Sunday, 20 November 2011

A feeling of Esperanza

Taking an extremely windy gravel road through the forests and mountains of Vancouver Island was the beginning of our adventure.  An adventure that began at 3:00am...  As we parked the vans in the little town of Tahsis, the beauty around us was already unbelievable.  A 20 minute boat ride through the channels of the misty hills got us to the community of Esperanza, the latin word for hope.  The people who live in Esperanza are committed to living a simple life while in midst of a community committed to Jesus.  While the girls slept an a big family house, the guys were lucky enough to live for the week in small cabins heated by wood stoves.

It's a rare joy to wake up to the smell of the ocean and to see sea otters dipping through the water.  Our first day in Esperanza was a Sunday and we were invited to a homey worship service, which included the residents of Esperanza.  We were able to hear about what makes the place special in the eyes of the residents and glimpse a bit of what God was doing there.  In the days of whale hunting, the native people used to spend months praying for the hunt in Esperanza.  Hearing this shed some light on the history of Jesus in this place and what we were getting the chance to experience.  A free afternoon gave us the chance to go canoeing, sleep, catch starfish (although it was more like picking them out of the water), jump off the pier into the Pacific ocean at low tide and many other unique things.

Carter, Ryan, Jonathan & Andrew showing off mad canoeing skills 
Layla catching oysters 
Jessica chasing the community chickens

Luke on the rope swing

Coral catching starfish

Stephen & Chloe admiring the local sea stars
The nest few days would be work days mixed with sessions spoken by different people.  For work, they had us tearing down greenhouses (an all girls group + Stephan), shovelling compost, transporting firewood, helping with ventilation construction, chopping wood and most surprisingly, building a giant bonfire and burning junk from all around the community.  We all loved the physical labour as we knew that our help was going a long way for the people there.

Becci in the compost heap 
Stephan, Alisha, Tausha, Kelsey & Kaitlyn working hard
Ivan, a First Nations man who grew up in the area, shared stories about Aboriginal culture and how God works in their communities  He helped us understand how protocol is very important when working with different cultures and interactions must be done in a certain way.  Ivan gave information on Native culture, so that instead of assumptions we now understand traditions, ways of live and history.

On Wednesday, we had a community potluck supper, so the dining hall was very lively, as kids ran around and conversation was exchanged between Outtatown students and the people at Esperanza.  I found it interesting how our own community was able to go into another very close community  and live for a week.  Through chopping wood, swimming int he ocean, playing games and drinking hot chocolate, eating meals, shovelling manure (we found out later that the compost wasn't just decomposing food...), listening to stories and observing God's incredible gift of beauty in nature, we were all able to grasp a bit of what peace feels like.  But most importantly, we left that place with a feeling of hope for the next part of our Outtatown journey.  A feeling of Esperanza.

Ready, set... 

Written by: Andrew

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