By Joel Bates
I instantly felt empathy for the squirrel as I popped up over the hill doing 60 mph. He was stuck in indecision. “Do I go this way, or should I go that way?” It really didn't matter which way he chose. I knew which way I was going, and it was right toward him. Back and forth he went until the last second when he disappeared under my front bumper. He definitely chose poorly. Some might argue that he didn't make a choice at all, but if it is possible for an instinctual squirrel to make a decision, his choice, in fact, was to make no decision at all, which is a decision.
Journey or Destination
By Leah Fuller
Trust the process. These words have followed me in ministry and in life over the years, popping up from time to time to remind me that life is a journey and a process. I often find myself thinking that there must be only two types of people in the world: those who are task- or job-oriented and those who are a bit more...free-spirited. I am definitely the former and sometimes find these “free-spirited” people just plain irritating. Of course, those who aren't bound by such a schedule find us task-oriented people suffocating with our rigid rules of order and lists of how to get things done.
By Joel Bates
On a recent challenge trip while most of you were asleep, I was standing in the middle of a dense, stinging nettle patch looking at grave expressions on the participants' faces. Although the day had been tough, the teenage boys from the greater St. Louis area remained optimistic, having had several successes along the trail. However, their problems were not over as the sun began to set, and they realized that they had missed the turnoff a half mile back. If they were to make their destination, they had to choose: retrace their steps to the turn off or improvise and bushwhack. They chose the latter and forged into the briars. The sun made a quick retreat behind the western horizon, and the canopy of the trees hid any remaining light from our path.
We Built An Altar
By Joel Bates
I took my kids canoeing down memory lane the other day. As we floated the river, nearly every gravel bar, bend, or cliff flashed memories of previous trips with Discovery Ministries. There! I raced to teach the interns to set up shelters on that beach as a big rain storm was pressing in. Yes, and that curve in the river captured campers in a strainer, forcing me to perform my very first canoe extraction. Look, that spot is where a boy told me he hated the wilderness and wanted to be taken off the trip—right now! A million memories silently flooded my head. Occasionally I would spin the tale for the kids, but mostly I just remembered.
Red Sea Crossing
By Daniel Hounshell
Having started our two-day backpacking trip just hours before, I found overwhelming thoughts swirling through my mind as we staggered down a steep hill. Since I was co-leading this training for members of the college camp teams, I was concerned that I might misstep and roll my ankle—not good on a backpacking trip. Then I considered the moral and physical state of the hikers; were they really ready for the challenge of relying on each other and, most importantly, depending on the Lord? Was I open to God's speaking to them through me?
Normal, Everyday Life
By Joel Bates
My life seems pretty normal to me. Take my job, for instance. I work at a camp that deliberately tries to frighten people. That's pretty normal, right? Then, too, I've always liked that adrenaline-pumping, second-guessing feeling that comes with the mystery of plunging a canoe over a 6-foot, class three rapid. It's a mystery at first because I don't know if I will make it through with a splash to the face, ride the turbulence upside down, or get caught in a wicked hydraulic and have a premature burial. I get to do lots of other normal things, too—like convince tearful preteens to step out into thin air, trusting the tiny metal strand that's attached to that post over there. I mean, they get to wear those awesome harnesses that contort their britches in all sorts of directions, usually ending in a wedgie. (Am I allowed to say wedgie? And did I spell it right?) That's normal, everyday life for me at Discovery Ministries.