Sights & Sounds of British Columbia

Our family has enjoyed experiencing the different sights and sounds of British Columbia. I still stop in amazement every time I hear the call of Bald Eagle as it flies over head. But there are other sounds that  I am grateful that I don’t hear, like the noise of a rattle snake as we hike around the area.img_3537

In Ministry…..

At camp this summer, there were “sights” and “sounds” that we appreciated. The ‘sound’ of kids laughing and having fun at camp is such a blessing. The ‘sight’ during camp of watching small groups gather to pray; whether it was a group of kids praying over something they were afraid of, or a group of counsellors praying for wisdom as they dealt with different issues, the ‘sight’ was amazing.

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Enjoying the mountain in Revelstoke

We are overwhelmed at how God worked this summer. From providing staff for programming and worship, to the necessary funds to run the camp, God supplied our every need. A number of kids trusted the Lord, staff were often seen together encouraging & praying for each other. God truly did ‘abundantly more than we could ask or imagine’.

We just finished 2 weekends of Ladies Retreats. The speaker was from Nebraska and spoke from God’s word in truth and love. Many ladies shared how the weekend encouraged them and spoke to their heart.

We are now looking forward to the annual “Christmas in Valley” banquets at the centre. We send invitations to neighbouring towns, villages & churches to come for a free Christmas dinner & program celebrating the birth of our Saviour. Pray for these events that we will be able to proclaim the true meaning of Christmas.

Andrew has been doing some preaching in local churches, I have been helping lead a ladies bible study and we’re also involved in leading a kids club.

Our family….

 

We continue to explore & discover lots of things about the Okanagan area. We enjoyed canoeing & kayaking for a day and also spent some time camping this past summer. The kids swam & fished, while Andrew and I rested and relaxed! Everyone went home happy.

One sight we won’t quickly forget is seeing a bale of straw fall out of the trunk of the car in front of us and land all over the road. Andrew pulled over to help them clean it up, but the couple driving the car wanted all the straw shoved into the back seat of the car since the trunk was full with another bale. They got most of the straw cleaned up, but the back of the car was completely filled with straw!

Mine at Logan Lake
End of the Copper Mine in Logan Lake

We spent a few days in Logan Lake and went to see the largest copper mine in Canada. While we were viewing the huge trucks bringing the ore back and forth, we also saw a number of wild horses!
The kids are doing great at school. There are times when we miss Ontario, but we were also blessed this year with a number of visitors. My dad and step mom came for a visit, Andrew’s mom and dad came as well as good friends from Mount Forest! In case you were wondering, we’re always happy to welcome people for a visit!

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Andrew’s mom and dad about to experience their first corn maze – with the kids!

The kids are now looking for the sight of “snow”!  They can’t wait for winter to come.  Thank you to all those who write to us – we appreciate hearing from you!

Blessings, Andrew, Melissa, Ben, Keziah, Luke & Calvin Porter

 

An update on the Porters

A couple of days ago marked the completion of our first year of living in British Columbia. What a year it has been! It has been filled with lots of excitement, but also times of missing family and friends in Ontario.

The kids attended Vernon Christian School. They have enjoyed the school year and all of them have made some great friends. This year, all four of them participated in the cross country runs.  Ben has been taking voice lessons, and so our house continues to be filled with music. Keziah continues to love sIMG_3158chool, and everything to do with animals. She’s had the opportunity to attend a couple horseback riding day camps. Luke played a little bit of hockey this winter and has been riding his bike all over the neighbourhood. Calvin is playing soccer on Saturdays and thoroughly enjoying it.  Andrew has been playing pick up soccer on Saturday mornings, which has been fun – although the next day always brings a number of sore muscles!
The spring in Vernon has been beautiful.  On the same day that my Ontario friends would tell me of vicious snow storms in April, I could hear my neighbour mowing his grass.  We went away to a family camp last weekend and I packed the bug spray – and I realized that I hadn’t used the bug spray since arriving in B.C.  Although there are a few mosquitoes (and lots of wasps), the bug population seems to be much smaller here.  My sister would tell me of getting her garden ready as I was already picking fresh strawberries.  We had a visit from my dad and Katie in April and celebrated my dad’s 65th birthday a few days early!  We also celebrated Andrew’s birthday in April, so the kids blind-folded him and we took him out for a birthday supper.

We are now gearing up for a busy summer.  Andrew directs 3 weeks of summer camp at the camp centre in Falkland in July.  One of those weeks, I’ll be teaching the campers stories & truths from God’s word.  It’s a fun time, but there are moments of feeling overwhelmed.  But God is good.  We have some great summer staff ready to serve and lots of campers ready to come.  There are a few weeks where we still need a little help, so pray with us that God would continue to provide.   The mini golf at the centre has been coIMG_3935 3mpletely re-done and it is looking amazing!  Our own kids have already played many games of golf!

Thanks for praying for us and our family

 

Winter in B.C.

Ministry news
We just finished two weekends of snow camps at the camp centre. For some of you reaIMG_2497ding this, the words “snow camp” evoke image of building a quinzee, sleeping outside & eating meals over an outdoor fire. For us, it means a group of kids coming on a weekend in a winter month to have a camp experience. We sleep & eat indoors, have chapel indoors and then go outside and play in the snow. We were blessed with great staff & great campers. There was a “Hawaiian” themed dinner on the Saturday night. It was great fun to see everyone dress up in their summery, hawaiian clothes & enjoy a great dinner while listening to Hawaiian music. We are also grateful that the snow stayed until the camps were over. Most importantly, we are excited that the truth from God’s word was shared with clarity to everyone present. With the winter camps over, we are already starting to get ready for the summer camps. The brochures are getting ready to go to the printers.
For the past 5 Sunday evenings, Andrew has been teaching a session on “prayer” at Emmanuel Baptist Church. The evening began with a potluck meal, and then everyone could choose between a number of electives. Andrew enjoyed the time and a number of people told him how much they appreciated what he said.
I have been teaching at a kids club at Lavington Baptist Church. I’m filling in while one of the leaders is away. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity and hope the kids haven’t minded putting up with a “substitute teacher”!

IMG_3043Family News:
Both Ben & Keziah learned how to down hill ski this winter – and both of them really enjoyed it. Keziah’s class at school is going to do a number of cross country ski lessons in the next few weeks, so that will be fun as well. Ben broke his arm last week (humerus). He is the first Porter kid to break a bone. Unfortunately for him, it meant a quick end to his volleyball & hockey season. We have been seeingIMG_3083 a specialist and everything is healing well. Now that his arm is beginning to feel better, it’s been harder to keep him still and protective of his arm. The break was right under his shoulder and so he doesn’t have a cast, just has to keep his arm in a sling. Ben had to write sentences for his spelling words at school. One of the words was ‘lightweight’. The sentence was, “My dad is not lightweight”. The next word was ‘daylight’. The sentence he wrote was, “I’m going to beat the living daylights out of my brother”!
Keziah is part of an airband at school and has been spending lots of time during recess to practice the dance routine with her friends. Luke continues to love school and has made lots of friends. It has been fun listening to Calvin sound words out as he learns to read. Calvin continues to make us all laugh – he is such a fun loving kid.
Andrew and I have enjoyed the occasional lunch out together whenIMG_2502 all the kids are in school. We have both been going to the gym to work out My brother and his wife (who live about 4 hours from us) welcomed a baby boy into their family last week. The kids are excited to have a B.C. cousin. We still have snow at our house, but most of the snow in the town has melted. We are getting excited for spring and have lots of ideas of things we want to do in the backyard.

A new year begins!

It has been encouraging to hear from so many people, asking how we’re doing as we settle into life in British Columbia. Our family was chatting last week and realized that it has been 6 months since we arrived in Vernon. There have been many changes – new town, new school, new church, new friends….the list goes on. But through it all, we can boldy say that God has been good.

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In Ministry:
We have met so many people, and we continue to struggle to put the right names with the right people. Slowly, we are making headway. In November, we had the privilege of serving several hundred Christmas dinners at the camp centre in Falkland. It was great time to reconnect with people we had met through the different activities at the centre (kids camps, ladies retreats etc), but also to meet some more new faces. It’s always fun to hear people talk about their love for the camp & how God has used the camp in their lives.
At the end of January and beginning of February, there are 2 snow camps planned for kids. The first weekend is for 12-15 year olds, and the second weekend is for 8-11 year olds. Andrew will be directing both of these camps, and I (Melissa)  will be doing the teaching for the younger camp. We have a graduate from Millar College of the Bible, (Landon) teaching at the older camp. Please pray with us that God will bring the staff that is needed, and the kids to come to the camp.
In our family:
The kids have done really well here in B.C. We are excited that they have had the opportunity to attend the Christian School in Vernon and they are doing great.

We have enjoyed exploring the area where we live.  We took a short (but steep) hike near our house and discovered this amazing view of the lake.  We have also seen lots and lots of deer, coyotes, & several rattlesnakes.

IMG_3570In the middle of December, we met my brother and his wife for a weekend at Manning Park.  We all had a great time hiking, snowshoeing, sledding…and then swimming in the indoor pool.  The kids especially enjoyed rolling in the snow and then jumping in the hot tub. IMG_2538IMG_2533

Even though the kids enjoy school, everyone was ready for Christmas break. I must confess that I was dreading Christmas a little, seeing that we were going to be so far away from family & friends. We didn’t have much planned for the weeks off – but the time was refreshing and fun as a family. We spent lots of time skating at the outdoor rink in Vernon. We built a fort in the back yard and roasted lunch over a fire. We spent evenings playing board games & reading. To finish off the break, we took in a Kelowna Rockets games (WHL).
We hope you all have a blessed New Year.

A few pictures.

Sorry I haven’t been posting as regularly as planned. We have been fairly busy trying to get settled in and things have taken longer than we expected. Just a short post tonight to share a few pictures.

First we have Ben and Calvin’s room. Ben picked the colours and Calvin was happy to go along. Can you spot the inspiration for the colour choice??

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image Next we have our temporary dining table. It’s made of a fold up table and a few folding chairs. We will get a proper table sometime. This was our first meal at the table.

 

 

 

imageThese  last two pictures are of the Okanagan lake. We drove down a fairly narrow road and enjoyed these views. imageJust to let you know, we are settling in well. We have started to find our way around town. It’s been very hot since we came. We have staff training at camp on monday, then camp starts on Sunday night.

Probably now we will post once a week. The others kids will want to show off their bedrooms, so I will get some pictures and post them. I’ll post a link in facebook each time there is a new blog entry. Thanks again for following us on our ongoing journey.

love

Andrew and the clan

We’ve arrived

You probably think we have driven off the road, given the lack of posting on the blog. We are all safe and well and I am pleased to announce we are here. We actually arrived a couple of days ago, but it has been hard to find a time to write a blog entry, and even if I did write it we have been at the camp a lot which has no internet connection. After our time in Drumheller we had driven to Red Deer. There we stayed with Jeff and Jani Goudy who are part of the Faith Mission team in Western Canada. It was great to get to know them more and to see where they live. After that we headed off for our final journey through the Rockies. By now we were very excited to think that we were just about seven hours from out new home. Even though we were amazed by the beauty of the Rockies, we were keen to be finished our journey.

We did take the time to stop in Banff and took the Gondola up Sulphur mountain. It was an amazing ride, although a few of us had queazy stomachs by the time we got up the mountain.

imageThe gondola goes up 2292 feet in eight minutes to a height of 7486 feet.
We had a picnic at the top and then we where on our way. We reached the camp that night and have stayed there ever since. We plan on sleeping our first night at our new house tomorrow night (Sunday). We have visited our house a couple of times over the last few days and have worked out who will have which room.

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We hope to have the kids rooms painted before our stuff arrives. So far the kids and mum and dad are very excited by our house and have all kinds of ideas as to what we should put here and there in the house.

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This blog will probably not be posted till Sunday afternoon when we go to our house. On Monday I will have a post with some pictures of the house and the kids rooms,etc. Then there is just one more post for this part of Porter’s journey.

A day in Drumheller

We have separated our days into “driving” days and “non-driving” days. For the kids, ‘driving’ days mean watching a movie in the van, listening to adventures in odyssey and having a piece of gum. Today, was a ‘non-driving’ day.

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Last night (Sunday), we arrived in drumheller (Alberta) and today we spent the day exploring. Drumheller is a fascinating place. There was so much to see and do. We started off at the Tyrell dinosaur museum.

image It was filled with a lot of amazing exhibits. After that, we climbed up the worlds biggest dinosaur.

 

 

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After lunch, we visited the atlas coal mine historic site, climbed up some rocks, crossed a suspension bridge and saw some Hoodoos. Hoodoos are unique formations in the rocks. Drumheller is one of the most unique and interesting places I have ever been.

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Posted by Melissa

 

Top 5 things to see at the zoo

Top 5 things Ben liked about the Winnipeg zoo.
Ben took this picture

Movie room-it was a big round room. When you go in you are surrounded by big screens. It showed a presentation of the landscape and animals of Churchill, Manitoba. The movie was playing all around the wall of the theatre including the ceiling. It was very well done.

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Lynx
I liked the Lynx. The thing I noticed and thought was neat were the Lynx’s ears. On the top of the ears they had a little patch of sticky out black hair.

Cougars
The cougars look ferocious. I heard they have a really good jump. It was neat to see one climb up a big branch into a tree. There are cougars in the area we are going to live in in BC.

Timber wolves
When I saw the wolves I immediately noticed their strong legs. They were different shades of grey.

 

Play room
The zoo had a big indoor jungle gym. It was about three storeys high. It was like a McDonalds play park but way bigger and better. The theme of the play room was Churchill animals. I enjoyed running through the different obstacles.

Day 7 The Prairies.

After our day in Winnipeg we headed a little south to the community of Rosenort. We stayed overnight with the Hildebrandt family and enjoyed a campfire to cook supper over (hotdog roast). Rosenort is a small rural community surrounded by some very big farm fields adjacent to the red river. The area is very flat and prone to flooding.The biggest flood recently was in 1997 with huge damage. It was neat to see the big farms and to see the measures they have taken to protect themselves from future floods. They have built huge dykes to keep the flood waters away from their homes and farms. The highlight fimageor the kids was playing in the mud with the golf cart. Theimagey managed to get stuck and had to be towed out by the four wheeler. (Thanks Jason!!!).

 

 

 

We had a leisurely morning exploring around the farm, then a bite of lunch and we were on our way again.
We settled into driving and ended up driving all the way to Regina (about 6 1/2 hours drive).
imageThat meant we left behind the province of Manitoba and are now in Saskatchewan. Our drive went something like this, an hour of very flat farm land (huge fields) A small community with a small convenience store, a gas station, a church and a huge grain mill which consists of a bunch of grain silos, a tangled web of elevators/ pipes and off course a railway track full of grain wagons. This pattern repeated again and again. It was neat to see. I did find myself thinking about the people in these communities. How many of them know of the good news of the gospel? how healthy are the churches? Certainly lots of potential for the type of ministry Faith Mission does with smaller rural areas.

Anyway, thanks for reading the blog and for the comments you have shared.

Luke goes mining

I went to an amethyst mine in Thunder Bay yesterday. imageI found lots of amethyst. I had to pick it up with my hands, but we could not use hammers because the hammers would break the amethyst. If it broke, it wouldn’t be worth as much. After we picked it up, I but it in a bucket. It was heavy. imageThen we had to wash and scrub it. The ones that I didn’t want, I put on a table so other people could see them. Then we had to put them on a scale and weigh it. We had to pay $3.00 per pound of amethyst. I had to pay $5.55. I got a nickel back. image