Someday I will tell you the story I promised, about the Best/Worst Youth Retreat Ever.

Suffice to say it involved walking back and forth through the snow, in the rain, for hours, snowboarding for the first time in my life and doing wicked awesome but finding upon reaching the base of the mountain that the power went out, so the chairlifts weren’t working, having to walk up the mountain with the snowboard, one of the youth kids having an asthma attack on the walk up the mountain, and one of the coolest nights of worship and prayer.

The rain has been pretty constant this month.I watched the weather tonight, and it is somehow three degrees warmer in Saskatoon right now than it is in Vancouver.There is something seriously wrong here.I wouldn’t mind so much if rain didn’t make me so COLD.You get wet, and then you’re in buildings that aren’t built for keeping people warm, so you end up colder than in Saskatoon, where you’re only cold for the five seconds it takes to get from the car to the house.Most people are depressed here.Some are very skilled at handling the situation.I saw a lady hold her umbrella between her chin and her shoulder, still keeping her dry as she used both hands to find her bus pass in her purse.Incredible.

I have a worry greater than weather right now, and it is called the blue screen of death.This is the actual term for my problem.Even as I’m typing this, I’m aware that at any moment, without notice, the blue screen of death may appear and my computer will restart. This has been happening at least once a day for the past few days.The blue screen of death says “Commencing physical memory dump.”This does not sound like a good thing.I’ve got everything copied over onto another hard drive, and I’m basically waiting for my computer to finally crash and burn, and saving my documents every few minutes.My dad hopes it will hold until I come home.My back-up plan is Danice’s “extra” computer, which she borrows from her church for youth ministry stuff.It is a Mac Ibook.I’ve never used a Mac.I guess it would be sweet irony to be forced across the vast Mac-PC divide because of memory problems in my PC.We’ll see what happens… but if you think of it, you could pray for my ailing computer.

I spent much of today drinking tea.Because of a weird shortage of volunteers today at Jacob’s Well, and their commitment to send people out in pairs, and a necessary visit to a downtown friend who insists on making inappropriate comments to women (and therefore cannot be visited by them), I had to wait for my fellow volunteers at Mr. Donair.I had loose tea, which is served with a full mint sprig in the mug, and a cup of dates on the side.It was excellent.I read some of Shane Claiborne’s “The Irresistible Revolution,” which is awesome, and makes me excited about being involved at Jacob’s Well.I later had more tea with Pauline, the 92-year old woman who started Jacob’s Well, and for the past 30 years has been walking the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, talking to all of her friends on the street, a practice she continues to this day.Pauline believes in the power of Scripture to change people, and she often gives little slips of paper with Bible verses to her friends.She rarely finds these slips discarded on the street.Talking to her is quite the experience… one minute she’s talking about how someone wanted to murder her, and then became her friend, the next minute she’s speaking forcefully about the need to command demons out of people, and then she looks at her watch and says it’s time she went home to feed her cat, Marmalade.

Well, I should get to my work… one major assignment to accomplish weekly until the semester ends three weeks from now. I’ll leave you with a challenging quote from Claiborne’s book…

“When the church becomes a place of brokerage rather than an organic community, she ceases to be alive. She ceases to be something we are, the living bride of Christ. The church becomes a distribution center, a place where the poor come to get stuff and the rich come to dump stuff. Both go away satisfied (the rich feel good, the poor get clothed and fed), but no one leaves transformed. No radical new community is formed. And Jesus did not set up a program but modeled a way of living that incarnated the reign of God, a community in which people are reconciled and our debts are forgiven just as we forgive our debtors (all economic words). That reign did not spread through organizational establishments or structural systems. It spread like disease – through touch, through breath, through life. It spread through people infected by love.”