Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Apprentices

Did you know Pilgrim Hill just hosted our first official apprentices? For six weeks this winter, we were truly privileged to welcome two young men from Portland, Oregon, to play guinea pigs for the Pilgrim Hill apprenticeship. Like apprentices to come, during their apprenticeship the guys mixed physical labour with studies in Christian thought and vocation.

On the labour side, our apprentices designed and built an epic picnic shelter on the Hill, constructed from stringy-bark trees (felled onsite) and recycled corrugated iron. (Come to our Spring workday to see and enjoy their marvellous work.) They also kindly assisted Christina's parents in building an art studio on their adjoining property. And they helped us with property maintenance here in Mountain River, including cleaning out a shade house and preparing our vegetable garden for Spring planting. Finally, they also assisted Peirce with his FOCUS work, helping to set up and pack up various evangelism events.

On the study side, the apprentices followed a course of reading with Peirce which included books by Francis Schaeffer, C.S. Lewis, and G.K. Chesterton. They also learned and practiced topical Bible study techniques. But the focal point of their studies was understanding Christianity as an entire thought system — the only one which satisfactorily embraces and accounts for every area of life. Reading out loud together all of Nancy Pearcey's book "Total Truth" brought the point home and encouraged them to think deeply about the implications of every worldview which they encounter as they embark on adult life.

For us, it was a crash course in long-term hospitality, discipleship, organisation and catering! Christina was in constant fear that she wasn't feeding them enough. We wondered whether we would suffer from lack of "couple time" and people kept asking us how we were coping.

So here's the truth. We miss them. They were great company for us, real practical help in our daily lives, and the kindest of big brothers to our daughters. Responding to their big questions kept us epistemologically on our toes, and we were edified to once again seek and find real answers in the Bible and in the writings of mature Christians from history.

As Peirce said at the outset, "This is an opportunity for us to do Pilgrim Hill now." It could have been a stressful, disappointing time, for both us and them. But thanks to God's gracious blessing, it wasn't. Once again, we are encouraged to see how God leads us to walk in the good works He has prepared beforehand for us (Ephesians 2:10).

NB. This post was written by Christina and Peirce.