What led me to Zao?
I was attending the University of Manitoba for two years in search of a career path. After two years I was still no closer to finding what it was I felt I should be doing. During my first year, Julie (my wife) told me about this outdoor education program that she heard of through a friend. However the initial cost and time commitment kept me from seriously considering this as an attainable option. All through both years of University whenever I would be stressed to the max over papers, assignments, and mid-terms I was close my eyes and picture myself in the place where I feel the most relaxed, the most at home with GOD.
That picture has always been the same, me alone surrounded by creation, mountains all around. This is where I find my peace.
I can think of no calmer feeling then when I am surrounded by the indescribable beauty of Creation.
It wasn't until my second year that GOD put everything into perspective for me. One night while I was praying I came to the realization that GOD had put these feelings on my heart for a reason and that it was a good thing to peruse the desires that HE has given me. And maybe there could be an opportunity to share what I see and how I feel when surrounded by Creation with others, and help others to connect with GOD in this special way as well. After this revelation we prayed about it a lot and decided to take a chance on this calling and that I would attend the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training Program on Vancouver Island in hopes that this was in line with HIS will.
While attending the program I discovered the website of this Christian outdoor Ministries program based on Vancouver Island. I contacted ZAO (the outdoor ministry program) and had an interview with the director the very same day my program ended (as well as proposing to my amazing wife later that same day). At the end of the interview he told me that there was no reason he would not hire me. Fast forward seven months, Julie and I are now married and have moved to Vancouver Island for June and July to pursue a summer of Serving GOD in this unique way. Julie has been so amazing with supporting me through all of this and we would definitely not be here and have this opportunity to serve without her!
What is happening in June and July?
We arrived in Campbell River, BC on June 7th for my first day of staff training, we spent the 8th and 9th team building and going over policy's and procedures. And because ZAO is such a new program (only 2 years old) we are directly contributing to the direction and focus of the mission! Then we had the 10th-12th to settle in to our summer residence before I started a two week practicum program at my outdoor education school. These two weeks of practicum were unpaid but an absolute blessing, I learned so much working with kids every day, taking them on trips and getting used to interacting with youth groups in an outdoor educational environment!
However this two week span has also been quite difficult, Julie got a new job out here which is a huge blessing but we have not been able see each other very much. Julies days working at the bakery start and 4:50 am and my days are constant minimum 14 hour days, so I only get home closer to 10 pm. But GOD is pulling us through it! Next week I start trip prep with ZAO and the next three weeks following trip prep are three different trips, two alpine backpacking, one canoe.
We would love your prayer support over this next month, both for Julie and I and the fact that it will be very hard not being able to see each other very much, and for my trips with the youth groups. Pray for wisdom and for my words to not be from my lips but GOD speaking through me into these kids lives!
So that's how we got here and what we are doing here. We thank you for your prayers and your consideration of fundraising support!
Thank you and GOD bless.