Summer Re-cap

Explore! Wilderness Adventures

By: Matt Peters, Explore! Program Director

Praying before eating a meal is something that Christians do regularly. It makes sense to communicate to our creator and saviour and thank him for the provisions and blessings of the day. On our Explore! Wilderness Adventures (or Explore!) trips we find that some days become busy as we’re hiking, fishing, exploring, and often travelling through weather systems and the elements. One thing we always take a few moments to do is stop our busyness and thank God, our provider, for what He has given us before each and every meal. This has sparked some neat conversations with our youth about what they’re thankful for and also some thinking about things they may have been taking for granted.

As the program director of Explore! I have been seeing firsthand the provision of God into this life-changing program. First off my wife, Cheryl (Assistant Manager here at LBE), and I have been very blessed with dedicated supporters in our salary raising to be able to do what we do here at Living Bible Explorers. From a program side of things we have seen Explore! acquire 5 brand new canoes through generous donors, a van that runs on vegetable oil, and lastly, 2 amazing leaders, Brent Murray and Sarah Froese who volunteered their whole summer to lead trips alongside me.

One of those trip leaders, Sarah spent 3 months leading youth with us, here is what she had to say about her experience:

“Being involved with Explore! this summer has both challenged and inspired me. Even before I approached Living Bible Explorers this spring I felt God calling me to surrender my plans for this season to Him. Reflecting on my experience with Explore! I can definitely see how God’s plans are often larger and far better than our own. I was initially drawn to Explore! by the opportunity to impact teen’s lives through Christ, while spending an outrageous amount of time outside. I have been blessed to be able to share God’s love and hope with the youth as I have gotten to know many of them, and have experienced God both through these relationships and the beauty of this creation we find ourselves in.

Over these past weeks God has been working in my heart, placing in me a desire to continue working to bring wholeness and unity to the city of Winnipeg. I have been impressed with the need that this city has for transformation. Each and every individual – man, woman, child – no matter where they are from – north, east, south, west – has a need for God. Everyone’s situation is different, but God is able to take all circumstances and work in ways we couldn’t have imagined.

If you are looking for a meaningful summer experience that will push you out of your comfort zone, challenge your perspectives, and compel you to rely on God’s strength, Explore! Wilderness Adventures may be the place for you.”


Fighting the Bear Jr. Teens Camp

By: Mark Henkelman, Teen Program Coordinator

A few years back, while working at a camp in the Whiteshell, I came face to face with a black bear. As I left our evening campfire I rounded a corner on the path back to the main camp and there only a half dozen feet in front of me was the dark shape of the bear. We both blinked at each other in shock for a few moments before I raised my arms over my head and yelled at it to ‘Shoo!’ Thankfully it listened and ran off but not before setting off a chain of events in me.

When God created us he did a remarkable job of equipping us to deal with danger (bears for example). He wired us to go in to what has become known as “fight or flight mode”. This is where our bodies produce hormones and chemicals that heighten our awareness, increase our heart rate, and control blood flow to prevent serious injury among other things. Our bodies respond to prepare us to either fight or flee from whatever the threat is that we are facing, be it a dangerous storm, a wild predator like a wolf or bear, or even a home situation that is violent or unstable.

Dr. Burke Harris, an expert on stress and adolescent development explains that same response, but in the context of teens living in stressful home situations: “that’s really good if you’re in a forest and there’s a bear. The problem is when that bear comes home from the bar every night.” Dr. Burke Harris says “that for these kids, the bear basically never goes away. They still feel its effects even when they’re just trying to sit there quietly in English class.” For our summer staff, volunteers and myself, our challenge is to walk with these kids through their stress and help them reach a place of healing.

This summer we spent a week at Explorers Bible Camp with our junior high teens, which was great. But, in the midst of the fun of swimming, canoeing, archery games and listening to our excellent speaker Brad Warkentin, the effects of ‘the bear’ showed up.

Several of the teens really struggled even in the safe environment we provide. One girl spent the first half of the week rebelling at every turn, pushing her cabin leaders away and attempting to disrupt and distract during activities and campfire. When I sat down with her to discuss her behaviour she started out angry but by the end was crying as she told us about how her unstable home situation was causing so much stress and pain. She was acting out in the midst of our peaceful camp because she didn’t know how to handle peace when so much of the last few months of her life have been chaos.

As the week went on there was slow and steady progress as she realized what safety can actually be like. To the point where at one of the campfires she came up to me asking for help to work through her anger and stress. In that moment I was so grateful for the witness of the camp staff in her life, staff who have faithfully been modelling the stability they have found in Jesus.

Her story is not a unique one, I could tell you the stories of a half dozen other teens at our camp last week who, when they were able to rest in a safe and peaceful place, were able to begin, by the power our God, to break the cycle of stress and anxiety that their inner-city lives has them trapped in.

I am encouraged by these stories and the many others that have come out of a busy and rewarding summer of ministry with our teens. As we move into the home stretch this summer, I would encourage you all with the knowledge that the same God who brought healing to the demon possessed man in Mark 5 is at work in our teens’ lives this summer bringing healing from ‘the bear’ of stress and fear that grips so many of them.


 

Rain on the Roof Explorers Bible Camp (2)

By: Allie Fligg, Explorers Bible Camp Summer Director

On the Thursday night of our second week of camp, it rained like we had never seen before. It came down in buckets. As the majority of our camp activities take place outside, including meals, chapel times, and swimming, this made us (the directors) nervous. So, changing our original plan of having our chapel around the campfire, we gathered all of the children into our empty cabin (which also acts as our rain shelter) for chapel.

We were uncertain as to how the evening would progress, as the new environment, combined with their excitement from the day, and being tired from a full week of camp could make it difficult for them to listen before bed and easier to fool around. However, all of our concerns were gone once we began praise and worship. The children sang so genuinely. Their voices echoed throughout the cabin, and mingled with the guitar and the rain on the roof. It was beautiful. That chapel turned out to be the best one of the week. The children prayed to receive gifts of the Holy Spirit, and their counsellors prayed for them all individually. The Holy Spirit’s work was evident, and the children and the leaders were blessed.

For us directors, it was an example of how the Lord can take situations that are out of our control and use them for His purposes. Many children were impacted that night, not because of our planning or the work we did, but because of what God did. We know that God works through us to love the children and to make a difference in their lives; but at the end of the day, it is the grace and love of God that we rely on.


Summer Adventures

By: Nicola Plett, Summer Adventures Program Director

We are so excited about what has been happening with our club program, Summer Adventures! Danae, Bryn and I (Nicola), have been having so much fun with the kids and volunteers that come every week. We have had so many fun activities and field trips which have made the summer awesome so far. Clubs have gone to Assiniboine Park, done painting projects, danced, played baseball and soccer, cooked and more. We have also been learning about God’s truths in a variety of Bible times and lessons.

One of the goals of Summer Adventures is to recruit and sign up new families to LBE. We have been able to sign up approximately 20 new families so far! The children who are new to LBE have been excited about coming and many of them are hearing the Gospel for the very first time. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will draw them into the heart of God as these seeds are planted.

Family beach days have also been amazing. Though numbers have fluctuated from week to week (from 22 to 90 people), God has always provided us with the amount of food and volunteers needed to make these beach days a success. Our beach days are great opportunities for inner city families who don’t have access to a vehicle to get out of the city for a day and enjoy time together at the beach. It is truly a gift to get to see the families enjoying themselves and interacting with each other at Bird’s Hill. We want to thank our regular supporters who fund our buses and vehicles which enables us to host these beach days.

In clubs each week there are opportunities to have conversations with the children and pray with them. Through this we have seen children make new decisions to follow Jesus. For example, after only their first week of sports club, Ben Kroeker and Adam Schmidt of West End Alive reported that they had many kids eager to accept Jesus and share their decision with leaders.

This time in small groups or in one-on-one interactions is great for building relationships with kids and building into their relationships with God. I had the opportunity after a big painting project in dance club to talk with a boy as I helped him wash up. This time was precious because it gave me a chance to talk individually with him and talk about Jesus in an informal and organic way. These are the times that I can very clearly see God working in the lives of our kids.

We want to give a special thank you to our host locations: Grace Point Church, First Nations Community Church, and Mission Baptist Church, as well as Gwen & Norm Neufeld, our club volunteers, and our lunch assembling volunteers for making the summer as great as it has been so far.