Knox Goes to Newfoundland

This week, 12 youth and 4 adults from Knox are on their way to Newfoundland!  We will be leading a Vacation Bible School in Clarenville at St. Mary’s Anglican Church, doing a service project and taking in the sites!

Saturday: this final blog was written as a combined effort by all our youth who came to Newfoundland. Please enjoy.

It’s our final day in Newfoundland. We’re on a completely oversized coach bus and heading back to St. John’s. Our entire group seems to be struggling with mixed emotions about our trip home. Obviously, we are more than happy at the prospect of seeing our loved ones. However, we are also saddened by the reality that our family is now extended and that we’re leaving our new friends in Newfoundland. Additionally, our church group has grown incredibly close and we are going to miss seeing each other as often as we did this week. In our final blog, our Knox in Newfoundland youth wanted to share some of their most memorable moments over this past week:

A moment that was most memorable for me was going on a hike with everyone because they are all so supportive. At first, I thought I was never going to get to the top of Nut Cove Mountain, but everyone was there to support me and helped me to stay positive- Emily H.

A moment that was memorable on this trip was when me, Jack and Jeremy were in the room together. We were being quite silly and we all could not stop laughing – Alex N.

I remember when we made to the top of the mountain, and the view was amazing. It was difficult getting to the top because it was steep and some people took a tumble, but when we got there, it was all worth it – Stella W.

A memorable moment this trip was when we went whale watching. It was really neat to see all those whales, and one part of that experience I remember is when the whale went under us and I was scared because I thought it was going to flip us –

Sophie B.

My favourite moment on our journey was laughing and getting to know everyone better. You may be able to see someone as something, but once you get to know them, they are completely different – Kara M.

The moment I remember the most was when we all went on the hike to see the airplane crash and it was a tough hike, but we all made it and everyone had an amazing time.  I’m glad I got to know everyone more – Madison M.

My most memorable moment was looking into the water and seeing the sunset. There truly isn’t anything as beautiful. – Mikayla L.

My most memorable experience on this trip was when we went whale watching and Megan started crying because she touched a whale. That day we saw so many whales and great views from our boat. I was scared at first, but then when I saw the whales, I realized that it wasn’t that bad. – Ruby W.

My best memory this trip was when we went whale watching. Every one had a great time and there wasn’t one moment I stopped smiling. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Jack B.

My best memory of this trip is climbing to the top of Nut Cove mountain. The view was incredible and the climb was fun –

Seth M.

My best memory of this trip was definitely climbing up Nut Cove mountain because it was a tough and fun hike. The view at the top was the most beautiful thing in nature I have ever seen in my life – Emily R.

I remember swimming in the ocean for the first time, walking around the beach with my friends, and picking up cool rocks on the way- Jeremy A.

In reflecting on what our youth have noted above, there seem to be some common themes. Obviously, the beauty of God’s creation was witnessed by each and everyone of us throughout the week. Secondly, the comradery developed by this group is remarkable to say the least. This heightened sense of togetherness was sacredly developed throughout the week. Eating together, working together, being tired together, laughing together; the list could go on and on. To relate this to one of our science experiments at VBS, we became polymers that have unique properties, but with bonds that are inseparable and irreplaceable. These are the types of bonds that run through our entire church community at Knox Presbyterian. It was our church family who made this trip possible. Your truly kind-hearted generosity will undeniable have lasting effects on us all.

Friday: this blog is provided by the one and only, Mikayla Leroux, who clearly has aspirations of being a writer. 

It was the last day of VBS and needless to say, we had to dig deep within ourselves to muster up the energy for carnival. Again, seeing the smiling faces of the kids as they arrived was certainly a huge boost. Our final message at VBS was that “God accepts us all”. During this trip, we found this message in ourselves. We were living in tight quarters and there were times with some minor squabbling. Regardless, we learned to look past our differences and were more than accepting of each other. After morning circle, the children at VBS were quite hungry. Fortunately, Ruby and Meghan we’re prepared and planned to make ice cream in a bag, as part of our carnival activities. The kids also had a blast playing with bubbles, drawing with sidewalk chalk and getting their faces painted by our artsy leaders. Saying goodbye to the kids was harder than expected. Each kid had their own unique personality and they left a lasting impression on our leaders. Parting ways seemed to last a long time. Some tears were shed and many hugs shared.

After the kids left, our group gave the church a deep clean and we had lunch. Shortly after, we headed out on our next adventure to further explore the areas around Clarenville. Norma, a member of St. Mary’s congregation and our host for the day, brought us to long beach – not the one in California – to visit where all the Caplin (a local fish) “run”. We also visited Gooseberry cove to swim in the Atlantic Ocean; it was freezing. After we had all turned into ice cubes, our bus driver Steve, brought us to our next destination which was Southport. There we had a boil up, where hotdogs and watermelon were on the menu. We all climbed on the rocks of the surrounding area and hung out until it was our time to leave. A dock a couple blocks away was having a party and we wanted to join in. At the party, they had lots of traditional Newfoundland music and many interesting foods, such as pickled sausage and local crawfish.

Tired, we all flopped into the bus and had worship with Mavis. Throughout the week, our entire group has been caught either singing or humming the songs that are shared at worship each night. We arrived home safely and spent time together as per our usual routine. There is a story circulating that Meghan feel asleep on the couch, only to be woken up by four boys who had pinched her nose shut. Gasping for air, Meghan must have needed to remained herself of an earlier message this week: God clams us!!

Thursday: today’s blog is once again provided by Mikayla Leroux. She loves writing.

Today was another incredibly eventful day in beautiful Newfoundland. That being said, it seems just a little harder to get out of our beds each day. Perhaps, it was the warmth or the sleepiness talking? Despite this, our groggy group made their way to VBS. Today’s story was all about Jonah and the whale – where we made an interactive whale craft and involved the kids a whale experiment that taught us how they stay warm. There were a lot of new experiences for our campers and staff including what we call a “code brown”!!! EEK! We certainly have learned lots this week.

After we had said goodbye to the campers and had lunch, we separated into small groups. These included an amazing dessert crew, an awesome dinner prep. team, and a fabulous carnival setup team for tomorrow’s VBS. Needless to say, our Mexican dinner was AMAZING!! The moment we walked into the house, we were hit with many delicious smells that brought on a considerable amount of drooling. Clearly, we were ready to devour the food. We all ate together and the kids all went outside for some hangout time in the backyard. The cool weather in Newfoundland has been a nice change from the scorching temperatures in St. Thomas. After a short time, we were called inside for worship and our secret Newfoundland dessert, prepared by one of our groups. While eating, Mavis taught us about the adventure we had together and got us thinking about how even the best of people will experiences certain hardships throughout their lives.

After our group community dinner, we all went to the theatre to watch “Toy Story 4”. The look on the workers face when we asked for 15 tickets was priceless. Newfoundland theatres are definitely very different from ours; from the small size to the amount of talking, and even the number of people who were moving during the movie…?! Additionally, only one side of the theatre was operating and some of us had to sit on the ground (Meghan) to watch the movie. Fortunately, a kind man found another seat for Meghan; a hundred year old rickety wooden chair. Overall, it was not what we were expecting at all, but a fabulous experience nonetheless.

After the movie, the boys spotted a local park and we all retreated from the cramped theatre. The boys had come up with a game of stealing Meghan’s shoe throughout the day. So to prove she’s ‘hip’ with the kids, she had “attempted” to climb the equipment. Don’t worry, she’s uninjured. When we all got home, the girls crashed; we were completely drained. The boys, however, were at their usual: stuffing their faces full of junk food and watching tv. They too were to bed early, just more full of saturated and trans-fats. I heard the adults talking the next morning… they mentioned how they all got into a touton or two after the kids went to bed!

Wednesday: today’s blog is provided by Kara Mobberley

On Wednesday, we all had a slow and even rough start to our mornings as we tried to get motivated for our day ahead.  Fortunately, the wonderful breakfast provided by Christa helped us to move past how we felt and had a cheering effect on our group. Cinnabon buns are clearly a comfort food and it reminded some of us of home. We arrived at St. Mary’s to lead our third day of Vacation Bible School. The kids arrived which brought even more energy to our leaders.  Jack and Alex ran Gaga Ball, which all the kids loved! It was a game that was then requested by the kids throughout the rest of the day. Ruby and some of our other counsellors ran a fish craft activity and the kids were extremely proud of the master pieces they created. Emily H., Sophie and Stella ran story time with the guiding message of “God uses us”. The activity “Skit-tell Us” was enjoyed by many and allowed us to get to know everybody just a little bit more. Our morning was capped off with a delicious lunch of sausages and cupcakes.


Our agenda for the afternoon was a trip to Trinity. Our wonderful bus driver, Steve, picked us up shortly after lunch and we departed for what proved to be another amazing trip through part of this beautiful province. After an hour bus ride, we arrived in Trinity and had 2 hours to explore the town. Trinity is a remarkable place to visit. Walking around exploring the gift shops was a remarkable experience. We also had dinner at the Dock Restaurant, which was a delicious was to prepare for our whale watching tour. At 4:30pm, split into 2 groups and got on different boats to go whale watching. The tour was phenomenal, to say the least. At one point, our boat was surrounded by whales. There were both fin and humpback whales and Skipper Rob counted more than 20 around us. Meghan, who was in the other boat, also had an experience of a lifetime. A humpback crested the surface of the water directly in front of where she was sitting. She reached out and actually touched the whale. She was overwhelmed by this and started crying in tears of joy. The tour lasted three hours, but felt like only minutes. Beyond the whales, the scenery was tremendous. At times, it felt as if we were surrounded by cliffs and being out on the North Atlantic Ocean certainly gave us perspective of the considerable size of our glorious planet

The trip back to our homes was one full of reflection and we were showered with positivity from our Mr. Kobold activity. Mavis introduced our group to this activity and it is awesome. Each day, the leaders from Knox try to catch each other in moments of awesomeness. When observed, that leader would write about the other and put this in the box. These positive moments are then shared with everyone at the end of each day. As always, our bus driver, kept us safe and interestingly enough, made his way into Mr. Kobold’s recognitions. We arrived at our houses exhausted, but full of a divine energy. The girl’s house made grilled cheese for snack, while the boys were much less health contentious in their snack choices.  Mavis gave the girls an extra 30 minutes on their phones because we’re so awesome! Don’t tell the boys, they’d be jealous!

 

Tuesday: Today’s blog is provided by Emily Ross:

As our group woke up to a new day, it was hard to image that it could be any more eventful than yesterday. Needless to say, we were quite mistaken in our assessment …

Our stomachs were extremely grateful for the pancake and bacon breakfast provided by the amazing Christa. It was so good that we were almost late to Vacation Bible School. Fortunately, our chaperones kept us on schedule and we made it to St. Mary’s just in time. The message shared today was how God calms us. Jeff must be really tired because he was the opposite of calm and his dance moves were impeccable. The kids at St. Mary’s really seem to be enjoying their time with us. They particularly enjoyed our octopus craft and ‘Storm in a bottle’ experiment. It seems as if our Knox counsellors are also enjoying their time running these programs. VBS concluded with chicken Caesar and peanut butter wraps for lunch.

Shortly after lunch, we were picked up by our bus driver, Boyd, to go to Burgoyne’s Cove to help out with some odd jobs around their church. However, this plan quickly changed. The congregation politely declined our offer to help. Instead, they told us about a plane crash that happened years ago in the area and how there is a nearby trail that takes us to the site where the wreckage still remains. So all of us and a few local kids our age loaded back onto the bus to take a very bumpy, off-road ride to Nut Cove mountain. It was a difficult trek to the wreckage and to the top of the mountain. Seeing the plane was a bit surreal and quite eerie. We took some time to reflect on the 23 people who lost their lives in this tragic event. There is also a local author who wrote about this in his book titled “Under the Radar”.

The final leg of our hike took us to the top of Nut Cove mountain, where a monument has been erected in memory of the people who lost their lives in the crash. The view from the top of the mountain was breathtakingly beautiful to say the least. You could see for miles and miles and it seemed as if we were in another world. The Atlantic Ocean lines itself along the horizon, just past Ireland’s Eye! We spent much time on the top of the mountain, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation and hearing about the history of the area. We also just relaxed on some rocks and hung out with Hayley, Lindsay, Josh and Colby, who as mentioned, were local kids our age. They thought our ‘accent’ sounded funny and enjoyed teasing us about toast and kangaroos? The walk down the mountain was very slippery and wet. It was also much quieter than our trip up. Listening to the sounds around us was calming and much appreciated. It was certainly an experience none of us will ever forget.

After the hike, the congregation of Burgoyne’s Cove continued to shower us with love. The people of Newfoundland are incredibly gracious. We went to a nearby community centre where the congregation cooked us a very delicious potluck dinner. There was an assortment of classics from back home and new dishes we’ve been introduced to during our trip like Mustard Salad and Cod Au Gratin. Evelyn, the president of the community centre, gave us all rocks she had collected from a beach, which were decorated in various fashions. She also told us about the old, one room school house and the World War I and II veteran pictures hanging on the wall of the community centre. After the excellent dinner and the most eventful and exciting day so far, we all went to our houses, showered, watched tv, and all went to bed.

Monday:  Today’s blog is provided by Mikayla Leroux:

After an exhausting few days of travel, our first day of Vacation Bible School was about to start! We had breakfast at the crack of dawn, graciously given to us by Christa. Our friends from St. Mary’s chauffeured us to the church and all of us were very excited about the days to come. We had met all of our kids and families. Although many of the kids were nervous they warmed up to us very quickly. The kids had way more energy than expected and it’s sometimes hard to keep up.

The morning flew by and lunch was fast approaching. After buttering 60 prices of bread we enjoyed a grilled cheese lunch with the oh so famous mustard salad. We had received our rental car at the end of VBS and our hike up Bare mountain was next on the agenda. It was a fairly easy climb up the mountain. We reached the top and the sight was breathtaking to say the least. That being said, the view is something you truly have to experience as pictures just don’t do it justice. We were pretty motivated to get down Bare mountain as Scoop’s ice cream and funnel cakes were expecting us when finished!

Later in the evening, after dinner, Wilbur, one of the wardens at St.Mary’s church, joined us at the house. He talked to us about the history of Newfoundland including a tale about Jean Cabot. He also told us some silly stories, read a poem he composed himself and clarified that it was Canada that joined Newfoundland in 1949! We also got to check out a really big map of the area, which makes me appreciate Google that much more.

We concluded our shared time together with a giant game of hide and go seek which then morphed into a game of manhunt around our small subdivision. As we went to our separate homes for downtime and snacks – the boys settled down to watch the rest of their movie and the girls chatted, sharing stories about our day. Saying we were tired is a complete understatement. It didn’t take long for us to fall asleep after such a busy day. Our time in Newfoundland has been absolutely amazing so far and we are all looking forward to seeing what else is in store for us in the days to come!

Sunday:  Today’s blog is provided by Seth Mobberley with help from Jeff Anderson:

Our mission trip to Newfoundland is well underway. In just a few short days, we have already accomplished so much. Our trip started with a slightly delayed flight, due to the weather. Fortunately, once in the air, it was smooth sailing to our destination of St. John’s. After landing, we were shuttled to our hotel, which was amazing! It’s a brand-new hotel, equipped with a pool with its own waterslide. We spent much of our morning on Sunday enjoying the pool and our time together. After a short lunch, we packed and loaded onto the bus to Clarenville, our mission destination. We were more than surprised by our bus, which was more like a tour bus, with leather seats, and a very kind driver. The trip to Clarenville felt like a movie due to the inspiring landscape all around us. At times, it felt as if we were in the Muskokas surrounded by lakes, trees and blue water. A few moments later, it seemed as if we were in Scotland, on the precipice of a mountainous region amongst flowers of all colours. Newfoundland is a beautiful place that needs to be seen to be appreciated.

When we arrived in Clarenville, our first order of business was to get set up for this week’s Vacation Bible school. We were kindly welcomed by Reverend Keith at St. Mary’s and a number of the members of his congregation. It was a warm welcome and certainly helped with some of the jitters of being in a new place. Setting up the church was a lot of fun! Everyone worked tirelessly to get set up and our Knox team rocked it! It’s a beautiful church, but our decorations made it look that much better. The wardens of St. Mary’s (their Elders) thanked us for our work by kindly offering us a delicious dinner. They were quite kind and didn’t surprise us with too many new foods that are traditional to Newfoundland. That being said, the mustard salad was certainly a unique dish that everyone needs to try! It was a lovely dinner where we got to hear about the Newfoundland way of life and many laughs were shared.

Our evening concluded with some much needed down time at our individual houses. We certainly lucked out because the houses are perfect and a great place to relax after a long few days. The boys decided to hang out and watch a movie. The girls were a bit more rambunctious and decided to play a big game of hide and seek in their seven-bedroom house. If the first day was any indication of what’s to come, this is going to be an absolutely fabulous experience!

Make sure to check back to our blog, as we will continue to write and share photos with our Knox family each day.

 

Saturday: We’re off!
Here we are waiting for our flight at Pearson International Airport.