Always a Silver Lining...

Well, God definitely provides what we need when we need it! We took our teens on the wilderness trip in Canada that Jake and I experienced in May. The weather was stormy all week....literally, it rained every day that we were there and we had two, maybe three very huge thunderstorms......which are very scary when you're only in a tent!! But, out of those storms, God gave us two beautiful rainbows that cascaded over the horizon of the trees and water. I couldn't help but think of God's promise to Noah and then His promise to us that He will never leave us or forsake us. It sometimes felt like we were completely alone and unprotected amidst the lightning and thunder in the wilderness, but God reminded us that He is ever near. We were also blessed with seeing moose again and again. At a campsite that one of our groups stayed at, a family of moose lived there, so it was so cool to see a bull, a cow and a calf! By the end of the week, the kids were like, "Oh, there's the moose.....carry on with your business...." which is so funny because we were told that some other groups up there never saw a moose and were dying to just get a glimpse of one!

Our students did an awesome job on this trip. Many were out to prove something to their families and friends who didn't think that they would make it through the week.....but we had five girls (including myself) who portaged (carried their canoes and packs on a trail that ranged from 45-700 meters) all by themselves! We had many boys who did the same as well! The kids were wet every day from the above mentioned rain, yet their attitudes would never show it...sometimes I was the one who needed the attitude adjustment rather than the kids!

Relationally speaking, I think this trip definitely accomplished what Jake and I were hoping for. Our group has one main clique that we were hoping would dissolve and those kids to develop friendships with the "non-cliquers". At one of our debriefings, God definitely touched these kids in that way as they began to describe the preconceived notions they had of each other that were destroyed by this trip. It was awesome! Kids that wanted nothing to do with each other were now thankful to know each other and were spending time with each other instead of their "regular" friends. My prayer is that this keeps up and doesn't fizzle away now that we're back stateside.
Jake and I also feel like we are a part of this group now. Instead of it being the new youth pastor and his wife, we have become an intricate part of this group. It is obvious that the kids see us as constants in their lives and that they feel safe with us, which is such an amazing feeling to have after feeling so removed from everything in the church for so long. And, nicely enough, they think we're pretty cool too!! :-) It was just such a great week of God working in our lives. We are giving a presentation to the church next Sunday and I'm wishing that it were possible to completely describe what a beautiful place we were in and how much the kids persevered and allowed God to work in them......but I've learned from our last trip that it's just not possible to understand it fully until you've done the trip yourself. Even this post doesn't describe what I want to, but I'm trying my best!

Here I leave you with some pictures from the trip. Thank you for all of your prayers! Here's to looking to the next wilderness trip Jake and I venture on!

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