Posted by: beyondblueflower | January 11, 2013

Leaving L’Abri… a beginning

I began this blog with the hope of exploring a journey and including those who could not experience it first hand.  Carrie and I desired to express those things which almost cannot be explained.  Though we have felt deeply cared for, I’m not sure how successful I have been in explaining the wonderful gift that L’Abri has been to us or to the hundreds of people who have come through here.  I will begin writing again, this time with the hope of explaining our leaving… and some of what this will cost us.  For although we are leaving L’Abri, we will not return to Oregon as the same people we were. 

My Father died unexpectedly in March.  The drive from Canada to Cottage Grove was rushed to say the least.  The doctor said, “If you want to see your dad alive again, you need to come now.”  The words rolled through my head off and on for most of the 9 hour drive.  I pulled over twice just to weep.  How could this happen?  Why now?  How do you prepare for this?  I can no longer ask him what he would do… or what he did when his parents died.  Why didn’t I understand and ask him earlier? He was fine earlier this week, how did this happen.  We were supposed to have more time.

I was supposed to have preached that weekend, but tragedy (or reality) has a way of cancelling our best laid plans.  Unfortunately I was the last to arrive, and by the time I got there my father was in a coma.  I never actually got to “see him”.  My mother, my sister, my brother-in-law and I sat in the hospital crying, laughing, remembering – talking to him as if he was still wide awake.  We read his favorite psalms to him and then we read our own.  I gave my sermon to my family on Sunday morning, because none of us wanted to leave his room.  We stayed all five days until he was gone and then we left in exhaustion wondering what to do with ourselves and our loss.  I drove home that night because I still had a family that needed me, and a job that was being shouldered by others until I returned. 

Eventually reality demands that we engage it, and while there is no time frame for this… engaging reality often changes things.  It took me about two months to realize that while I absolutely love what I do (we work for L’Abri Fellowship International), family is more important to me.  I realized that I could not live with myself if I received another call like that one.  With no guarantees in life, there is not enough time to waste on “if only”.  After long talks with my wife about family, we have decided that we want to settle somewhere around Portland and enjoy whatever time we have left with our parents and siblings.  We want our children to know their grandparents and cousins, aunts and uncles.  We want to live life together with those same people.  It is time for us to give back to our family who has given so much to us.

This is the beginning of our return home, but there is much more that must and will be said if you are to receive us with understanding when we return.

Jeff Adams

Canadian L’Abri

Cedar House

Bishops Hill

 

Posted by: beyondblueflower | January 9, 2013

He’s Baaacckkkk

Well yes, Chip Kelly… but,

very soon I will be too.

Posted by: beyondblueflower | February 15, 2011

Returned

We are home from the Conference.  Last year after this same event, I wrote about the glaring clash between being a rock star (conference speaker) and crashing back to earth (day in and day out work here at the branch).  The same experience happened this year, but it was not the biggest part of our trip.  Rather, it was the people we enjoyed.  It is such a blessing to be at a conference with people who have worked in L’abri for 40 years, people set to retire (or retiring this year).  The memory, the continuity, the connection that is their living example is a breath of fresh air in this work, and it is passed into us in life giving ways.  I imagine that this is what entire cultures enjoy when they honor and celebrate their elders, rather than obsess and worship youth.  It was a blessing.

Term starts today.  There has been so much uncertainty, upheaval, cancelling, rescheduling, etc, that it is a relief to final start.  At the end of last term we picked four helpers for this up-coming term.  None of them are here.  We will start the term with two, and be joined in a week by a third.  Despite all the last minute panic and scrambling, God has provided for our needs, and we trust theirs as well.  We have a full house this term, and in fact have had to turn some students away.  We have so many students that we are splitting lunch table (2 every day instead of 1) and that is exciting, because it doubles the stimulation and conversation of the entire group.  Table dynamics are also much better with 8 people than they are with 16.  Unfortunately we have lost our very “handy” man, and there is much left undone that we will need help with – including finishing the deck and basement.  We are trusting God both for the money and the know-how.

Carrie and Gabriel are both sick, and I am dodging germs like some kind of video game… it is only a matter of time before I am hit.  Gabriel continues to talk, talk, talk, and it is often too funny to even describe.  It is certainly a blessing, unless he overhears something he shouldn’t:-)  This term may be a crazy one, and we will end it without the Scheibe’s who are going to England for their first members meeting.  Pray for God’s continuing provision in all that we do, and in the lives of those who he sends.

 

Grace and Peace

 

Jeff Adams

Cedar House, Bishop’s Hill

Canadian L’abri

Posted by: beyondblueflower | February 8, 2011

We’ll I thought I’d start with a picture this time.  This was taken in the land of the sun from our past vacation.  Ahhh, vitamin D.  Gabriel can now count to 10, doing it for the first time by himself the other day.  I had never known he was listening before.  His vocabulary is exploding… multiple words each day.  It is so much fun.  He is also doing adjectives now.  Everything is “big”.  Big stick, big deck, big bus.  Sometimes he uses small, and sometime new, but big is his favorite.

We are in the throws of last minute preparations.  Minnesota here we come.  If I didn’t have to type it, I would believe it.  Minnesota in Febraury.  The good news is that we’ve just gotten an update and it should get up to zero while we are there… a spring bounty.  Carrie has finished her lecture preparations, and mine… well, soon.

We are expecting up to 10 guys this term, and 5 girls, while we are also trying to make room to host a couple of smaller church groups.  Hosting groups is really important for making connections, and although it will be a complete overload, it is a good thing.  We will have two girls from Brazil, possibly a boy from Mexico, a Korean boy, and possibly a boy from Sierra Leon.  That with the typical American and Canadian gathering.  We are working hard to finish the deck on Cedar House, and then it will be onto the basement (among other things).  It will be a real pleasure to finish the deck and have the ability to host gatherings when the weather permits.  It is a weird experience to finish a house so that you have to move out… especially to a smaller and darker space.  Hmmm.  Well, the good news is, it is always satisfying to finish a project, and it will be wonderful for the students.  I’m thankful that God is blessing us enough that we have the money to do the work.  We will have a new deck for under 5k that would cost anyone else 25-30k.  The deck is about 800 square feet.

Well certainly nothing interesting there, but the very busy nothings of our life are what I have to offer at the moment.

Jeff

 

Posted by: beyondblueflower | January 30, 2011

Sunny Sunday

That is right… for the first time since we have been home… not a cloud in the sky.  It is of course very cold, but I’ll take that any day for a little Vitamin D.  I’m just going to drop a very quick update –  nothing to long.  Things are beginning to speed up, as is always the case before term starts.  Next week I’m leading the Church Service, which takes a lot of preparation.  I’m also preparing to preach next month, and we are of course preparing to leave for the conference in a little under two weeks.  Lots on my mind.

However, I’ve also been commissioned to build 2 new bunk beds, because we have a veritable plethora of boys coming this term.  We should have about 14 people all term.  On top of that I’m still in the middle of taking an old tv cabinet and turning it into an attractive book shelf that fits perfects into a niche in my office (possibly finished today).  I’m also slightly stalled in making the mirror for Carrie.  I’ve made the frame, but it needs to be stained and sealed, before I can put the mirror into it.  Perhaps I’ll include some pictures of the finished products.  One of the reasons that I am busy with all these projects is because Gabriel’s favorite place in the whole world is my workshop, and I need as many reasons to take him down there as is possible.

Carrie is also preparing a lecture for the conference, and we are both busy trying to reconnect to people on the island after our six week sojourn.  We have rented “the social network” to watch tonight.  I expect that my refusal to join facebook will be strengthened by watching it, but perhaps it will inspire me and I’ll begin launching my every move, whim, and emotion into the sphere of the digital world.  Much like this only more:-)  Speaking of projecting my inner world into public space… here is my question for today (if anyone is out there listening).  How do you find joy?  What gives you joy?  Not happiness, but joy.  If you ever struggled with joy, or perhaps like me sorrow is for more present and powerful, how did you go about bringing more joy into your life?

 

Jeff Adams

Cedar House, Bishops Hill

Canadian L’Abri

 

P.S. I’m reading a great book called “Desiring the Kingdom”.  Maybe I’ll give a review of it next week.

Posted by: beyondblueflower | January 22, 2011

Coming home.

Well, we arrived home this past week.  I can’t even begin to say how good the word home really is.  Not only does it taste good as I roll it around my mouth, it feels like the warmth and comfort of my morning coffee.   Mmmm, home.  Arriving home after six weeks is also a bit disorienting – it is a reminder about my own limits and my humanness.  No transition is as quick as I’d like.  Acclimation, even to the best of things is not instant.  Even the little changes defy my furious attempts at ruling time, ruling myself, and my circumstances.

We had a great time visiting family in Oregon over the past six weeks (my other use of the word home).  However, “civilization” is always a shock to my system.  The food (we ate out a lot) is the most enjoyable bad experience I’ve had in years.  I love it, and it hates me.  Last night Carrie and I hosted a gathering of my old friends from Seminary (11 adults, 7 kids) – we ate homemade pasta (both sauce and noodle), salad, and homemade ice-cream, with… you guessed homemade bread.  Mmmm, home.

We also saw tons of movies, since Bowen essentially excludes that.  It was a media binge.  True Grit, Tron, The Fighter… all very enjoyable (and not even a drop in the bucket), but it also made me thankful for our quite evenings of reading by the fire, or having the neighbors over to play spades.  Unfortunately we lost this week, due to my error.  But next week the Scheibes are going down!

After this weekend, Carrie and I will be preparing to go to the annual L’abri conference in Rochester Minnesota.  We leave on February 10th, and term starts the day after we return.  So, our long winters nap is coming to an end, and we are beginning to get back in the swing of our lives.  It is great to see family and friends, and we wished that they were not so far away, but we are reminded of the joy (and hardship) of our labors here at L’abri.  We should have a pretty full term coming up.  I believe the numbers are at about 11 right now (15 is our cap these days).  We look forward to who God is bringing here, and all that means.

I say it all the time, but I am affirming it again – I will try to give more regular updates on how things are going.  that is enough for now, as I need to get breakfast going for our guests.

With love and thanks to all who put up with us for so long, and helped make home away from home

 

Jeff Adams

Cedar House

Bishops Hill

Canadian L’abri

Posted by: beyondblueflower | November 23, 2010

Long Overdue

Term ended yesterday, and so did our water supply.  Actually we lost power for about 20 hours, during which time all exterior water pipes, and one of our huge storage tanks froze solid.  So, yah – it’s been cold.  Power came back today, but we are finishing day 2 with no water.  We drive about 5 minutes to the neighbors and get drinking water.  I chop through the ice in our trough or pond with an axe and get water to “flush” the toilets with.  No shower in sight.

The good news is that term is over.  It was a really, really long term.  Good as always, but harder than normal in many ways.  I won’t go into too many details, but there were some real challenges.  We are going to try and take care of all our details (and if we can last another week – the water issue is already old) we’ll head down to Oregon in about a week or so.

I finished the term by preaching on John 3 this past weekend, and I really enjoyed it.  I believe that it went well.  Last week I threw my back out, so I was happy just to “stand and deliver” as it were.  Carrie is doing well, and the two of us will be preparing to lecture this winter at the Rochester L’Abri Conference.  She lectured this term on Calling and Vocation and there was a great community turn out.  It really seems to be resonating with people.

Gabriel seems to be picking up a word a day.  He makes noises for cows, monkeys, cats (really good), gorillas, and others.  His two favorite words are car and saw.  Should be a man’s man.  He runs and jumps all day.

I’m loving the duck games, and I’ll be thrilled if we get the NC game.  Justin TV has saved my life, with Channelsurfing.net a close second.

I’ve got a meeting to run to, so this must be short… but since it has been so long.

That was for you Jenn
Jeff

Posted by: beyondblueflower | August 19, 2010

Two weeks off

We are home – at last.  Things to do of course – there always are.  However, we actually have two weeks off before our term starts up again.  We got home last night, and as always were struck but the silence.  I just got back from taking Gabriel for a lunch time walk, and the only sounds were a few crickets, the occasional raven call, and our chickens clucking about.  The cats run from him rather quietly, so they don’t count.  I love being home.  I love the smell of the forest, the smell of our home, the taste of pure well water, and all the other things that make living on Bowen distinctive.

We had a great conference in Sacramento, and although the preparations continued until the 11th hour, I was ready.  It was so great to see the other workers, and to spend time with people in a very different setting.  L’Abri is very comparable to an emergency room for faith.  The situation is often very intense.  It was nice to be in a church setting, a good healthy church, and see people hungry to learn.  What a blessing it was to us, and I hope to them as well.  We also had a lovely time visiting family in Oregon.

I’ll post more later, with some pictures.  I just wanted to say that we are well.

Posted by: beyondblueflower | July 9, 2010

Its been a while

Today is July 9th.  As was recently pointed out to me, I haven’t posted since May 26th, two days after this term began.  That is a very good indicator of just how crazy this term has been – good! but crazy!  In fact there are now only 3 weeks left in our summer term.  Wow… where to begin?

Well, like our “northwest neighbors” (we are the “west” or “southwest” of Canada) to the south, summer is finally here, and trying to make up for lost time.  Once again, our life feels “old school” as we have no AC for the 90+ temperatures.  Carrie is trying to buy a fan or two today while in town.  We currently have 14 students, which makes 16 (with us) at a table.  This is about the limit for a good lunch discussion.  The diversity among this group has been a real treat.  We have a couple (with 19 month old) from Switzerland, a couple from Sweden, three from Korea, one from Scotland, and the rest are North American.  It is the smallest contingent of Americans we have ever had.  The term has alternated between avoiding difficult topics and digging into deep stuff.  The Post Modern ethos (it being more important that we make everyone feel comfortable with their own choices) has been very evident at times.

Carrie and I both have very full loads this summer, but through God’s grace, we also have some very good helpers, and we have been able to bear the load.  Carrie (July 25th) and I (June 20th) have both preached this term as well as our normal L’abri work of tutoring, teaching, lecturing, work crews, meals and just being with the students.  Clarke and I are going to a conference in Sacramento August 5th-9th, and the extra preparation involved during term has been difficult.  I’ll be lecturing four times.  I’m very excited to meet up with some of the international L’abri workers, including Andrew Fellows (director of English L’Abri) who really inspired me towards this work in the first place.

On top of that, we have (still are) trying to do a complete remodel of the cabin bathroom (mold and rot) and plumbing so that our newest worker, Jessica Bell, can have a space of her own.  She has been living in the cabin without running water for a couple of weeks, because we had to make room in the main house for more couples.  At least it isn’t the middle of winter!  Although this is my job to oversee, we have had a tremendous amount of help from one of our neighbors, and that has made it possible.  Thank you Lorne.  Also of note, we just got 40 chicks.  That’s right, the long held dream of our own chickens/eggs is finally realized.  Right now they live in our basement because they aren’t very old, but soon they will move into the chicken coup, which we finished up earlier this summer.  We are still in need of a work truck, but trying to buy off island in the middle of term has proven too much, and I’ll have to do it in August.  Also our riding lawn-mower is broken (no idea what is wrong) and so we have been mowing our 5 acres of grass (15 more of woods) with a weed eater.  L’abri is nearly out of money, and after this month, we have no funds, and only less than half of our monthly support is given by regular donors.  This is a large concern, but not unheard of in our work.  Pray that God will provide.  Finally, Carrie and I are in the midst of applying to renew our work visas.  We are applying for a 5 year extension, and trusting that God’s will will be done.

Gabriel took a very hard fall (the second in a month) into the corner of the coffee table (which no longer resides in the living room) and it was a bit of a scare.  He hit on the bridge of his nose, right between his eyes and there was blood everywhere.  It was quite scary, but by God’s grace he is ok.  He also is in the stage where biting seems like a good idea.  It isn’t.  Carrie is also doing well, and had the foresight to book herself two nights at the other retreat center on the island – Rivendale.  I’m so jealous.  We are both absolutely exhausted, but thoroughly enjoying the work.  We are looking forward to some down time in August, to relax, swim in the ocean, pick blackberries and see friends.  I have taken almost no pictures in the last few months… I’m sorry Jenn.  I’ll put that on my list of things to do:-)  Also, I don’t have time to proofread my typing today, so I apologize about the misspellings:-)

Jeff Adams

Cedar House, Bishops Hill

Canadian L’abri

Posted by: beyondblueflower | May 26, 2010

A new term

We are in a new term.  One of the things that I really enjoy about this work is the different rhythms.  However, I’m also realizing that like my first truck, switching gears isn’t always smooth.  Going from “out” of term to “in” term inevitably leaves me feeling the “grind” of gears as life accelerates.  And like my old truck, peeling out is overly easy to do.  This morning I feel a bit like “burnt rubber”, a mark on the blacktop of my own life.

Aside from that, I am excited to meet our new students and that summer is supposedly on the ferry already – almost here.  Summer always has more student turnover, shorter stays and higher volume.  It is exciting, but more of a challenge to go deep with people.  Perhaps that is ok, because God knows what they need.  If it were up to me, I’d structure the life out of everything.  That is what makes me feel safe.  As I’ve learned, safe and comfortable might be my goal (even if a questionable one), but it is rarely how God changes people.  What does it take for us to change?  More often than not, pain.  As C.S. Lewis put it, “Pain is God’s megaphone to a deaf world.”  Now obviously this doesn’t apply to every painful situation.  Life if far more complex than to attribute everything to God trying to get our attention.  However, it never ceases to amaze my how effectively pain does grab us and force us to ask questions, precisely because it tears away assumptions, comfort, and supposed safety.  Ouch.  Nothing has the potential to strip away illusions like pain – this works both for culture and for people.  Yet pain can also drives us into illusion if we choose to respond differently.  For many of our coming students this term, there is an immense amount of pain in their lives.  If you are reading this (and if you pray) please pray with me, that whatever the cause, whatever the complexity and brokenness, we would have the wisdom to help them respond well, and that God’s grace would bring healing.  I believe that is how people change, even if we don’t recognize it.

Jeff Adams

Cedar House, Bishops Hill

Canadian L’Abri

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