You gotta be a football hero (1935)

Monday, June 14, 2004

This is my first post in a while. I've been busy for the past couple of weeks so haven't had much time to write.

This week has been a mixture of boring, exciting, interesting and scary! Hmm...lots of different emotions there!

Lets start at the start of the week.
Richard left last weekend, but it was really good having him here, as I've said before.
On Monday we started our house clean up (Camp ended last Friday). Kevin, Greta and I cleaned the whole house and by 4:30pm we wanted to curl up and die! I thought it was bad enough doing the cleaning when there was 15 of us - but 3 of us is just mad and stupid! We had to pick the jobs we wanted to do, and I must've picked the easiest ones - 'clean mirror'...haha! I cleaned the bathroom and it was broken down nicely for me! But because I was then finished about 5 hours before the others, I had to help out!
Kevin left on Tuesday, which was sad because it meant that when Greta left on Wednesday (on holiday for a week), that I would be by myself!!
During the day the Urban Promise staff were here, so I wasn't alone then. I was given the task of cleaning out the supply room in the basement. This room was a complete state. It had boxes and books all over the floor and the table in the middle. The stuff on some of the shelves was relatively organised, but nothing else was! So I started cleaning out the drawers, and sorting things out into neat little piles in there. Everything was going well until I opened the tissue paper drawer and took out all the big pieces. Suddenly an enormous spider, with 10,000 legs, big goggly eyes, fangs and fur ran out at me! I jumped a mile...slammed the drawer shut...and walked away slowly! Ok so it wasn't quite that big, but I was still scared!!
I hate spiders so I refused to be down there by myself! I needed someone to take the stuff off the shelves for me and go through it before I would touch it! This meant that between Tuesday and Friday, I didn't spend too much time in there!
On Wednesday, Jeff and I went shopping for curtains and boring household things like that! It was nice to get out of the house though, and Jeff bought me a latte which made up for everything! We went to IKEA, which was very exciting! I could actually point at things and say "I have that!" or "My brothers got that in his flat in London!" I love IKEA! and it made me think of Emily and Ian who get married tomorrow! I wish I could've gone! I can't wait to see the photos!
Wednesday night was my first night by myself. Jeff was round in the evening with his daughter, Kiara, putting up the curtains in the living room. When he left, I had to be very brave and look after myself! This is a big house, so I was scared...but I got through the night!
On Thursday, again, I didn't venture into the basement much! I spent most of the day looking after Kiara! She spent most of the day screaming after her dad! I took her out for a couple of walks (in the rain!) and she was ok then..but when I got her back to the house, she'd start screaming again!!
Thursday night I went to Convergence, the young adults meeting at Broadway church. Every other week they have a worship and prayer night, and its more spontaneous. This week they opened up the mic to people who had things they wanted to say or things they wanted to pray about. For most of the evening I really felt like God was prompting me to say something, but as soon as I plucked up the courage to say it, someone would beat me to the mic and then we'd sing another song! Finally, at the end, There was a space where they were asking if anyone else had anything to say. I really felt that this was my I stood up and walked to the front. I was very nervous. I said that I really felt like I should encourage everybody there. I have been going to 8 weeks, and I have another 6 and I've been made to feel very welcome. I've learned a lot from them that I know I can take away with me, and I hope to continue learning more. I felt that God wanted to bless them in different ways, like in numbers, financially, and in their own individual lives. They need to open their doors, then open their mouths and continue to make people feel welcome and God will really bless them for it, as they continue to grow in number. I then prayed for them, thanking God for them and their willingness to follow him, and the way they just worshipped together...then I sat down - shaking!!! Scary!
It was really good though because at the end a couple of people came to me and thanked me for that, saying they had been praying into those things, like financial stuff, growth in numbers, and blessings on people individually, so what I said actually had some meaning to them.
Isn't it great when you know you've said something that means so much to somebody else. It was good to just encourage them.

On Friday, I finally managed to get into the basement, and in less than 2 hours, Jeff and I had the whole room tidy and organised! It looks so much better - if people mess it up, they will know the wrath of me!!!! I also stamped the address of Urban Promise onto 1700 envelopes, and then sorted loads of tshirts into size/colour, and then into piles for each person working in the summer. It was quite a busy day altogether, but good to get some things done and out the way!
On Friday night I went to see an American preacher called John MacArthur. I hope I never have to see him preach again! I really didn't like him!!
He spoke about how people water down the gospel so it loses its meaning. He said we shouldn't culturalise it, but just say it how it is - that people are going to hell. He said this would make them so desperate that they would turn to God.
For starters - Jesus culturalised the gospel! I'm guessing this preacher has never read the parables.
Secondly, I don't agree with scaring people into becomming Christians. "You're going to Hell! Repent!" Wheres the love in that?
He also named the purpose driven life as a book he didn't like, because it says "say this prayer and you'll have salvation". Something tells me he only read the last page. The whole book is about finding your purpose for being here, which all comes back to salvation. You cannot just say that prayer from that book without responding to the whole book and what it says! It made me angry that he actually named the book infront of 1100 people.
Then he said we shouldn't make salvation look easy, but we should tell people that its hard. If you were given a maths task and someone said it was hard, would you want to do it?!
I could write pages about everything I disagreed with, but I won't!!!
At the very end a man stood up and said "John is such a great, humble man!" I didn't see any evidence of humility, especially as he was currently outside getting ready to do a book signing!!! Maybe I'm being a big judgemental, but he left a bad impression in my mind!!!
Anyway, enough of him...I then went home and a few people from Broadway came round. We got some food and talked for a while. I went to bed that night, and for some reason, it was the first night when I actually felt really scared about being on my own. I kept thinking I could hear things and thinking that someone was in my bedroom. I prayed outloud for a good nights sleep, and protection! I had both!
Saturday was quite a boring day. I went to Metrotown (shopping centre) to take back 2 tshirts and got something for my dad for fathers day that I could send in the post. I wondered round for a bit, then came back to a big empty house! I had a message on the phone though, from Sam, an intern I was with 2 years ago. So we met up that night, got some food and some coffee. Then she decided to stay we rented a film (mona lisa smile), talked for a while and went to bed! That was nice because I didn't fancy spending that night by myself.
Sunday morning was terrible...I couldn't watch the England Vs France game because it was on channel 30, and we only have up to 29!! So I didn't go to church, and listened to it on Five live, via the internet.
At half time, I rang Phil because I knew everybody was round at his I spoke to phil, rach H, rach W, anna, leo, sharon, JB...It was really nice to hear them and talk to them!! It was also nice because at the time, england were winning!!
Injury time came and went...and some I was devestated. How could they have let in a goal and given away a penalty. I wanted to cry - but its not over yet! COME ON ENGLAND!!!
I went to church last night..came home, hoovered and clean up in the kitchen, watched some tv, did some work on the project thing I'm doing for my internship - and went to bed! I sat up for ages reading (I'm reading Harry Potter again!!), then went to sleep. It was a good night, I wasn't too scared!
That was my last night alone. Tonight, Phil and Rach H arrive! I'm so excited! Rachael didn't know until Saturday and apparently she thought Phil was going to turn round and say "Only joking we're going to Bognor Regis really!" Hopefully she believes him now though, because they're on the plane as we speak!!

I have just 1 more thing to say - HOW CAN JIMMY LEAVE WALSALL?!
I heard he just took his testimonial money and left Justine's not too pleased with him! We better have an even better replacement! From New Zealand isn't he?! Or did I read that wrong in Justine's email?!

Is football coming home this year? Answers on a postcard please. I think not, but that doesn't mean I'm not wishing!!!
C'MON ENGLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

graced by Gemma @ 9:28 pm | |

Ski Lift to Death (1973)

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

I can't believe I have been here for over 6 weeks now. Its going so quickly, but at the same time I still miss home. I got to see a little bit more of British Columbia over the past couple of days, and there is no way I can describe how amazing this place is so that you can even come close to understanding!
Richard has been here for a week now, and its been really good having somebody here who is actually on holiday rather than just living here but wandering around every so often! This meant I was able to see Vancouver more from a sightseeing point of view and its such a beautiful city.
Unfortunately, however, I only get to spend morning and evenings with him as I still have to go to camp. In the mornings we've wondered around downtown, drank coffee, and looked in shops-different places in Vancouver I rarely get the chance to go to. Our evenings have mainly been spent going out to eat and drink and/or the cinema! We saw 'Troy' last week. I thought it was good, but Richard didn't really like it. I'm not totally familiar with the full story though so I don't know if the film was very accurate. I just liked it because of Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom!
This weekend was good. We went to Whistler, or as Justine called it - Swizzle! Whistler is not a lollypop! Its apparently the best ski resort in North America and probably the world. Before you slip into a state of confusion and shock - no I didn't go skiing! They have slopes open almost all year round and we saw a lot of people with snowboards, etc.
We rented a car and Richard drove (believe it or not - we didn't crash!!!). The view was amazing. It was a coastal road along the mountains. There was a lot of viewing points so we stopped to take some photos. Pray that turn out ok!
We decided to stop for coffee along the way at a cafe in a place called 'Lions Bay'. Richard, however, started to panic because of the steepness of a hill and the car came to a sudden halt as we were on it! The car, of course, was an automatic so there was no clutch to hold the car on a hill so Rich was panicking about putting his foot back on the accelerator! We were just praying nothing came down the hill! We finally got to the cafe safely (without the car flipping over as Richard was so convinced it would!) only to be annoyed by a man in a turban who kept lifting wood up on a big machine thing and dangling it over our heads!
So we kept driving along this amazing road to Shannon Falls. This is a big waterfall coming down the side of a mountain. You can walk right up to it, so we did and took some photos there too.
Our next stop to 'Swizzle' was in a town called Squamish. We were amused because there was a sign for the 'city centre' but the whole town was as big as Bloxwich High street! The most exciting thing was Starbucks and theres one of these on every corner of Vancouver! The backdrop to this town was amazing though.
Eventually we made it to Whistler and found the hostel we were staying in, although we couldn't book in till later. So we drove into Whistler village and looked around the shops there. We went to 'Roots' who make the olympic gear for Canada, USA, Great Britain and someone else! I saw an amazing official GB top and I really want if somebody wants to contribute 45 pounds - I will be your best friend!!!
We managed to find enough to do before we could book into the hostel. So we took our things upstairs, watched The Simpsons, then caught the bus back to Whistler Village where we went to the cinema (again).
I really didn't want to see this film, especially for $12.50! But I went because Richard wanted to - and I have to say it was possibly the most ridiculous, yet funny film ever! We saw 'The Day after Tomorrow'. Its about an ice shelf breaking away in Antarctica and melting into the water so the distribution of water and salt was unequal, causing major changes in the earths climate!!! This meant the start of a new ice age...the changes began with LA being destroyed by multiple tornadoes, snow in India, and huge hail stones that kill people in Tokyo! Finally, huge snowstorms moved south across Siberia, Europe, and North America. Yet again New York City was destroyed, and one man trekked across NYC on foot to save his son, even though it was him who had warned people that if there were outside when the eye of the storm hit - they would instantly freeze to death! Then if this couldn't be any more ridiculous - they threw in some man eating wolves that escaped from New York Zoo! If you get the chance to see this film - go! or don't! It really won't affect your life either way! Good for a laugh though!
So we left the cinema, convinced that it was the end of the world because it was still raining (after 3 or 4 days since it first started!)!!! We went to the Spaghetti Factory to eat, got a drink...then went back to the hostel to bed!
Sunday was quite a good day as we did a lot of driving. We went back into Whistler Village, but only for breakfast as it was STILL raining so we didn't go on the gondola to the top of the mountain because we wouldn't have been able to see anything! So we left and carried on driving North to the next Town. We stopped at Nairn Falls on the way, another amazing natural waterfall. We had to walk 1.5km to get there, which turned out to be quite a nice walk! We were constantly on the look out for Big Black Bears and Boa Constrictors though, because a sign told us to! I was gutted that I didn't get to see a bear though - even though I don't fancy having my eyes ripped out!
We continued into Pemberton, the next town, which was an amazing drive again! This time we had left the Coast and were driving right through the mountains...most of which still had snow on the top. We arrived in Pemberton and were soon beginning to realise that the only point of this journey was the scenery! This town was like a town from a western film and I expected John Wayne to ask me to attend the local dance! Because if I was there at the time, he would've asked - you know its true!
I was very suprised that there was no starbucks in Pemberton, but there was a McDonalds that almost made up for it! We stayed just long enough to eat a Big Mac, then we left and began the journey back to Vancouver, stopping again in Squamish for coffee.
The most amusing part of the journey home was when we actually arrived in Downtown Vancouver and were trying to find our way to the house. Richard refused to turn left at crossroads, so we kept having to go the wrong way and turn round, then come back. It was also confusing because sometimes they have flashing red or green lights. Don't ask me what this means, but when it was flashing red EVERYBODY was moving from all four directions!!! Man!
So this was our thrilling weekend! It was good...I love driving in the mountains here - they're so amazing!
The other thing from the weekend that I'd like to mention is last night, we were standing outside looking at the stars and suddenly Greta slapped me on the forehead! Her excuse was that there was a mosquito on my head! I did then find one on my arm, but I don't believe it was the same one!!! I think she pretended just to slap me! I told her to be careful because one day she will receive a mozzie slap!
Last Thursday night was also quite exciting.
I was lying in bed reading Treasure Island (I finished all 7 Narnia books now!), and suddenly I heard voices. I thought it was people downstairs, but then realised it was coming from the alley at the back of our house. I looked out the window and saw a man standing there but could hear a womans voice. She was hysterical, screaming and crying and shouting "GET OFF ME! LEAVE ME ALONE!" I honestly thought she was being raped or something. I didn't know what to do. Then she shouted "YOU NEVER HIT A WOMAN AND YOU HIT ME 6 TIMES! GET AWAY FROM ME!" She was hysterical. At this point, he decided he wanted to go home but she refused to go with him, so he dragged her along the floor, and she screamed louder and louder. Eventually he lashed out and I don't know if he actually hit her then but she suddenly went silent. At this point I went downstairs and Greta had been woken up by them. So she rang the police and reported a domestic dispute. Within a few minutes 2 police cars, a police van and an ambulance had arrived and immediately put the handcuffs on the man. They spent 30-40 minutes talking to him and doing paperwork, while the girl was in the ambulance. She then came out and got in the police car, and they put him into a police van, and they drove off. I finally got to sleep about 4am! That was the first thing this has happened that I've witnessed! We don't have this episodes every night - don't worry!

Camp is going well. There are just 4 days left before the end of camp, then theres a break, then the summer camp begins on 5th July. Most of the kids are ok, and the girl who was causing me trouble had been ok with me until today when she decided not to listen to me again and wouldn't do as I asked! Thankfully theres not much time for her to be horrible again now, especially as I have tomorrow off too! 2 of the schools we get kids from have a day off, so theres only going to be around 5 or 6 kids at camp. Jeff gave me the day off and Richard and I are going to Grouse Mountain. I hope its a clear day so that we can see a lot of the city from there and take some good pictures. You go to the top on a cable car, and theres a restaurant and theatre and pub at the top, etc.

The main prayer request is that I have a lot to do over the next 3 weeks or so, between camp programmes. There will be about a 5 day period where I will be alone in the house, and I am really scared about spending nights here. My mom has suggested staying in the hostel for this time, as I can then also get some discount prices for day trips. We'll see though! I haven't decided yet. I get terrified in this house by myself, especially at night!!!

Kaja and Adam leave tomorrow, and kevin leaves next week. The house is getting very quiet!!!

Please keep emailing me regularly!!!

graced by Gemma @ 7:01 am | |

Shrek 2 (2004)

Saturday, May 22, 2004

See it!!
its hilarious!!
The first was very funny....this is sooooooooooooooo funny!

It has a good cast too...Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas, Rupert Everitt, John Cleese, and Jennifer Saunders!

I laughed from beginning to end!

graced by Gemma @ 6:12 pm | |

Hallelujah The Hills! (1963)

Thursday, May 20, 2004

I've had quite a packed week this last week, so this is the first time I've had to post anything. I want to concentrate on two things in particular that I want to type here so I can remember it, and also so you can fully appreciate the things in my week that have stuck out the most!
Firstly, on Tuesday night (today in Thursday), Kevin, Becky (The American), and I all went to see Hillsongs United in Surrey, a city outside of Vancouver. (For those of you over the age of 30, no Hillsongs United is not a football team as my dad initially thought! They are in fact the youth band from Hillsongs, Australia!)
It was quite an adventure getting there. I left camp, with Jeff's permission, at 5:45 so I could walk back to the house for 6pm. We finally left the house around 6:10, and got the Skytrain to Surrey Central, about half an hour away. We then waited for around 15 minutes for a bus that would take us to 152nd Street, the road that Victory Christian Centre is on, where the band were playing. However, I asked the bus driver to tell us when to get off near the church and he didn't know but pointed out he didn't go all the way down 152nd Street, so we had to get off the bus before he turned off that road. We got off the bus and realised that we had no idea where the church was, or how far down the church was from the bus stop. By this time it was around 7:20pm and the gig had started at 7pm. I was devestated because I thought we would miss the worship, the best bit!! "Please Lord! Let us not miss too much!!!" Thats what I said!!!
As we were trying to decide where to go, we noticed a taxi that just happened to be driving really slowly around the carpark near where we were. So we flagged him down and asked him to take us to the church. I am SO glad we didn't walk! This has to be the longest road in North America - and the church was at the other end! The driver said it was 2km, but I think it was more like 20 miles! By the time we arrived it was 7:30pm.
There were so many people standing outside and I had the horrible thought that the church was packed, so the people outside were the overflow and could only listen to the music from there. However, we arrived just in time to hear the announcement that the band had agreed to do a second gig because there were so many people that they couldn't all get in. So we had our hand stamped with a blue smiley face to say that we could get in first and be at the front!!
We had to wait an hour and a half, but it wasn't too bad as they were coming round giving out twizlers (red licourice - sp??), cups of water, and lollipops (or SUCKERS as they call them here!! Lets not start that one in England!!)! The time went fairly quickly and then we joined a queue to get into the church.
The second gig was almost as packed as the first, but luckily we managed to get fairly near to the front.
The band were amazing! Marti Sampson was leading, with Joel Houston on Guitar (plus others I didn't know!) They opened with 'Jesus, you are the Saviour of my soul', then went into 'Father Abraham', complete with actions, and back into 'Jesus, you are the Saviour of my soul!'That was great - one way to get everybody moving! They did mainly United songs, except for 'Father Abraham'(!!) and that one with the latin name (Hallelujah, for the Lord God Almighty Reigns! - know it!?)!!
Half way through Phil Dooley (the United youth pastor) spoke and made everybody sit on the floor! As if there was room! We managed it with great difficulty, and thankfully he didn't speak for too long! He was great too, and very funny.
To finish off the gig, the band ended with "If I had wings I would fly coz all that I need you are...and if the world caved in around me, to you I'd still hold on...lalalalala....Jesus because of you, I'm free!!!" (I forgot the words in the middle!) Good song!
By this point, we were hot and sweaty and we all smelt! We couldn't wait to get outside. The only problem was that we didn't know how we were going to get home!! There was a bus stop outside the church but I saw a man standing there for an hour! We also heard the nearest skytrain station was a 15-20 minute drive from there! We really were in the middle of nowhere! Just as we were trying to decide what to do, we ran into 2 girls I know from Broadway. They had a friend with them who I had never met before, but she kindly offered to get us home - a second prayer answered!!It was great!
This was the adventure of Tuesday night! We had a great time, and if you ever get to see United play live - GO!

So the second thing that sticks in my head was last night. We had a spelling Bee for the kids...this is a spelling competition! A lot of kids took part and it was so nice to see some of those who struggle with certain things win trophies and look really proud of themselves. One boy in particular has some learning difficulties and struggles to pronounce certain letters, and he won first prize! All the kids got a certificate and a Book to take away with them. There was lots of food too!
I got to see a lot of the kids I knew from last time I was here. One girl said "Gemma! I heard you were back, but I didn't believe it!" I couldn't believe how much she has grown up over the past 2 years. She really is a young woman now!!! Man do I sound old!!
Theres not that much to say about the spelling bee, just that it was nice to see these kids doing their best in something, and it was nice to see the kids I haven't seen for a while.

Thank you, also, for your prayers regarding the girl who was causing me a lot of trouble over the past few weeks! This week shes really been trying hard and we've been getting on well. I helped her yesterday prepare for the spelling bee and I was proud to see her doing well! She didn't win a trophy but she did well! She did her best! Its so good, and encouraging, to see a child so determined to just do their best!!

Richard arrives on Monday night and hes staying in the house. I'm so excited to have him here, its gonna be great!!
I finally have my own room back too, now that Becky has left!

My prayer requests for this week are to continue praying for this girl, that we can carry on building a relationship. Also please pray for me and what I'm going to do when I get back home. I am applying for a job that I really want...Please pray I get it, if its right. If not, pray that the right job becomes available!

Thanks again for your prayers and emails. It really is appreciated!

graced by Gemma @ 9:13 pm | |

Voyage (1993)

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

I am now into my fourth week here, and although I miss home and everybody there, I'm having a good time here and being less annoyed by the American! (only sometimes though!)
Last week was quite a good week! I spent some time with Calli, the Australian visitor we had. She was fun and made me envy her independence! I want to be more independent! I'm doing my own washing - does that count?!
On Friday night we went to the spaghetti factory. I'm sorry if I've told a lot of you this, but it was just so good that it has to be shared.
After changing our minds from sitting on a heated patio to sitting inside (it was raining!), we were given a booth, and warm bread to start off our meal. Greta ordered coffee to which the waitress responded "sure thing babe!!" Interesting! Not quite as interesting as when I ordered my main meal and she said "no problem Babealicious!" Ok then sweetheart! weird. We thought she might be new and trying out some nicknames for customers to see if they work - they don't!
Anyway...we had the choice of green salad (+ dressing of our choice) or minestrone (Bad spelling!) soup. I chose the green salad (funny, eh!? - Canadian eh) and asked the waitress to choose my dressing. It was a bad choice - blue cheese! yuck! I ate some of that salad - if you like salad, it was nice I'm sure! Then we ordered our main meal. I had what many people apparently recommend - penne chicken. It was amazing. I will definately have that again. This was followed by ice-cream and coffee. Note, throughout the meal we could eat as much warm bread (with garlic butter) as we wanted...they just kept bringing it. Guess how much this cost..

Did you guess yet?

5 POUNDS!!! Why are there no restaurants like this in England, I hear you ask from afar...well the answer is simple. In England, most restaurant managers are greedy little rob dogs who want less food and more money! (no references to John Henn or Gemma Davis there...haha!)

Calli and I then walked round to Canada place to look at the view, and obviously get wet in the rain! There was a huge cruise ship in port, and we decided to figure out a way to get onto the ship without paying. First we discussed swinging across poles and jumping long distances, then hiding in the lifeboats. I'm not a very good jumper, so we decided against this. We came to the conclusion that it would be better to dress as workmen and pretend we're being sent to inspect something. However, this idea also went out the window when we realised Calli had a fully paid plane ticket to Hawaii for the next day! Oh well!

I'm really beginning to enjoy spending money in Canada - everything is so cheap.
On Saturday I went shopping and got some Cream Cords from GAP for 13 pounds (reduced from about 30 pounds), and 3 t'shirts. One was 7 pounds and says 'East Coast Rider' (no sexual connotations - please! I know what some of your minds are like...I did have to check with someone before I wore it to church though!!). Another was also 7 pounds and says 'Early Bird - captains lounge' and some other waffle. And the third was only 3 POUNDS and says 'I love MOM' (don't tell her - she'll get a big head!). It was truly amazing - all of that for not a lot of money!
I was embarassed at one point though - I ate lunch by myself, but surrounded by many people, and decided to have a coughing fit and nearly throw up everywhere - I hope nobody was looking!

Yesterday I went on the Seabus to the North Shore where the only thing open at that time was Starbucks! Still, it was fun to go on the Seabus. I even sat by some english boys on the way back! I think they were from London, or Essex, but I never plucked up the courage to ask them!

Tonight I had some alone time. I sat in Starbucks (again!!) for about an hour and a half reading! It was nice actually. I then came home and had a loooooong shower!!!

Camp is going well, but we have one family who are particularly wild. Keenan is the oldest,hes about 12. He doesn't come very often, but when he does he has some attitude and doesn't really like being told what to do. Murphy is next, shes 10 - I will go into her situation more in a moment. Brendan is the youngest - hes about 7, and very cute - hes also very badly behaved! A lot of this goes down to their family background. Their parents are divorcing and apparently don't care what they say about each other infront of the children. Keenan takes a lot of responsibility for the other two, and a lot of Brendans behavioural problems are put down to the lack of attention he had when he was just a couple of years old (about the time his parents split because his father had an affair). This is what I would ask for prayer for mainly. These kids really do need prayer, and they need attention and somebody to show them how good they can be! Please pray for this,and for strength and wisdom for the leaders at camp.
Now about Murphy. I've figured out that she pretty much hates me! Apparently she'd been testing me because I'm new. I have to pick her (and others) up from school everyday, and sometimes she goes by herself without me and I can't force her to come with me. She always ends up at camp, and Jeff has spoken to her many times (and to her mother), but she keeps doing it. Yesterday she stood next to me, then suddenly when it was time to go she'd vanished. I assumed she'd gone by herself, however Jeff had picked her up because she told the teacher nobody was there for her and the teacher rang Jeff. She then told Jeff she'd been inside the whole day. So for not listening to me, for mouthing off at me, and for disrespecting me, she has a week full of punishments which may be extended if she continues to break them like she has been! Please pray that I especially have patience with her. Now I know her background a little better, I can start to try to empathise with her and the situation. I want to be able to understand her better, and also build up a better relationship.
The rest of the kids are ok, though they moan and whinge a lot, but I suppose I do too!

We rented all 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers from the video shop a few days ago. It was very funny to watch them AND the response of people watching it. Calli, the aussie, laughed a lot (shes been in London for 8 months so knows more about the humour!!!). Greta, the Canadian, also laughed a lot (shes seen them all many times and thinks they're hilarious). Becky, the american, spun around on her chair staring at the ceiling and looked very bored. She didn't really get the humour which made me laugh. The only time she cracked her face was when Basil fell over, or something else physical happened. She didn't quite understand the verbil humour! Typical yank!
Shes still loud, but I'm coping a bit better now. She has to go to the border this weekend to get her paperwork. Shes complaining that Canadian Immigration are being hard on her, but shes known shes coming to Canada for a whole year, yet she came without any paperwork, letters or proof of her being allowed to be here. Thats even more unorganised than me, and if she complains anymore I will tell her!
If she does get it sorted she'll be back at the house for who knows how long. I really want my room back!

Richard is coming in 2 weeks - I can't wait. I want to take him to all the places I love - including The Spaghetti Factory!!! I'm very excited!!

Tomorrow I have a meeting at 9am *yawn*, camp in the afternoon - then no idea in the evening! fun!

Thanks for the emails and messages!

graced by Gemma @ 7:37 am | |

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (2005 - due for release)

I've been reading The Chronicles of Narnia since I've been here, and I'm already on the fourth book, Prince Caspian.
I can't believe I haven't read these books before. I love them. My only complaint would be that none of the books seem to follow on from the previous book and sometimes I get confused. For example, at the end of the first book, Digory plants an apple tree to stop the witch coming back into Narnia. However, the next book begins and the witch is the Queen of Narnia - How?! I also think CS Lewis rushes some of the endings and doesn't fully explain how things happened the way they did so the book could end and the next begin. Ok, so that was two complaints, but I'm not doing too badly!
I think he is a genius, actually. I think his descriptions of creation and Aslan, as the creator, saviour, and Lord of the world, is fantastic. I wanted to share these things with you. The books have spoke to me about the awesomeness of God and how much he does for us. And, in the name of Aslan, I hope it gets you thinking too!!
The following quotes are from the first book, The Magicians Nephew.

In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to cme from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparion, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it...
Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but far higher up the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn't come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out - single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world. There were no clouds. The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time...
The Voice on the earth was now louder and more triumphant; but the voices in the sky, after singing loudly with it for a time, began to get fainter. And now something else was happening.
Far away, and down near the horizon, the sky began to turn gray. A light wind, very fresh, began to stir. The sky, in that one place, grew slowly and steadily paler. You could see shapes of hills standing up dark against it. All the time the Voice went on singing...
The eastern sky changed from white to pink and from pink to gold. The Voice rose and rose, till all the air was shaking with it. And just as it swelled to the mightiest and most glorious sound it had yet produced, the sun arose...
The earth was of many colours; they were fresh, hot and vivid. They made you feel excited; until you saw the Singer himself, and then you forgot everything else.
It was a lion. Huge, shaggy, and bright, it stood facying the risen sun. Its mouth was wide open in song.

Isn't it amazing? The song of the lion created an entire world. The song of God created an entire world. You can almost hear the songs of the angels as the earth is created in the same way as you can hear the songs of the stars and they came into being. This makes me want to write my own stories about new and exciting ways of imagining the creation of the world. To be able to use the imagination God also gave us, and words that create a beautiful image in your mind, reminds me of the power of God.
God's creation didn't end here.

The lion was pacing to and fro about that empty land and singing his new song. It was softer and more lilting than the song by which he had called up the stars and the sun; a gentle, rippling music. And as he walked and sang the valley grew green with grass. It spread out from the Lion like a pool. It ran up the sides of the little hills like a wave. In a few minutes it was creeping up the lower slopes of the distant mountains, making that young world every moment softer. The light wind could now be heard ruffling the grass. Soon there were other things besides grass. The higher slopes grew dark with heather. Patches of rougher and more bristling green appeared in the valley. Digory did not know what they were until one began coming up quite close to him. It was a little, spiky thing that thew out dozens of arms and covered these arms with green and grew larger at the rate of about an inch every two seconds. There were dozens of these things all round him now. When they were nearly as tall as himself he was what they were. "Trees!" he exclaimed.
When a line of dark firs sprang up on a ridge about a hundred yards away she [Polly] felt that they were connected with a series of deep, prolonged notes which the lion had sung a second before. And when he burst into a rapid series of lighter notes she was not surprised to see primroses suddenlt appearing in every direction. Thus, with an unspeakable thrill, she felt quite certain that all the things were coming (as she said) "out of the Lion's head". When you listen to his song you heard the things he was making up: When you looked round you, you saw them.

Here in Vancouver, you can sit at Canada Place and see every aspect of creation. Whilst sitting on a bench you can see the sea, the city, snow topped mountains, a clear blue sky, the sun shining, a huge park with thousands of trees, people and birds flying overhead. Its amazing what you can see without even moving your head. I read Lewis' description of creation and it's a wonder how God made one single place where all aspects of creation of visible. It's a beautiful city. The song of God echoes through the mountains even more now that I understand the creation of God more than I did before.

Can you imagine a stretch of grassy land bubbling like water in a pot? For that is really the best description of what was happening. In all directions it was swelling into humps. They were of very different sizes, some no bigger than mole-hills, some as big as wheelbarrows, two the size of cottages. And the humps moved and swelled till they burst, and the crumbled earth poured out of them, and from each hump there came out an animal...
And now you could hardly hear the song of the Lion; there was so much cawing, cooing, crowing, braying, neighing, baying, barking, lowing, bleating, and trumpeting.

There was so much going on, and almost complete chaos, and the song of the Lion could hardly be heard, yet he continued and it didn't end. Sometimes God continues to speak over creation (including ourselves) and doesn't stop when things become chaotic. His hand is in everything, though sometimes we wonder where he is. Among the rest of the animals, Aslan probably did not stand out quite as much, but he was still there, controlling creation. God doesn't always stand out when we're in a crowd, but he is still there.

I finished reading this book within a couple of days, and moved on to read the third book, The Horse and His Boy. (I had read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - the second book - first!)
The story is of a boy named Shasta who spent so much time alone. He didn't know who he really was and he encountered things that he didn't understand. This sounds like everybody I know. There is just one chapter where he meets Aslan. The words of the Lion reminded me of The Passion of The Christ.

'Who are you?' he [Shasta] said, scarcely above a whisper.
'One who has waited long for you to speak,' said the Thing. Its voice was not loud, but very large and deep.
'Are you - are you a giant?' asked Shasta.
'You might call me a giant,' said the Large Voice. 'But I am not like the creatures you call giants.'
'I can't see you at all,' said Shasta, after staring very hard. Then (for an even more terrible idea had come into his head) he said, almost in a scream, 'You're not - not something dead, are you? Oh please - please do go away. What harm have I ever done you? Oh, I am the unluckiest person in the whole world?'
Once more he felt the warm breath of the Things on his hand and face. 'There,' it said, 'that is not the breath of a ghost. Tell me your sorrows.'
Shasta was a little reassured by the breath: so he told how he had never known his real father or mother and had been brought up sternly by the fisherman. And then he told the story of his escape and how they were chased by lions and forced to swim for their lives; and of all their dangers in Tashbaan and about his night among the tombs and how the beasts howled at him out of the desert. And he told about the heat and thirst of their desert journey and how they were almost at their goal when another lion chased them and wounded Aravis. And also, how very long it was since he had had anything to eat.
'I do not call you unfortunate,' said the Large Voice.
'Don't you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?' said Shasta.
'There was only one lion,' said the Voice.
'What on earth do you mean? I've just told you there were at least two the first night, and - '
'There was only one: But he was swift on foot.'
'How do you know?'
'I was the lion.' And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continues. 'I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore when a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.'

This really reminded me of Footprints. When things went wrong, Jesus was there. When we needed strength, he was there. When we were in touble, he was there. When we needed comfort, he was there. Through these times, he carried us. This paragraph, above all else in these books, stood out the most to me. Aslan was there for Shasta. Jesus is there for us - to comfort, to protect, to help, and to be a friend.

At times its been hard here in Vancouver. At times I felt like I needed a friend and I was alone. I know now that I was never alone and I always had a friend. It sounds cheesy, but this is what God is revealing to me. I am so far from home - from my family and friends - but there is something really powerful keeping us close together. Does that make sense? As long as I look to God and make him the focus of everything I do here, my family and friends will always seem close, and homesickness won't bother me as much as before. This is part of the reason why I am here - to realise how much I need God, and how much I can depend on him when theres nothing else around me to depend on - even at home.

graced by Gemma @ 6:19 am | |

International Observer (2002)

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Well another week has passed here in Vancouver, and things are going well...yet also not going quite so well. That doesn't make much sense, but I'll try to enlighten you!
Days seem to blur into one, so I think about funny stories from camp but I can't remember what happened! This weekend we have a "fun run" to raise money for Urban Promise. If you know me, you'll know that I don't run! So I walked! It was a hot day and I was tired and didn't particularly feel like it - but I did it! 5 laps around 'trout lake', which is about 3 miles. I did 4 laps, and would've done a 5th but they started BBQ-ing the hot dogs - which leads me to another funny matter - weiner! what a funny word! This would mean something totally different in england!!
I also had many 'older' people saying to me "Gemma! Its so good to have you back! We've missed you! How is england!?" I have no idea who these people are.
We played tug-o-war, 3 legged races, and running races (I was the judge for the latter 2!), and went home for an afternoon of doing not a lot.
We then went out for a chinese for Kevin's birthday, wondered Vancouver for an hour or so, then went for a drink on Commercial Drive. It was an ok night, 'cept that everytime I spoke Kevin's friend looked at me like I was stupid and like she wanted me to shut up! I've come to the conclusion that its because she doesnt understand me though! I get so sick of repeating myself 4 or 5 times - I'm thinking about taking a vow of silence for a while just to calm myself down!!
Luckily an Australian girl arrived yesterday for a week. She was an intern last summer. She left Canada to go to London where she looked after children for a family in Fullham for 8 months, now shes back in Vancouver for a week, and is going to Hawaii for a week on Saturday before returning to Australia. Having spent so long in England she actually understands me, and I find the Aussie accent more understandable than the Canadian or American. She also understands words that nobody else gets. Unfortunately shes only staying a week though.
She is staying in my room, along with Kevin's friend - the LOUD American! I'm thinking this is a character trait of all yanks - to talk and laugh loudly, even when you're sitting right next to them. Shes staying for about 2 weeks I think. So I've gone from having my own room to sharing with 2 other people. Doesn't seem too fair really. There were 5 people in this house and I'm the only one who has to share - and with TWO people!
This is why I'm the international observer. Sometimes I want to stay quiet. My accent sticks out so much and I have to keep repeating myself - I'm also scared of looking or sounding stupid and my mom always tells me to be myself, so sometimes I want to stay quiet instead of trying to put on a show. I feel I can talk to Greta - shes older and understands. But she also has her own life and her own friends.
So last night I was left on my own as Kevin and his friend went out without me! So I took the skytrain to 'Waterfront', got a Subway and a latte from Starbucks and sat on a bench looking at my favourite view for an hour or so. Its amazing how many people want to talk to you when you're by yourself! One man sat by me and asked if I liked the view. He asked where I was from and I said England. His response was "I feel sorry for you. Canada is so much better!" This put me off him straight away! Forever English baby!
About half an hour later, another man decided to speak to me. He said he'd met me before and acted like he was remembering facts when I said where I was from! He asked if I was at university and I said what I was doing here. He then said "My names Jay - I don't know if you remember that....well it was nice to see you again, take care!!" I just raised one eyebrow and replied "Yeah, nice to see you again too!" and walked off as quickly as possible! This was the last of my friendly meetings, and I walked home where I watched some ridiculous film about a dog playing American Football.
I managed to console myself after a lonely night by finding Beacon FM and listening to it, via the Internet! I sent an email, but then I went to bed, so if you heard "Gemma in Vancouver tells her friends to email her!!!" then you'll know thats me!
I'm getting fairly used to spending time on my own now too. This morning I walked up 'The Drive' by myself, got coffee and a sesame seed Bagel with Garlic Cream Cheese for lunch! It was actually quite nice, but the garlic was strong. My response was "No kissing boys today!" Because we all know if I didn't eat so much garlic it would be a different boy everyday! ha! (Not really mom - don't worry!)
Camp today was ok too. Pretty average day. I thought I almost made the smallest boy in camp cry though! Hes a twin, but the smallest of the two - called Brandon. They were messing around and he was throwing things on the floor then claiming it wasn't his. So I bent down to his level and told him "I want you to get a cloth and clean up the water, then come back and pick up all of these pretzels off the floor" "it wasn't me!!!" "and if you don't, you will sit on the step for 10 minutes in silence!" He did it.
Hes so cute!
So now do you understand why things are good, but then also not so good? I love it here, this is the prettiest city I've ever been to. The people are friendly and the kids are great - sometimes I just feel a bit lonely, but I need to learn to be on my own. I'd love a good friend here!
This reminds me - anyone reading...please please PLEASE tell Anna to get in touch with me. We were practically inseperable at home and I miss her so much. I haven't heard from her since I left. I'm starting to think she has a whole new life now I'm not there and shes thinking "Gemma who?!" ARGH!

Prayer points for this week are that I won't feel so lonely and sometimes excluded, but I'll find my place in the house, and feel less homesick. Please pray I don't feel like I did last night when I just wanted to go home! I know I'm here for a reason - I need to rediscover the reason!
Also thanks for praying for Kevins sister, if you did. Her test results came back clear! This is very good news!

Cheers guys!

graced by Gemma @ 5:10 am | |

The Raccoons (1985)

Sunday, April 25, 2004

I went roller skating. What a nightmare! We paid 5 Dollars for the rollerskates and I kept them on for about 10 minutes. I only did about 4 laps and then realised I hated it! I didn't fall over though which was quite good! Kevin and Beinta were better than me and seemed to have a good time.
We left Broadway church early and caught the skytrain "downtown" to eat. We ended up in Dennys - apparently quite a popular North American restaurant. It was quite a good night altogether. Everybody at Broadway was quite nice. "Where are you from and why are you in Vancouver" seemed to be the popular questions! I'm amazed how people ask where I'm from, despite the English accent! We're doing better than last time I was here though, when several people asked "So which part of Australia are you from?" I usually just wanted to say "Queensland" so as to not make them feel too bad! Perhaps it was my cork hat that made them think that!
I was woke up Friday morning by Cheryl, the Urban Promise administrator, knocking on my door to say Jeff was going to pick me up in half an hour because schools finish earlier on Fridays. Jeff forgot to tell me! Luckily though, camp was still only 3 hours long so we were done by 3, or 4 by the time kids had gone and we'd cleaned up. I had the pleasure of telling one girl, Tuka, off. "Number 1, you do not ignore me when I shout your name - I should not have to say it 7 times, and Number 2, you look before you cross the road, you do not know what is coming but fortunately for you nothing was!" I love it!
It was also the second day I didn't have to listen to a whiny child called Tina, who is more nasal than Michelle McNasal!
I came home to find Lila, a 10 year old (but 18 foot tall) girl who was here 2 years ago, in the house. I opened the door and she ran at me almost knocking me over. Apparently she was quite excited to see me! I tried to get Kevin to come out because he wasn't feeling too great. He'd received an email saying his sister has to have tests for bowel cancer - please pray for this. I'm not sure when the tests are but they are fairly soon.
I finally managed to get him out of the house, which was my aim - fresh air does wonders - and we went to JJ Beans for coffee. Well I got coffee, Kevin stayed outside with Toby (the dog).

We went to a party last night at Ellisha's house. Ellisha was my camp director 2 years ago. I was so pleased to meet an english girl called Karen there. Shes from Bath but is now living in Perry Barr and goes to UCE. We had a good time laughing at the language differences. It was so good to speak quickly and use phrases nobody else seems to understand! We laughed about how the Canadians/Americans say 'Cacky' Pants for Khaki Trousers. This obviously means something different in England. We ended up drawing a map of england to show Kevin where we live, and the differences between north and south. We explained how southerners think anything north of the watford gap is north, even though the midlands is quite clearly in the middle! Just being able to talk to each other like that was fun, and I look forward to meeting another english person to talk to! I love talking so fast that nobody else understands! It was so good listening to somebody talking fast too, and being able to understand every word.
We left the party at about 10:30pm as Kevin and I were invited to meet Beinta and some of her friends "downtown". We walked to the skytrain where we were told there was a police incident. So we had to get on the East side to go west, then we got to the next station where a kind man told me we had to go over to the west side to go west, to which I disagreed and said we had to stay east. I was wrong. So we switched and went west! We kept walking until we found the place. It was a little bit like Wolverhampton on a Friday night - lots of people crowding around, girls in short skirts, and police patrolling the outside of every club or bar. We finally found the place but the queue was so long, and we felt underdressed (or maybe overdressed as we were wearing clothes!), so we didn't stay. We ended up walking for almost 2 hours looking for somewhere to eat.
I did see a homeless man with a sign saying "Good joke for spare change!" Surely this is a joke in itself! I was so first thought was "I HAVE to tell Phil that!" So I emailed him.
We came back to Commercial Drive and walked up looking for somewhere to eat. All we saw was a raccoon on the side of the road. I didn't fancy my chances trying to catch that for food, so we went home and cooked pizza. It turned out to be an eventful night - walking for 2 hours to only end up at home!
Today has been a fairly average day. Greta and I went to Commercial Drive for Greta to use up her minutes at the tanning salon, then we went for coffee. I did also manage to wash some clothes. Greta helped remind me how to use the washing machine and dryer! We did quite well, except I must've left some paper in a pocket! Oh well - good old sellotape always does the trick!

I also ripped my entire toenail off my little toe - pray for that!!! It really hurts and bled for ages!

I'm starting to settle in a lot more now, and get to know people - making some good friends. I feel more at home here, and I love the city. The kids and people I work with are great, and we have a laugh in the house. I've met a few people from Broadway but not many - I understand how people find it hard when they come into a new church, not knowing anybody. Kevin and I are invited to a brunch on Sunday for newcommers, so hopefully we'll meet new people there.

My prayer points are for my second week. Now I've got used to the schedule at camp, please pray that it still runs smoothly as I get to know the kids better, and that I still continue to settle here and get on with people. My first week has been good, but hard to start with. Please pray that it continues to go well. Your prayers and emails, so far, have really been appreciated. Thanks!

graced by Gemma @ 2:59 am | |