I SURVIIIIIIIVED

Today I livetweeted my decent into madness, don’t worry, I’ll repost them all here in case you didn’t get to enjoy the crazy first hand (and there is a conclusion to this story at the end, so if you saw the tweets live, just head to the bottom)

Having been assigned to speak at youth group on Friday, Wednesday was the beginning of the madness. I decided a temporary assassination should do it, with me being revived around midnight tonight…

As of Thursday, no one had agreed to assist

Thursday evening: Giving up on the assassin, I decided I may need to prepare

Work was going swimmingly… and by that I mean drowning looked like a wonderful prospect.

My roommate sent me the link to a One Direction music video…

This afternoon, trying to knuckle-down and finish (read: start) preparing

Getting slightly distracted…

Back “on track”?

Got a little overdramatic at the end there…

Going through the evening with nerves building

And the stunning conclusion!

 

So. That was the decent into madness. It took about fifteen minutes for my breathing and heart rate to get back down to a normal pace afterwards, but I did it. I had no external panic attack, almost tears a few times, almost hyperventilated yesterday evening (so I shut down the computer and went to bed immediately. Had a bit of a time falling asleep but I think it was the best solution), thought I was going to be sick this evening but I was okay. I spoke fairly clearly and hopefully not too fast. I used most of the time I was given (I think) and the kids seemed to be listening, one of them came up afterwards to talk to me about it (always a good sign) so I just need to work on trusting God, obviously! What spooks me about speaking in this kind of context is not the speaking in front of a crowd, I love that, I’m a drama queen, the world is my stage, etc. It’s the prepping of the message, it’s the faith that what I’m preparing is truly what God wants to say to the people and not me making things up. It’s the impartation of knowledge, the responsibility of teaching these people something. That throws me for a loop… Give me something someone else has written and I’m good. Ask me to write something and my stomach lurches. However, lots of people prayed for me and I felt good about it once I had finish writing it (although I got a bit nervous again in the ten minutes or so before going up to speak).

I did the thing I do when public speaking or sharing with people though, it feels like my talking speeds up so I’m using more oxygen but my breathing rate stays the same and when this is happening the longer I talk the less oxygen I fine I have to work with and eventually I get to a point where I just have to pause and gasp for air. It’s kind of embarrassing…. However, I managed to avoid gasping, I had enough oxygen for today! I just need to work on slooooooowing doooooooown when I’m talking. I think I’m getting better, but I definitely need to work on it.

I think it was a good experience, I didn’t have a panic attack even when I thought I was going to yesterday evening, I managed to control it which I didn’t think I could do. It’s like when I’m fainting, it comes up slowly and you know it’s happening, but you’re helpless to stop it and (when fainting) everything slowly goes black and you’re gone. Previously my panic attacks have come up like that, slowly but determined and unbeatable, but this time when I felt it coming, I said, no. I prayed, I put aside the panicky thoughts and I moved on. It’s encouraging to know that I don’t have to have a panic attack before speaking, the two don’t come hand in hand. I was worried they might come together because I could just feel it building up, feel it coming, but it didn’t!! I didn’t enjoy the prepping and the three days of controlled panic but I think it was a good experience. Overall, 5.8/10, would rather not have to do again (but probably will have to…).

So, I’m alive and I get to sleep in tomorrow! Lovely how these things work out!
-B

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The Pas – Saturday

(See yesterday’s post recapping Friday’s adventures)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Saturday morning we were meeting at the church building at 9:30am and our lovely friend who was letting us stay at her house baked us fresh cinnamon buns and scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast. It was DELICIOUS! Well except for the bacon. I realize this is a bit taboo, but I don’t like bacon. Sorry. I just tell people, all the more bacon is left for them!!

We made our way to the building and got ready to go out. We were going to go to some of the local schools and do prayer walks around outside. We made up three groups with the three families we were working with and went to two schools each and prayed over the buildings and the students and teachers who go there.

After that we headed back to the church building (keep in mind, everything in this town is pretty much within five minutes of everything else so though it may sound like a lot of back-and-forthing, it really wasn’t). Once regrouped, we sorted through some old tracks to try and salvage some because we were going to the local mall to offer to pray for people. In the end though I think most of us decided to just pray and not hand out the tracks, they were just a little toooooo old. The mall unfortunately was preeeeeetty dead. Like, not counting store employees, the eight of us nearly doubled the number of people in the mall. Okay, possibly a slight exaggeration, but seriously, I’ve never seen that few people in a “mall” ever and I work retail. Apparently Saturdays are often like that, very slow because most people are sleeping off hangovers or just sleeping in. So we prayed for those that were willing out of those that were there and then we had lunch in the food court. I should, perhaps, describe the size of this mall. This mall had under a dozen stores, one of which was a grocery store, and three non-chain restaurants made up the food court. It was very small… But, hey, it had the necessities, which is all that’s important: there was a Timmies beside the mall!

After lunch we drove about an hour out of town into the reserve and eventually into Saskatchewan and went to Sturgeon Landing, which is a teeny, tiny community of about 80 people. It’s incredibly run down and we were told that the vast majority of the people who live there are alcoholics and/or huffers. It was like going to a ghost town. I counted the number of people I saw, 8 through windows, three outside (one of which was a child and one of which was obviously very intoxicated staggering along the road). We were there around three or four in the afternoon and saw eleven people. It was the most bizarre experience.

Sturgeon Landing Swinging Bridge

Sturgeon Landing Swinging Bridge

View off of the Sturgeon Landing swinging bridge

View off of the Sturgeon Landing swinging bridge

Sturgeon Landing also has a swinging bridge that we went across so that was some nice light fun. On the other side however, there used to be a Residential School. For those not familiar with residential schools, starting around the 1870’s, the Canadian government partnered with Anglican, Catholic, United, and Presbyterians churches to start up boarding and residential schools for Aboriginal children with the idea of fully integrating them into Canadian culture (by force basically) Attendance at these schools was mandatory for all aboriginal children and over 150,000 children (some as young as 4 years old) were sent through them. Many were forcibly taken from their homes and families and forced to attend these English schools where their own culture and languages were now banned. In many cases the school authorities and religious leaders abused the children both sexually and physically. The last residential school in Canada closed down in 1996. I was alive when the last of these horrific schools closed down. For many people this is still an issue that hits very close to home and this abuse of by the white man has not been forgiven in many cases. Sturgeon Landing is one of those places. On a previous outreach run by our friends pastoring up there they brought transportable soccer nets and soccer balls up and began to play around, trying to get the kids to come play too. Some did, but one girl in particular who couldn’t have been more than eight years old refused to come play because she wouldn’t “play with a blue-eyed white boy” (one our friend’s sons who is about five years old). Racism is still very much alive up there and though many, if not most people are friendly and welcoming, there are still many people smarting from the wounds inflicted in past years.

That was a bit of a side note, but it gives you some background on the kind of environment we were heading into.

Before we left Sturgeon Landing we decided to walk through the community and pray for them, and if we met up with anyone we’d see if they’d let us pray for them in person. We saw a couple people through windows (included in the above count) and sometimes got a chance to briefly chat through a window but one house we passed, my friend saw someone in the window and walked up to go say hi. They opened the door and she started up a conversation, kind of explained what we were doing (going around praying, would she like any prayer? etc). The woman said yes, they would like some prayer and invited my friend in. She called over our friend (the pastor) and his wife and one of the guys who was with us (a fellow intern), and the four of them went inside to go pray.

So the rest of us were left outside. There were five children under age eight with us, and about seven adults just kind of standing around outside this house. I’m sure most of us were praying for the four inside but as I saw the kids getting restless I started to get a little anxious. When I’m anxious I can get slightly controlling so basically I started parenting the children… Thankfully I don’t think their parents noticed/minded (I do hope I wasn’t being rude by acting like I was parenting their children… I know it was unnecessary but it was my immediate coping mechanism…) I went full on babysitter and attempted to round those children up. It didn’t really work… I was holding one, and another was being held by someone else so that accounted for two, but left five running around after the “neighbourhood” puppies (all quite dirty, but friendly and safe enough). I started getting more freaked out when I saw a male figure walking from where we’d left our vehicles and coming towards us. I was beginning to think of all the things that could have been done to our cars that would prevent us from being able to leave and praying like crazy. He took a different path before reaching us. Sigh of relief. A few minutes later another man comes from the same area. This time he was obviously heavily intoxicated, staggering back and forth across the road, weaving towards us. I was probably over seventy-five percent sure we were going to get yelled at and beginning to think we might be attacked and that I might die then and there. Soooooo I prayed some more! (I’m sure everyone else was too!). Like the first fellow, this guy also veered off the road before reaching us, heading towards a different house. Soon after, our friends came out from the house we were waiting t and we began to head back to our vehicles.

The vehicles were totally fine, no one had touched them. Our friend were totally fine, the people inside had been super nice to them (I almost feeling they were safer inside than we were outside), and no one confronted us. I had allowed fear to get in my head and hadn’t been trusting God to protect us.

I have done outreaches like this before (not to this extreme, but similar type) and I often begin to panic and mentally discover all the ways I could be colourfully murdered. It’s a problem. It’s a lack of trust and it’s allowing myself to get foolishly worked up about very unlikely situations about which I have nothing to base my fear on other than more fear. I feel that this year I will have plenty more opportunities to worked on this. (See, putting a positive spin on it. Opportunity to learn…)

We then drove back to the church building in The Pas and had another potluck dinner with some of the other members of their church and then (busy day, Saturday was!) The five of us interns (four of us are in the program I’m in and one is interning directly under our church’s’ head pastor) and one of the couples we’re friends with out there, went to a young adults evening worship night/house group. We got to speak to them about internship and mentoring and why we felt it was important etc and it was really fun! That was probably my highlight of the trip getting to hang out and chat with all those young adults and just see how passionate about God they are and how excited they are about what He’s doing and what He’s going to do in their town! I’m really glad we got to meet and hang out with them.

Then we headed back to the houses we were staying at and went to bed. It was an eyeopening day, especially heading to Sturgeon Landing. It’s shocking to see those kind of cut-off communities exist, especially in Canada, and how very different people and places can be living just an hour away from each other. A very busy day, but a good one!

Tomorrow, Sunday summary!

By the way, today is my 20th birthday and I feel kind of strange. I feel like now I’m a proper adult and have to start behaving all grown up… I’m not sure what I think of this.

I had a really nice day though! My friend in the intership decorated our classroom with balloons and got me a cake and my roommate ran out to the store while I was in the shower this morning so I wouldn’t notice she was gon a bought me a fancy croissant for breakfast and she got me a really nice used copy of Our Mutual Friend from 1923 and, and, and, and *melts* MY FRIIIIIEEEEEENNNNNDSSSSSSS…. They win.

-B

Busybusybusy = My New Life

Today was busybusybusy as I have a feeling my life will be from now on! Desi and I slept through our alarm (which I’m still not fully convinced ever went off…) and woke up twenty minutes before we had to leave to catch the bus soooooo that was fun.

Then we had theology class all morning. Learned about the death of Christ and certain significant points in that story and where they tie in to other things or have certain symbolic things attached. Quite interesting except it seems like today all of us were just so out of it. Our teacher seemed to notice and decided to let us go half an hour early. He actually said, “You guys seem a bit brain dead, I think I’ll just leave it there for today.” We tried. Sort of. Mostly. I took notes still…!

This afternoon we didn’t have booked for study though, we have trip prep because we’re going to one of the other churches we’re connected to in our province in two weeks so we’ve started prep for that. It sounds like we’re going to be running the children’s ministry program for the morning so we were planning the morning out for that, finding songs. I got to make a craft template for a lantern they’re going to make which was super fun!! =D

photo-1

Lantern templates and test runs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight I went to the hospital to see my mum with my dad and my sister (who arrived safely home very late on Monday after flight delays leaving Heathrow airport and a missed connection in Toronto). Mum was feeling much better today, stiffness is almost completely gone and sore throat and fever are gone. There appears to be some kind of heart infection but they’re still working out what exactly it is and how to treat it. She’s on some meds for it now so hopefully those will help. We’re continuing to pray for her, sleeping has been a bit hard while she’s been in hospital, and we’re praying that she will get completely healed so that God can blow the doctor’s away with a miraculous healing! 😉 (they’re already a bit stumped that all the soreness and the fever has gone away without any treatment. She’s just been on painkillers til the meds for the heart infection today) I’m also praying that she’ll be able to come home soon. She’s been there since Sunday and we want her healed/treated/healthy and out of there ASAP!

Thanks again to those praying!
Talk to you tomorrow!
-B

A Hard Day

Today was a hard day. Had a bit of a weepy morning and was going to call in sick for my work shift after church to help at home some more but almost all the other people who could’ve taken my shift were sick or injured so I had to come in. (It never rains, but it pours…) Mum went to the emergency room when I was at work which terrified me, I thought she must be dying. Thankfully it wasn’t because symptoms had gotten drastically worse, it was just that they weren’t getting any better and she had a fever so Dad decided it needed to get checked out by a doctor. Then they had to wait forever (seriously like over four and a half hours) to see someone and forever (over another hour) to get a bit of a vague result (some kind of infection) so on my end it was just waiting for news of what was going on and passing it on to people (dad’s phone kept going out of service in the hospital so it was really hard to know what was happening) and it’s really stressful being alone and feeling helpless (and I’d already cleaned the house so I started on homework as a distraction).

Through this all though, today at church and the responses on my tweets last night and today, I’ve really felt the support of friends and it’s been really appreciated! Thank you to everyone who’s praying for us and thinking of us. Hopefully the doctors will be able to give us a final answer as to what’s going on soon. In the meantime, mum’s got an unexpected overnighter at the hospital that she’s spending alone. Please continue to keep her in your prayers and pray for wisdom for the doctors as they try to find out whats happening in her body. Thank you again and again for all of your support and prayers! (feel free to keep in mind that every time I see you in person or you send me a tweet or facebook message about praying or being there for us, I’m probably tearing up and I’m not someone who shows emotion frequently, so if that’s motivation, then by all means…)

Talk to you tomorrow!
-Becky

Praying for a Miracle

Just a quick post today, but if you pray, if you could be praying for my mum. She has kidney failure. She’s had problems with her kidneys since she was 19 and just over six years ago she had to go onto peritoneal dialysis. During that time while on dialysis she was fine, diets restrictions and the actual dialysis process had to be worked into everyday life but she was very energetic and to all appearances, healthy.

In the last month or so the dialysis seems to have run it’s course. It isn’t helping the way it was before, her muscles and joints are extremely tense to the point where going up and down stairs, or even just pouring a glass of water is very difficult, also one of her medications’ side effects is a cough that is causing her a lot of throat and abdomen pain. She’s had to go onto the transplant list but that can take almost a minimum of six months to get a new kidney.

We’re praying for a miracle. We have been for as long as I can remember. I believe that God can heal her kidneys and make them new so they work again, but I also believe that he can also provide healing through medical solutions such as dialysis or transplants. So we’re praying that God provides healing whichever way he knows is best. In the meantime we’re also praying for relief of the pain in her joints and muscles.

So yeah, if you pray, if you could keep my mum (and the rest of my family too) in your prayers, we’d really appreciate it 🙂

Talk to you tomorrow!
-B