Monday, December 27, 2010

Camels, and an Ancient Wonder

I never could have been prepared for the immense culture shock upon our arrival to Cairo, with such numerous contrasts between its culture and my own. However, as we roamed the streets and alleys of this intimidating city, what was at first shock quickly transformed into an appreciation for Cairo's unique beauty

Can you do that?
After spending a day regaining our energy (much needed after two sleepless nights in transit), and soaking up the brand new culture, it was time to scratch a few things off the bucket list.

We found a man near the pyramids who rented out his camels to tourists, and spent some time drinking gritty Egyptian coffee in a back room behind arabian curtains, until we had finally haggled the price down to one we could both agree on.

I always imagined that Egypt would have pyramids popping up all over the place, but I soon found out that there are actually three main pyramids, with just a few smaller pyramids scattered throughout the rest of Egypt. The three main pyramids are located here in Giza, each one being built as a tomb for a Pharoah - the first was the largest, his son's was smaller, and his grandson's was smaller yet, as it was spiteful to surpass your father. Each pyramid contains the pharoah and his wife. There are three smaller pyramids beside the tallest pyramid, and they are the tombs for that Pharoah's three extra wives. The grandson pharoah's tomb also has three smaller pyramids beside it - same story.

Riding our camels through the desert for 3 hours in the mid-day sun naturally made us hot, weary, and yearning to relax around some shai (tea) and sheesha in a quite alley cafe. Unfortunately, we didn't get that far.

We never expected the major stress that was waiting for us instead.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Insane Mediterrane

The last of the flight and accommodation bookings have officially been completed in regards to our upcoming backpacking adventure. Before you know it I will have the pleasure of embarking on an epic journey with some fellow students (Han Soo, Carla and Lala) for a period of 21 days, in which we will be hitting up the deserts, ruins, and much more in:




With just the bare minimum stuffed into our backpacks, we will soon be hopping from hostel to hostel across these very vast and distinct countries. Each country holds something special, a culture that has been formed and solidified throughout the ages.

Check back here shortly for stories and travel tips that you will not want to miss.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Through Smoke

Coincidentally, the weekend that the large amount of us bible school students were in Edinburgh also happened to be Halloween weekend. I had never seen Halloween celebrated in such an intense and openly spiritual fashion. I have always understood that the basis of this celebration is quite paganistic, but it is very easy to ignore that fact in North America, as the effects of that are not regularly witnessed, at least on my part.

It started off 'normal' enough, in the sense that all weekend the streets were covered with people in costume. Just like every year, the costumes ranged from cute kid's characters, to creepy zombies, to costumes that nobody could quite distinguish. The night of Halloween itself, however, became much more out of the ordinary.

As seen in the picture below, there was a group of 'pagan spiritualists' of sorts who held a parade down the Royal Mile. It is difficult to put the details of their parade and 'presentation' into writing, but I will admit I found it all quite ominous.

It began quite innocently, as they marched to the beat of drums from the Castle to in front of the Anglican Church down the street. As soon as the drums began, the skies opened up and it began to rain, and the rain continued until they stopped in front of the church, at which point it ceased.

With the drums continuing, the painted pagan people gathered in a circle for a period of time, individually breathing deeply from a smoking bowl and then passing the bowl to the next member of their group. This went on for a number of minutes, with eerie screams being let out by persons in the circle at different times, until all of them had had a turn with the bowl.

Following this, with the rhythmic beating of the drums continuing, they began to dance and scream and shoot fire. They continued to draw an ever growing crowd as they performed in front of the old church.

With the smoke hanging in the air, the people with the painted bodies writhed around each other and danced to the drums unremittingly for hours on end.

What is even more difficult to explain, is the extreme sense of evil that was in the air. It was noticed not just by me, not just by the Capernwray students, but also by others on the street who do not believe in Jesus. Even one of the local cops was expressing to me how dark the night felt.

I cannot say that I had any bright moments in this time; that I stood up boldly against the powers of evil in the middle of the streets of Edinburgh or even that I tried to discuss my faith any further with the cop.. However, this situation did cause many of us to go to our Lord in prayer for the city, and played a part in opening our eyes to the seriousness and reality of the opposing beliefs and spirits that are active around the world today.

I can't help but wonder... What if it wasn't a common coincidence that over one hundred Capernwray students were in Edinburgh on the darkest night of the year? What if we were placed there in order to bring the light of Christ to a city and a people who have strayed so far away from Him?

We have been placed on the earth for such a time as this. 

As the world grows darker and stronger, it is our time to stand up in boldness and live as warriors against the evil that is around us. It is time to throw off our attitude of indifference, to no longer be average, and to begin living passionately and purposefully every single day in order that those around us begin to notice and CRAVE the difference that they see in us. It is time to get serious about our commitment and consistency in Christ, in order that when the time comes, our familiarity with His character will allow us to see through the smoke.

We are the generation God has prepared to change the world. Our time is now.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Before the Earth was Round

 The other weekend we had a much needed four day weekend to give us a break from studies, and an opportunity to get some local travel under our belts. The hot spot of the weekend was Edinburgh, Scotland, where about 100 of us Capers overtook the local hostels and bed and breakfasts. It was amazing to walk through the incredibly historic architecture, and to experience some Scottish culture first hand. 

The picture below is of the Castle in the center of the city, propped on a jutting out hill with cliff-like edges. As we toured, our minds couldn't help but  wander back to the days that the castle was in use. From the canons used for defending the Castle from oncoming ships in the bay ahead, to experiencing the dungeon-like tunnels below, my imagination had a very active day.

Traveler's tip, if you ever have the desire to try Haggis (sheep intestines wrapped in stomach - Scottish specialty), it would be wisest to get a free sample from right outside the castle, rather than pay 7 pounds at the surrounding pubs.. Believe me, you really don't need to try it in full meal form..

The Anglican church below held a small symphony style concert while we were in the area. Not only did we enjoy the building's intricate architectural design, we were also able to listen in awe to the amazing acoustics within.

Despite the incredible sights and atmosphere of this old city, one of the highlights of the weekend away was actually climbing up Arthur's Seat. It is a great (medium level) hike up the cliffs at the edge of the city that allows for some very rewarding views - of which cameras do not do justice.

Overall, Edinburgh is a great city to visit for a weekend. You don't need much longer than that to see all the major sights. I would highly recommend Budget Backpackers hostel, as it is cheap, but unexpectedly clean and welcoming. The co-ed bathrooms are definitely a highlight

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Burberry, Busking, and British Ale

Saturday night took Karsten and I to Carnforth train station, just to realize that there were no trains to Manchester until the next morning. Neither of us had much experience in train travel, so we were unaware as to the system, but we decided to risk it and head to a bigger city called Preston. As hoped, we found a train five minutes after our arrival to Preston that would call at Manchester Piccadilly. Perfect.

Sunday was spent with Karsten and my cousins Kristin and Carmen, walking along the canal and owning downtown Manchester. Check out Kristin's great travel blog here for her take on our time in Manchester!

Top fashion - black umbrellas for only 125 pounds
I now have a sharp black umbrella... But unfortunately not Burberry.

Taxi please
Old Wellington Inn - One of Manchester's oldest buildings. Home to some of the finest fish and chips, and a daily varying selection of local ales.
Rory Charles. Best busker I've heard, with a great CD for sale.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Public Foothpath

The other day a few of us capers went on a walk up a hill. It looks pretty small in the pic, but it had an amazing view of the ocean and rolling hills.
For pedestrians to be able to get to "points of interest" in England, there are often 'public footpaths' set up for them to follow. The strange thing is, these often go through people's property. The path to get to the top of this hill literally took us right up a rancher's driveway and in between their house and garage. The owners of the house were actually outside at the time, and they just smiled and told us where to go. We literally had to jump the fence into their field of horses and cows and hike through there.

Myself, Alyssa and Kaitlyn with castle in the background

Walking towards the hill from the Capernwray loop

Ruins of some sort at the top of the hill

Nice and green, eh? 

The Manor

I have finally gotten access to a strong enough Wi-Fi connection that I can upload some pics for you! These pics are from our initial arrival at the manor house and grounds.

Carla and I leaving

The Manor side view

The courtyard
The front of the Manor
The runners loop

I live in one of the rooms overlooking the courtyard (the pic with the clock tower and picnic tables), as do the rest of the guys. The ladies rooms are in the rest of the castle/manor house and under the conference hall (which I don't have a picture of).

Saturday, October 16, 2010


You are privileged to know, that I am writing this as I ice my groin.

Have you ever heard of P90X? It's a hardcore 90 day workout video series. My fave is 'Ab-ripperX', it's super intense. A couple people have different selections of it on their laptops, so I've been joining up with them every once in a while to get sexy. yesterday however, I'm pretty sure we were doing one called 'Groin-ripperX'; because somehow I pulled the muscles in my crotchial region like you wouldn't believe.

This of course makes it painful to walk.. or sit.. or dance. But even worse than that, I couldn't get my pants on. As my roommates watched in amusement, I kept struggling and cringing (making numerous attempts) before I finally let out a Tarzan yell and jumped into the pants.

It's funny, last night a few of us guys were discussing James chapter one together, and one of the verses we talked about for the majority of it was verse 2. It says "My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into various trials...". I don't know what the point of this trial is, but now every time I move, the pain reminds me to "have joy", so I smile.. a pain-filled, cringy smile.

Westend Impact

Okay, so I have about six blog posts that I've already written but just have not had the internet power to be able to load them yet.. I still don't have the power to upload any of the ones that include pictures, so those still have to wait. I am going to try and get into town tomorrow, though, so hopefully I can get those posted asap.

Just a quick bit about one of the exciting things I get to be involved in here:

We are all split up into teams that do various types of outreach through the nearby towns, and I am in a group of three students that will be working at a homeless shelter throughout the semester.

The lectures and seminars here at the castle are fantastic, but I'm still very excited to be getting OUT in the world and doing some more hands on (both practical and evangelistic) work. Our first go at it was on Thursday, and we will be going to the same place until March I believe. So it'll be awesome to be able to go consistently and hopefully we will have opportunities to share love with the guests at the shelter in its deepest form, as we slowly build up trust with them.

The shelter reminded me a lot of the Bridge on 20th in Saskatoon, so it wasn't too uncomfortable. We have already had the chance to meet some amazing people there, and I can't wait to continue getting to know them, hearing their stories, praying for them, and in all of it just being a witness. What an awesome privilege.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Castles and wifi don't quite mix

Yes, castles are incredible. But unfortunately, at least with this castle in particular, they aren't in convenient locations for internet..

They claim to have wifi here, but I have attempted to access facebook, skype, gmail, hotmail, etc., and I can't even get to their home pages. for some reason, though, blogger is slooowwwlly loading. So I apologize for the lack of communication, but blame the Brits. It's their fault for not providing me with better service. I just waited for literally ten minutes to try and load a picture of the castle for you, but couldn't even get to where it allows me to choose the picture I want.

I will update you on the positives of this place as soon as I can get to a cafe in town or something. For now I am going to go sheep tipping or play football or something more interesting than this super slow internet.

Ps. the exciting news of the day: there is an outreach opportunity for 10 Capernwray students to go to Kenya after Christmas. I want to go.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


twenty four hours until landing.

Thank you for your prayers regarding my lack of passport. It arrived last week!

The visa was a no go, however, so as I land in the UK extremely soon, please continue to pray that God's will would be done when meeting the Customs officials. It could turn into a sticky sitch. Pray for an old lady as my customs official.. I like them.

But hopefully in a couple days I can actually post something interesting on here.. maybs with a few lame touristy pics..

Monday, September 13, 2010

Passport Patience

The UK Visa Services officially blows. Without going into the dirty deets, my student visa was deferred back on August 9th due to me not having the "correct birth certificate" with my application documents. I was given a week to get the "correct birth certificate" to the Visa Services, but unfortunately the process to get the certificate can not be done in such a short time. This caused my visa application to be declined on the 16th of August. 

Now I know how worried you all must be for me, but no need, I do not actually need a visa to be able to study at Capernwray, as the term just barely fits into the maximum time slot permitted for students to stay in the UK without any visa. So no worries, you may all sleep easy tonight.

However, due to the great customer assistance the UK Visa Services provides (that's sarcasm), my passport and other essential documents are still at their office in Ottawa. So with eleven days left before leaving overseas (hopefully), I would love prayer for my passport to make it back to me in time for me to make it to Bible college for the first day of classes. That would be greatly appreciated.

On a better note, the fam jam got together this weekend to get some pics taken before we all go our separate ways for the year. Here are a few of them, not including the full fam ones. 

*photo creds go to Brooklyn Simes*

Sunday, August 8, 2010


My boss says i'm a slacker. He also says that all work and no play makes for very unhappy campers. He's usually right, so I took some time off from slacking at work to hit up the lake.

here are some pics from Waskesiu over the long weekend.


Campsite #1 was legit

gettin our bronze on
Trippes. top of the line skinny beach

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn

For those of you who havn't heard, in order to go to Capernwray, England this fall, I am now working on the road most of the time fixing Louis Dreyfus grain terminals:

This means long work days and lots of overtime, but pretty slow nights. Excitement doesn't seem to be too common in prairie hick towns.

We are currently staying in a greasy motel, but compared to the last motel we were in, it is the Hilton..

All this to say, I am looking forward to the day I can ditch this job and head off on Euro trip, 2010.