Injury or Invitation?
By Leah Fuller
Leading a trip late last year, my co-instructor and I decided to enjoy a quick dip in the river. We floated around the bend of a gravel bar, taunting the travelers on shore and encouraging them to join us in the delightfully refreshing, cool water. As we neared the end of the bend, we began to swim to shore, and that’s when it happened. I rolled over, and my knee slammed into a rock protruding from the river bottom. As pain radiated through my leg, I dragged myself to shore, trying not to draw attention to the injury. My co-leader cast a worried glance my way as I stood and gingerly walked toward the canoes. I whispered a prayer to God that whatever had happened internally to my knee would not interfere with the trip. A great deal of prayer and the Lord’s grace made it possible for me to complete that trip.
Are We There Yet?
By Leah Fuller
As a child, I eagerly looked forward to our family vacations each summer. After packing all supplies needed for two weeks into our Coleman pop-up camper and Chevy station wagon, the six of us would drive off to some of the most beautiful places one can go. Usually our destinations were west in the mountains of Colorado or a national park such as Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. We would drive for hours across the flatlands of Kansas and eastern Colorado, eagerly anticipating even a glimpse of the mountains on the horizon. As all parents of young children know too well, the four of us would take turns singing a chorus of questions. “Are we there yet? How much longer? When are we going to get there?” Most of the time, we received a promise to stop soon, but some of the time, our questions were met with silence. Dads, moms, youth ministers, teachers, and wilderness instructors have discovered the value of leaving some questions unanswered.
Nothing Beats A Good Fire!
By Joel Bates
Nothing beats a good fire! I love to sit beside a campfire on a cool, early spring evening, listening to it crackle and hiss as I breathe in the waft of wood smoke. I have found myself lingering near its warmth until I absolutely have to move away to give my hot skin respite. I always sense a deep, mystifying satisfaction of being connected to something age old, relishing something man has enjoyed from creation, and knowing I, too, can create this marvel with three basic ingredients: fuel, oxygen, and ignition.
Stronger Than Each Storm
By Leah Fuller
As I donned my rain jacket and stepped out of the car, my eyes anxiously searched the darkening clouds. Pregnant with moisture, they rolled menacingly toward my hilltop, and fear creased my brow. Weathering a severe storm was not in my plan for the 24 hours I was intending to spend isolated in a hidden valley. But the invitation was clear, and I had been craving solitude and eagerly anticipating this wilderness venture. I felt compelled to step away from the safety of my little Chevrolet and answer the invitation.
What's In Your Mind?
By Becky Colvin
“Supper’s ready! Let’s say the scripture passage, and then we’ll pray.”
“What? We can’t eat until we say the whole thing?”
“I haven’t learned the next part!”
“I’ll never get it right!”
These comments abound on our Challenge trips because the participants must memorize scripture as part of the experience. As incentive, they must recite the assigned passage before everyone can eat supper. These passages are longer than the random verses students memorize for the moment to gain team points at church camp. Depending on the length of the trip, they may commit to memory entire chapters.
Where Is That Smell Coming From?
By Marley Butler
Ah, the aroma of supper cooking over the campfire mixed with the odor of students’ bodies drenched in sweat! There’s nothing quite like the smells of a wilderness expedition, smells that will transport me back to the adventure every time I encounter them for years to come. Then there are other scents that I would prefer to avoid forever.