Adam's Beanstalk

A daily adventure-bag of insights and old bones from an unknown poet in Manitoba's south. Caveat: Not everything is to be taken literally. Things are often shaded with poetic crayons; be the owl. Also, not all these bones are collected from different fields. Find themes that run througout each post and the journal as a whole; the most insignificant event may be part of an ear.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rock Ridge Canyon and Surroundings

On April 26th I left in a little Mazda car, even older than my old maroon, for a jewel of the valley called Rock Ridge Canyon, near Princeton, BC. Why? For an annual Navigators conference called Somewhere Else West (SEW). My first SEW was also in BC, on Thetis Island, four years ago. So now I'm quite a veteran, which means they like to put me as a small group leader.
But this year was harder to leave than most. Jord and Ashleigh had just got back from Ireland and Tracy had just arrived from UBC. Luckily, I managed to spend some quality time with them before I left. This included: making a green gift basket with Trace to remind Jord and Ash of Ireland (we had lettuce and green gum and sunchips and twist ties and green bananas, etc.); playing "No bears out tonight" after a campfire (bragging alert: I never did get caught, even though I tried); having a LARGE bowl of Cheeseburger soup at the Tea House; and inventing Pong Zen with Trace (it will catch on, I can explain the rules if you'd like). So then I left them behind, feeling quite guilty because I was beating them to BC (and yes Trace, I already miss you, too).

And then I woke up at 5:30 in the morning to get into the green car. Riding with me was Mr. A(lbert). J(ehova). Sarassin and Mr. Nathan Small. We had a delightful ride down; I discovered that I had a similar musical taste to Nathan, and we shared our obscure musician favorites as we drove. We also had a good time with A.J.'s BBQ Spitz, and I got to reading a nice chunk of Gulliver's Travels (which is a great read), John Ruskin ("The Nature of Gothic"), and Henry David Thoreau's "Walden". We stayed at a church in Calgary and had a gourmet meal of pasta and spinach salad which we picked up at the Safeway.

This is taking too long. You are probably bored already, before I have started talking about the conference itself. Well, let me share some of my highlights. First of all, the place was AMAZING! It was only a few years old, and the architecture was incroyable! You should have seen how thick and tall the main pillars for the lodge were. Plus, this place had the longest zipline in Canada!!! You will notice the picture of me suited up in the harness. The ride was about 40 seconds long, dropping down a hillside, over a building, and over a marsh! [The marsh will soon be replaced by a lake, as water was filling in even as we were there.] I went down the zipline in cannonball style, for maximum speed, but I did manage to take a few blurry pictures on the way down. We had all of our afternoons off, so we went on hikes (climing a very steep hill, and frolicking with deer, oh yeah, and climing under an electric fence), organized a campus vs. campus street hockey tournament (where my spectacular begginer's luck in net earned me a comparison to the mighty Kipper), and designed a game with Jon L. loosely based on the game Clue. All the students participated; there were seven suspects, all members of a photography club (I was the Bible Braniac "Uzzi Ulla") which they had to impress with a photo-scavenger picture (for me, they had to represent the Trinity with the people in their group). After we were impressed by their photos, we would present a challenge to them (e.g. a Bible Trivia quiz, beating the pool shark in billiards, or beating the Crazy Jogger in a running and screaming competition). If they completed the challenge, we gave them a piece of a letter which they would have to join in a puzzle form, decipher the text, and find out who was the guilty person, what weapon they used, and where the murder-like crime was committed. In other fun news, some of us made a nest under the stars on the last night, and watched the moon rise over the mountains. It was pretty sweet. We also came up with a few terms that one can use when making a nest, for example, a person can be called an "untucker", and one can use the "communist double clutch" (i am serious).
As for the serious part of the weekend, we were fortunate to have some speakers from the Navigators in Africa. Mike and Manfred shared the stage, speaking from Ephesians and Thesselonians, as well as sharing their life stories. These life stories were incredible. They spoke of hardships, like Aparteid and the loss of a child, and how they overcame these painful experiences by drawing closer to God. They spoke on how much Christ has done in our lives; He has saved us from death, which we all had when we followed the desires of this world, and he has given us hope, purpose, and life. I was also reminded of the power of prayer through the amazing testimony of Jolly, who is from Uganda, but is taking her Ph.D at the UVic. I hope to stay committed to prayer this next year. By focussing on prayer out in Rock Ridge Canyon, God showed me some amazing things. I felt led to walk down an old construction road along the mountain at night. Along the way I realized that there was a lot of fear holding me back. I felt that this road might not be safe, that there might be feral creatures roaming the night, and that I might at any time slip off of the road into the lake. But here I realized I had to see as if looking through God's eyes and rely on his protection. I could not be fearful of the dangers largely imposed by my own thoughts. I reached a place around the bend where the wind blew very strong, and there rose from the water two giant wooden beams, seventy feet high, that joined together to form a triangle. I don't know what these were for. There in the rock of the mountain, I picked a leaf off of a lamb's ear plant, and knew I was safe in my journey back.
There were many stories of our brokenness and God's healing throughout the week. A special time always came when we met in our small groups. I have attached a picture of them, below. Amy, who is standing the third to the left of me, was a co-leader. It was incredible to see people who were strangers at the start of the week come to share their struggles and their joys with each other. Please pray for Brittany, who is standing two to my left, who just received Christ during the week. She is going back to her hometown during the summer where she will be surrounded by her childhood friends who are not believers.

We left Rock Ridge Canyon before lunch on Friday morning. Our rented vehicle needed to have a part on the wheel fixed, so we ate on some tractor wheels amongst the dandelions at a garage in Princeton. I was driving with Armin M. and Jen G. on the way back home. We had some good satellite radio, so we cranked the 80's music and drove through the mountains. I of course got the stretch from Golden to Banff where there are few road markers and it was snowing, covering the roads in slush. We survived. We slept at the same church in Calgary, but stayed up until 2:30 hearing Armin's hilarious, and oft accurate, views on relationships. The next day we drove and drove some more, making it back to Winnipeg at 8:30 in the evening to a light drizzle. Home. It is usually where the heart is. The heart can also be somewhere else.