Hello CLBI blog!

This is the last update from Team East Asia. We have been back for 3 weeks now, almost as long as we were gone. We have all been processing our trip well and we have adjusted back to our life in Canada.

We really enjoyed our time in East Asia and were very sad to leave. It was emotional having to say goodbye to our new friends. We are very thankful for technology to keep in contact with the people we grew close to on our trip. We felt so cared for while we were there.

20170316_160234

Lukes favourite pet duck

Although leaving was hard, it shows the depth of the friendships we were able to create, of which we are very thankful for. The friendly atmosphere of the coffee shop and the staff which God is so evidently working through is not something we will soon forget.

20170319_185008

Our last, rainy day, in East Asia

We all hope to visit again someday. We have learned a lot about short and long-term trips and look forward to opportunities God may provide for us in the future.

IMG_1480

Palm trees

We want to say thank you to everyone who prayed for our trip. It was very encouraging to know that we had so many people back home praying for us and the people we would meet.  We urge you to continue praying for East Asia as the area where we were placed desperately needs people working in and with the local people.

Our specific prayer requests:

  • That God would provide long-term staff for the coffee shop
  • That believers would find favour with the government
  • That God would continue to work in the hearts of the people we were in contact with
  • That we will continue to process our experience well and discern where God is calling us in the future

Signing out for the last time,

Team East Asia

Hello from Team South Africa.

First off, a huge thank you to those who have supported us financially and in prayer. We could not have experienced what we did without your support. Thank you to those who took the time to check up on us and who took the time to read our updates, we really appreciate the support.

IMG-20170314-WA0013

We have been back in Canada for about two weeks now. Our flights back were especially long but we arrived safely and were thankful to finally fall into our own beds. Thankfully, we were all able to get over jetlag quickly, however, classes were a whole other story.

IMG-20170304-WA0003

The cold too was a bit of a shock, but we are now adjusted to the temperature.  We are missing the sun and heat and laid back culture of South Africa. We’ve found it rather difficult to be back in a time orientated community. As some of you may know, we were the last team to arrive, meaning fewer days to prepare for both our presentation and class the next Monday. A lot of life had been awaiting us back in the west and it’s been difficult to stay afloat.
IMG-20170324-WA0001

All that said, we have enjoyed seeing our family and friends once again and are feeling more acclimated each day.

We are still in contact with friends back in Hout Bay. Often they tell of how they miss us and we all feel the same. They speak of coming to Canada for school, or to fight moose and deer. In any case, we hope to see them again.

20170322031601

Until that day, we’ll all be praying that the work we got the honour of participating in would continue to be brought into fulfilment. All of our love and thanks to them, to you, and to our heavenly Father for those short weeks in South Africa.

 

-Grant

Greetings from Team Kenya,

We have safety returned from Kenya and have returned back to our normal routines.  The memories from our trip still linger in our minds but they seem very distant and far removed.  But this does not mean that the trip has not impacted us.  There is not a day that passes that we do not remember the time in Kenya and all the lessons we learned and experiences that we had.  Before going on our trip we felt very burned out with our preparations along with the burden of classes but now we feel renewed and refreshed by our new experience.  We feel like our experiences in Kenya transfer well to the new concepts and ideas that we have been learning in class.  We praise God that we have been able to integrate back into Canadian culture while at the same time viewing our own culture with new eyes.

Please pray that as we continue to debrief, God would continue to bless us with new insights and revelations.  Here are some other pray requests we have:

 

~For people who are enduring the drought and dying of anger

~For Heart-to-Heart Ministries as they continue to minister to the poor and vulnerable in Nairobi

~Praise for Faraja Children’s Home as they work to bring God’s light into the hearts of children and neighbouring Muslims

~Against rampant and unchecked corruption in the government, courts, and church

~For peaceful and non-violent elections in August

Thank you again for all your prayers and support.  Without you, this trip would not have been possible.

 

– Team Kenya Signing off

As I stood in the Chinggis Khaan International Airport, all I could think was, “I’m not ready.” I was not ready for home. I was not ready to face the reality of what home brings; which to me meant more processing, busyness, decision-making, and not having our new friends with us. I was becoming afraid that when we returned, the changes God had made in us would either be too big for us to easily fit back into things, or that the changes would go undetected.
Within the first hours of being back in Alberta, each one of us was feeling a multitude of different things. There was so much joy as our family and friends met us at the airport, excitement as we shared our favourite stories of laughter, exploration, and the works of Christ, and of course, we felt exhausted. The two first things quickly fade when your body notifies you that you haven’t slept for over 24 hours!
17918590_10154855841919300_1845133121_n

In the first few days, there was a lot of time for reflection in-between recovery sleep, which came often at very odd times. In this time of reflection, we were able to see things more clear. We began to understand why we were frustrated at times, why we may have been afraid, and that the good we did was so evidently God and not us. To put it into simpler terms all the things we could write about how God has been working would be to say God has been showing us his immense love and his deep care.
Earlier I wrote that I was not ready to come home and I realized that it wasn’t necessarily because I didn’t want to leave Mongolia (even though we loved it!), it was also because I didn’t want to say goodbye to the new adventure. Of course, God spoke directly to this in a very large way when we were in Beijing for 20 hours and he set it up perfectly for us to go to the Great Wall. It was over an hour-long process to get to the Wall and we were only there for 15ish minutes before panicking because of our flight times, but oh my goodness it was so worth it. I feel as though God did this to show us more beauty, more love, and one last great adventure before stepping on the plane for home.

17916914_10154855839559300_167051745_o

Yes, it has been crazy busy since being back, and a bit overwhelming at times, but God has not stopped answering our prayers and has granted each of us peace with our trip and where we are at in life. Mongolia will be impossible to forget and is continuing to transform us. The best part is that this story is so far from done and even though it’s hard for me to see, the adventures don’t stop and neither does God’s work. So we praise God for this gift and ask him to continue his restoration.

Thank you so much!

-Team Mongolia

Greetings from team South Africa!

It is now only one week left of our missions experience. Crazy! This week has been a bit different than the others weeks we’ve had. As I mentioned in the other post, there has been some fires in the area that have affected a lot of individuals in Hout Bay. In the community of Imizamo Yethu, there was a fire that burnt down around 3,000 shacks. More than 10,000 individuals were left homeless. So on Monday, we headed to IY to help with registering folk to get more supplies for their houses. On Tuesday when we were helping distribute clothing on the soccer field, there was a little boy that was lying in the middle of the field who had wet himself from waist to toe. We found him some new clothes and then proceeded to try and find his mother. Long story short, this turned into a “day care” of sorts for mothers who could drop off their kids while they sorted through clothes and pick them up afterwards. Although it seemed pretty chaotic at times, the mothers were so grateful to shop baby free.

image1

Fire in Imizamo Yethu

image2

Babies at our impromptu daycare

We also had the privilege of going on a little roadie (road trip) to an area of Cape Town called Stellenbosch, to participate in a kids sports ministry. So we slapped on our shoes and joined a tennis practice, and repeatedly were put to shame by 11-year-olds. It was awesome. Playing tennis also served as a good warm-up for our hike with the youth group from Bayview Baptist on Saturday. Lead by Pastor Burt all the way up to Chapmans Peak. The views were amazing.

image4

Mariah’s sassy tennis skills. Our “coaches” were amazing.

image5

Hiking up Chapman’s Peak with the youth group.

image6

Breathtaking view from the peak

“What might this week have in store for us?” is probably something you are all wondering. Well, let me tell you. This weekend is a long weekend for everyone in South Africa so not too much is happening event-wise. Mostly just saying our goodbyes, having a farewell party, and preparing for our trip back. Sad. Our flight leaves on Thursday evening and we land back in Edmonton on Saturday morning. Yipes. Three days of travelling–talk about quality time.

Some things to keep in your prayers:

Health – Russell has been battling a cold, which has made its way to Mariah and I. Stay strong, Grant. Pray that we will have the energy to finish our week strong.

To strengthen the hearts of those here and create a deeper passion for Christ. South Africa needs Christians to step out of their comfort zones and build relationships with those in the poor communities. It’s been crazy the effect just the four of us have had by being willing to walk around and get to know those in Hangberg.

Thank you for all your support! See you soon, Canada!!

Over the last little while the phrase, “we’re going on an adventure,” has slipped past Derrick’s mouth multiple times with what some may call a British accent. It all seemed to find its start as we were boarding a night train to Erdenet. General anticipation, and the sounds of the trains coming into the terminal, mixed with us hurrying to our cabin, made our hearts race and excitement grow. We are on an adventure.

17407829_10154777697009300_144824776_o

She took the midnight train to Erdenet

While on the incredibly hot train, we prayed and did debrief as a team. Our main prayer became, “Father, please surprise us – take us on your adventure.” There was something in each of us that wanted to see God’s greatness as our time in Mongolia came to an end; and oh, how our God does not disappoint.

17408313_10154777702719300_1458718743_o

Goat herders just before we went horseback riding, and our Swedish friend Jakob, who is one of the three short-term language students we became really great friends with.

We started off our time in Erdenet by working in a coffee shop where we met many amazing people. God granted us great conversations, lots of laughs, and surprises along the way. As much as the plan was to be in the coffee shop, we often found ourselves in other places with little warning. We ended up in a military school, a school for disabled children, a sports night with a church, a youth group night that was hosted by an American woman, and hiking and wandering around with some girls we had met through another English club. Each place God put us, he equipped us for the moment. In the times we were with secular groups he equipped us to evangelize and be in relationship, and in the times we were with local Christians he equipped us to lay down our preconceived notions of who he is in order to be a part of their lives and worship in unity. God is transforming our hearts and the hearts of the Mongolians day-by-day.

17407563_10154777699924300_1224217183_o

So long ago, Solongo (our guide) was looking out onto Erdenet

One night, La Dauna noticed that we had played the card game, “three blind mice,” almost everywhere we had been. She said that it’s interesting how the game we played the whole trip defines us. We are the four blind mice in Mongolia – we may have an idea or a plan, but we never know the outcome. As we are packing up for the trip home and getting ready to leave in a matter of hours, we still feel blind. A part of us is not ready to say “bayartai” (goodbye) to the incredible friends we’ve made, a part of us is looking back with adventure still in our hearts, and a part of us is fully aware how hard and yet easy it will be to come home. My hope for this trip was to fall in love with something about this place, and I am happy to say that we leave Mongolia feeling heavy today because we started to love.

17373317_10154777700994300_976440576_o

The road leading us to camels, horses, cow/yaks, eagles, and other great sightings

Join us in praying for those who do not know Christ in Mongolia, and in praising God for the outpouring of his love.

Hello everyone!

This is Team East Asia once again. These past few weeks have been incredible. They have also been challenging at times. We have had the opportunity to visit a few local homes. This has been a great experience and a great look into the lives of the people living here. Our new East Asian Aunt Mary hosted us for a meal and we were able to see her many animals. She also introduced us to the local community. She has been a great encourager and blessing to us.

20170316_160221

Aunt Mary and her animals

We have also been blessed by our experience at the foreign fellowship church that we have been attending. We have been deeply impacted by the sense of community. The expatriates in this area have an extraordinary connection to one another that is nothing short of His handiwork. It is inspiring and draws us in to be more instrumental in this field and opens many opportunities for growth and learning.

We were able to spend more time with our friend Sam who used to be a staff at the coffee shop and is now pursuing outreach opportunities. We had fun at KTV doing silly karaoke and eating American pizza. He was able to tell us how the type of work we are doing has been instrumental in his personal walk.

20170315_122319

The Chinese meal one of the teachers Susie and Aunt Mary made for us

Our daily activities are going well. The coffee shop has offered us many opportunities to share. Julia and Laura are now finished at the local Kindergarten and have been blessed by the children’s many hugs and encouragement from the hardworking teachers. Laura has visited the children’s English training centre for the last time. Through her experience there she has been blessed by her friendship with the teacher. The restaurant at which Chad and Luke have been volunteering has been very grateful for their help and very instrumental in their growth experience here. It has also fostered much learning and interest in possible future service.

mmexport1489558833837

Playing games with the children

One of the challenging things that we are dealing with is confusion over where He is calling us. We are very sad to be leaving soon and will miss the people we have met very much. We have started to say goodbye to people and are not looking forward to the rest of the goodbyes we will have to say.

Signing out,

Luchalaju