travel bursary reports
I would like to start by thanking the Timios trust for the extremely kind donation that I received from you. It made this life changing experience possible. Soul Edge has been the most transforming, life changing, and formative time of my life. The teaching I received I will forever remember, and the missionary trip to Pelican Narrows has cemented and formed a new approach to what radical life as a Christian should look like.
Soul Edge can be broken into two sections; Training, and Mission.
The first phase of Soul Edge was the Training phase, based in Herbert (south Saskatchewan). We spent the first three months here living both a physically and spiritually disciplined life. Our daily routine consisted of waking up at 0730, followed by two hours of personal bible reading and prayer time. We would do worship at 0930 followed by a morning session at 1000. This session would normally focus on certain aspects of living a Christian life and how we can be used as leaders to lead others through it. Topics included identity, spiritual warfare, walking in true kingdom authority, public speaking (to name a few). We would then do two hours of fitness from 1100 (usually a run and a workout). We would then have an afternoon session after lunch on theology and philosophy from 1400. After this we would then have time to help run events at the local church such as an Alpha course, have time off, or have our own personal mentoring. Mentoring was a key part to Soul Edge and we were each assigned a personal mentor who would challenge, encourage and walk us through Soul Edge to ensure the rapid spiritual growth.
Adventure is another key focus for Soul Edge, particularly in Training phase. Adventure would test us both mentally and physically, it would bring the team much closer, and was also extremely fun! We would have an adventure day each week which would usually be snowboarding, hiking, or general survival training in the harsh -30 winters of Saskatchewan! We also had three adventure weeks. The first was a week hiking in Kananaskis Country (the rocky mountains). This was a brutally cold week of hiking in -40 and waist deep snow, but still hugely enjoyable. The second was a winter sports week in Banff national park doing Snowboarding, Ice Climbing, Cross Country Skiing, and Snow-shoeing. Our third adventure week was towards the end of Soul Edge in our debrief phase and this was a canoe trip around the Churchill river area of Missinipe.
Training phase really allowed God to grow us and develop our own giftings. God also moved very powerfully with inner healing and really spoke to everyone's individual problems. The amazing thing was to see where everyone struggled in training phase with their own healing journeys was exactly where God used us in Pelican Narrows to make them our strengths. It puts a new meaning to 'In my weaknesses we are made strong' (2 Corinthians 12:10) and 'I can do all things who Christ who strengthens me' (Philippians 4:13).
Our mission phase was the last two months of Soul Edge and was based in the first native reserve of Pelican Narrows in Northern Saskatchewan. The natives here have a rich history, however since an attempted de-culturalisation by the Canadian government in the 1900's the natives have faced many troubles. The government set up 'residential schools' where native children would go and either have their traditional culture completely taken out of them, or they would be killed. The treatment they faced in these schools was horrendous, and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse was rife. The last residential school was shut down by the government in 1995. Because of this, the older generations that experienced this treatment are alcoholics or addicts, trying to forget their past. Their children (the generation that now is the parents of children) are therefore trying to forget the awful parenting they got, and their children (my generation) have no role models and therefore live a very lawless life. The alcohol addiction rate in Pelican narrows is shockingly high at 90%.
Our mission in Pelican Narrows was very relational. We aimed to come alongside the community, get to know them extremely well and personally and try to help them in their relationship with Jesus, or lead them to one. We had two mission phases with a weekend off in the middle. Our first phase was based largely around street evangelism and praying for everyone we could. Whilst doing this we saw amazing miracles such as a man who was deaf in one ear have his healing restored, people healed from illness and hope restored to lives. Towards the end of the first mission phase we moved more into a posture of discipleship, trying to intentionally meet with those that we had met on the street and disciple them through their struggles and help them grow in relationship with Jesus. For me personally, the situations I was invested in were largely demonic, with spiritual attacks happening in houses, people, and families. This was my main area of healing during the training phase as well, only strengthening how in our weaknesses God makes us strong. Myself and a few others stepped into a few homes and individuals lives and brought them through some healing and into Gods kingdom. We would be delivering them from evil spirits, and walking them through how to step into a place of spiritual authority to ensure that this growth and healing was sustainable. In one house, we did a house cleansing but to do it, we decided we would repaint one of the bedrooms in the house where the demonic activity was occurring.
Another focus for us as a group was to come alongside, encourage and support the local church in the area, 'Pelican Rising'. We ran two bible studies for them, one for all ages, and one for girls between 14-25. Both were extremely popular and saw deep relationships formed, particularly in the girls study, as each one of the girls that came was discipled and mentored by one of the girls from our group. We also helped run the Sunday morning service for them. Whilst doing this, we also tried to raise up leaders within the groups to ensure that the groups still continued and ran once we left, making the church and the studies sustainable. We also put on a worship and prayer night for the community, which saw an amazing outpouring of the Holy Spirit and people encountering with his love in stronger ways than I could ever have imagined.
I felt honoured and moved by the opportunity I got to spend time with the natives and be accepted into their homes. The mission phase especially taught me about what a Christian life truly should look like, and how to put that into the everyday practice of a missional-lifestyle.
Coming off Soul Edge, it is impossible to really say quite what I have learnt and taken forward without talking for three hours, but if I were to sum it up it would be this; what walking in true identity as a son of God truly means. That goes deep on many levels, but it all comes back to what has God called us to do as his children. That simple revelation has changed my life. I cannot thank you enough for your donation, the experience has been life changing, and your money is what got me there, without it my life would not have changed.
Read our reports from those we have supported through bursaries!