Youth Camp as an “Adult”

Alert! Diary-sounding entry to follow!

Alrighty, if I’m being honest and technical, I became an adult two weeks ago, but in everything other than number, I still haven’t quite gotten there yet.

first night sunset

My latest adventure of this summer was at the Atlantic District Youth Camp, in New Brunswick, which took place at the Greenhill Lake Camp, June 27-July 1. Five days roughing it in a cabin with six other girls made me nervous at first, until I stepped foot onto the campground. I shared a room with some dear friends and some new people, who I quickly became acquainted and friends with (sharing a room can do that).

amazing roommates ❤

We arrived Wednesday afternoon, and from that day forth the schedule was always the same: breakfast at 8:30 a.m, devotions at 10:00 a.m, lunch at noon, team games, separate boy’s and girl’s swimming, supper at 5:00 p.m, and nightly service at 7:00 p.m. Just to give you a feel for the setting, if you’re familiar with the Little House on the Prairie, you would know everyone traveled to church in a wagon or on foot; it was very pleasantly similar at camp. Every service, people walked from their cabins, in the sun and rain, to get to the sanctuary for church.

our sanctuary

And what anointed and powerful church services we had! The sanctuary floor was not built to withstand an apostolic praise break, and on a couple occasions, someone had to speak up, because there was a concern that we would fall through the floor. People spread out, but not even that could stop our praise!

I take no credit for this great edit

Bro. Galloway, the camp’s invited speaker, ministered incredibly and sincerely to the young people. I speak for myself in saying that every one of his messages touched my heart. He spoke about identity, value, having power in our voices, and letting God write out the story of our lives– each of those things being so important for me to hear as a young girl just out of high school.

You don’t have camp without having fun, and boy did I enjoy myself! One depressing, grey day, when the girls were banished to a basement, while the boys had their water time, I found out I wasn’t half bad at painting. Since I’m a pretty positive person, I’ll say the painting wasn’t half bad, rather, it was half good.

my first painting

One night, the campers played capture the flag in the dark and each got glow sticks; that was fun, except for the water that got in my shoes. One thing to know about me, is that I’m not sporty; however, I won gold for (my) team seven– also called GFN during the budget olympics. GFN (God’s Favourite Number) ended up winning the scavenger hunt with twenty-one points, which, I believe is the reason our team placed first at the end of camp. Allow me to brag for a minute: *clears throat* “GFN! GFN! GFN!”

 

I bet there was good service there…

I’ll tell you why I thrived in the Greenhill camp atmosphere. No internet meant not much phone usage, with the exception of taking pictures and videos of the pre-service dances. I talked to people. I reconnected with childhood friends and met new ones. It was an old-school environment, where social media and the internet hardly existed, and I loved every second.

silliness is accepted

God has made this summer the most eventful one of my life so far, and I have been so blessed to be able to take part in this much already; and I’m excited to say that it’s still not over yet. There is more to come, and I may just freak out a little bit.

last day with my people

 

I hope this diary-like post didn’t bore you; sometimes it’s hard to explain the pure awesomeness of an actual thing, especially when what happened was completely above words.

Love, Frenchie 🙂

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Blue Pillow Cases

I’m a graduate and it’s still very hard to believe… that’s probably why I’m blogging about it; blogging always makes me think about what I’m talking about.

Before I elaborate on what it feels like to be a high school drop– uh… graduate, why don’t I tell you all about the biggest weekend of my life and the weekend that began my “adult” life.

For those of you who only know me as a blogger, you might not have know that I’ve never gone to school a day in my life, the reason being I’d been homeschooled from start to finish. The majority of those years, I’d been educated with Abeka Academy, a distance education program based in Pensacola, Florida. I started doing video classes with Abeka in grade 7, which allowed me to become part of a class with teachers that I could favour or dislike as I pleased. Completing my studies in Abeka’s accredited program was what allowed me to attend the Abeka graduation, along with some 510 graduates.

Now that history is settled, and you know everything about me,  let me tell you about the weekend were the fun happened.

several other of my video teachers

Everything began on Friday, and the excitement as well as numbness was real! We arrived on the Pensacola Christian College campus where most of the weekend’s activities would take place. After an assembly in an auditorium that seated several thousand people, I took a tour of the college campus and was very impressed with what I saw; I knew if I became a student there, I’d get lost among all the pretty buildings that could easily make up a tiny city. Probably the most exciting was seeing the video teachers in person and touring the Pensacola Christian Academy (PCA). As I roamed the colourful halls and saw the familiar video classrooms, all those classes I’d taken suddenly came to life; all those students and teachers that I’d watched for years became real gosh-darn people.

Friday evening was the Sports Centre Spectacular, where the graduates and their families could enjoy an evening of free games and activities. As if I wasn’t already impressed enough by the campus, they completely outdid themselves by having an indoor ice rink, one of the biggest college campus rockwalls, a rollerskating track,  bowling alleys, and so much more. I promise I’m not being payed to promote, I’m just a little graduate extremely impressed at everything that made my weekend remarkable. At the Spectacular I got to meet and chat with several of the video teachers, and was in awe of how each of their characters shone.

Where graduation took place

My all-time favourite teacher, Mr. Smith

Saturday was the big day that started very early for all us graduates, as we had rehearsals for most of the morning. We practiced the ins and outs of the ceremony and by noon, we were ready for lunch. At the video luncheon (as they called it) my family and I were seated with another graduate and his family, and after eating, I delivered some French cheese to my all-time favourite teacher before leaving to get ready for the real ceremony.

 

I should’ve been nervous, or shaking in my cap and gown but I wasn’t; I felt calm. I even started making conversation with a couple of my graduate classmates as we waited in line for the walk to start. Then the time came. I marched in the processional with 509 other graduates, and smiled at the back of the head of the girl in front of me like I was told. It went by so quickly! Before I knew it, I was walking across the stage in front of thousands of people, and livestreamers, shaking the hand of the school president and receiving my empty diploma case. Could it really be over, just like that?

Yup.

international graduates

The moment I accepted that diploma (not that I could very well refuse it… that would be a first), my 12-ish years of schooling were over. That’s still weird to wrap my head around, probably because I’m not quite ready to be an adult… ask my brothers; I found something from my childhood and used it, despite being a supposedly mature near-18-year-old. Growing up is overrated.

My blue pillow case

So… Adios to that adventure, and Bonjour to the adventures to come 🙂

Would I if I Could?

Would you ever go back?  Off the bat, I can’t remember if I have ever been asked that question, but I know how I would answer it:

Nopitty, nope, no. Absolutely not.

Now, I have been asked if I would rather have stayed in Canada than journey to the unknown country of France. That’s a hard question to answer now that I have lived here for three years. However, had I been asked that before leaving Canada, I probably would’ve chosen to stay in my comfort-zone.

But time has flown since that 14-year-old girl left home to live in the beautiful, picturesque, sometimes aggravating country of France. I am senior in high school, with only a month left of school, and just over a month until graduating, and I can easily say that I wouldn’t go back for the world. The reason? Because this journey has given me so much that Canada never could’ve given me.

Do I miss home? Of course I do. I miss my city, church, friends, and amazing family. In a way, it’ll always be “home”, but then again, home is wherever you choose to leave a piece of your heart. A country (maybe two), a house, or even a person can be home. Home can be defined as a safe place, where one feels comfortable and secure. Moving to France took me out of that comfort-zone, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Let me tell you why.

Consequently, I met a ton of new people (as I so love to do). These people have helped me come into the world of baguettes, traffic circles, castles, and horrible customer service. Thanks to my French friends, my French has gotten much better since arriving. Not only have I met people in France, but by becoming an MK, I’ve met kids from around the world who understand the things I go through. In a previous post, I talked about NAYC17, which is were I met this motley assortment of people. They’re a family to say the least. In three days, I met people who have since become some of my closest friends. If I did press a button that could change my past so that I had never left Canada, I wouldn’t have all these amazing people in my life.

People aren’t the only blessings this journey has given me. I’m not ready to announce this just yet, so allow me to be ambiguous. For just over a year, I have been working on a project that my younger self wouldn’t have believed or thought of doing (let your imaginations run wild with that one;) My life in Canada would never have allowed me the time to think about, or even start this project, seeing as it takes time. I’m excited and terrified to reveal this project, but I should be ready to share this secret with y’all soon.

These reasons are only a couple of the major reasons why I would never trade this life for my past one. My life has changed, and honestly, I’m okay with that now, because I’ve allowed myself to see how God has used this journey to enrich my life.

That’s all for this post folks. I hope you all have a terrific day!

 

A Much-Needed Weekend

Last weekend, when the parents announced we were heading down to Bordeaux for a special youth service, my first reaction wasn’t a very enthusiastic one. Not because I don’t like going to Bordeaux, or the people there scare me, but rather because the introverted, mole side of me cringed at the thought of emerging from my little mole-hole.

Unlike back home, the youth service took place Saturday evening. The family and I arrived early, so we decided to kill some time by walking around downtown and ordering a Starbucks. (Yay, another Starbucks three hours away!) *fist pumps*

EPU de Bordeaux, jeunes

A group of young people from the church went out evangelizing earlier that afternoon, which resulted in a couple newcomers to that evening’s service. The invited guest speaker was Samuel Sheikadam, the national youth president of France, who came with his wife Lisa. It was a great service! I was amazed by the fervency of the youth. At the altar call, I was emotional. I could feel God’s spirit reaching the deep parts of me that I prefer to keep hidden: the insecurities, fears, all the feelings that I hide from the world. All those things that others can’t see, but that God can… yeah. It can be scary to know He sees everything, but it can also be comforting.

After the service, the youth headed to Stake n’ Shake for some good ‘Merican food and fellowship. I have to tell you… I needed some youth fellowship. The feeling of laughing till the muscles in my cheeks hurt, and being surrounded by Godly, fun young people was so refreshing.

While the rest of my family shared their little hotel room, I stayed the night with the pastor’s daughter and amused myself by killing gigantic spiders at 11:30 p.m. Safe to say I was her hero 😉 What really made my night was staying up till the early hours talking with said pastor’s daughter. For me it was like old times, only with new people.

Sunday morning rolled around quickly, and what another great service! Two people were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and had their sins washed away; one having received the Holy Ghost just the day before! Praise God for bringing two more beautiful souls into his kingdom!

It’s silly, but I felt incredibly nervous about that little trip. I was not at my best mentally, and was certainly not feeling like showing my face to the world. Before leaving, I asked God for confidence, and it’s a prayer I continually pray. I’m praying for what I lack. Do you want to know something? On the drive back home, I realized that God answered my prayer, He DID give me confidence. He gave me enough so that I wouldn’t close in on myself. I’m so glad for a prayer-answering God who cares for me!

Let me give a moral to this blog post. Sometimes we worry about the silliest little things. We waste away worrying, and in the end, the thing we end up worrying about turns out to be just what we needed. That’s exactly what happened to me last weekend.

We may not always know the why’s, but God does, and He knows what we need. Sometimes, He has to drag us out of our mole-holes to give it to us, and even though we may do it kicking and screaming… (worrying), when we see why God did it, we see how silly we were not to have trusted Him.

Between us, I’m still learning. It’s not always easy, but like this weekend taught me… it’s worth it.

My Year – 2017

The year is quickly coming to a close (in fact, 2017 will end in exactly 57 minutes from the time I’m writing ing this), and 2018 will arrive before anyone knows it. I say this a lot and I truly mean it: time does fly.

Let me say something in all honesty… A lot of people complain about how bad 2016 was, then they complain about how their 2017 was supposed to be “their” year and it wasn’t. Now we’re repeating the same process. Here’s what you and I must realize: The year will be what we make it.

Let me shine some light on one of the things that made my year: People.

Since moving to France I’ve really had no choice but to meet people, seeing as I knew no one, but this year in particular has led to many new acquaintances. If you’ve been reading my sporadic blog posts for a while you may remember a previous post entitled “That Was Unexpected.” If you’re new, welcome! Moving on. I wrote that post when I met one of the many people this year has brought into my life.

I’m not even going to count the people I’ve met with year because I don’t want to leave anyone out, but what I can say for certain is that each new acquaintance that I’ve made has been in response to my first prayer upon arriving in France: God send me friends.

I’ve made acquaintances at weddings, through my brothers, through social media, and my favourite… NAYC17. At Congress alone I met at least 30 people, all of which I shared a connection with without having previously known them. That wouldn’t have been possible had God not sent my family to France.

I stay in contact with some more than with others, but that doesn’t mean the other people mean less. I truly believe that God placed each one into my life in answer to that prayer that I prayed three years ago. Whether they were from North or South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, Asia, (I have yet to meet someone from Antarctica, but six continents out of seven is still pretty impressive 😉 Little old me somehow managed to find people from all around the world.

So. What made my year? People did. New friends did. That bearded bus driver, the one that waves to me and smiles every morning, he did. God did.

I think everyone should take a step back and think for a minute, because I’m sure if you looked hard enough, you would find at least one good thing that made your 2017. A gesture, an act of kindness, thoughtfulness, a new friend, a stranger buying your coffee, or finally publishing that book of yours.

Little or small, it couldn’t have been all bad. How good was your 2017, really?

🙂

 

Ready Aim Release

I’ll have to admit something… life as a homeschooler in France, when your brothers are away in private school isn’t the most exciting lifestyle. but I’m not complaining, After classes, I’m perfectly content to stay at home, chill, light a candle, play some instrumental music, dim the lights to set the mood, and either read or write (or watch a movie, if I’m being honest). I’m happy with this life, the only thing that disturbs me is everything I’m missing because of my bat-like life.

BUT… “I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there”, and tell you how my hermit life became a little less of a hermit life 😉

Why not take to calling me Kat? Why? Since September, my normally bland week now has an activity, that activity being archery, hence the nickname. I’m currently a Katniss in training. Some people were surprised by my choosing this sport (yes, it is a sport), but I just found it appealing, and I thought I’d like to learn more about it.

If you remember my title “Ready Aim Release” I’ll tell you what I have in mind. I learned a lot in my first lesson of archery. Things like safety rules, how to arm and disarm a bow, how to hold the bow, “the stance”, and how to aim and shoot.

Image result for princess mia, archery

After coming home late from class (because sometimes time isn’t well managed… all the better for practice), a thought came to me. In class, I learned, first hand, that stance and positioning do matter and greatly determine the arrow’s trajectory. When using the eye, an archer aims by looking at the point of the arrow. For the arrow to go where the archer wants it (which is normally the center), the archer needs to take time to aim, position his hand in the correct place, and pull back far enough to give the arrow enough force to strike the target accurately.

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” -1 Corinthians 3:11

I started to apply this idea of position, aim, and release to life. For the arrow to hit the target, a strong core and foundation are needed; this example is the one I applied to life. Think of your life as the arrow, and the center of the target is God’s plan for you, the perfect future he has planned. Now, for your life to follow God’s plan, you need a strong foundation, but what every person has to figure out for himself is what makes up his foundation. Is it something solid or shaky? The answer to that question will determine where that arrow (your life, my life) will go.

Hold your head up, straighten your back, pull back your shoulders, suck in that gut, ready your arrow, pull back, aim, and release. I believe the greatest release will be when our life hits the center where God’s plan lies. 10 points in the game, much more in life.

Tag me.

      Ugly thoughts.          God’s thoughts

Now, I don’t mean “tagging” as in mentioning someone in your group picture on Instagram, or referencing someone in your latest tweet, I mean judging, or placing a label.

This was a late-night thought that I had to think out in a post, because It’s something others should think out as well.

My generation is so quick to put a label on something, based on what it looks like. Even Christian young people can fall into that trap. I have to take a step back, and wonder if I do the same thing. It’s so easy to do, and most times, we do it without thinking. I certainly hope I don’t, because I wouldn’t want someone basing my worth on my appearance.

We’re human, and judge the outward appearance way too quickly.

“She’s fat”, “He’s too scrawny”, “She has acne”, “they’re not smart enough”.

The list can go on and on, because we have no end to the imperfections we can find in others. There will always be someone who will find a fault in one’s appearance, attitude, and even lifestyle. Those kind of thoughts are so easily expressed behind the security of a screen and the mask of social media, and can cause so much damage to a person.

But the sad thing is, we don’t even need others to do the tagging. We tag ourselves based on what we see every day in the mirror.

“…for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7

I thank my lucky stars that God didn’t label me based on the what the world can see.

You may tag yourself as “ugly,” but God says “lovely.” You may think of yourself as “too fat, gross, not good enough but God sees “wonderfully made.” “No talent.” … but God sees “Able to be used.”

No matter what we think of ourselves, God’s thinking is based on what He sees inside. He tags our hearts. In the rest of the verse above, God rejects another of David’s brothers as king of Israel, even though Samuel thought, surely this is he. But no. God anointed David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, the shepherd, to rule as king over the nation of Israel. Not even Jesse expected David to be chosen, but he was, because he was a man after God’s own heart.

It’s a hard thing to do, and it’s something that probably won’t happen over night, but we need to make an effort to stop tagging; ourselves and others. We need to stop labeling ourselves as not good enough, not pretty enough, or not smart enough. It shouldn’t matter what the world labels me as, I’m a child of the King.

So tag me, God. Look at my heart and tag it. Let me be used for your glory.

This Is That! A New Family

This past week has been a jet lag recovery week. If it could have a theme song, it would have to be something with a very slow rhythm and the repetition of the word ‘lazy.”

The reason for the let jag is this: I was in America! Dad, Dominic, and I had gone to the U.S. for North American Youth Congress 2017, or NAYC17, because who has the time to write all that out.

Being “missionary kids (MK)” of sorts, we were going to be grouped with other MKs. Was I excited about NAYC? Yes. Was I even more excited by the fact that I would spend NAYC with other MKs? YES!

Not all MKs are shown in this photo

To those who don’t know much about missionary kids, let me tell you, without trying to flatter myself in any way, they’re an incredible group of people. Throughout congress, I had several people tell me they thought of MKs as “unspoken heroes”.

As MKs, often times, we have little choice but to follow our parents to wherever they feel God calls them. That means leaving what was comfortable, and going into the uncomfortable, which isn’t always a bad thing, and I’m so grateful to be able to experience life on the mission field. That’s not to say it wasn’t hard.

We leave everything behind, but we have the opportunity to gain so much. We meet new people, learn new languages, get to be a part of a new church work. I had met MKs in different conferences, but never really got to know them. I’d also heard people talk about the “MK family”, little did I know then, I would get to be a part of it. At NAYC, I was surrounded by MKs from all around the world; almost every continent was represented. I made friends, but not just any friends, friends who could understand me, and everything I go through as a kid on the mission field.

I shared a room with an MK and an honorary MK, and both girls were amazing! I met a girl who I connected with on so many levels, both in our ministries and our interests. So many people, so many new friends, so many memories that I will cherish. Memories like the worshiping, praying, crying, all with people I had just met. Now I understand what the “MK family” means. Because that’s what it is: a family. Young people who understand and love each other, and who share a bond unlike any other. #nayc17#LucasOilStadium#Indianapolis

This Is That! That was the theme of NAYC17. You may think it’s an odd phrase when it stands alone, but the services at Congress made me realize the power those three words hold. The phrase comes from Acts 2:16 which says–

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; -Acts 2:16

What did Joel say? In the following verses, the prophesy that the prophet Joel declares in the old testament (Joel 2:28-32) is restated by the apostle Luke.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: -Acts 2:17

That’s not where it stops, there’s more. Feel free to read the rest yourself. The revival was prophesied, the Holy Ghost was going to be out poured powerfully in the last days. If you could see and hear the worship of the 34,000 young people in the Lucas Oil Stadium, you would see that time is already here. People from all over the world, speaking in tongues, in one accord, is a big step up from Azusa Street, and it will only continue to grow. I’m just thankful I could be a part of this life-changing event.

This is That for me.

 

My Little Mermaid Heart

Hold on. Don’t jump my gun, I’m back! Let me speak to y’all for a minute.

Last week marked the beginning of a two week journey without mother in the house, as she and Timo jetted off to Belgium and Ireland. We drove down to the west coast of France where we dropped the two deserters at an airport where they would catch their flight.

What to do now?… We had the whole day, and seven minutes from the airport was a bridge leading to the little island of Ré… Of course we would spend the day there. Beach, books, sun, ice cream, ocean = perfection!

Île de Ré has my mermaid heart

“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place…and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.”            -Genesis 1: 9-10

God said the oceans were good; I completely agree. Let me expand a bit on my love for the sea.

Growing up in St. John, New Brunswick meant growing up right beside the Atlantic. The seagulls were always screaming, the air was always salty, and the ocean was always nearby in case there was ever a sudden urge to go swimming in the freezing waters. This was home, this was normal, this was my life. My brothers and I were fish, it didn’t matter how cold the water was, just give it a few minutes… the water wouldn’t get any warmer, but your body temperature would eventually consider this environment the new ‘norm’.

Blue sky, grey sky, it didn’t matter. I can remember one fairly grey day. The tide was out, the sky was grey, and a nice layer of fog decided to hang in the air. The parents set up the towels and sat on the cool sand and my brothers and I ran and cartwheeled through the fog to meet the water.

I have a lot of memories that have to do with the sea and water. Moving to a region in France that is a couple hours away from my beloved ocean meant there wouldn’t be as much ‘ocean time’ as before. Going to the island of Ré was refreshing for my little mermaid heart and a reminder of my love for the sea.

The ocean is a funny thing. Don’t think that I believe in legends or fairytales, but hear me out. There are stories of sirens calling men to the ocean, calling sailors to their demise, but I have a different idea. The stories that say the sirens call, but I think the ocean is the one who does the calling. “you used to call me on my shellphone…” Huh, what? forget I said that.

Being on the island, smelling the salty air, hearing the annoyingly lovely cries of the seagulls, and feeling the sand under my feet reminded me of why I love the the sea. Now my mermaid heart is renewed, and is eager to be by the sea once again.

 

THAT was Unexpected!

*  Disclaimer  *
The names of persons and places in this post
have been modified to protect their identity.
(you could ask, and I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you! 🙂 )


How can someone expect the unexpected? Well they can’t unless they are extremely talented.

“Who would have known you would move to France and make a friend in “Neverland” (as the location shall remain shrouded in mystery)?

This happens to be one of the things in life that cannot be expected. I have a new friend. Never in my life had I met or had any contact with “A1” (*note: modified name, in case you didn’t get that already*), prior to coming here however, I’m thinking that maybe God saw that I needed someone to talk to, and so He sent them to me. Our friendship started out with a simple message but instead of ending and replying with something stupidly simple and concluding, I kept talking to A1 and in turn, A1 kept talking to me.

I used to be quite the outgoing person in my church, in fact, looking back, I realize that I probably ran my mouth a little too much. Never the less, I had the ability to converse with almost everyone. Coming to France made me curl back into an old, dusty shell that I had not used in years, and I lost a little bit of that ability to easily converse. When making new friends, you need to do a little bit of small talking, or course, but too much small talk is what gets me: I want to get to know someone. One of the things that I wonder quite often is if social media is part of the problem. Now please don’t mistake what I’m saying. I like social media (most times), and I met my new friend though social media; but I’m starting to wonder if social media has led to people losing the ability to have a real face-to-face conversation.

Think back to when you were a child. Most of what came out of our mouths wasn’t a well-thought through speech, we didn’t have to think about what to say, we simple said… “Wanna be fwends?” and there, we had a new friend. Maybe it’s just me and my awkwardness but I happen to think getting to know a person’s personality and speaking while in the presence of the person is a lot better than small talk and “screen talking.”

That was my opinion, why did I share it? I was genuinely surprised at how easy it was to talk to a person I knew nothing about and had never spoken to. Conversations with A1 are funny, entertaining, honest, and real. Slowly we learn things about each others’ character.

The Lord knows my needs, maybe I simply needed someone to really talk to, and I just didn’t know it. In that case the Lord answered my unspoken request.

He is good!