Tag Archives: Urban Promise

Operation Freedom – Mission Log

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

1:30 pm – The Camp Victory interns leave their apartments and head to camp. Luckily the Freedom interns have already left. Otherwise they might have questioned Pipes’ completely black outfit or Dallas’ dress shirt and blazer. (The SWAT Team and Spy Team leaders have to look the part.) As it is, they suspect nothing.

2:30 pm – The plan has been perfected. The staff are just gathering their materials. Synchronizing walkie-talkies, gathering ropes, checking over the fake registration forms… preparing snack. (Cookies and juice boxes are a necessary commodity when your teams consist of 7-10 year olds.)

4:00 pm – The children have arrived. The excitement level is at a new high. Trip forms are collected. Only eleven children have made it through the rigorous training week to embark on our adventure today. Eleven children. Eight leaders. SWAT Team leader Hoopz steps forward:





4:30 pm – Camp Victory boards the first bus on their journey to Camp Freedom. Juice boxes and cookies ensue.

4:55 pm – Camp Victory boards the second bus, now only minutes away from their goal.

5:00 pm – They file off the bus and start to march in formation. Camp Freedom is within sight. The leaders warn them to ‘look casual’. “Try not to look like a camp!”, “Oh wow, if they look out those windows…”, “Look at us, we just scream CAMP VICTORY.” One SWAT team member is overcome with excitement and does in fact scream “CAMP VICTORY”.

5:06 pm – The group arrives at their meeting place. A bridge on Driftwood Ave. They need only turn left and walk approximately two minutes to arrive behind Camp Freedom. We split into our teams.

Rumour and Snoopy stand with two children. These children were especially chosen for their incredible acting abilities and the fact that the Camp Freedom staff will not recognize them. Code names: Kimberly and James. They will walk directly into the action.

In their pockets: Fake Camp Freedom registration forms and an emergency walkie-talkie.

They are the Diversion Team, they will attempt to become a part of Camp Freedom.

Dallas and Bartowski also stand with two children. The only two to make it through their training. They will enter, but must not be seen.

In their pockets: Walkie-talkies, binoculars… and a whole lot of stealth.

They are the Spy Team, they will sneak in and find Freedom’s supervisor: Kuya.

Pipes and Hoopz stand with the rest. Seven kids. Will that be enough to capture Kuya? No one is sure.

In their hands: Ropes and all the strength that a week of intense training can offer.

They are the SWAT Team, they will complete our mission. They will GET KUYA.

5:12 pm – Victory is behind Camp Freedom. Pressed against a brick wall. They are ready. If the excitement level was high back at their camp… Well I can’t even think of a word to describe it now.

5:13 pm – The Diversion team is going in. They run down the alley to the front of the building. The leaders ask if they will run around the fence, or climb over it. The brave young ones decide to climb. The leaders cannot go further, if they are seen, the operation is ruined. As the Diversion team disappears their leaders run back to the group, turn on their walkie-talkie and wait with some degree of nervousness.

5:20 pm – Double Agent George has been contacted. The side door is opened and the spy team is going in. Their leader brings them to the door and gives last minute instructions. They run straight to the washrooms as planned. They then go on their search for Kuya. Now our only contact is over walkie-talkie.

5:23 pm – The SWAT team leaders are listening intently to the walkie-talkies. The spies have found him, but what are they saying? As soon as the words “The Fireside Room” are heard the SWAT team moves forward. They run into the building, this time the leaders follow.

The SWAT team hesitates as they see their target in person. His confusion grows as he starts to realize that Camp Victory is in his building. Finally one of the members runs forward and the rest follow. It’s a difficult task but with some prompting from Victory’s supervisor Kuya is captured.

The spies are retrieved from their hiding place. The Diversion team didn’t make it into program, but they were not recognized, and Kuya was fooled.

Camp Victory says a peaceful “Hello” to a slightly confused Camp Freedom, takes a group picture, and departs.


[Camp Victory out]



Filed under Camp Victory

Ever Looming – Day 7/8

Day seven of eight. Oh my goodness. And it’s over.

That leaves one day. The goodbye party.

Camp was hectic.

For activity time I had them make cards for whichever camp friends they chose. It was so rushed. I had two kids for most of activity time and then suddenly with five minutes left the rest flooded in from having completed either time outs or homework. So when they came in I told them they could make a quick card. They didn’t have enough time.

Happens a lot eh… Often we don’t have enough time.

At least that’s what it feels like.

This morning there was a deelimajigger for the two downtown supervisors. Both of whom I’ve worked with actually.

When we were sharing memories of downtown one staff member, Peter, commented on our Celebration earlier this year. Our kids were singing an amazing song, only three had come that night. I had sat in the crowd during practice watching as they sang so quietly you couldn’t even hear them. Finally I couldn’t stand it and asked Peter if I could go kneel in front of them, like I’d always done in practice. When I did the volume rose and their amazing little voices were heard.

He commented on how my presence made all the difference. Each of our presences in downtown has made a difference.

It was nice, but it hurt. I won’t be there anymore.

These last two weeks I’ve been trying my best to slowly back up. Step away from the stage so to say. So that they’ll be able to sing their loudest and best without me right there with them. I’ve told them to look inside… Not to themselves… But to the Holy Spirit who’s ever present in so many of them.

Pray Pray Pray for our goodbye party tomorrow!



Oh. Hosanna, if you’re reading this: I hope I didn’t put it up too late! Get some sleep. I’m praying for you!

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Day Six of Eight.



Played Bingo today.

Talked to my girls about how they can learn about God without me around to teach them.

Helped a five year old learn to write her name without writing half of the letters backwards.

Today wasn’t a day of exciting revelations or exciting… any things really. It was however a very good day. I’m feeling pretty content in the midst of all this junk and we had a pretty fun day with our kids.

I must admit the end is kind of looming over everything. Tomorrow will be the last normal camp day. Friday is the Goodbye Party.

That’s Goodbye to Camp Peace.

How crazy is that?

I’m going to go work on a slideshow.

I don’t cry for sorrow, I cry with joy
The memories we’ve made can’t be destroyed
You know I won’t forget you
You know I never could
And when I said I loved you
You know I meant for good

Audio Adrenaline – Goodbye


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More than I could have imagined.

It went off without a hitch.

I never thought I’d be able to say that… But I did quote the Bible yesterday on the fact that God can do immeasurably more than I can imagine. He had shown me in His Word, now He has shown me in my life. I never could have imagined that this night could have worked out so well.

It wasn’t as if we had everything perfectly managed and set out. When the first bus arrived we were in a far from ready. We were running around instructing volunteers on the different stations around our makeshift Bethlehem. Somehow it all worked out. I ended up manning a station I hadn’t expected to – but it meant that I got to help my kids experience something of Bethlehem and talk to a bunch of other kids I hadn’t seen in awhile. It was so much fun.

I was in charge of our miniature production of the Nativity story.

At a trumpet call the kids walked into the Inn and the Innkeeper greeted them. Mary and Joseph walked in late and found that the Inn was full, they had to stay in the barn. We all ate together in our Bethlehem Inn. The Innkeeper brought food out to the barn for Mary and Joseph.

When the kids were finished and getting restless another trumpet sounded. Mary was holding the baby Jesus and three shepherds ran up too see the new born baby. Then they came to us, the people of Bethlehem, and told us about their night. That the Christ child was born.

Just as the sky was filled with Angels to announce the Messiah’s birth, I’m sure that room was filled with His Angels. Guarding our children. Chasing off the enemy who would like to spread his lies in their hearts. Making room in their hearts for Truth.

The volunteers were amazing. The actors were AMAZING. The kids are always amazing.

Thank you so much to those of you who were praying for us. I would say that God answered your prayers.

It was an amazing night.

I’m sitting here in complete awe at the things our God can do.



Filed under Urban Promise

Glorify His Name.

I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.Psalm 86:12 (NIV)

A week ago the second years went on a retreat with some folks from the Salvation Army.

Something that’s not at all uncommon at Urban Promise, we had know idea what we were actually doing. We just kind of go along with what we’re told.

The Thursday night before we had sat at our intern director’s house eating dinner before heading home after the trip to Quebec we’d just returned from (I don’t believe I’ve mentioned that on here. I plan to on a later blog, hopefully the next one.) He checked his email and told us our itinerary for Saturday.

We were tired. We’d just packed tons of Bible College knowledge into our poor heads and we’d done a wee bit of manual labour while in Quebec. Everything he read off would normally have appealed to me but for some reason my heart got heavier and heavier as he read. We would be talking about where we’d come from and learning about who we are.

Oh right.

And we were going to write a Psalm.

David was sitting at the end of the table and he says told that the looks on the rest of our faces were priceless. “WHAT!? A PSALM!?”

We were tired!

Luckily Jeremy’s wife, our Intern Mama, had the opposite reaction. She decided she’d like to join us, and for some reason this made everything seem ok and we stopped our silly worrying.

Saturday turned out to be a great day. There was a small group from the Salvation Army half of whom we had already spent some time with. We learned about God’s love, and how it’s important to spend quiet time with Him.

One activity that we did was to draw a tree that was in a way a timeline of our lives. At the bottom we had to write about our roots, the things that make us who we are. Then up the trunk we did a timeline of our lives with big events that had effect on us. At the top were the ‘fruits’ we hope for in the futures, things we expect God to do in and through us. THEN we had to present this to the group. A group consisting of some of my closest friends, some people I’d met four times, and some people I’d just met that day. I think, it was good.

We did a lot that day… But do you recall what we’d been dreading? All day I hoped it would just go away and I wouldn’t have to write a Psalm. “I don’t do poetry Pipes, I write prose, I don’t do poetry!” I told Erin, and she agreed. Then suddenly a switch flipped in my head. We just had to do what we do. I write, writing for God is what I want to do for my life, I just had to do it. And Erin could write a rap, she’d done it for fun before. I knew God would love an Erin Pipes rap just for him.

And so we just wrote for our God, and I’ve collected some of the results for you, Mine, Erin’s and David’s:

MyPsalmv2 copy



It’s not as hard as you might think. Give it a shot. Write something to God. I’d love to see it if you want to shout it to the world you could comment here… (I swear the world reads this thing ;)) or just store it in your heart and keep it between you and God. He wrote you the greatest love letter through His word. Write something back! 🙂

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Where did that week go?

I’m sitting here trying to figure this out. Is it that I did a lot this week or not enough this week? Perhaps I’ll sit down and make a chart of the activities I took part in this week in comparison to the weeks prior all in order to discover how this week managed to sneak by without my even noticing.

I had fun at camp this week. Started to plan out the Urban Promise Christmas party with the other second years. My dear friend Kristina Lush visited from Tennessee for a day… that was a whirlwind if I’ve ever been in one. Today we brought kids to the church we work out of and practiced their song for the Urban Promise Celebration that’s quickly approaching next week. AH, there it is.

I’ve been knocking on extra doors and talking to extra parents all week to try and arrange everything for the kids performance. That’s been making time fly. Right oh, time well spent. Whatever would I do without a blog to talk to?

Well, if you’re in the city on the 30th I sure hope to see you at Urban Promise Toronto’s annual Celebration event. It’s sounding amazing. And of course, some of my kids will be there. They’re pretty amazing.


One problem with time flying is that you tend to miss some of the things you ought to be remembering to do. For example I just got a message from my mother telling me that she hasn’t heard from me in awhile! Oops. Looks like I have a phone call to make.


He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. -Ecclesiastes 3:11

You got a gift and you best start using it

Cause if you don’t you’re gonna wind up losing it

Just like the brother who buried it deep

The task was simple but the price was steep

We got a mission while we’re on this earth

We need to tell people ’bout our second birth

Get busy like a school boy makin’ an A

Cause time my brother is tickin’ away

Time Is – Dc Talk

Sure hope next week decides to slow down a bit.

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Go and do Likewise.

Every Tuesday morning we have morning worship with the Urban Promise staff. It’s a day that I look forward to all week long. This morning we learned about our new Vision Statement, it’s simple but it says a lot:

Reach a Child – Raise a Leader – Restore a Community

I love that God uses the little things that we’re able to do through Him for His greater plan.

One of the young leaders that I was blessed to lead this summer has decided to come back to work for After School program. When he walked in the room today he looked up on the board with all of the councillors names and read a name off. One of our volunteers this year has come back after volunteering at our camp years ago. He recognized the name.

This is one of the councillors that had an affect on him when he was a child.

Now he’s back make a difference in other kids lives.

Later in the day another young man came into camp. My first summer working with Peace Kids he was one of the oldest boys. After that summer he was too old to come back to camp. His little sister is with us now and he’s been showing up to visit and help out. He’s far too young or I’m sure we’d hire him right now. He’s a great leader.

God is so good. It’s so exciting to think of the amazing plans He has for each of these kids.


"And I think that’s what our world is desperately in need of – lovers, people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people behind the issues they are concerned about."

— Shane Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical)

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

-John 13:34-35


Filed under Urban Promise