Elevation Surf Trip 2012 - just plain awesome!

In late August, Elevation Youth Group hit the road for one epic trip to Ucluelet, B.C. The waves were amazing, God's creation jaw-dropping, and the fun was non-stop. Thanks to everyone for praying for this trip. 

Click here to see a sneak peek of the Elevation Surf Trip video

Click here to see some amazing photos from the trip

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Alexa Isaac

What was your favourite part of the Elevation Surf Trip? "It's hard to decide what part of the trip I liked the best cause it all was equally fun! I would have to say the best part was playing in the water and watching Yi-Kay and Mathius dancing to just dance!"

What impacted you the most during the trip? What did you learn? "I enjoyed learning about the airplane and the watch. All the different examples Lorraine used, she put them into such a bigger perspective but it was all so true. And just how Lorraine made the big bang sound more and more unrealistic as she went along.

All my life I've been hearing about those same stories, but I felt that the people who spoke just brought so much more meaning and depth to everything I've learned over my years."

Dania Codling

What was your favourite part of the Elevation Surf Trip? "I don't know. All the moments were amazing. My favorite would have to be the evenings though. Bobbing on the waves was fun, but something about the evenings was great. Probably because it was a time of relaxation, fun and pouring out your heart. I felt really loved, at peace and open during these times."

What impacted you the most during the trip? What did you learn? "What impacted me the most was to see our big group loving each other in a way I haven't seen many times before. People from different churches came on this trip and to see us all accept and love everyone for who they are was an amazing feeling. We really made Jesus known!"

Noah Perry

What was your favourite part of the Elevation Surf Trip? Surfing and cabin time

What impacted you the most during the trip? What did you learn? That big wave Dave doesn't really surf big waves and the trip made think about purpose

Yi-Khy Saw

What was your favourite part of the Elevation Surf Trip? How God orchestrated the whole thing. From the start of the planning to the completion of the surf trip, it was amazing to watch God put everything together in place. From the leaders to the youth, the lessons, the games, and the surfing, there is no doubt that He planned it all. Night glow in the dark ultimate frisbee was very cool. Also, I really enjoyed beating almost everyone at Just Dance :)

What impacted you the most during the trip? What did you learn? It was very humbling being reminded constantly that only Jesus redeems us and restores us and by His grace, mercy and love, any good that comes out of us is the overflow of Christ's work in us. As mentioned before I was just in awe of how God had His hand over the whole surf trip. I was also very encouraged by the willingness to serve and the passion for God showed by the leaders that were in attendance at the surf trip.

Best surf tip? Everyone get on the party wave! Paddle! Paddle!

Go Big or Go Home - saying goodbye to the Siemens

Saying goodbye is never easy especially when it comes to family. Paul and Carla Siemens are just that ... family members in this little church community we call The Rock Church.

Even though we are saying goodbye, we are also excited.  Their story is exciting because it's about "go big or go home" obedience. It isn't comfortable and it's not going to be easy but the Siemens are following God's direction. He's calling them to seminary in Oviedo, Florida and they're are packing up and going.

Be encouraged, this is their story

Q: Tell us about your upcoming adventures.A:  Paul - We are heading to Oviedo, Florida, just outside of Orlando, for seminary.

Q: How did the Lord place seminary on your hearts?A:  Paul - About seven year ago, He put it into my heart to learn His world better, which turned into a strong desire to teach his word. The church we were attending at the time also gave me an opportunity to preach and I loved it.

When I came to the Rock Church, I was given the opportunity to preach a number of times. I really had a strong desire to learn more about God's word and how to teach it better.

Last year, after going through ReTrain at the MarsHill Church in Seattle, I thought I might be able to get a job as a pastor right away but a friend challenged me. He said there is no difference in how serious you take being a doctor or a pastor. In some ways being a pastor is more sacred. He said we need to take this seriously and that means getting the training to teach it properly.

We took it as a confirmation of the direction we needed to go.

Carla - The phrase that has stood out to me from that conversation is "Go Big or Go Home."

 Q: What will you miss about The Rock?A: Paul - It's such a family at the Rock. The fact that people of all ages want to visit together is amazing. We had young people in their 20s wanting to hang out with us, which is crazy.

Carla - I'll miss the family too. I'll miss the people who love our kids and take an interest in their well-being. When you break it down, it's things like community groups, the Christmas parade, Christmas Eve services and all those family gatherings. We are just going to miss The Rock.

Q: Any parting words for the community? A:  Carla - Just keep on going. Even when things were crunchy, everything was handled biblically. Issues have always been worked out and that is where the true family feeling has come from. Our eyes are on God and as a result, the peripheral stuff hasn't mattered as much.

Q: What are some of your favouite memories about the Rock? A: Carla - I would say the parties, the community groups, and of course Vacation Bible School. Those things warm my heart. I also loved some of those first dinners with Glenn, Janice, Matt, Jonathon and Jill-Marie.

Paul - Early on, we had something called the Truth Project at our house and we loved it. We had a bunch of young singles over and that was fun.

Q: What has the Lord taught your family during your time in Squamish? A: Paul - Living for Him is the ultimate and anything less is a waste of time.

Carla - That is why I have adopted the phrase, "Go Big or Go Home."

Paul - When we moved to Squamish, church was a secondary thought to me. I knew we would attend church, but I wasn't super concerned about it. Through all three churches that we attended in Squamish, God spoke to my heart. I started to care about His word and what correct theology is. Basically everything I believe about Christ and His work on the cross has been entrenched in me during our time in Squamish.

Carla - I like security, safety and routine but God has shown me that the safest place for us to be is in the centre of His will, no matter where that may be.

The Urbanowskis' - Parting Words

We at The Rock Church love the Urbanowski family. Mark, Jenn and their growing family have been with us from the first few months of The Rock Church plant. We’ve watched this family grow with the birth of their precious Elise and more recently, baby Hannah. Having grown with this family for the last two years, I find that this is probably the last time that I get to share a family meal and a couple of their stories with such an awesome family.  - Lorraine Yeung

Mark: "I wasn’t married to Jenn yet so being posted 18 hours away from her, I wasn’t sure that our relationship would last and the chances of getting married to her were significantly reduced.  I believed that God called me up north and because it didn’t happen straight away, I questioned whether I heard God correctly. I guess my pride was hurt. I wasn’t sure Jenn would trust me about anything else because of it”.

In spite of Mark’s fears, God proved Himself to be bigger than circumstances. Mark and Jenn exchanged their vows before Christ a year later. Jenn and her beautiful daughter Chloe moved to Squamish in 2008 and began their new life as a family together. - LY

Getting into community 

Jenn: "Because a lot of people who live in Squamish are not from Squamish, we noticed the first few questions people ask are “How long have you been here?” and, “What brings you here?” It sometimes felt like the people you connected with didn’t want to commit. Many people are only here for one or two years before leaving again.

When I first came to one of The Rock’s Sunday gatherings, I think I sighed and felt at home. Since then I have been blessed to establish real and meaningful relationships, not just acquaintances or social relationships. Everybody seems to love everyone. Everybody just fits. I didn’t have to work to fit in or do something to be “a part of the club.”

Everyone loved us for all our quirkiness. I love being able to keep growing together with everyone: I can go to our small group and laugh and cry with everybody, and that’s okay!"

Mark: "It’s nice to know everyone really cares. I feel for the most part that everybody in the family pulls their weight. Everybody cares about each other’s story.”

Being gospel intentional

Undoubtedly, from their many stories, the Urbanowski family had lots of ministry opportunities in Squamish along with kingdom building relationships with the church body in Squamish.

Jenn is far from shy about her faith and tries to live a life that is not ashamed of who she follows and trusts. Those who have been blessed with Jenn’s company know, she is great for sharing stories of what God has done in and is doing in her life. - LY

Jenn: "We love to share a lot about what God is doing and  how He has answered our prayers. As a result, we’re starting to see people demanding a gospel explanation. People know that we’re believers and we bring up our kids in the faith. I’ve been asked questions like, “How do you go about that?” and “What does that look like?” At Mark's work, people are curious to know why he doesn’t curse and has a strong faith."

Mark:  "At work I’m known as ‘the-cop-who-doesn’t-swear’ and even ‘The Nicest Cop in Squamish’! When I’m dealing with the more unpleasant people, I still desire to treat them with respect. I try to seek out Gospel opportunities and had times where I have been able to pray with people and encourage them that there is someone who can and would like to help them."

Obedience is worth it!

Mark: "When faced with confrontation, I used to withdraw a bit. When I felt the call of God to grab the reigns and be a leader, I grabbed them too tight at first. Instead of being a servant leader, I leaned towards being an overbearing dictator. Nowadays, I’m fighting my natural instincts to withdraw from confrontation, but still grab the bull by it’s horns. God is teaching me the balance of being a servant leader.

I've had parenting challenges too but God is teaching me to be like the "Father" that He is to us. It’s been rewarding because I know God is teaching me. I know that I’ll still make more mistakes than I want to. I'm trying to listen and be submissive to Christ. I know He will teach me and I’ll continue to be more blessed as I follow. Nothing is quite as rewarding as seeing the blessing of submitting to our Heavenly Father and doing what He has called us to do."

Jenn: "It’s funny, earlier this year I gave a card to Mark for Father’s day. On the front it read, “It’s so safe to follow in your footsteps.”

When I look back, I marvel at how much God has changed me and where He has taken me. I look back four years ago and remember a time that I would have not been able to give Mark that card. I believe it’s so important to be available to what God is doing in your life.

I’m also so grateful that God has graced us with great resources, mentors and people who have kept us in prayer."

Answering the call

When Mark got notice of this transfer, he knew what he was leaving. “Maybe just one more year,” Mark hoped.

For Mark, so much growth happened In Squamish. - LY

Mark: "Like all things that are worthwhile, they take a lot of heart break.  Despite the challenges that we mentioned with our marriage and with our time here, if we left here happily, it would be a bad sign. It would mean that we really withdrew and didn’t have our hearts here. It’s unfortunate that it took us as long as it did to for us to establish ourselves in Squamish. It’s been worth it though."

Mark  said he feels called to Prince Rupert. He doesn't know what God has in store for his family in Prince Rupert. Regardless, both Mark and Jenn know and trust that whatever it may be, it will lead to God's glory and their joy. 

Jenn said she cannot deny that God placed their family in Squamish for a season to prepare them for their commission to Prince Rupert. - LY


Mark: "Pray that we would be more gospel intentional. I've also been challenged to be the head of the home so pray that I can lead my family to live out our faith to family, neighbors and  the community. The goal is to do things in such a way that demand a gospel explanation."

Jenn: "That God’s purposes would absolutely prevail in our lives."

Parting words

Mark: "Anything that starts, does so with a certain reputation. The Rock Church is known for it’s community. I would encourage the people that make up The Rock to continue in the tradition of loving one another and being a part of one another’s lives. It’s about really caring like it says in Romans 12. Don’t just pretend to love one another, really love one another."

Nathan VanLochem: A story of patience


Click here to see a video of Nathan's testimony

I grew up in a Christian home and still feel blessed for that to this day.  In my late teens and early 20s, I tried living for myself and stopped attending church regularly. I would continually try to block out the Holy Spirit convicting me away from the path I was taking. I started partying a lot and it became my main focus in life. I also had little to no patience for anything or anyone and I used to stress and worry about everything.

I still remember the feeling of being so lost. My thoughts were so scattered that it would regularly affect my sleep.

It came to a point when I was 22 years old that I had to stop smoking pot ... period. I didn't like who I'd become and I spent the next year getting my head clear. I started going to church again, turned my life back to God and accepted Christ as my Saviour. I feel like God through his grace gave me a second life. I never wanted to look back.

For the next 10 years, I started praying for patience. One area I needed to be patient with, was finding my wife. I moved to Whistler when I was 25. It was in Whistler that Tim Unruh, the pastor of the Whistler Community Church, challenged me to pray for God's woman in God's time. So that's what I prayed everyday for three years.

There were so many Christians from different denomination backgrounds in Whistler that all worshipped together and I was often challenged and encouraged to live for God.

Back to the wife thing, God sure did answer my prayers and I am now a husband to a wonderful wife and a father to a beautiful baby girl. Yes! Marriage and fatherhood have given me a deep joy and sense of responsibility. It's hard to describe.

The Holy Spirit has and is continually challenging me to be the kind of Dad and husband God intended for me to be. Since coming to the Rock Church, I have been encouraged to grow deeper in my relationship with Christ. I am excited and I am beginning to understand what it means to live for Christ in every area of my life.

Almost 10 years after I turned my life back to the Lord, I am still so thankful for God's blessings in my life and how He continually forgives me.

I am being baptized today because I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to this place. I want to proclaim what Christ has done in my life.

I want to be obedient to Christ and in doing so, be an example to my family and friends. I am a work in progress. I am being challenged to live for God with my seatbelt off.

In closing....

And Jesus came and said to them “ All authority in heaven and on earth had been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.
— Matthew 28:18-20

Gospel Foundations Series & the Bronsons

We recently talked to James and Jill Marie Bronson about their experience with the current Gospel Foundations Series. We hope you are encouraged by their story.

Q: Tell us about yourselves. What’s your story? Why the Rock Church? Why Squamish?

A: James - "I grew up in a churched home but there was never a sense of community for me. When it came time to leave home I went to bible college and experienced monastic style of community which was great but not exactly God glorifying.  When I came to Squamish in 2008 I had given up on finding a church that could really feel like a family and show the grace of God.

The first time I went to The Rock Church I felt like these people really cared about each other and wanted to live a life that was more than about themselves.  There was also a really cute girl there so that helped too!"

Jill Marie – "I grew up going to church, but I had a dysfunctional family and I was a part of a lot of dysfunctional churches. To adapt, I formed a very individualistic faith that would only involve other Christians for short periods of time. I initially came to Squamish in 2004 to work as a raft guide. In 2009, I felt God was telling me to stop travelling and come back to stay put. I joined The Rock and found my husband."

Q: What have you thought of the Gospel Foundations sermon series so far?

A: James - "It has been challenging, as we discover what our true identity is and what we have been saved from. It makes us really look at how our life is oriented, which is a reflection of what your life is devoted to.

I've discovered that living with gospel intentionality really means denying yourself, which has been a hard thing to struggle with.  I’m happy to be on the journey with the rest of the church - it’s hard but also exciting."

Q: What have you taken away from the series so far?

A: James - "We need to learn to make our every day “rhythms” reflect and point to the glory of God.  I don’t know how that looks yet but it’s the goal."

Q: What has impacted you the most?

A: James - "The testimony of James Boney who in the face of having a sick baby decides to trust God and that God is sufficient.  Not only that but he uses it to share the gospel with the doctors and now God has healed his baby.  It's amazing and I can’t get over how good our God is!"

Q: Why is the Rock community valuable to you guys?

A: James and Jill Marie - "It is our family, you can’t live this life alone and if you try, you will loose heart. We have both tried that in certain seasons of our lives and we have both come to the realization that its through the church that we are being used to share the love of Christ."

"I (James) would go as far as saying that God won’t use individuals who refuse to be part of his family, which is the church.  We want to be used by God and we love the family he has placed us in."

Q: What are you excited most about with regards to the Rock, the future, faith etc? 

A: James and Jill Marie- "Seeing our friends come to faith in Squamish and the town restored as well as living life with the church in the Ledge Cafe."

Q: Why do you think it’s important that we are looking at the Gospel Foundations?

A: James - "To wake us up to the reality of who we are and what the gospel really means and how to share it with others.  I have a hard time, sharing my faith but I’m learning about living your life in such a way that it demands a gospel explanation."