Exam week

While the rest of the school is neck-deep in exams, Mile Two students are keeping to their same, regular schedule.  We did a sort of mini-reflection this morning with the students where they shared about their favourite classes and special memories from this past semester.  Their most recent classes with Jeff and before that, John Rempel, came up very regularly.  This theme of “getting real” seemed to really resonate with this year’s students and it’s been a joy to see them find meaningful ways of expressing themselves.

This week, we are happy to have Paul Kroeker back with us for a few days.  Paul has been involved with discipleship schools in Canada for decades and I’m looking forward to the students being able to glean from his wisdom and learn from his soft heart.  Please pray for Paul as he ministers to our students this week and as he makes the commute back and forth from Winnipeg on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  The students will be done Thursday night, so please pray that they will have a restful break over Christmas.  I’ll be taking a break too and will resume these blog posts about halfway through January.

Advent

It’s Advent Season!  I love this time of expectant waiting and preparation.  Providence rang in Advent with its Festival of Christmas Praise on the weekend – 2 evenings filled with singing, brass music, Scripture readings, and reflections.  It was lovely to see a couple of our Mile Two students participating through singing and a/v.

The semester is winding down with only 11 days left and for the most part it seems like the students are looking forward to Christmas coming.  What they seem the most excited about is all the Christmas parties and banquets in the next couple weeks.

Last week the students had a great week with John Rempel.  He invested a lot of extra time in them, even doing an extra “guy talk” and “girl talk” in the afternoons!  We are so thankful for the time that he spent with our students, making sure they felt important and loved.  This week is a mixed bag.  Jeff is going to spend a few days talking with the students on some tough-but-important topics and Dr. Michael Gilmour will spend a day with the students talking about animals in the Bible.  Dr. Gilmour has a passion for all of God’s creatures and is a Fellow at Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.  I think it will be a very interesting week for the students!  Please pray for both Jeff and Michael as they present on some ideas from the Bible that most of the these students won’t be used to looking at or hearing about.  Please also pray for our students’ safety on the roads as they head to and from their service placements.  It’s pretty slippery out there these days!

The end is near

The end is near…the end of the semester that is!  It’s almost the start of Advent, which means all the Christmas things are starting (although the girls have been rocking out to the Christmas tunes for a few weeks now).  Last week was a great week with Dr. Kara Mandryk.  The students enjoyed hearing (and experiencing) different forms of church worship.  They even had a little impromptu choir on Thursday afternoon and apparently sounded quite lovely!

This week one of our old favourites, John Rempel, is here to speak to the students about telling their Story.  John directs one of the YFCs in southern Manitoba and tends to make excellent connections with young adults.  I’m excited to hear how the students receive him this week!  Please pray for John as he ministers to the students this week.  Please continue to pray for our students.  Many of them have situations outside of Mile Two that seem to be adding much, distracting stress to their lives these days.  We are thankful for all of you who journey with us in prayer!

Back at ‘er

Our students arrived back on campus on Thursday, just in time for supper.  We spent the better part of Friday morning, hearing about their week at Camp Cedarwood.  It sounds like they got quite a lot of work done at the camp and had a great time, just being together and working together.  We wrote a letter to them for every morning they were there, with some challenges for them to take on.  I was encouraged that they embraced our challenge to pray together for the staff at Cedarwood.  Unfortunately, they failed at their one task, to turn their phones off for the day!  I’m looking forward to the day when we have a group of students who will actually be able to put their phones away for an entire day…but I’m not holding my breath!

This week, we welcome back Rev. Dr. Kara Mandryk who will teaching on Worship & the Church.  Dr. Mandryk was previously Associate Professor of Worship Studies at Providence University College but moved to The Pas a few years ago and is now an Anglican priest in or near The Pas.  Please join us in praying for Dr. Mandryk as she teaches our students this week and also as she travels here tomorrow.  Kara was supposed to drive out from The Pas today, but has been delayed because of the weather conditions, so we are concerned for her safety!

A Week Away

There has been a lot happening around here these days, including the first snowfall that stuck!  It’s been a cold week, and I’m happy that it has warmed up today.  Last week the students enjoyed a new teacher every day.  It was the week that we have dubbed “seminary week” because it is the week that four professors from the seminary teach.  This week is always a personal highlight because these are my colleagues that I work with when I’m not working in Mile Two!  I have valued each of their input into my personal life, so I’m so happy when Mile Two students can benefit from their knowledge and wisdom!

This week, we’ve changed things up a bit for the students.  In just an hour, they will be hitting the road, and heading out to Camp Cedarwood until Thursday.  We did this with the students last year and the staff at Cedarwood reported what a huge blessing it was to have 13 extra pairs of hands, serving in various ways around the camp.  This year the students will be out there for a shorter time, but they are all hard workers, so I’m looking forward to hearing what they will accomplish while they are out there.  This is also an opportunity for them to practice making wise decisions and solving interpersonal conflict without their “leaders” around to guide them.  I know that they will do well at this as many of them have been already practicing their own leadership skills amongst the group.  Please pray with us for their time at the camp.  Please pray for their safety as they travel and also as they work and pray that this will be a time of growth and maturation for them.  I am hoping to share some pictures on Instagram with you as the week progresses, and as they (hopefully) send me pictures!

Happy Reformation Day!

Tomorrow marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg Cathedral.  This moment in time changed everything.  The Church has been forever changed by this one act, and so we have spent the last week at Providence learning about this momentous day.  On Thursday we spent a part of the evening watching a documentary on this start of the Reformation and this morning, Providence’s History Professor, Dr. Patricia Janzen-Loewen answered a number of the students’ questions about the Protestant Reformation and the documentary that we watched.  I don’t usually sit in on the student’s classes, but I sat in on this morning’s class and it was helpful to learn together with the students about this aspect of our church history.

This week Justin Bradbury will be teaching on the topic of Church Planting.  Justin and his wife Ange are church planters in Winnipeg, so as a part of his class, the students will tour some church plants in Winnipeg.  As one of the assignments from a different teacher, the students have been visiting different types of churches and worshipping in different ways.  A couple weeks ago, the students learned about the Early Church in Acts, so I’m looking forward to hearing how they synthesize all of these classes plus these side lectures on the Reformation!  As you pray for Mile Two this week, please pray for Justin.  Please also pray for our students’ mental health.  A combination of things can make this time of year especially difficult, mentally, including a drastic change in weather, shorter daylight hours, relationships not being so new and shiny, and a huge amount of self-reflection.  We are thankful for those of you that read and pray along with us each and every week!

Warm and windy days

It was announced today that we have just 8 weeks left of this semester.  Does it sound cliché if I say that it seems like we all just met yesterday?  Some days it seems like that and some days it’s as if the students have known each for a very long time.  This morning’s discussion was a good example of the students feeling like they’ve been around for a while as they were able to have a very thoughtful and deep discussion about heaven.  Every year, we have our students read, “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman and we discuss it every Monday morning.  Generally speaking, students enjoy the book, and this year’s group doesn’t seem to be an exception.  This morning, we experienced a discussion the book that was different than most other times I’ve ever discussed this book with students, as they really dug into talking about God’s presence and heaven and directing our prayers horizontally versus vertically.  It’s moments like these, that make me appreciate the depth these Mile Two students want to reach, as they relate with God.

The students were all pretty excited to learn more about themselves as they went through their Myers-Briggs personality types with Eric Friesen.  This week, we have another Friesen speaking.  Professor Garth Friesen, who teaches Youth Ministry at Steinbach Bible College, will be joining us this week to teach about the Psalms.  Garth is always a highlight for our students, with his easy-going, friendly nature, and deep knowledge of the Bible.  We are happy to have him back again.  Please pray for Garth as he serves our students this week through teaching.  Please also pray for our students as many of them are feeling the mid-semester tiredness take over and are not always the most motivated to get things done.

The snow! It was here!

The snow was here only briefly on Saturday morning, but by the time students were rolling out of bed, I’m quite certain it had disappeared.  It made way for a beautiful Sunday, to enjoy the outdoor soccer game, which a few of our students did!  As per usual on Monday mornings, our students were quite energetic and didn’t seem to hold back in sharing about their weekends and their last week with R.J., which they thoroughly enjoyed.  The students have been keeping busy these last couple weeks, working on a couple different assignments that Jeff had given them.  For one of the assignments, they had a choice of memorizing a chapter in Matthew, or of creating something.  This morning, we were treated to an artistic representation of the first 30 years of Jesus’ life, a full 15 minute sermon, and a 3 minute monologue from the perspective of Judas.  The students all did well and were so creative!

This week, we welcome Eric Friesen, who will be teaching a course called Personalities in the Bible.  Eric Friesen is a life coach and owner of his coaching business, Lead Freely.  He’s also a bit of a specialist in the Myers-Briggs Personality Types, hence his course title.  This is Eric’s first time joining us at Mile Two, so we’re very curious to meet him (there’s a little of my INTJ peeking out there).  Please join me in praying for Eric’s time with us this week, as well as for the students as they continue at their service placements.  We are really excited about what God is doing through our students at each of these places!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love this season.  Everyone is in a good mood, and so thankful!  There’s a branch of psychology that shows how an attitude of gratitude positively changes peoples’ moods, so really, we should celebrate Thanksgiving all the time!  The students headed in different directions this weekend, with most of them heading home and only a couple of students hanging around dorm.  They’re all trickling in this evening and I’m sure we’ll hear about restful weekends from all of them.  Last week was a short week with all students getting Friday off.  It was a good final week of looking at the Synoptic Gospels with Jeff and this week the students will look at the Early Church with RJ McKenzie.  RJ works at Providence as the Seminary Enrolment Officer.  I am sure it will be a great week, as our students last year loved having him teach.  I know that I’m looking forward to all of his energy and warmth he has with the students.

Please pray for RJ as he teaches this week.  Please also pray for the health of all of us as some of us are recovering from colds and some are just getting them!  I hope that you have all enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving weekend.  I’m so thankful to be in this community and to have such a wonderful batch of students this year!

Cooler Days

The last days of summer were enjoyed to their fullest extent this last week.  On Thursday, everyone headed to our good friends, The Franklins, for a bonfire.  Dr. Patrick Franklin teaches Theology and Ethics and his wife Elena Taliotis-Franklin teaches Spiritual Direction courses, both in Providence Seminary.  It was so great to have a home to relax and play in and we are so thankful for colleagues that open up their homes to our students.  I have found this ministry as having just as much value as teaching ministry as it can be very soul nourishing for students just “be” with a family in their home.  Concluding this post, I will include some pictures that Elena sent me from their evening together.

Last week the students worked their way through the book of Matthew with Jeff.  This week, Jeff is continuing his series on the Synoptic Gospels, focusing on the book of Mark.  I am very much looking forward to hearing students’ reflections on Mark once they’re done the week.

Please continue to pray for our students as now’s the season of sickness!  Personally I came down with a pretty nasty cold just before the weekend and my voice is just starting to come back.  I noticed this morning especially that many students were sniffling and coughing, so please pray for general health for our students.  This weekend our students will be volunteering with Ride for Refuge in Winnipeg so pray that they are all healthy to stand out in the cold morning air as they cheer riders going by.

 
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