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Showing posts from 2020

What Lies Ahead

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Fall has arrived and we aren’t entirely sure what this season will look like. If March-August have taught us anything, it’s that we need to hold plans loosely, be adaptable and trust that God is in control.On a personal front, summer felt like a breath of fresh air after the isolation and unknown of the spring. We had the opportunity to get away for 10 days in July as a family and those days held some much needed connection time and allowed for a break from what had become our normal. In August, I was able to take some more time off by myself which I used to get some things done around the house. Something that is very difficult to do with a toddler, I have found.With the pace slowing at work over the summer months I was able to focus on some tasks that I wouldn’t have time for throughout the year. Fun things like policy manuals and HR software training. Our biggest task over the summer was packing and moving out of our office space at the hangar. We have since settled into a new spac…

All That's Left Is To Follow

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Friends and Family,Thanks for hanging in there with me. I really appreciate and value you. Your support and knowing that the team is behind me has made this tough season easier. Thank you. May and June:As things started to open up a bit more, it was clear from the young people I was talking to that they were done with being by themselves and attempting to maintain connection with digital alternatives. Add in online school and it’s a whole other level of stress and complication. So throughout May and June, a lot of my time was spent on front lawns having conversations, dropping off gift cards, and making myself as safely present as possible.On Wednesday nights we continued to connect for Spiritual Life online as this seemed to work the best between different work schedules and comfort levels for the young adults in our sphere. We witnessed meaningful connection and conversations about Jesus by exploring his life through reading or watching resources. It’s so encouraging to see how they…

Friends and Family

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Well, here we are September 2020. What a year it has been! I suspect covid and 2020 are not finished with us just yet, but we will enjoy the moment while it is here. Looking back there have been many hidden and unexpected lessons in the midst of chaos and crises. We have learned about our needs and our wants. We have learned about our privilege as white middle class Canadian family. We have learned about the benefit of slowing down, about how far we can be stretched, and about how much we need each other.If you are friends with us on Facebook, you probably know about Sawyer’s recent medical emergency. We were out camping when he went from playing non-stop to complaining of a headache and falling asleep in the middle of the day within minutes. He started running a fever off and on. When we got home he broke out in a rash on the bottom of his feet. We took him for a Covid test and they sent us to emergency to rule out Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (the rare but bad version of Covid …

Starting Over

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In the beginning of March, I stepped out of my role as the Langley Area Director and into a position with Youth Unlimited as the Community Engagement Coordinator.  With the Pandemic changing day-to-day life, the plans I had for this new venture shifted quickly.  The speaking engagements and training sessions I was booked for around Canada and Europe were cancelled.  The local aspect of this role was also put on hold as it is hard to grow a new role focused on making contact with churches and community groups when most people are working remotely and in their own crisis management.  The one area of my work that could continue was Youth Work.  In fact, because most young people already have a presence online, it was easy to join in and connect with them on a daily basis.  We set up an online account where youth workers and students could engage with each other.  We played games, worked on art projects, had daily challenges, watched movies and discussed the world crisis.  Even though we …

"Does Anybody Care?"

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“I’m partly somebody else trying to fit in and say the right thing and do the right thing and be in the right place and wear what everybody else is wearing. Sometimes I think we’re all trying to be shadows of each other.”“I’m not very popular. I wish I were popular and beautiful and wealthy and talented. Wouldn’t it be nice to be like that?”These are quotes from the diary of a 14-year-old student. It may look familiar to you, or it may not. It is something we have all experienced from time to time, but here is the kicker. This diary was published in 1971.Over the summer I had taken a quick weekend away to restore from the hectic season and prepare for the coming hectic school year. I decided on a quick little road trip up the canyon. I stopped off in Lytton for a small driving break and saw a free library and picked up a book there to look through. The book I grabbed is called “Go Ask Alice”, and it is the diary of a girl going through high school. The thing I realized as I was readin…

Endings and Beginnings

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2020 has been similar to a drama-filled movie; full of suspense, compelling characters and a plot line that keeps you at the edge of your seat. But I believe I can speak for many of us when I say that the movie has gone on far too long and any more plot twists may have us getting up and leaving the theatre.Langley Youth Unlimited has not gone unscathed in that we have also needed to adapt, adjust and overcome many different scenarios. Our youth work went fully virtual back in March and we have been relieved that as restrictions have been loosening, we have been able to resume in-person youth work. It may be masked, distanced and have the slight scent of hand sanitizer, but we are so grateful to be able to meet with our young people in person again. And we know that it has been a huge relief for a lot of them as well.Our team was also incredibly grateful to be a part of our normal summer program, Gator Shades. This program is run out of Walnut Grove Secondary School and is aimed at stu…

There Are Still Good Things

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Hello friends! I wanted to write to you and tell you that amidst the chaos, there are still good things happening over here. There have still been many opportunities to love people in our community and we have been well provided for in many ways. The last thing I wanted to write was another piece of pandemic material, but I feel that it is important to keep you updated on what has been happening.

I am sure that most of you agree that the seriousness of the pandemic escalated quite quickly and shook the way we run our programs as a relational organization. We quickly shifted to running all of our programs online. In-person meet ups became online video calls. Playing games together in person became playing games together online. Exercise together became streaming online fitness sessions and doing them together. Eating together and having good discussions became sending a skip the dishes order to a youths house, journal group, and a voice chat for spiritual life. Art together became tut…

A Little Update

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Friends and family, I trust that this letter finds you and your family healthy and well during these strange times. We are holding up in the Adam house. Matt is still working in his role as a Plumber, as it’s considered to be essential for Trinity Western University. They only have 250 students currently on campus and all summer school has moved online. It is a ‘bare bones’ team he works with and we are very thankful he still has work!

Evelyn’s daycare was stopped in mid-March and she has been home with me since. She is very social so is missing her friends from daycare and church, but is enjoying the time with me. We began potty-training at the end of March and I’m proud of how well she (and I!) have done. She loves ‘her puppy’, Maverick, loves to go for walks and play outside and her favourite thing to ask is ‘What doing, mommy?’. Hearing this every 30 seconds really gets to a person after awhile.

My work has continued as usual but has moved to an online capacity. With Evelyn being…

Hope In A Difficult Season

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There’s been a lot of hard things lately, for everyone. All of us were forced to adapt and change our way of living, working and being together overnight. My last newsletter I was typing out in our Youth Unlimited room at the high school before Spring Break and things look very different now. I will say, I got busier over the first few weeks of spring break than I had ever originally planned to.

As soon as I heard about the plans from the government to self-quarantine I began to worry, a lot, for our young people here in Langley. For some, getting out into school or spending time with me outside of home is a very good thing for them because it gives them some sense of consistency, love, and support when they can’t find it at home. So now being forced to stay home, I know, is a worst case scenario. It’s going to tax their mental health because they are constantly going to be surrounded by what they would normally get escape from.

Since this all started 52 days ago, I’ve talked to teen…

"You Saved My Life And My Faith"

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What a weird time to be alive.  The world has shifted and changed so much in just a few short weeks.  There has been an impact on each and every one of us.  I know that just in our close circle of people in our neighborhood there are some that have lost jobs, others that are living in the midst of uncertain family dynamics, those that are obsessed with the latest conspiracy theories and everything in-between.

There is a lot to grieve.  There is a general sense of feeling a loss of freedom.  We simply can’t do all the things we wish we could do.  This is particularly difficult for our kids, who faced canceled sports, plans with friends, birthday parties, opportunities, routine.  I don’t know about your home, but ours has been filled with a lot of tears as a result.  Then, just when we were starting to sort out a new normal, we were asked to add schooling into the equation.  What an absolute comedy of errors that has been.  Each day can feel like an eternity.

Yet, in the large scope of…

May Prayer Requests

pray for those who find home to not be a very safe placepray for our staff who are also finding this change difficultpray for our families who are adapting to this change as well

Thank you for your prayers and support! We are praying for you as well during this time.

Adapting To Change

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Very promptly, everything changed in our world. Schools closed, parents were laid off of work, and home became the main place to be. Normal rhythms are all thrown off in light of this pandemic but even still, who we are has not changed. We still care deeply about our teens and our community. Our philosophy of being responsive and meeting teenagers where they are at is as important now as ever before.

As a team we have been able to respond quickly by creating spaces for interaction, growth, connection, and fun in a safe way online. It is still very much in keeping with who we are and our philosophy of ministry.

We began a virtual youth worker rotation, ensuring one of our staff members was available each weekday between 12 and 4pm if teens felt they needed someone to chat with. It’s important to set the space and to have a consistent place and presence. It may not always get accessed but having that point of consistency when things are increasingly inconsistent is so important.

Each d…

March Prayer Requests

- pray for Jon as he steps into the role of Area Director for Langley
- pray for Danny as he transitions into the role of Community Engagement Coordinator
- pray for the students who we have been talking with who are struggling with their mental health; it’s a hard journey to walk

The Other Side

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Grade 8/9: lots of games and fun, building trust, meeting parents. Grade 10: life isn’t as simple as they thought, things are harder, friends are hurting Grade 11: mental health, family, life/death, drugs, sex and sexuality Grade 12: next steps, graduation, they’re alive, we celebrate that.
After going through a full high school rotation with some teens, it has been interesting to see where they come out on the other side. Some don’t need me at all anymore, and that is a very good thing. It means that they are starting to experience a healthy life; emotionally, socially, spiritually, intellectually, and physically. Not everyone gets to this point though. There are three young men in particular that I have continued to walk with beyond high school.
One has grown a lot and is exploring faith with us each week, unknowingly becoming the “religious” person he spoke so harshly against 4 years ago. Now he is attending a weekly faith gathering (Spiritual Life), watching sermons, and talking abou…

"I Cry Every Day"

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It was 2pm and our team was holding an impromptu staff meeting in ‘The Living Room’, our room at Walnut Grove Secondary School. It was then that the student entered and plunked themselves down on one of the couches. ‘Where have you been?’, they demanded, ‘The board said you were supposed to be in yesterday but you weren’t and I sat in the hallway all lunch hour because you weren’t here!’.

The conversation progressed and this student began to divulge a deep sadness that they were experiencing on a daily basis, summing it up with the words, ‘I basically cry every day’.

The sacred space that these youth allow us to enter into is not lost on me. My frequency at the school is very limited, as most of my hours are spent on admin work. So it felt incredibly honouring to be allowed to experience the depths of this student’s emotion and gave me a greater appreciation for what my coworkers do on a weekly basis – their consistent presence, and the trust that has built, allowed me to get a glimp…

Renewed Vision

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One evening after putting my kids to bed and tidying the house I finally got a chance to sit. As I did, my vision suddenly turned into an array of bright shapes and colors, as if I was viewing the world through a kaleidoscope. I was able to make my way to bed and fall asleep. The next day everything seemed fine.Losing vision is a scary thing. I have an elderly neighbor I visit often who faces blindness more and more each day. It affects independence, safety and perception. While this incident only lasted a short time for me, his experience was echoing through my mind and I knew I should get things sorted out.
I checked in with my eye doctor. She told me, after an examination, that I’d experienced an ocular migraine. She informed me that unless I took steps to reduce my stress I’d likely have more frequent and severe reactions. My family doctor confirmed this and showed high concern for my health in this season. Stress is a normal part of life and while I work hard at caring for my phy…

Changes Within Langley YU

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As of February 18th, Langley welcomed Jon Pue into the role of Area Director. Danny Ferguson has faithfully served as Langley Area Director for 15 years and is beginning a new role within Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited as the Community Engagement Coordinator. He will continue to work one day per week in Langley as a Youth Worker.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Jon. I’ve been working alongside Danny, Megan, Derian, and Amy for the last 5 years as a youth worker here in Langley. I’m a family man, a lover of story, laughter, and fun. I was called into Youth Ministry at 19 and wanted to shape my life after the Man who found the poor and others on the outside and brought them life. I was able to live out this calling to bring hope and potential to young people here in Langley at Youth Unlimited.
This month I’m stepping into the role of Area Director. I have been humbled by the support and
encouragement shown to me from Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited, the Langley team, family,…

January Prayer Requests

pray for Derian as he enters into his Masters program with City Universitypraise God for the support we received, enabling us to fill 13 Christmas hampers for families in need throughout our communitypray for our community and school partnerships

Back To School

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Day 1: “I can’t believe I’m back in school!”
Day 2: “I can’t believe how much homework I have!!”
Day 3: “I can’t believe I’m enjoying the classes as much as I am!!!”
Day 4: “I can’t believe how busy the Skytrain is on a snow day!!!!!!!”
Yes, my Master’s program has FINALLY started. At least that’s the way I feel, given I made this decision almost a year ago. A year is a lot of time to ruminate on a decision. A year is a lot of time to second guess yourself. By the time I was actually sitting in class I was probably on the slightly unhealthy side of over prepared.
Yes, I am also still with Youth Unlimited. I am writing this letter as I sit in our room at Walnut Grove Secondary School. This sacred space is often filled with laughter and joy and almost as equally filled with stories of struggle and pain. Today I might play Uno and debate the latest Stars Wars film. Or I might share my lunch with a youth who did not have one and listen to the very real pain behind their self-deprecating jokes.…

Picture This

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You walk through the front doors of a school. The floors have been freshly waxed, the windows are clean, and there is light shining through the window. You walk into the office, greet the office staff, sign the visitors sign in and collect your visitor badge that is needed to wander the school halls or be in the school. The students are all in class so before the stampede of a thousand children fill the halls, you say a quick prayer as you hustle down to the room where a games hub is held.
The bell rings and students stop by to say hello, or come in to the room to play games for the lunch hour. You sit down in an uncomfortable blue school chair to lose at a game of UNO. As you are playing UNO, the youth decide that yellow is the preferred colour today and even though no one has any yellow cards, they continue to change it to yellow. They chant the word “yellow” throughout the entire lunch hour and you join in because it is better to be part of the annoying group than to be annoyed by …

Uno & Hot Chocolate

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I thought I was pretty good at handling loud volumes and high pitch until I was surrounded by 8 teens chanting the word ‘yellow’ for half of the lunch hour. Every Thursday, our team along with a local youth pastor, open the doors of a classroom at a local high school for students who want a place to hang out to play games. We have a Wii set up, air hockey, colouring books and the ever-competitive card game of Uno. I often find myself settled at the Uno table and this particular week a student would try to turn the odds in her favour by chanting yellow whenever someone played a ‘change colour’ card. By the end of the lunch hour, the whole table was chanting (screaming, really) the word ‘yellow’ and my ears were ringing for the rest of the day.
Perhaps one of the greatest values that the team at Youth Unlimited shares is consistency. This consistency, of
being present in the school on a regular basis, is what shows youth that we want to be a part of their lives. That we want to show up …

"I Just Tried To Kill Myself"

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It was two days before Christmas break and my young friend, Taylor, (who’s had a rough go over the last couple of years) texted me first thing in the morning asking if I was going to be at the school. “Yup,” I replied, “I’ll see you soon.”

He had a small gift for me - a Starbucks card. Because every time we’re together I’m drinking a coffee. I’m always so blown away when teens show their thankfulness. Not long after, a few other teens rolled into our room to get comfortable and spend their flex block there. Taylor began looking uncomfortable at one point and started to cry. I assumed that another person in the room had triggered some memory of an incident so I moved myself across the room and sat on the couch next to him. He looked at me and said;

“I just tried to kill myself 5 minutes ago”.

I calmly responded, saying, ‘Okay, can you tell me how?’ to which he showed me an empty bottle of painkillers.

This young person wrestles heavily with their identity and dysphoria. Over Christmas…

A Shift In Perspective

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Our team was recently invited to attend a community forum in which different Langley organizations came together to collaborate on the topic of Youth Health and Wellness. Prior to this meeting, a youth forum had been held in which students were asked where they saw gaps within the community. Gaps that were possibly leading to substance use and disconnected youth. During this community meeting it was shared that one of the questions that had been asked by youth to the greater community was, ‘Why can’t you be more like Youth Unlimited?’.
This question came as a bit of a shock to our team. Many of you know that this past season has been a difficult one. A significant cut to our funding has led to staffing changes, reduced hours and pauses in our programs. Instead of being able to dream and plan, we have found ourselves in a time of maintenance and re-evaluating where we pour our time and energy. As we were in a season of pause and discernment, this question gave us great encouragement and…