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03 January 2007 @ 11:42 am
Alright, so it's been a while since I've updated, and I'm now updating by order of my Mother.

As you probably know, I've been on my Christmas break for a little while now. I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas! Mine was definitely amazing. The best part was seeing my family and friends again. It was very reassuring to come back home and have everything be just the way I left it. After meeting lots of new people everyday for three months without being able to maintain contact with them makes it very comforting and calming to come home to those friendships that I've had for years. I think it's helped me realize more the significance of friendship and how essential it is for people to have friends. I'm very thankful for the one's I've got, and that includes all of you. Having good, reliable, faithful friends makes me want to be a friend to anyone who doesn't have one. Of course there are too many lonely people in the world for one person to befriend, but there are also a lot of amazing people who are ready to give their lives to loving others. I don't doubt that you are one of those amazing people. Traveling so much has really made me realize more how many sad people there are in the world. And who are we to deny them all the love that they deserve? I guess that this is kind of a new year's resolution for me, personally. I want to love people more without being afraid of not being loved back.

"A faithful friend is a sure shelter,
whoever finds one has found a rare treasure." (Ecclesiasticus 6:5)

So today is the last day of my break. I've had the pleasure of having David (my team leader) stay at my house throughout it. He's from New Zealand, so he couldn't really go home for the holidays. But today is the last day of our break, and so late this afternoon I'll get to see my team again, which is really exciting because I've really started to miss them. It will be good to be part of the team again for sure.

Speaking of which! There is packing to do and things to prepare before my departure, so I'll bid you all farewell and try to update again soon!
Until then, I remain...

Yours truly,
- Steve!
 
 
15 November 2006 @ 09:08 pm
Hi everyone!

Last time I wrote was when I was out on the coast, I think. As it turns out, I did get to taste the Pacific Ocean! It was pretty gross...but definitely worth my while. So...since my last update we put on a few more retreats (one of them was only a half-hour long and it was for kindergartens. They were all dressed up like superheroes and animals and princesses because it was halloween) and then we drove back through the Rockies to Edmonton where I am now. We've been putting retreats on in Edmonton and the surrounding area for about a week now.

Um...interesting things that have happened recently:

1. Yesterday morning our van got stuck in a ditch for the first time. It was very exciting. It took all of the guys pushing on the back of it to get it out. The day before yesterday Team 2's van broke down (they were 2 hours away from us) and we had to go pick them up, so they were there to help us out of the ditch. Strange how things work out isn't it?

2. I went to the West Edmonton mall...which was nothing too spectacular. The only things that make it different from other malls are that it has a waterpark and an amusement park, 3 of each store, and by the end of the day you're really tired because the stores you went to were on opposite sides of the mall and its too big to be worth it. Oh, and everythings a little more expensive.

Things have been going really well. The retreats are awesome and the more I do them, the more I like them. It's totally cool because my job is to tell people about what I'm passionate about and play music! I mean who wouldn't want that? Especially since the Dude that I'm passionate about (ie. Jesus) is infinitely more passionate about me and the people I'm ministering to! It's crazy, I tell ya. And besides teaching others about Christ, I'm learning something new about my own faith every day. It's definitely something I love to do. I wish that you could all know the incredible joy that comes from knowing that something God has done through you has moved the heart of someone that you love. In fact I'm willing to bet that a lot of you, if not all of you, do know that joy. I think it's something we should all try and do every day...be a channel for God's love to flow into the world. I'm trying to do that more and more every day, and it's hard, let me tell you. Not impossible, though!

St. Francis of Assisi has continued to inspire me in my travels. I find this prayer of his very inspiring:

"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."

Don't you find that amazing? It's all about giving yourself completely to loving others. It's totally selfless. It's loving people so much that everything you do is for their benefit. It's laying down your life for love of God and love of others. And Jesus said that there's no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends. I wish I could do that. If everyone did, this world would be a pretty sweet place. It feels good to be part of an organization like NET that encourages people to do everything out of love. It also feels good to be part of a Church that does the same thing.

Anyhow, I've got to go now. I'll update again real soon hopefully.

Goodbye and God bless!
Love,
- Steve
 
 
30 October 2006 @ 06:58 pm
Hello again!

Right now I'm writing from British Columbia. I forget the name of the town I'm at, but it's a coastal town. Therefore when I go for a walk in the morning, I am surrounded by mountains and the ocean. It's quite intense.

We've been in British Columbia for about 4-5 days now. We put on 4 retreats in 3 days, which was quite intense. They all went very well. I think lots of people were touched by God's love. Although, to Justin's dissapointment, we don't do the falling down thing, because as much as you (Justin) are attracted to that strange phenomena, a lot of people get freaked out by it and so our ministry has to be pretty reserved so that people actually let us do retreats.

Driving through the Rocky Mountains was pretty intense. We stopped every half hour or so to take photos. I've probably seen about 20 bald eagles now. There are a lot of them around here. Probably about as often as I see Turkey Vultures back home.

I am meeting quite a few very wonderful people. I've gotten used to getting to know people really well and then saying goodbye the next day. It's hard, but I can always look forward to the next bunch of people.

I have not yet touched the ocean, or tasted it's salty water. Hopefully I will sometime soon. I might go out for a walk tonight and do it, because we're leaving the coast tonight...and there's no way I travelled from Ottawa to within kilometers the Pacific ocean without ever having touched it. That's just lame.

I am doing very well! Receiving new injuried every day, but I haven't got sick yet...which some people find strange, as I am always eating things off the ground and suchlike. I accidentally stabbed myself with a steak knife while carving a pumpkin. I skinned my foot playing soccer barefoot. And there's a massive bruise on my leg with a cut across it, but I have no idea how it got there. How goes the pumpkin carving back home?

It's halloween tomorrow! y'know I keep trying to call home, but it's either too late there (because you're three hours ahead) or you're not home. I think I'll go try and call right now...although the calling card hasn't been working because I think it only works with Bell phones.

Anyhow! There's tons more that I could say, but I have to run. My computer time has long been up.

So long!

With lots of love,
- Steve
 
 
16 October 2006 @ 11:39 pm
Alright. I know it's only two days since I posted last, but you never know when your going to get computer access while with this crazy nation-wide catechalismic organization of insano-Jusus-loving teenagers called NET. ...so here's another quick update:

So um...Clifford, Pierre, and Myself have started a band! (two guys on my team) Yeah, and um, we all sing and play guitar and Pierre does drums, which is totally cool. We're currently working on three different songs. We have not yet come up with a band name! which is unfortunate. But we don't want to make a major decision about it until we're absolutely certain that we've come across the ultimate title. Anyhow, one of the songs is called Superhuman...which I think is a really cool name for a song.

In other news, I saw two bald eagles today on the way from Fort Frances to Sioux St. Marie! Before today, the only place I've seen them is in Robert Bateman paintings and Photographs with inspirational words underneath them. Yeah, it was pretty cool though. It flew across the highway right in front of our van. They're pretty big. About the size of a turkey vulture.

Also! We saw a cougar walking along the side of the highway. It was littler than I thought it would be, it might have been a young one.

Also, right now I am siting beside a golden retriever who is growling at me because I am not patting her head. She just went and lay down next to David...which is funny, because David doesn't like dogs too much. Aha! I just appeased her wrath by scratching her ears....strange animal.

Another animal we saw running from the highway was a black bear. He wasn't too big, but not a baby.

Since we left Ottawa, there has always been someone on the team who has gotten sick. I haven't yet! Woohoo! And I don't plan on it either.

It's 11:55 here (10:55 in Ottawa) and we're doing a retreat tomorrow, so I'm heading to bed.
Goodnight

- Steve

P.S. Friday we're in Ontario, Saturday we're in Manitoba, Sunday we're in Saskatchewan, Monday we're in Alberta, and Tuesday we're in British columbia. Crazy, huh?
 
 
15 October 2006 @ 11:29 am
Hello to all my fans back home!

Haha, I'm just kidding. I had you going, though!

Alright. So I'm doing in wonderfully, in case you had any doubts. I apologize for not updating before now, but computer access has been rare of late.

Here is a list of where I've been so far and interesting things that happened in those locations:

1. Sioux St. Marie: We didn't put on any retreats, but we did stay overnight at a place called the House of Hope. Team 1 travelled with us until the house of hope and then the next morning we split off. They headed out to Alberta and we continued on to a small place called Kapuskasing, which is pronounced Kapooskaysing, with the emphasis in the "kay".

2. Kapuskasing: A very friendly town. It's the kind of place where everyone knows everyone and you can just walk into people's houses without ringing or knocking. It was here that we put on our very first retreat. It went very well! My only jobs were leading music and being a small-group leader. 'twas fun! The retreat was for grade 7s and 8s, but we also got to know quite a few of the highschool students in the area. We played soccer with them, and even got some of them to do night prayer with us. I almost broke a window with a football.

3. Nipigon: Most of these North-western Ontario towns are quite small, with populations around 9000. Nipigon was the smallest we've been to so far. It's right next to Lake Superior. I have touched lake superior! We stayed at an old couple's house. The lady's name is Ruth, and she's got an Irish accent. She is quite possibly the most hospitable woman I've ever met. Everyday felt like Christmas day with the amount of food we were offered. We put on a retreat there as well, which went very well. A lot of the kids on the retreat were Native Americans, and almost all of them were from single-parent families, which was sad but also made the retreat seem more worthwhile. There was one young guy there who's name is Bear. Is that cool or what? He had long black hair and was very quiet, but still totally awesome.

4. Thunder Bay: The drive to thunder bay was beautiful. Much of the drive went along the shore of Lake Superior. We stopped at the place where Terry Fox had his heart attack while running across the country. There's a beautiful lookout there. I took pictures! In Thunder Bay we put on a retreat and had a whole lot of free time, so we climbed the "mountain" which is a massive pillar of rock jutting up out of the ground. I took pictures from up there that will no doubt scare my Mother when she sees them, right Mom? Haha! It snowed Yesterday and the day before. We got a few centimetres, but it's all melting now that the sun is back out.

5. Fort Frances: This is our current location. We put on a retreat for 120 grade 8's two days ago. It's the biggest one we've had yet!

I have to get off the computer now. I'm over the 10-minute rule, and someone else wants to use it. Oh! One more thing. There's a little boy in this house who looks much like the boy from Stuart Little. He's very smart. He's in grade 3 and he's sitting next to me playing chess against himself.

Alright, that's my update. Gotta Run!

With lots of love,
- Steve!
 
 
 
30 September 2006 @ 01:30 pm
Hello!

I'm leaving tomorrow...making my way out to Sioux St. Marie (or however you spell that) with my team. It should be a good long van ride. I'll be saying my last goodbyes tonight at the Cathedral where the comissioning mass is taking place. The archbishop will be celebrating it and he has an ultra cool voice.

Training is finally over! It has been fun, and this last week has been even more interesting than usual. Take, for example, two days ago when I spent my day moving heavy things from buildings to trailers and digging trenches in the rain to divert rain water so that it wouldn't ruin a driveway. Some might call it slave labour, but the NET staff said it wasn't because they paid us with popsicles (which are rather nice when you're cold and soaked with rain). Actually the NET staff is quite wonderful. Their office is located in an old building that looks like a country cottage. It even has a barn next to it. It is there that they do paperwork and plan and organize and decide where the teams will be putting on retreats and sleeping throughout the year.

Anywho, this is my last post before I'm gone. I'll probably post again in about a week with far more interesting things to write about, such as 12-hour van rides and stuff.

We actually did our first retreat this past week. It was for a group of 30 grade 6 students. It went quite well, and I'm sure our retreat-making skills will develop incredibley as the year goes on.

The names of the people on my team, in case you were wondering, are as follows:

David Bryce: New Zealand
Peirre de Fleuriot: South Africa
Clifford Hummel: Ontario
Steve Clark: Ontario
Theresa Snell: Ontario
Mairin Beirer: Minessota (USA)
Jessica Gautreaux: Texas (USA)
Melanie Mahar: PEI
Ashley(place last name here): British Columbia
Tia Glenn Cooke: Ontario

Gotta run!

- Steve
 
 
30 September 2006 @ 01:28 pm
The following is an update to my other livejournal from a few weeks back.


It is 9:47 pm on the 19th of September, 2006, and most people who are going to read this update have already talked to me about what I'm going to write.

So, I have been told what team I'm on and where I'm going to be going. I'm on Team 2, which is a travelling team, and I'm going to be traversing the country!

In case your interested, here is my Schedule!

1. Thunder Bay, Ontario
2. Prince George, British columbia
3. Edmonton, Alberta
4. Nelson, British Columbia
5. London, Ontario
6. Toronto, Ontario
7. Hamilton, Ontario
8. St. Catherine's, Ontario
9. Antigonish, Newfoundland
10. Toronto, Ontario

So that's where I'm going to be throughout the year, with a two week Christmas break between Nelson and London.

We also discovered our team roles today. I am going to be the Music Leader, Host, and Recruiter.

Training is going well. We're learning lots of dramas and how to give talks and stuff like that. Next week we're going to be putting on mock retreats, for experience. It should be pretty intense. Don't worry, though. I'll be able to handle it.

Comissioning mass is on the 30th at the Notre Dame Cathedral downtown, if anyone is interested. I leave the following day.

There's a guy from New Zealand on my team.

More updates to come!
Until next time, I remain
Yours Truly
 
 
22 August 2006 @ 01:58 pm
Hello!
I apologize for not updating before now. I have no access to a computer at training. I am, however, currently enjoying a day off, so I am on my computer at home. Music training is over. It was a whole lot of fun. An average day went like this:

Get woken up by Roderick at 6:00am to play ultimate frisbee
7:00 is morning prayer
8:00 is breakfast
9:00 is more morning prayer

And then the rest of the day consists of guitar workshops, listening to talks, praying, eating, practicing, and hanging out.
So far it has been pretty awesome! I love it. I am the leader of a worship team composed of myself and three other Netters. One of them plays the cello...which is really cool. We played for mass the other day which was scary at first but ended up alright.

So...there were about 20 people at music training, and (today being Tuesday) tomorrow about 60 more people are going to arrive for regular training. That's a whole lot of people to meet and get to know! I can't wait!

I miss everyone very much, and unfortunately I don't have enough time to see everyone today, but I will hopefully see some of you again before I hit the road in September.

I'm trying to remember whether or not anything extra interesting happened in the past week and a half...
I can't recall anything extraordinary, but there was the angry drunk french guys we met while doing a laundry run in Rockland. I swear he almost pulled a knife on us. Oh yeah, and the van broke down directly afterwards, so we were stuck behind a laundromat for about 4 hours in the not-so-nice part of Rockland until about 11:00pm.

A wonderful fellow named James tuned up my guitar (as in, adjusted the neck and suchlike) so now it sounds beautifuller than before. That makes me quite happy.

There were only 6 girls at music training and about 15 guys, so we decided to do something nice for them. We decorated the cafeteria and had the cafeteria ladies, who only speak french (as well as everyone else who works there,)to make a nice dinner. After-which we set up a move for them in the conference room. They enjoyed it very much, and in return for our kindness they wrote us a rap....which was rather hilarious.

There was a coffee house last night, at which many people, including myself, performed. There were bagpipes and irish dances and raps and compositions and stand up comedies and stuff, but the best act by far was when Ian and Ben did an interpretive dance to the song "The Reason" by Hoobastank. It was quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever seen in my entire life. There were people on the floor laughing! Another funny act was when Ian and Clifford sang "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias.

So it has been good. I hope you are all doing well? comment about interesting things that have happened to you in the past week or so!

I won't be updating for probably another few weeks because of my lack of computer access. Sorry! (special apologies to Laura for breaking my promise. Please forgive me?)

Alright. Keep it real and rock on and peace out and all that.

Love,

- Steve
 
 
06 August 2006 @ 05:45 pm
There, how's that for a layout? I happen to love these colours and I'm not changing them. So there!
So....the money I had, the money I got at St. Mary's today, and the money my parents are providing brings me up to around $3000.00!
I just need 1000 more, which I'll probably get from people who took give-steve-money forms, and I'm all fundraised up!

I am leaving in 4 days. I still haven't figured out yet if that's a happy thing or a sad thing. I guess it's allowed to be both.

Anyhow, no more updates on this blog until I'm gone! Laura said that I have to update at least once a week while I'm gone. I will try my best!

Cheerio,

- Steve
 
 
03 August 2006 @ 04:10 pm
My firstest entry! (I'm not gone yet)