Friday, June 21, 2013

A look back at the 2012 - 2013 Kaléo program year. 

A video made by one of our Kaléo program 2013 graduates highlighting the year! Immerse yourself in front-line ministry, fully-accredited Briercrest academics, and the best of Canadian West Coast adventure... like a four-day sailing excursion, surfing at Tofino, caving, and more! You won'’t just grow as a leader... you'’ll be inspired for life!

A leadership program of Camp Qwanoes and Briercrest College & Seminary.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


This past Saturday, I had the unique privilege of watching twenty-two amazing young leaders finish the year together. While it is sad to see them go, I am so excited to see them released into the world I know God is going to do some amazing things through them!

It's been a phenomenal year together, and on behalf of the Qwanoes and Briercrest staff teams, we'd like to thank you all for taking such an interest in this year's program!

We gave out some awards at the ceremony to those who really excelled in key components of the program. The Winners were:

Adventure Award Winner - Brookelynn Allan
Community Award Winner - Lokadia Leeson
Academics Award Winner - Janelle Wills 
Ministry Award Winner - Rachael Allen
Leadership Award Winner - Jim Bodden

While those were specially singled out and honoured, I know that we could give awards to all the students for what they've accomplished this year.

Again, my sincerest thanks for all of you who supported us through the year. We didn't measure this year's success by grade point average or accomplishments. We chose instead to focus on finishing the year strong together and it happened!

We're still a little hurting from the goodbyes, but all we can do now is sit back and thank God for what He's done all year! What an awesome year!

Thanks everyone!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Week Full of Adventure!

Hello everyone! 

We did it! We have made it through our year and are now in our final week! 
While we're hurting a little bit that things are ending soon, we are so excited to see the students head back home and take the changes that we've seen home with them.
We have definitely been savouring our last few days with the students. We've been going on adventure after adventure to enjoy each other's company. I'm excited to get to tell you about three big adventures that we went on this week.

On Tuesday we had the pleasure of heading down to Victoria for a little indoor rock climbing. I know we were expecting to have a good time, but I think we surpassed all of our expectations when we saw how amazing the facilities were. There was a nice bouldering wall, some nice sized rock walls and then we saw their amazing HUGE rock wall room. It had to look like about a 3-4 story building in there and students were able to climb a good chunk of it. My neck almost hurt from looking up so much!

On Wednesday, we were supposed to head up to some outdoor rock climbing, but the weather didn't work out so we moved it to Thursday. I think this was God's little gift to us in that we had perfect weather on Thursday! We headed up to near the Nanaimo River and met our guides there. There was a number of different rock faces we could climb. With the river behind us and the blue sky above we spent nearly the entire day climbing and it was such a great day! Even those of us who weren't overly gifted at climbing still had a good day getting a sun tan! 

Friday met us with a different challenge though! We spent the morning trying to figure out how safe the waters were before we went out on our kayaking adventure! With two foot waves and a good attitude we decided to try kayaking around the ladysmith harbour. When we got out there, we discovered how much fun it was to kayak with a little resistance! We even spent time singing together and had a seal audience pop up to see us! I'm happy to report that no one fell out of their boats (except for myself clumsily trying to exit the kayak about three feet from shore).

With that, our major adventures end for the year. It's a bit bittersweet in that we've made it! We've all done this together! But I know there have already been tears shed thinking about the end and we are all going to miss each one so much.

For those of you coming to grad on Saturday, we are SO excited to have you come! 
We finally get to show you everything we've been writing about this year! 
We are praying for your safe travels and can't wait to meet some of you! 

Thanks for all your support of the students this year!


Friday, April 5, 2013

This Year in Academics

Hello everyone! 

When students finished their camp and youth ministry class this tuesday they broke into applause. The ending of that class signified the ending of class time this year in the Kaleo Program. While they still have homework, it's a bit weird that class time is now officially done. Academics is one of the most important aspects of the year and it's one that has had a significant effect on all our students. We have been so grateful to have professor after professor fly out from Briercrest  to Qwanoes and spend time with us. While this blog may show a lot of adventures, we decided this week to have it focus solely on the academic side of things to honour what God has done through the classes this year.

I asked a number of students what class they appreciated most this year. I was relieved to get a variety of answers as to why they appreciated them and I thought I would share that with all of you!

Kendra Balch - "My favourite course this year was Gospels (with Dr. Wes Olmstead). It challenged my thinking about God's Word in a completely new way. My entire perspective on the gospels, particularly Matthew, was shifted dramatically as I was able to gain insight on the complete themes and motifs throughout the book of Matthew. I have a refreshingly new appreciation for Scripture because of this class."

Michael Siggelkow - "I would have to say that my favourite course this year was Foundations of Church Ministry (with Dr. David Ernst). Since I am looking at vocational ministry, this class really helped me affirm my decision and started preparing me for what lies ahead. On top of that I learned some very practical ways that I can currently serve the church."

Jim Bodden - "Introduction to Christian Worldview (with Dr. Cal MacFarlane) was my favourite course becaus it gave me a clear understanding of why society acts the way it does and how Christians should act in this society."

Linnae Mielke - "I have to admit that my favourite class was Introduction to World Missions (with Dr. Tim Stabell). Others might disagree with me, but missions is where I feel called and it is what gets my heart pumping. I was almost on the edge of my seat the entire class wanting to yell out, 'Can I go out into the World yet?!'"
Nick Portengen - "My favourite course this year was Introduction to Church Ministry. It helped me learn about a Biblical view of how the church works and exposed me to other views and traditions I had yet to consider. The course forced me to discover the Biblical reasons for why I believe and hold the views that I have."
Lokadia Leeson - "My favourite class this year was Introduction to Christian Worldview because throughout this class I found myself able to reflect on this past year, who Christ is, and who I am in Christ. I found myself wrestling in a deeper level with questions about God and as a result, I found myself growing closer in relationship with Him. Overall, this class challenged my thinking and was very mind opening."

Matt Wiebe - "One of my favourite courses this year was Introduction to Old Testament literature (with Dr. Don Taylor). The main reason is because of the video we did I loved making the video. Another reason is because it helped me read and understand the context of the Old Testament. This class has given me a deeper love for the Old Testament and I hope that the new understanding of i will help me read it more critically. I saw the gems of the Old Testament!"

We are so thrilled that God has worked in an amazing way through all of the classes! I'm sure if I would have asked everyone, every single class would have been someone's favourite. It really is incredible how much went on this year and how much has been passed on to our students.

We are also incredibly proud of our students for their academic rigor this year! It has been amazing how much work has been put in to excelling in their academics! It was hard work, but it's the home stretch now and we can't wait to see how these classes will effect everything they do through the discipline and desire it took to put as much effort as they did into them.

Thanks again for Reading!

Qwanoes intern / Focus area: Kaléo program

Sunday, March 24, 2013

French Beach and a Baptism!

Hello everyone! My sincerest apologies for the late blog post this week! I'm planning on this being the first post of two this week, so stay tuned for more!

We are in full "Go Mode" this week. Between out trips, specially planned events and homework every night seems to be busier than the previous one! We are definitely moving closer to the end of the year, but we're not slowing down! Normally I would have one or two things to write about, but I am blessed enough to have 4 this week!

We had our final overnight out-trip for the year from Sunday to Monday when we went down to French Beach, near Sooke and Victoria. We set up our tents and did some good winter camping. Now I realize that in most of Canada it's much too cold to do this, but this is just another perk of West Coast life! While it did get cold some nights, we were lucky enough to have decent enough weather to really enjoy our trip. Most of the trip was spent either relaxing or reading, playing ultimate frisbee, or hanging out around our ongoing campfire. It was a great time of being able to connect and have good talks or spend some time alone reflecting. We had some amazing views on our beach and it was amazing to get to connect with God through some more time in His creation.

We even had weather so good at some points that some brave students decided to take a swim! (or Dip, they didn't stay in too long!)

We spent a lot of time on the trip focusing on our goal of "finishing well" this year. Whether it be through planning well, avoiding distractions, overcoming obstacles, or dreaming big, we have set the bar high for how we want to end this year. We still have 3-4 weeks left and we are so excited to see what God is going to do in this time! I'm sure many of you are also excited to come visit us for the graduation and see your loved ones! I can assure you they will leave here different than when they left home! God has been doing some amazing things!

We were able to see one of these amazing things in a tangible way when one of our students got baptized two weeks ago! It was an incredible testimony to see one of our students, Levi, take the step of water baptism. God is so good and he has been doing so much here, it was amazing to see this being manifested in this decision.

I'll end here for now with the assurance that I still have a few more adventures to write about this week! There was a very special night for the girls this week and a crabbing adventure!

Until next time,


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Theology Class and Full Vancouver Missions Report!

Hello! and thanks so much for coming to check out our blog! I’m excited to get to share with you about two exciting things – the Theology class and in depth report on what we did on our Vancouver Missions trip.
It’s been an amazing week to see the students digging through some amazing theology. We were so excited to have one of Briercrest’s Vice Presidents, Merrill Dyck, come to teach an intensive theology class. Heading into rooms at night showed that the students are really digging into the subject matter and trying to figure out what they believe and what Biblical evidence they had to believe it. The week culminated with a debate on Friday morning. Students were separated into four different groups. There were two different debates, one centered around eschatology and premillenialism vs amillenialism. The other centered on Salvation and if you could lose it not. It was awesome to get to see the students take sides, even if they didn’t personally adhere to the side they took. 

It’s also great to get to deliver a full report on what the students did in their Vancouver missions trip. We were able to give a brief snapshot on what happened but now I get to give the details. We’ll try to do the same for the Mexico team shortly, since I wasn’t on that trip I’ll have to find someone to give you the full details then. We went to two different locations on our missions trip – Potter’s Place Mission and New Beginnings Baptist Church.
We began our trip at New Beginnings Baptist Church. It is located in East Vancouver near Commercial Drive. We were able to sleep at the church and help with a number of things there. We were all so impressed with what the church did in their different ministries. They were an incredible family-oriented church reaching out to lower income families. They also had an incredible ministry to First Nations families in the area. The first couple days were spent in a lot of physical work projects, we were able to tear down walls and build walls in other areas. We also were able to help with various moving ministries, helping families move and clear storage lockers and other things. It was in these moving ministries that we were able to meet Garrett. He was the church member that had the truck that we did everything on. Hearing his story was really encouraging because his wife had come to Christ through a family camp at Camp Qwanoes. Through that and God’s greatness, his entire family had come to Christ. It was so cool to see the different ministries intersecting and see how God can change lives through the ministries we are blessed to be a part of. We also were able to do “home makeovers” where we went into families houses and helped clean or redecorate or whatever they needed us to do. We absolutely loved getting to do these projects, it was a real blessing to get to help the church in this way.

We also were able to help out with a number of church and youth programs over the time we spent there. We helped a number of times with the church’s “Say Yes” after-school programs. It was great to get to hang out with a number of the kids, and some even recognized us from camp! There was also some nights where we were able to put on kids programs so the adults could have a get-together time. This seemed to be a real blessing as there were a number of single mothers in the church and they were able to get out and have some fun for an evening. One of the most amazing evenings happened on our last Sunday there, where while we were doing kids programs, 3 people came to Christ upstairs in the service. God really works through that church and we were really able to see how God blessed his servants there. We were also deeply encouraged by the people who worked there (especially Pastors Joe, Joel and Byron). 

Between the times we spent at New Beginnings, we went to Potter’s Place Mission in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This area has been called “Canada’s poorest neighbourhood” and has a reputation of being “skid road”. We saw a number of problems that we don’t see usually – drugs, prostitution, homelessness and it really opened our eyes. 

We were blessed to get to spend time with Pastor Deborah Chien who helped us understand how important the ministry is in this area. Her passion and love for the area helped us to truly develop the same in our own hearts. At the mission we were able to do some work projects, tour the area, hand out flowers to street women and hand out food. We really fell in love with the people and ministry and I know a number of us would love to go back at some point.
We also helped with the services at Potter’s Place, it was so cool to get to see some students preaching hope and salvation! A number of the students also told their testimony and led worship. When we weren’t doing these things we were hanging out with the people at the mission. A number of us made some real good friendships. One of the most touching stories we had was when a man started crying because one of the students remembered his name! It was really out of all of our comfort zones, but God was good and kept us safe. Some nights we could hear the fights and the brokenness outside of our window, but God provided for us and showed us how much he loved everybody.

I took the students to some upper-class areas in Vancouver and what struck me the most was just how much darker those areas could seem to be. When people needed God for their daily bread and for other provisions, they cried out to Him and really understood how much they need Him .The brokenness that was there simply amplified a need for God. I was constantly reminded of Matthew 19:24 where Jesus reminded us of how hard it can be for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. We met so many people who really loved God, who knew him as father and provider. Inner-city ministries are so important, and I would encourage anyone reading to get involved at some point in their lives, even just once.
Thank you to everyone who supported us in any way, this was truly a life-changing trip and I know the students were so blessed by what they experienced. If anyone reading this is considering the program for next year, start praying for this now!
I’ll probably have another blog up by the end of the week, we have had some more exciting stuff happening – including a baptism!
Until then,

Sunday, March 3, 2013

We're Back!

Hey everyone, just a quick post this week!

I could go on for a long time trying to describe in detail what has gone on in our Missions trips, but I feel like that might be too long of a read for one post. I've gotten two students to write something so we will hopefully have individual posts from each team by the end of this week!

 Colin has been good enough to write this brief description story from the Mexico team:

"In a mid-February Vancouver Island winter, 14 of us Qwanoes students travelled all the way down to El Papalote Mexico for a missions trip. We were so blessed as a group down by the people of El Papalote. God provided the opportunity for us to to do many tasks through out the community. This included: emptying loads and loads of sand to raise the elevation of parking lot in a church to prevent it being flooded, doing road repairs to create a slightly less bumpy ride coming off the highway, along with pouring a foundation and inserting plumbing systems for apartments for future missions teams to accommodate.

But as we had the opportunity to bless the community, they sure did not hesitate at a chance to bless us. When we first arrived, the pastor called us all up and had the entire church pray for us. The women of the church had also volunteered their evenings to prepare wonderful and authentic Mexican dinners for us all. But the biggest blessing of all was how the church gave us a fantastic example of what it means to live in a church community. The members were never hesitant to help one another out and truly cared dearly for one another, and even us."

                                                                                                 - Colin Mol

 Thanks Colin!

I was lucky enough to lead the Vancouver team to both New Beginnings Baptist Church and Potter's Place Mission. We were lucky enough to get to serve in both of these amazing places. New Beginnings Baptist Church allowed us the opportunity to serve an inner city church that catered to a number of families. We were able to take a number of work projects on around the church, help out in a number of kids and youth programs, and participate in helping some very hurting people in some very practical ways.

At Potter's Place Mission we were challenged in different ways. While New Beginnings allowed us to minister in a church setting to low income families, Potter's Place allowed us to spend some time on East Hastings, widely known as one of the most dangerous areas in Canada. Here we were able to a number of people on the street and it was amazing that after a week they started to feel like our friends and we looked forward to seeing them day after day. A number of us led worship, preached or gave our testimony here, which was amazingly challenging but also really rewarding.

One of my biggest highlights from the trip came from one day when we were handing out  sandwiches in "Pigeon Park", once known as the most dangerous corner in Vancouver. We were chatting with a number of the "regulars' there and offering them a sandwich when we started to realize that people recognized us from Potter's Place and actually were approaching us to tell us how their days were going! I think one of the most powerful things was that we realized that the people we were ministering to actually became our friends. It was amazing to make friends with some that we might see as down and out. The drugs were prevalent in the area but it was amazing to see God's redeeming nature bringing them to Himself. It was also quite affecting to see a group of people who needed God and when we asked how we could pray for them, they simply said "Pray that I live through the week"

Once again thank you all for your support! God did some really amazing things on the trips and we look forward to being able to share everything (more stories) in a longer post!  For those of you who supported us either prayerfully or financially, we are so extremely grateful because this ministry opportunity has had some resounding effects in our lives!

Thanks again everyone!