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.

Fall is almost here

It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s in between.  There are always a lot of changes that happen this time of the year and at times it can be exciting and at times its overwhelming.  A lot of students find themselves caught up in the newness and excitement of being in this new place and making new friends.  But then there’s this moment when all the newness can get tiring or overwhelming and student’s crave the comfort of home.  It didn’t take very long for some of our students to hit that moment but last Thursday we found a way to hit the reset button.  For our devotion time that morning we spent time focusing on our breathing (because breathing is life!) and bringing awareness to what is happening around us and in us in that moment.  We did a mindful walk around campus, breathing in the fresh air, and paying attention to the changing colours of the  trees and sounds of the birds singing and leaves crunching beneath our feet…listening carefully for God’s still, small voice.  That evening we listened for God’s voice in a very different way.  For community evening, we watched a documentary called, “Father of Lights”, which highlights our God of miracles.  The students were inspired to pray for healing!  After a short discussion time, the students gathered around a couple of our students in need of physical healing and one of the students who had been experiencing a great amount of pain experienced relief and this morning, mentioned doing backflips all weekend!  Praise the Lord!

This last week in class, the students explored their identity as sons and daughters of God and I know that those truths learned last week will continue to sink deeper into their hearts throughout the year.  This week, the students will start digging into the Biblical book of Matthew.  This morning the question, “What does it mean to follow Jesus?” was discussed again and personally I’m looking forward to hearing how the students answer that question, from Matthew’s Gospel.  Please pray for Mile Two director, Jeff Banman as he teaches this class and will continue to teach through the Synoptic Gospels over the next 3 weeks.  Please also pray for the students as they apply what their learning to their lives, and especially as they go out to their service placements, which they also started this last week.

God is shining brightly on and in these students and we are excited to watch God continue to move in and through these students.

Welcome Class of 2018!

Welcome to the Mile Two 2017-2018 year! We are very excited about how the year is started and are looking forward to seeing how God will move in and amongst the students this year.  It is only 3 years ago that we launched our first year of Mile Two with 9 students.  Since then we’ve graduated 35 students from the program and many of them maintain a connection with each other.  Here is a photo taken a week and a half ago at the wedding of Tyson, from our first year of Mile Two, with 8 of the 9 original students.  It was so lovely to see the familial connection that these students have even 3 years later.

Sept. 9, 2014                                                        Sept. 2, 2017!

Focusing on this year though, we welcomed 11 new students to Mile Two on Friday September 1st – 6 males and 5 females.  “Welcome Week” was really full this year and included team games, bubble soccer, and a concert featuring Christian rapper, Scribe, and local band, The Color.

After a few days of academic orientation and exploring the meaning of discipleship, the students and I headed to Winnipeg to tour their inner city service placements.  We toured Inner City Youth Alive, Youth For Christ, and Siloam Mission, with each organization providing meaningful glimpses into life in Winnipeg’s North End.  At the end, I could sense the students’ excitement about serving in these places.

Yesterday, we arrived back from a weekend at Camp Nutimik. This was a full weekend of sharing, eating, and playing together.  The weekend could not have gone better.  The weather was beautiful the entire weekend.  One of the things I really look forward to on this weekend is the sharing of testimonies.  All of the students shared their testimonies on the first evening.  I’m not sure if it was because they were excited about sharing about God moving through their lives or if they just wanted to get it over with, but they all shared deeply and we as leaders were all deeply moved by what they shared.  The next evening the leaders all shared their testimonies and it was especially neat for me to hear from our RAs, Darby Holden and Drew Hofer, who had both been students in Mile Two in previous years.  Three times during the weekend Sam and Cam Groenendijk spoke with our students and shared about their journeys and about building altars of remembrance.  Amy Brown led us in some awesome worship through singing.  The bulk of our relaxing took place on Saturday afternoon.  Jeff’s dad drove a pontoon boat out to the camp dock and most of us had a relaxing cruise across the lake, while a handful of students and Cam canoed or kayaked to meet us.  A few brave students (mostly girls) jumped into the water from the 30 foot cliffs once we were on the other side.  On our way back to campus yesterday afternoon, we stopped at Seven Sisters Falls and walked out onto the hydro dam and shot some nice pictures, which you can see below.

This year is looking to be a really great year. It’s difficult to believe that our students have only known each other for a week and a half.  They already feel like siblings – the way they joke with and tease each other – but also the way they look out and care for one another.  This week we are looking forward to having Daniel Fewster with us.  At the end of the year, when students evaluate their teachers, Daniel consistently comes up as one of the highlights for students so I hope this year, they are ready to learn a lot from Daniel about who God is and his heart for them.  Please join me in praying for Daniel this week as he teaches the students.  We also have two students that have physical injuries that have significantly impacted their participation in some of our more “fun” activities.  Please pray for full and speedy healing for these two students as well.  I will be posting here regularly on Mondays for the rest of the year, and I look forward to having you join along.


April 10, 2017

It’s hard to believe that our time together is nearly done.  9 days from now, this year’s Mile Two students will be strutting their way across the stage to receive their certificates of completion.  It’s been a wonderful year that at times has moved much too quickly!  This morning we spent some time reminiscing with each other and reflecting on some of the real highlights of the year.  It’s been really great!  This week will be a full week of review and reflection and may get a lot of students feeling pretty nostalgic.

Last week with Danny was inspiring for the students.  Danny and a couple of his ministry colleagues taught on evangelism and really focused on praxis more than theory which seemed to get the students pumped to get out there and share their faith.  One student reflected on feeling pretty fired up to do missions after the week listening to Danny!

This week, Paul Kroeker will spend a morning with the students talking through discipleship.  Paul is a very good friend of Mile Two and full of wisdom from years of doing discipleship ministry.  We are happy to have him back, even if it is just for one day.  We will end our week with a day of silent reflection in the city.  This will give the students time to intentionally focus and process their year.  Please pray for our students as they will do a lot of that this week and into next week – processing both verbally and internally.  I am excited to see where their thoughts take them.

final full week

This week is the final full week of classes for the Mile Two students because next week we have Good Friday and the students will wrap up their program on Wednesday of the following week!  It’s hard to believe that we are so near the end of a full and fruitful year!

The students had a fantastic week with John Rempel last week.  From conversations with the students, it sounds like they found their week with John incredibly encouraging and pretty emotionally tiring!  It seems like many of them were able to recognize things in themselves that they had not known before.

From Wednesday to Friday Danny MacKay from “I Am Second” will teach our students about evangelism.  “I Am Second” focuses their ministry on evangelism, so we are excited to have Danny share about his heart and passion for sharing the Gospel.  Please pray for Danny as he teaches this week.  Please pray for our students as they are winding down for the year.  Please also pray for our students as many of them are figuring out their transition into the summer and seeking out employment for the summer months and beyond.

April 28, 2017

With only a few weeks (3 as of tomorrow) left, it’s starting to feel like we’re really winding down now.  The students have settled in now and are pushing towards the end.  Last week was a great week with Matt Falk.  The students learned some apologetics so that they can share their faith and my understanding is that they laughed… a lot!  This week, John Rempel will be sharing with the class and speaking to their hearts.  I’m really excited about John being here as this is his 3rd time with us over the last 3 years, and every year, his teaching makes such a huge impact on students hearts and lives.  Please pray for John as he pours into our students this week.  Please also pray for Jeff and myself as we navigate the last few weeks with our students and plan our final graduation and celebrations with them.

The graduation banquet and program for the students is on Wednesday April 19.  Dinner is served at 6:30 and if you would like to join us, tickets are $25 (price includes tax).  This will be a great time for us as staff, friends, and family, to celebrate our students and all that they have accomplished this year.  If you are at all interested in joining us, please RSVP by April 10 to .

Happy Spring!

The sun is shining, the snow is melting, and it’s the first day of spring!  I’m so thankful for longer, warmer days, and for new life.  It was strange, experiencing spring in Israel, with blossoms and green buds everywhere, then coming here to cold, ice, and grey skies.  But today’s a new day and most of the Mile Two girls are outside, enjoying a spring time walk together.

The students for the most part arrived last night and we all met this morning, for the first time since Israel.  This morning was a bit of a catch-up on Reading Week news and tomorrow will be a debrief of our trip to Israel.  I’m looking forward to hearing any processing students have been able to do, with some time away from each other and the trip.  For the rest of the week, Matt Falk will be teaching!  Matt is a good friend of Mile Two and besides being a hilarious comedian, he is a great communicator and teacher.  The students are all super excited to have him in the classroom this week and I am too!  Please pray for Matt as he teaches from his heart this week and as we finish up our last 4 weeks of class, please pray that the students are able to really dig deep into their relationship with God and with each other.  Pray that they can make these last weeks count!

Jet lag and reading week

It’s been a few days since we arrived back home.  We landed in Winnipeg after a two-hour delay in Toronto, all safe, happy, and tired.  We spent our final evening in Jerusalem at an Armenian restaurant, chosen by our tour guide.  Our guide doesn’t usually eat meals with us, but he chose to sit at the head of the table for our last meal together.  As he shared with us later about his hope that we will keep his people close to his heart, I could tell he felt a special connection with us.  Sa’id is the same guide we had last year and we really liked him then, but this year, there seemed to be an even deeper connection made and I am so thankful for these friendships we have made.  After we got back from the restaurant, we had a longer debrief time on the rooftop of our hotel.  It was still a fairly warm evening and it was lovely to share with each other highlights and points of learning, amidst the evening noise of Jerusalem.

I thought I would spotlight a few moments from our conversation that evening.  Walking through the darkness of Hezekiah’s Tunnel was a common highlight for many.  When talking about it, some students mentioned how powerful it felt to sing praises to God in there and some mentioned feeling a real nearness to God in the darkness.  Hiking around Caesarea Philippi to Banias Falls was also mentioned a number of times.  Any moments students had to connect with God in nature and getting that sense of experiencing a walk like Jesus may have, really resonated with students.  It was also at this place, where some mentioned finally making that first connection with Scripture and having that “aha moment” of “These verses I’m reading happened right here!”  A lot of the students really loved all of the water places – Caesarea Maritima (Mediterranean Sea), Sea of Galilee, and the Dead Sea.  Being landlocked in Manitoba doesn’t provide many opportunities to be out on these large expanses of water, so the students loved taking advantage of that!  Two things that I really enjoyed hearing students talk about: their experience at the Temple Mount and their experience of the people we met.  Of course, our journey up onto the Temple Mount was a first for Mile Two this year.  That was exciting to have this unique experience.  But what students shared was what a special experience it was to stand where the Holy of Holies would have been…but thanking God that it wasn’t there because we can now feel his presence wherever and whenever.  Many of the students learned from the people we met.  They listened, and heard the stories of struggle, heartbreak, and loss from both Palestinians and Israelis; they felt compassion and understanding for all sides.  The students were also impacted and challenged by some of the religious passion they witnessed.  One person described it like this: “I learned how much I judge other religions and especially Muslims.  But people here wear their faith on their passports.  It’s challenged me to wear my faith like that – to be a light to the world.”

The students are at home now, for the rest of the week.  There will be a lot of personal processing going on this week and a lot of rest to be caught up on!  I do know that many of the students are working either on their farm or at jobs they’ve held throughout the year and many of the students are working on applying for summer jobs.  Please pray for our students as they go through this coming week, processing what they experienced and trying to find rest in between.






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