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Catching up With Staff: Ryan

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Ryan Choi is truly fantastic! We can all honestly say that if Ryan was not on our team this year, the tech advances we were able to achieve and the content we were able to create would be very different. Not only does Ryan help us make Sunday morning live-streaming possible, but it is his creativity and giftedness that has allowed us to watch the beautiful drone countdown videos every Sunday. The hours Ryan has put in creating and editing content are countless. Ryan is an amazing team player and we are very thankful that God has placed him on our team!

What is your role at SDBC and how long have you worked here?
I have been on staff for three years as the Visual Communications Director. This means that I film interview and ministry promotion videos, film the Sunday morning live-stream services, and create special content like the drone footage countdown videos. Another aspect of my role is photography; I take pictures at church events and on Sunday mornings. Basically, I make and edit most of the SDBC videos you watch!

What are some of the things you love most about being part of the SDBC community/family?
I would say the thing I love most about being part of SDBC is working with the staff members. After working with them for three years, I know that they do their best to live by God's Word. They are not just working at the church, they are practicing living the Word. The SDBC staff try really hard to be good Christian role models, and I see them practice loving like Jesus. I dare say that they are the frontline workers in spiritual warfare.

Also, enjoying Korean food with my half Korean friend, Richard Staples, is a pleasure!

How has your role shifted and changed since the start of COVID-19?
My role is quite different since COVID-19 began. Since we moved to an online platform, I have learned how to pre-record services, like we did for the first few months, and now we continue to learn and grow with our live-streaming services. Learning live-streaming has been a bit of a challenge, as no one on our team had ever done this before. Previously, most of my work was recording events, but now we produce content almost like a broadcasting station.

What are some of the challenges and triumphs you have encountered in your life and work since the beginning of COVID-19?
Since the only way we can worship together is through the online platform, we had to upgrade all our equipment, apply new technologies, and learn new skills. We are using five cameras all together on Sunday morning. It was not easy to learn all of this, however, our team had precise goals from before we started, and we have achieved them through a lot of hard work and teamwork. I think our Christmas Eve service was the result of the team's hard work. 2020 was not easy, but it was a year of growing in everything.

How can we pray for you in this season of life?
Please pray for continued guidance for the Visual Communications Ministry. Our worship service has moved from the sanctuary to an online platform. So many people gather together each Sunday online to worship God. Please pray that I will be used as a tool of worship, part of worship, and not just a content creator.

I also have a personal prayer request as I have started a video production company. Please pray for me as the company moves forward and grows.

Click here to email encouragement to Ryan.

Posted by Mary Grierson

Serving KinVillage

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When we heard about the outbreaks at our local senior homes in South Delta we reached out to see if there were any tangible ways that we could help and support them. Last week, we were able to bless The Waterford and this week we are asking our congregation to partner with us to serve KinVillage.

We have prepared cards for their residents and will be raising funds so that we can treat their staff to a lunch. Our goal is to raise $1000.00 for the staff at KinVillage. As Pastor Paul mentioned previously, God has blessed us beyond measure and loved us extravagantly, so we may be able to love and bless our community in this way.

If you are able to donate to the lunch for KinVillage you can do so by bringing a donation to the lockbox at the 56th Street entrance or by donating online here. Whether you donate online or in-person, please make sure to mark your donation as "KinVillage staff lunch." Any funds raised over $1000.00 will go towards our Share Fund. The deadline for donations is Monday, February 1st.

May we joyfully serve our community of South Delta together.

Posted by Mary Grierson

Catching up With Staff: Katie

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This week we hear from our amazing First Steps Director, Katie Yakiwchuk. Often described as "super woman," Katie works hard to teach, nurture, and love all of her preschool students. She balances running a preschool, leading her teaching team with excellence and passion, and being a busy mom of three. We are blessed to have Katie on our staff team and we look forward to seeing families touched by the love that First Steps Preschool has to offer.

What is your role at SDBC and how long have you worked here?
I came on staff in September 2015 as the interim Director of Children's Ministry and in September 2016, I transitioned into my current role as the Director of First Steps Preschool.

What is something about you that people in the church might be surprised to discover?
Hmm, well, I startle VERY easily. This is a great source of entertainment for my children and they take every opportunity they can find to scare me. Maybe I shouldn't have told you this!

What are some of the things you love most about being part of the SDBC community/family?
I love that we are all unique and wonderfully created human beings who have been assembled by God. Being a part of a church family where each person brings a different spiritual gift, perspective, story, and experience to the body is something I don't take for granted.

How has your role shifted and changed since the start of COVID-19?
Friday, March 13th, 2020 was our last day of preschool due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We ended our school year so abruptly and without any real emotional preparation. We had April, May, and June all planned, from insects and music, to creation and space. Everything was ready – crafts, games, songs, and library books. After numerous meetings, emails, phone calls, and constant prayer, the decision was made to close First Steps to the students. Although we were not required by Fraser Health to suspend our program, this was the best decision we could make to keep our teachers, students, and their families healthy and safe. From March 13th onwards, I worked from home. During this time, I connected with families, met virtually with our preschool committee, kept in touch with our teaching staff, and stayed up to date with the constantly changing licensing policies and health guidelines.

Fast forward to September 4th, 2020 and we were very blessed to be able to welcome students back to preschool. Getting to the place where we could safely reopen our doors has presented challenges. Staying current and up to date with the numerous COVID-19 health and safety guidelines has been time consuming. The COVID-19 guidelines for licensed childcare can appear quite daunting, but, thankfully, First Steps already had many of the new requirements in practice prior to the pandemic. The teaching staff spends considerable time cleaning and sanitizing the classroom, but it's worth it for the health and safety of the children and our staff.

From an actual daily program point of view, not much has changed. However, the biggest change for the families is we are now a closed-door preschool. Currently, we are not able to welcome families into the classroom to participate in our preschool program. Being an open-door preschool is something that has set First Steps apart from other preschool programs, and our open-door approach is highly valued among families. This has been hard for families, but they have all shown patience and understanding as they've adjusted to the "new normal" for preschool. We know there will be a time that our doors will once again be open to families and we will be able to resume that fundamental part of our program, however, until then, we rely on technology to record videos and take photos to share with parents so they are still connected to their child's development.

What are some of the challenges and triumphs you have encountered in your life and work since the beginning of COVID 19?
A personal triumph is I survived, or, more accurately, my children survived me being a homeschool teacher during the school closure! At that time, they were in Kindergarten, Grade 5, and Grade 7 and it's not an experience we need to relive! Another personal silver lining from COVID-19 has been my husband, Dave, working from home and not travelling for his work. Typically, Dave could be away 10-15 days a month. Since the travel ban went into place, we have enjoyed more time together as a family. It has been a lovely blessing!

For First Steps, the challenge of suspending preschool and then reopening for September was at times overwhelming. In a year of cancellations, closures, and overall disappointment for so many of us, it was hard not to become discouraged and sad to think about all the teaching we missed with the children. I would say that COVID-19 has brought our teaching team closer and we have become more resilient, creative, and resourceful when it comes to navigating preschool in a pandemic. With that type of mindset and determination, we found ways to safely host a preschool graduation in the church courtyard once some of the PHO restrictions were lifted. It was a bittersweet moment, but we were grateful to have that memory for the children and give them closure for this season of life. We were also able to continue our tradition of performing the Christmas nativity play with the 4-year-old class. Instead of hosting all the families in the Chapel as we typically do, we recorded the performance with the help of our amazing SDBC tech team. The families were able to enjoy and share this memory with their children. The children did such a fantastic job, and it was a lovely way to close 2020.

How can we pray for you in this season of life?
Pray for the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of our teachers Laurie, Megan, Kaitlyn, and myself. Also, prayer for the upcoming 2021/22 school year would be appreciated. Registration for September begins in February and I am praying for full classes!

Click here to email encouragement to Katie.

Posted by Mary Grierson

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