To the day, it’s almost exactly a year and a half since I left my British life and countless routines behind for what would be quite an adventure. At this point, I have the exciting privilege of having friends all over the world, but that brings a variety of challenges; one of those is keeping up to date with everyone. After more than a full year in Canada, it’s about time I posted an update.
I’m in my second year at Millar College of the Bible studying for a degree in Biblical Studies. The college is a special place; the small student body (of around 70ish) live on the campus, which, by summer turns into Sunnybrae Bible Camp, I have learnt a huge amount, with subjects covering things like the Torah, Acts, Hermeneutics, Homiletics and Man of Sin (amongst many others too). Currently we’re deep into Isaiah (one of the books I was most looking forward to studying when I enrolled at the college), Romans and the Old Testament historical books, and over the course of the last year I’ve had the chance to write research papers on a variety of topics such as the meaning of ‘worship’, the Holy Spirit and the various positions on creation. Basically, it’s been pretty cool!
I have had the opportunity over both academic years to be on the touring worship team at Millar, which has given me the opportunity to serve churches in the area and see a little bit of British Columbia (the province I live in) too which is nice! This year, I have the privilege of helping to oversee the four worship teams here under the oversight of Jorin Green, a professor here. He gives me a huge amount of freedom so it’s really nice to have that little sense of my previous life here. Last week I taught a class on music theory which I find hugely exciting…even if the other students don’t!
THE OPEN UNIVERSITY
I’m in the final module of my part-time degree in Leadership and Management. I started it way back in 2009 so I’m looking forward to finishing it in March and finally having my first degree! My current module is all about innovation and entrepreneurship which is interesting, but time consuming.
I was assigned a church in my first few weeks (as I didn’t know any of them), and now I can say with confidence that Dallas Barnhartvale Baptist Church, a small community in the neighbouring city of Kamloops, is home. I get to be a part of the worship team there which is really exciting! The team is made up of some seriously awesome people who have gone to great lengths to make me feel at home here in Canada. The Elliason family (the children of which form a large part of the worship team), along with the Jones family (in Olds, Alberta) have really made me feel like I have a sense of family here. I appreciate them hugely.
SUNNYBRAE BIBLE CAMP
Over the summer, I was asked to work at Sunnybrae Bible Camp as the Chapel Coordinator and the Head Guy’s Councilor. The chapel coordinator role was very similar to what I did back in England, so I felt fairly comfortable with it but the councilor role was quite different from anything I’d done before! My job was to look after the cabin leaders each week, make sure they were fully supported and make sure everything was running smoothly. Honestly, I found it quite difficult to learn the role and but after a rocky few weeks, I think I finally started to get the hang of it. Despite getting to drive boats on the most beautiful lake imaginable as part of my job description, the biggest privilege by far was getting to see countless young people make decisions to follow Jesus. It was an incredible summer.
TOUGH TIMES AND TRAVELS
At around Christmas time (ish), my mum was diagnosed with cancer and after an operation in late January things were starting to get a bit scary for the family. It was clear (and understandable) that mum was feeling the strain considerably, so thanks to the incredible kindness of some very special people in my life I was able to fly home and surprise her. It was one of the best moments of the year…I actually recorded it:
In July I went back to England again to be best man for my best friend which really cool! I’d never been a best man before so was terrified, but the wedding was amazing and I got to catch up with people too which was great. Unfortunately I was only back for a week as things were super busy at the camp but it was great to be a part of it.
Over Canadian thanksgiving weekend, I went on a road trip with two other Millar students that covered Seattle, Portland, Redding (and Bethel), Los Angeles, Palm Springs Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, and Salt Lake City…in four days. It was super intense but a once in a lifetime experience for sure. Another video below:
Finally, on Saturday we leave for a two week missions trip to Mexico. The way that God provided for the trip was just amazing (see financial stuff below) and I can’t wait to experience Mexican culture, learn more about missions and hopefully help the community that we’re going to be a part of.
This is a really important part of the update for me. One of the values I really appreciated during my time at Kerith Community Church is transparency with finances and I want to make sure that I’m the same way, especially in a season when I am so dependent on God’s provision to be at school. And really, this is all a wonderful story of God’s provision:
Ok. God had provided everything I needed for my first year of Bible school, and during my ‘GoFundMe’ season I was very open about the fact that that money would also provide for my flight to England for the Hulme wedding (around £1200).
In February as I was worried about flying home to be with my mum, I was hugely blessed by friends financially, and actually had to send back money as I’d been given too much! What an honour!
I needed around $6,500 for the first semester of my second year at Millar. As well as being paid around $4,000 by Sunnybrae for the summer of work, I received a bursary from both Sunnybrae and Millar of $1,000 each. The rest was made up with music composition (audiojungle.com) and graphic design work.
The road trip would be hugely expensive were I to travel from England, but because we drove our friend’s little Golf (diesel), lived off of Mr Noodles ($0.40 each) and Macdonalds and slept in the car (or not at all), the whole trip cost a total of £100 each (more than the £65 we initially calculated). Pretty exciting!
I initially couldn’t go on the Mexico trip, but kept praying that God would provide the finances if it was His will for me to go. That continued until the final day for signups, and I prayed one last time for finances. Within an hour or so I received an email from the Hulme family. Dave’s parents asked if they could pay for half of my flights to England for the wedding…which worked out as almost exactly the $980 I needed to go to Mexico! I strongly believe that God used the Hulme family to provide the finances I needed to go on the trip.
So that leaves me looking to next semester. Currently, I have around a third of the finances that I need to pay for next semester. Around $1000 came from a gift from Kerith Community Church in England, while the rest is a result of my position working for Millar to oversee the worship teams. Honestly, I don’t know where the rest of the finances are going to come from, but in the last two years God has continually provided in amazing ways and I don’t believe He is about to stop now, as long as this is His will for me. So, if you pray, I would hugely appreciate your prayers for the next semester!
My final Open University course (as with the entire course) was paid for by a combination of my own finances, previous savings from my full-time job (that was always put aside), a bursary from the Open University itself and parental support
I appreciate that many of you will not have made it this far, but if you have, thank you! I know that I’m exactly where God wants me to be and I’m excited to see Him continue to move in my life over the next season. Again, if you pray, I would hugely appreciate your prayers for me to be diligent with this heavy workload, with my finances, and provide opportunities for me to share the Gospel with people (it can be difficult when living in the college bubble!). Thank you!!