Friday, May 4, 2012

The climb

We took our youth group on their annual retreat to Zanglais last week. It was the usual mix of beach time and singing time, eating time and prayer time. But for many of us, the favorite time was the mountain time. On our second day at Zanglais, I went exploring and found a path that led to the peak of the mountain that towers over the retreat center. The next morning, 41 teens and 4 leaders stretched into a long line and followed me up. 

We stopped 1/4 of the way at a large clearing where we could appreciate the view and where Dan and Kathleen could exhort the children about climbing the mountains of life through faith and perseverance.

I knew that many of the kids do not enjoy physical exertion so I gave them the option of going back to camp after the message. I expected the majority to turn back, but instead, inspired by their leaders' words and the majestic scenery, all but 7 of the kids chose to continue to trek!

The hike was hot and exhausting, especially for me. The path isn't easy to follow and since I was the only one who had already hiked it, I had to take the group of 7 back to camp and then reclimb our original route to catch up with the larger group. Many of the girls were wearing jeans and flipflops, but they all made it to the top and were brimming with pride.

This year has not been an easy one for my youth group. They have lost 3 leaders over the past 5 months and by September, all their leaders will be gone except for me, and I live 3 hours away. They came into the weekend discouraged and ready to give up, but as they helped each other over that mountain, I could see the hope come back into their eyes. God is not done with them and they are not going to stop fighting. It doesn't matter how high the mountain is or how impossible the climb seems, they are holding one another's hands and stepping forward.


Jackie Zimowski said...

What a vivid, living metaphor!

Nancy Marshall said...

Absolutely awesome...the pictures, your stamina, the inspiring metaphor, the transformation from despair to hope...Kez, I pray God continues to enable you .