When God Calls You to Climb Mountains (Literally)

Bryn Mitchell is a second-year Outdoor Leadership student with a love for God, a thirst for adventure, and a heart for people. (He’s actively figuring out how those three things fit together.)  In December of 2016, Bryn and four friends (including fellow OL student Sam Rooney) embarked on a trip to climb South America’s tallest peak, Aconcagua. What follows is an epic post worthy of an epic journey – a travelogue and a spiritual chronicle rolled into one – in Bryn’s own words. 

I have always admired those who have been willing to put themselves out on the line. Put themselves in uncomfortable positions, where even they do not fully know where they are going or why they are there. Yet seem to have the guts to persevere and come out the other side able to articulate and tell the story of their experience. This characteristic is something I am trying to teach myself, to not just journey forth but also learn from an experience and find a way to teach others about the experience.


This brings me to summer of 2015, one of the worst summers of my life. I was working at a factory that I did not particularly enjoy. I found myself dreaming of the seven summits of the world. What a great adventure that would be!

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Worldwide Internship Adventures: Ups, Downs, & Big Lessons

Third-year Intercultural Studies students at Columbia have the amazing opportunity to spend eight months on a cross-cultural internship in a country of their choice. Oh the places they go! As far away as Cambodia and as close as Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. They come back with incredible stories and first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to immerse yourself in a new culture in a kingdom-focused way. Here are some of their reflections…

What’s one high point of your internship experience?

I’ll never forget the beauty of a room full of people from different cultures sharing a meal, laughing and open to learning from each other, and the freedom we had to pray together, even though we all have a different picture of God and are continually learning more about Him. ~Yolanda

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CityLife: The Story of Abbotsford’s Newest Church

There’s nothing surprising about seeing a pastor in a coffee shop. Unless it’s Jon Wiebe, lead pastor of Abbotsford’s newly-launched CityLife Church. You won’t necessarily spot him with his laptop, working on his next sermon. Don’t expect to chat with him about life and faith over Americanos. Instead, Jon may well greet you with a smile and a friendly “Hi!” while he whips up your grande half-fat latte, extra-hot.

Pastor Jon Wiebe is a Starbucks barista. Two days a week, he dons the green apron and everything that comes with it: long line-ups, tricky drink orders, grumpy customers, and taking out the trash. He’ll be the first to tell you it’s been quite an adjustment.

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Vespers: Meeting with God & Each Other

Vespers is a longstanding Columbia tradition that’s constantly being renewed by new leadership and fresh vision. We interviewed Alyssa Hooge, this year’s Vespers leader, to learn about her hopes for Vespers and our students.

Please share about Vespers. What is it and why is it important to our Columbia community?

At Columbia we gather twice a week as a student body for worship, at Chapel on Thursday mornings and at Vespers on Tuesday nights. Chapel is set aside for all students and faculty to gather. Vespers, on the other hand, is an extended time of worship that’s student-led and geared toward our student body. We gather intentionally to meet with God and with each other. I know in my own journey at Columbia attending Vespers has been very formative. It is a time where we are able to take what we have been learning in classes and bring it before God and wrestle with what it means to actually live out those things.

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Columbia Seeking an Academic Dean

Columbia Bible College Announces Opening for Academic Dean

As a Christ-centered Bible College, Columbia seeks to equip people for a life of discipleship, ministry and leadership in service to the church and community.  Due to a retirement, Columbia has an exciting opportunity for the right individual to become part of shaping its present and future role in Christian post-secondary education by serving on its senior leadership team in the capacity of Academic Dean. The Academic Dean provides leadership in translating the vision and philosophy of Columbia into a dynamic community of learning, ensuring that the College provides quality programming and faculty.

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Christ-Centered Community: How It Looks at Columbia


One of our big prayers at Columbia is that everyone on this campus will engage in Christ-centered community. But what does “Christ-centered community” look like? How are students experiencing it in the day-to-day of school life? We asked students to describe it in their own words, and to share some of the ways they’re living it out.

How do you define ‘Christ-centered Community?’

Talking, Thinking, Acting Like Jesus

“A gathering of people focused on reflecting and following Jesus in thought, word, and action.”

“A place that acts, looks, sounds and IS like Christ. A place that focuses on Christ’s teachings and who He is.”

“A group of people that together strive to emulate the life and teachings of Christ and follow his word.”

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Grasshoppers, Babies, and Joy


Sarah Rozendal is in Uganda on her third-year Intercultural Studies internship and she is learning a ton about the Ugandan people, drawing love and joy from God, and taking care of adorable orphanage babies. You can read her original post and follow along in her experiences at https://sarahrozendal.wordpress.com/ 

It has been awhile since my last blog post and a lot has happened! Here’s a quick update based on some observations that I’ve made about Uganda these past two and a half months:


The month of November is grasshopper season. So naturally I had to eat one. Despite common belief, they do not taste like chicken, however the Ugandans love them!

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Parents! How to Prepare for your Columbia Student’s Return Home

Tonia & family on a recent family vacation


We have had the privilege of having our daughter attend Columbia Bible College. She finished her Bachelor in Youth Work degree over 5 years, moving through a number of seasons of life – living in residence, living at home, internship, married and local, and married and distant!

With three adult children plus one high school senior, the balance of expectations for the holidays is paramount. As you anticipate your student coming home (or possibly not coming home) for the Christmas break, here are some of the things I recommend.



  • Check in on what plans they may have already made or are anticipating.
  • Clearly indicate the family plans that are in place and which ones you would prefer them to be present for, allowing some flexibility.
  • Have some of your own plans.
  • House rules – what still stands and what must change with this new stage of family life.
  • Let them know they were missed, but also released!
  • Think about your words.
  • Stop talking and listen.


  • Let them sleep! It is an exhausting number of weeks running up to this ‘break’.
  • They have been independent for months, but may have forgotten how to put the dishes in the dishwasher. Help, but don’t over help. Find ways to remind that don’t demean or nag.
  • They WILL have changed. Observe, enjoy, engage discussion, listen. Some of those changes may not be how you wanted or expected. Let it be.
  • You and your home WILL have changed. Recognize it, acknowledge it, talk about it.
  • You and your student will have expectations on your schedules, traditions, and plans.
  • Clearly express your expectations and clearly listen to theirs.
Keep it Simple


  • Have lots of food in the house, especially their favorites!
  • Have fun!
  • Pray!
  • Ask good questions!  Listen! Share your lives and stories, too.
What if they AREN’T coming home?


  • Let them know you are disappointed – ONCE! No guilt trips. Express your joy of having them around and let them know that they are missed and loved!
  • Be excited for their plans. Ask questions – Realize that this means someone else likes your kids and wants them to be around, too!
  • Consider alternative plans. Travel to them, change day of celebrations, etc. But accept the ‘no thanks’ as you would from any other adult.
  • Make your own plans. Change is hard, but can bring so many great new opportunities!
Blessings as you approach and navigate this season ahead! Enjoy the beautiful chaos of being all together, if that is your reality! We at Columbia Bible College are praying for our students and their families over this Christmas Season.


Written by Tonia Martens, Development Events Coordinator

Why UMD? Part Two


“Amidst all of the brokenness, people hope for relationship.”

“In the grit of the Downtown East Side of Vancovuer, you can still see the significance of a pure heart towards God.”

– Student testimonials after experiencing UMD

(* To protect the identity of the individuals mentioned below, names have been changed.)

dtes2CBC’s Urban Mission Dynamic (UMD) encourages each first-year student to explore what it means to follow Jesus in uncomfortable areas of the Kingdom of God. It exposes personal biases, fears and assumptions. It challenges them to rethink the work that God is doing in broken places and in people who are hurting. Student teams serve alongside long term organizations who are committed to see Jesus’ kingdom come, and to love the people who the world deems outcasts.

“I loved meeting new people this weekend and allowing God to show me the work He is already doing through reconciliation and friendships,” states Taylor* who had the opportunity to meet with a DTES resident while serving with Mission Possible (mission-possible.ca) and found her again later in the local park. These conversations opened Taylor’s heart to hear hard stories balanced with the hope Mission Possible residents gain as they seek employment within a supportive environment.

“I’m thankful we partner with organizations who already have a long term relationship with residents,” Jayden* reflects. One of our groups spent time in a low income housing community developed by More than a Roof (morethanaroof.org) and met some of the kids living there. Students had the opportunity to play basketball and learn about what school, friends and family life are like. Kendrick* shared that his father had abandoned him and he only got to see him about once a year. The challenges faced by young kids like Kendrick are complex, long-term and painful. Students learned first-hand of the need for Christ’s tangible love amidst the brokenness.

To live out that love over the long-term, inner-city churches are a key part of the urban puzzle. They have a unique opportunity to impact the surrounding community and they need many hands to make it happen. Students often write in their post-trip reflection papers about the impact of the local churches they’ve encountered as they try to discern their own future church involvement. Cadence writes: “This weekend impacted my view of the urban churches we visited. I was impressed to see them contributing locally and not solely overseas.”

The ultimate goal of UMD is that all students would humbly recognize their role within the Kingdom of God, and become aware of the work God is doing in the DTES. For many students, the impact of this weekend becomes personal: “I never realized how broken middle and upper class people can be until I heard the stories of the homeless and found myself relating,” McKenna shared during a debrief session. UMD allows students to explore brokenness within themselves, their friends and family in new ways. Greed, selfishness and loneliness can plague anyone at any time.

As barriers are broken down, God’s love has room to take root and flourish and the realization hits home: We are all equal at the foot of the cross (Acts 10:34). God’s redeeming love is for all.

You’ll find part one of this piece here on our blog.

Written by Kate Reid, Intercultural Studies Associate