|This is Abbi, who was in my dorm last year! Her joy is so contagious and I'm so glad she was on this trip, even though she and a few others got really sick with a flu during the week!|
|Me and Olivia, one of the most humble, servant-like people I've ever met! We explored a lake as a stop on our way to Alert Bay.|
|Dakota and I enjoying the lake. Dakota is one of the best at connecting with people, especially the quiet ones.|
|Out the ferry window on our way to Cormorant Island!|
|This view from our island to the Big Island (Vancouver Island) took my breath away. Also, bald eagles were everywhere!|
|Art everywhere! This dock is right outside the House of Prayer, our home base for the week. Just look at those mountains!|
|It was just too beautiful not to take a group picture (missing Amanda!).|
|Alert Bay is home to the World's Tallest Totem Pole! It's about the same height as the Leaning Tower of Pisa!|
|We took a hike to see a lighthouse, and we felt like we were in a magical forest land. It felt like Endor to me!|
|On Wednesday, we were given a feast! Tristin and her dad, Art, taught us how to cut, gut, and roast salmon over a fire on the beach. Here is Tristin and Olivia watching the salmon cook.|
|This is pretty great picture to write about how much fun it is to have Ceilidh (kay-lee) on a team. No one brought us more laughter than Ceilidh! But her humor and joy is matched by her depth and desire to make others welcome. Thanks Ceilidh!|
|Art and Dakota cooking salmon! Art would just yell "NORTH" to get her attention. It took a few tries, but eventually we all got the connection.|
|I just can't get enough of these views.|
|Me, Olivia, and Kachina, one of the girls were spent a lot of time with on the island! She's in high school now, which is on a different island, so she has to take a school ferry instead of a school bus every day!|
|Old fishing vessels.|
|Walks on docks.|
|Olivia and Kachina dancing on the docks.|
|One more view...|
|Abbi, Olivia, Doreen, me, and Steff waiting for our ferry off the island.|
It has only be 24 hours since getting back from the trip, and I still have so much left to process and see God use in my life. But right now, I know a few ways this trip has transformed me.
- I am far more aware of the impact of residential schools on the native people, and I am utterly heartbroken by the devastation it has caused in their own identity and respect for their culture.
- I attended a community think tank on the topic of language revitalization, and I was so broken by the realization that these people are struggling against time to bring back their language, a language that we stamped out. Now they're left to fight mostly on their own. When the few fluent speakers were asked what they wanted to see happening with the language in 5 years, they laughed and said, "We'll be dead!" And sadly it's true - the language is flickering on the brink of extinction, and more than ever I am determined to be an advocate for the government of Canada to provide them with everything they might need.
- The people of Alert Bay were the most generous culture I've ever known. I want to be more like them, stopping for hours to simply be present with each other, laying down whatever amount of money or food or anything else. They love to bless each other, and it makes for a beautiful, inter-dependent community.
- The Christians I met in Alert Bay amazed by with their incredible forgiveness. Even though the only apologies for the residential schools in the past have been formal, general, written apologies, the people have chosen to make personal, sacrificial decisions to forgive. They spoke of how much Christ has forgiven them, and how they pray for those who hurt them in the past, asking God to have mercy on those perpetrators and prevent the oppression from continuing to their descendants.
- Most importantly, I am reminded that God is living and active all over the world. The church in Alert Bay is strong and vibrant, though small. As Western Christians, we have so much to learn from our brothers and sisters in other cultures.
Continue to pray for the people of Alert Bay, especially that more people will know the freedom that comes from Jesus, freedom from alcohol, drugs, sin, and bitterness. Pray that they will miraculously be able to revive their language.
Thank you for your prayers and support!