This summer Greg and I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to West Virginia with 140 middle and high school students for Raft Trip. Greg participated in this as both a rafter and a leader while he was in high school and we couldn't wait to get the chance to help out with something that had such a large impact on his life. Greg always spoke of this trip with such enthusiasm and excitement and I was so thrilled to get to experience it for myself.
The trip itself was amazing. Just being in God's creation for a whole week without cell phones, computers, and tv's to distract us was great. I was reminded, so often over the course of the week, to be in awe of God's creation. The speaker for the week opened the first night with a story about a little boy and a ring pop. This little boy was so excited when he finally opened his ring pop (after trying for what seemed to be an eternity) that he stated with wonder, "It's Wed." Just imagine how this little boy was so excited over a red ring pop. Think about it. After this sermon, we walked outside. I looked up and the sky was painted with hues of pink, peach, and red. I couldn't help but say "it's wed!"
The whole week was filled with wonder, awe, excitement, laughter, and praise. We saw 15 teenagers get baptized in the New River. It seemed fitting that they were baptized there, they are new creations. I thought of how similarly their baptisms were to the first church. No troughs, no bathtubs built into the church, just them, a river, and God's creation. We heard stories of healing and of pure joy for being adopted into Jesus' family. I was reminded of how articulate teens can be. I also forgot how much energy they have! Sheesh, I just couldn't keep up with them!
We served, made meals, and simply spent time with the kids. Not to mention, I got to spend time with one of my best friends Cassie and her husband Caleb. We white water rafted, hiked up a raging creek bed, and slid down sliding rock. We praised Jesus with worship in a cathedral created by trees and light from the campfire. We prayed. We loved it. The experience was tiring and I was glad to be home. Now, a month later, I am longing to be back there. Life seemed simpler there, less distracted. I hope that someday we can do something similar for the teens we know. Take them away from cell phones and facebook and reintroduce them to their creator.
The Students getting ready to go
The view from the New River Bridge
Baptisms at Sliding rock
This was my favorite moment, father and son right after he was baptized.
Didn't these girls prepare such a nice meal?!
Sliding Rock again
Beautiful view from Babcock State Park
The creek we climbed through