2014 has been quite a whirlwind. Nine months ago, I was in the midst of planning New Year’s Resolutions for a precarious trajectory that was due to shatter at any moment. However, God knew that and there were other plans afoot. I last posted on this page from Singapore following a life changing three-months of theological training. The memories linger but time, as ever, marches inexorably forward. Following a month back in England and a week celebrating the marriage of two of my closest friends in Lithuania, I arrived in Canada to study at Millar College of the Bible. This is my home now – at least until April. Who knows what the future holds after that?
So, given the prolonged nature of my stay here and following a number of requests, I thought I’d send out a brief update as to where I am, what I’m doing etc. If you find this boring, I don’t blame you. Scroll to the bottom and there’s a video that might be a little more interesting…but only a little.
Almost all the students live on the stunning campus, facing a gorgeous lake and next to Mount Bastion. There’s an indoor gymnasium, outdoor football pitch, volleyball and basketball courts and various places to relax which is fantastic – though when the cold weather sets in the students probably won’t use them so much. As for my room, I’m sharing with three other guys – each of us have a bunk with a desk underneath (where I’m currently sitting) and the bathroom is attached.
I’m a ‘freshman’ in the school of around sixty students. My weekday routine usually involves waking at 5:45 and after showering, studying for an hour before breakfast which, with every other meal, is served in the campus dining hall. Lectures begin at 08:00 and finish at 12:30, with a brief break for chapel at 10:00. So far, we’ve covered ‘Bible Overview’, ‘Essentials of Discipleship’, ‘Written Communication’, ‘An Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels’ and ‘The Torah’. I’m thoroughly enjoying it, though much time is taken up with assignments and required reading. This is partly because I have two Open University modules (one in marketing and one in introductory Mandarin Chinese) starting at the weekend so I want to cover as much as possible before that! The teaching is phenomenal, as is the wider staff in general. It’s a fantastic school to be a part of.
As well as the aforementioned outdoor opportunities, we also have the privilege of being able to grab a kayak or canoe whenever we want and take to the lake, which is by far been one of my favourite things to do. A few weeks ago a group of us crossed the lake and back, which took us about two hours. I loved every second!
One of the optional modules I signed up for was ‘Outdoor Edge’, a class that incorporates theology with the outdoors. As part of that course, we’ve been able to go rock-climbing, waterfall traversing and last weekend we went on a mandatory camping trip to Clearwater Falls. Although it was incredibly tiring (and very cold), the scenery made it totally worth it. Also, the men managed to fit thirteen guys in a ten-man tent, which, believe me, is no small achievement!
The Worship Team
Having been almost six months since I finished my job at Kerith Community Church, it’s also been that long since I served regularly in a worship team context. Although I had the opportunity to lead at a conference in England as well as the Kerith youth camp, I’ve been itching to serve in a regular capacity again. I’m hugely grateful to be on one of the chapel teams at Millar, as well as getting the opportunity to serve in a music director capacity for ‘Emmaus’, a team put together with the intention of doing external ministry. For my long-term followers and friends, you’ll understand how excited I am for this opportunity as it reminds me of the Ethos era that holds such a prominent place in my heart. I’m serving as a keyboard player for both teams, which I’m sure will amuse my friends back home – but I get to play with my techno-geekery so I’m extremely pleased with this opportunity!
As with Singapore, I feel settled remarkably quickly. One of the most amazing things about the global church is the sense of community wherever you go and that has certainly hugely blessed me. Of course, I miss my family and friends, but I feel totally confident that I am exactly where God wants me to be for this time. I’m currently making plans for the breaks – the first in October and of course, Christmas. I’m not 100% sure what I will do but I’m sure it’ll be an adventure!
Finally, thank you so much for all of your messages and encouragements over the last month. I hugely appreciate hearing from you and although the time difference is a bit of a nightmare, it really means a lot.
I will be posting video updates at periodic intervals, but because of the level of routine and the fact that I have only left campus five times in three weeks, there is simply not enough to post every week! For now, I hope you enjoy this second video update! Thanks again,