Sunday, 21 January 2018

High Adventure Deep, Deep Down

“I wonder what my mom would say if she could see me now,” mused the guy beside me as we braced
ourselves against the cold cave wall, “I don’t often tell my parents what I’m doing.”

“Mine are pretty used to me by now,” I said, ensuring my boots had their firmest possible hold on the muddy wall opposite, “Though I like to keep them posted so they’ll know how to pray.”

A glance at the void where the floor dropped off beside me, sloping down as an angled crevice which ended in darkness some fifteen feet below, suggested I could use those prayers about now. Shoulders pushed against the stone behind me, boots against the wall three feet away, I began easing my way sideways over the void.

How in the world did I end up here, anyway?

Let me tell you the story.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Spectacular Scotland

Scene from the beach where we picnicked
with the Mitchells on our last day in Scotland
“This beverage is actually illegal in Canada,” Mrs. Mitchell said as she poured me a glass. “It probably has something to do with this label, here.”

I squinted at the fine print on the bottle of orange liquid, a distinctly Scottish soft drink termed Irn-Bru. (That’s pronounced “iron brew,” and make sure to roll those r’s!) May cause an adverse affect on activity and attention in children. Hmmm. I took a sip. I still can’t tell you what it tastes like—a drink that combines 32 flavours will do that to your descriptive abilities. 
But it’s good. 

You can read the label for yourself!
Testing mysterious beverages, however, was only the beginning of our three day’s experience in Scotland. Our friends the Mitchells, the pastor family with whom we are staying, have done a highly thorough job of helping Jonathan and me tap into our Scottish roots. So far, for example, we’ve breakfasted on white (and black) puddings, explored the castle belonging to the clan of our great, great grandmother, and discovered that haggis is actually rather tasty.

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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Midnight Marathon

Forty Hours.

Street level in Glasgow
That’s how long we went without being in bed—if you count the two-hour nap we had between 11:00 PM and 1:00AM on Sunday “going to bed!” Rising from this slumber, Jonathan and I flung ourselves into a whirlwind marathon of traveling by van, bus, car and plane, wandering city streets and waiting in airports, passing through six count-em ‘ countries in less than two days.

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Saturday, 30 July 2016

Snapshots of Slovenia (and Italy...and Croatia...)

Countryside surrounding "Jerusalem," a region of Slovenia
filled with orchards and vineyards 
(Written Sunday, July 25)

The time has come to fill in all those little gaps. Gaps like last Saturday, part 2 of our team day excursion, which included spontaneously detouring to Italy, wandering solo through Slovenia's capital city and rowing on iconic Lake Bled. Gaps like yesterday, when we spent the afternoon on a day-trip for lunch in Croatia. Gaps like listing all the random cultural differences between Canada and Slovenia. Since I have little else to do, waiting here at the Amsterdam airport for our flight out to London (except to procrastinate booking our bus tickets back from Scotland), now is the perfect opportunity to degapify things. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I'll let the photos do most of the talking.

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Saturday, 23 July 2016

Street Level in Slovenia

What do performing a drama on a village square outside a small castle, playing acoustic guitar in a public park, and singing gospel music selections on Slovenian city streets have in common?
Our past week of team ministry, that's what.

It all began Sunday, with a typical church service at which we helped lead a few worship songs, performed our drama, and listened to one of our leaders deliver the message. That night, however, we took the show outside to street level for the first time with an open-air concert in Murska Sobota. There was only one problem: rain. Intermittent showers forced us to run for cover with the instruments a couple of times before the concert, leaving us with nothing to do but pray for the sky to clear for the duration of the concert. As we started singing, patches of blue began to overtake the sky, allowing low sunlight to illuminate the massive trees around us. And--though I must have been facing the wrong direction to see it--I hear there was even a beautiful rainbow overhead. 

(The best is yet to come! Please click "Read More" to continue.)

Friday, 22 July 2016

Team Day, Part 1: From the Postojna Caves to the Adriatic Sea

The village church bells have just tolled in the midnight hour, so I really should be sleeping instead of blogging out here on the balcony in the light of a nearly-full moon. But when there’s a random accordion, tuba and trumpet playing an off-key waltz to the somewhat harmonic singing of late night revelers somewhere a few properties away—well, let’s just say circumstances aren’t conducive to sleep just now anyway. So I may as well catch up on writing about our experiences traveling across Slovenia on a team-building excursion to recharge after the previous two weeks of active ministry.

Excitement was running high last Friday, a day which awoke to the sight of we eight Canadians climbing into our beloved “Canadian Mule” cube van and driving off into the horizon.  For two hours the cornfields and country-scape to which we had grown accustomed gave way to beautiful, forested foothills as we cruised down the highway. At last, the Mule pulled into our first destination: the famous Postojna Caves.

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Monday, 18 July 2016

Of Camping and Cornfields

Okay, so I have a lot of blogging to catch up on, and this cornfield just outside village limits seemed the perfect place to do it. We have more morning personal time today, but I’m simply not built to spend that long in the house if at all possible—especially in a country like this. Thus, this morning saw me sneak out of the building with my laptop and a handful of European chocolates stashed in my DIY backpack, bound for where I now sit typing on the ground, a few meters deep into an ocean of high green stalks. Looking up, I can just see patches of blue-and-clouded mixed sky between their distinctive narrow leaves. But back to the point of this exercise: writing about our two-day excursion to a young adult camp last week: 

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