy with the missions conference, so he couldn't go, but Roger Hill came along to help me out. I haven't been to an auction in a while, so it was fun to be there. We got some great deals on furniture for the office. We loaded the truck up with; 12 ft sectional executive table; 3 padded chairs; 3 quality adjustable office chairs; a 2 drawer file cabinet; a solid 5 ft bookshelf; and an illuminated glass display board. And after buyers fees and taxes we spent less than $90. Awesome! Roger and I loaded it all up and unloaded at home. We then went to retrieve a stove for the ANBC apartment. Roger had it, thought we might be able to use it and wanted to donate it to ANBC! Thanks Roger!

On Sunday morning Liz and I were on the road bright and early. We arrived at Jacksontown Baptist Church in time for Sunday school where we shared about the ministry at Arrowhead and all of the exciting things the Lord is doing here! During the morning service I had been asked to speak as well, and shared about just what it means to "stand in the Gap." We felt very welcome and enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with some friends. After the service we were invited to dinner in the home of Dorothy Rosevear. We were truly blessed to meet and fellowship with this amazing lady. Over a wonderful home cooked Sunday dinner, she shared with us about her life. She and her husband were foster parents and fostered over 700 children during the past 50 years, some of whom have gone on to be pastors and ministers. In 2008 she received the Order of New Brunswick in recognition of her service. It was a true blessing and encouragement to meet Mrs. Rosevear yesterday!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Basics in Counseling Seminars: day 4

Well, we've completed the courses. We have received certificates for the 27 hour course in Basic Counseling Skills. It was a pretty fantastic week, and to a person, everyone in attendance was blessed to their boots by the entire week. The fellowship, the biblical teaching, the new friends and resources were all a wonderful part of the week.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Basics in Counseling Seminars: day 3

Another fantastic day of classes. Not only are we learning about some basic counseling techniques... how to listen properly. but our instructors are taking the time to help each of us work through any issues we ourselves may struggle with. It has been a hugely encouraging week and I have been very grateful for all that I've been learning! This course is both timely and exceptionally valuable to our ministry here. Liz will have opportunity to take it in January when the Schnupp's return to give a more intensive three week course.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Basics in Counseling Seminars: day 2

It has been another fabulous day in St. Mary's. I've been finding that the seminars have turned out to be so much more than just learning Basic Counseling Skills. It has been a huge blessing and encouragement to be a part of this weeks meetings!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Basics in Counseling Seminars: day 1

Today was the first of a week of meetings in St. Mary's, just outside of Fredericton. The seminars were organized by some of the local Christians here, Kevin, Venus and I were asked to take part this week as a benefit to our roles with NCEM. The courses are being presented by Dr. Clair and Clara Schnupp of NYM (Northern Youth Ministries). Today's sessions were very informative and well presented, we are looking forward to a great week. I'll be posting a short vlog for those of you who wish to keep up with the progress of the week. You can check back here for the updates or visit our YouTube channel by following the link at the lower right of this page. If you have received this update via eMail, you will likely need to view the video here ... see ya on the interwebs.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

the stricken bank teller.

On Tuesday Kevin and I had the opportunity to have some meetings in Fredericton. We met Venus Coté for lunch, she accompanied us for the afternoon as we did some camp errands. After lunch, our first order of business was to relieve ourselves of over 70,000 pennies and $300 in other coins. The grand total of the 'Plethora of Pennies' was $1,012.77, we have also received a great deal more in other donations for training. A big thank you is in order for all those of you who have contributed to our training expenses in this way!

Each of the grocery pails had almost 200 lbs worth of pennies... it was an interesting waddle to the bank... the tellers looked... stricken.

We met with Sue Bear at St. Mary's and chatted with her a bit about this summers upcoming camps. It was encouraging to see her excitement in the programs, we are pleased to be able to do a bit of planning ahead with respect to camper registrations etc.

Tuesday evening Kevin and I enjoyed fellowship with some of the believers at the St. Mary's Bible Study.

On Wednesday Kevin and I headed to Shediac. My mother has donated some furniture to Arrowhead for the new office and directors quarters so we took the truck to bring the items back to camp. It was a whirlwind trip in the rain, but we had no problems and nothing got wet. It is a big help to have some new shelves, a bed and chair, dresser and tables.

Thursday brought my friend Ben Lawson for a visit. Ben works as a teacher in Akulevik, Quebec and is home for a weeks break. He worked with us as a cabin leader last year during camp and his ministry has been much appreciated. We're hopeful he'll be able to minister with us again this year! It was great to be able to spend a couple of days catching up with him!

Liz has gone to NS for a couple of days to visit with her folks before we head out West for training. It will be her last real opportunity to see them until after Eastern Field conference in the Fall.