"Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her."
- Hosea 2:14
|Day 5: Near the summit of Bowen Mountain to capture the sunrise.|
Kenzie, Katie, Claire, Morgan. These are 4 of the sweet junior girls I've had the great joy of meeting with every Tuesday morning at 7am in my classroom throughout the year. Together we learned more about the character of God and how that should change the way we live our lives. Addie, Erica & Natalie. These 3 were members of the amazing senior class I had the pleasure to teach this past year. Additionally... I had the opportunity to travel with Natalie to Spain in 2011 and took Addie to Washington DC this past January. So there is some history with this group... but nothing brings you together like a week in the wilderness. We learned much about living life in the woods: proper BIFF digging techniques, cleaning our 2-cups with dirt, the importance of "bomb proofing" your packs to protect from foxes and marmots, the fun snow can be while glissading and the annoyance it presents while post-holing in soggy boots... I know they were challenged in many ways, but they did it without complaining which blessed us all. Then I learned how beautiful their hearts are as they shared their life stories. And each of those stories pointed to how amazing God is as he has redeemed each and every one of us from brokenness in some way or another.
Melinda Brandt. Rockstar. Anyone who knows her, knows that she has insane energy. On our "rest day" on Day 3 (which was a rest day for good reason), Melinda was doing a circuit workout... running around the campsite, jumping over logs, doing burpees, etc. But what is even more amazing is the way her energy spills over into all aspects of her life. She pursues her faith with determination. She loves on and fights for Young Life kids at all hours of the day. She serves her family - Justin, Macklin and Macy - tirelessly. And what I see in her is that she does this all with excellence. And for a reason. She wants others to be changed by the love of Jesus like she has been changed.
Bianca and Andrew. Our guides. The Good Lord knew what he was doing when he matched them together and then placed them as guides of our group. Bianca was born and raised in Vail and became a believer at DU. Andrew grew up in Denver, graduated from DU 2 weeks ago and is moving to Vail in September to put his hospitality degree to work. These two served each other and our group amazingly throughout the week. There were many mentions of... "Just wait til camp confessions" as there were a few glitches throughout the trip. But they were masked by their smiles, seemingly endless "Plan B's", and deep faith that the Lord would provide. They challenged all of us with amazing questions and scripture to help us dig deeper in our faith. A question on Day 1: "What does it say about God that he wants you in the wilderness this week?" And then on Day 2: "What does it say about the world that you have to escape to the woods for a week?" This is just the tip of the iceberg. And this is the kind of conversation that makes me come alive. Thanks Bianca and Andrew for leading us up and down this trail.
God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I was reminded that God loves me. My life verse surfaced again this week as I was reminded "I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." (Jeremiah 31:3) I saw how Jesus changes lives as evidenced in the amazing stories each person shared with the group. I experienced the power of the Holy Spirit as we each had the opportunity to encourage one another after each life story and be encouraged by the group after our own stories. These words were powerful and something that I think each one of us will never forget and will cherish for years to come...
So, I was lead into the wilderness, in the company of some amazing people. And the Lord spoke. I can't think of a better way to set the tone for the year that is to come.
And now "The Journey" has carried me to Peoria, Illinois to spend the summer with my family. Good things will happen here. I can't wait to share them with you.