July 15th, Day 1:
After a good deal of long and diverse travel, we are finally on the trail. I have come to British Columbia with Youth for Christ, bringing with me two girls from my hometown, and meeting up with a larger group from Oregon. We arrived at base camp yesterday via boat ride, and were greeted by counselors jumping and screaming in the same way I did so many hot summer days working as a camp counselor in Texas. Camp songs, crazy skits....yes, I was definitely back in the land of youth ministry. To our group of four leaders was added a fifth: our guide, Aly. In the evening, while gathered around a campfire, we were all asked what it is we are hoping for this week. I replied that I am hoping to have a renewed sense of who I am, of who God created me to be and what he sees in me. It sounded a little heavy alongside Dane and Rob's business oriented goals, but it was the only answer I could offer with honesty. I am curious how God might go about answering it.
After setting off from base camp by boat, we arrived on shore and began our day on an open logging road, later moving onto a narrower trail through the tall trees. Ever since getting off the boat at base camp, I have been struck by how green and lush it all is. We don't see too many rainforests in Colorado, mainly because it seldom rains. Here in Canada, on the other hand, we have already gotten a taste of rain, which began falling not long into our hike and made for a very wet lunch. However, the skies cleared up as we made several stream crossings (our boots are officially soaked) and bush-whacked our way to camp. I say "bush-whacked" having had the term redefined for me today. I'm not sure I've ever been smacked in the face by so many wet branches before. The experience was saved from being irritating by a long session of laughter and question-asking with one of the kids from Oregon.
After dinner, I took my turn telling my life story. There is something powerful about telling that tale to teenagers, recounting my own time of being transformed at that age. I emphasized to them something that has become more and more important to me: we must tell our stories. We must be telling the stories of God's work in our lives and in our world. Each of them will have a chance to practice that this week, and I am excited to hear the things they have to say. I am especially looking forward to hearing the stories of my co-leaders, who have exceeded what I could have hoped for in this potluck sort of arrangement.
Early leaders meeting tomorrow. To bed with me.