Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Love is not fearful

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18.

I have spent the last two weeks in the amazing, beautiful, picturesque city of Durango, Colorado. In this post, I hope to offer at least somewhat of a good snapshot of exactly how awesome my time was there. Fear was conquered for sure! ok, so here we go, try to keep up.

Day 1: The Drive I left at 5:15 in the morning out of Tucson (which to my surprise was the exact time of the sunrise) and then I continued to drive through Phoenix, Payson (beautiful city!), Navajo Nation, and finally entering the southern Rockies of Durango Colorado. On my arrival, I met something like 7 or 8 girls and then 3 guys. Luckily after North Dakota arrived, it balanced out to 8 girls and 7 guys. We played some epic games of pool pig, ninja, and other various games and discussions to get to know each other. Not much really happened the first day (other than the fact that i fell in love with Durango) so with that, we move onward.

Day 2: Souls, Falls, and Welts I woke up in the man loft of the lodge (my only night ever sleeping up there because it was too hot). It was the fear of vulnerability day. We opened the day with some awesome worship, and then got right into our soul to soul groups where we opened up and shared about our lives and our fears. It was just a great time talking and opening with one another. Later in the afternoon, we did some epic trust falls of a scale i had never encountered. Little did I know I was afraid of falling, but i learned one thing at the fall that i would carry with me the rest of my time there and for the rest of my life. Rip it off like a band aid. I walked up, without even showing a sign of being afraid and fell straight back. Later we busted out the paintball slingshots and played in the rocky slopes near the lodge. For my first time playing paintball, it was pretty sweet. I still have not had the pleasure of getting hit with a paintball, even during our civil war shootout (which is where we just stand in a line with no cover and just shoot at each other. That night, I slept in the rightful spot outside on the deck with my sleeping bag and a mattress. After that one night under the stars, and the beautiful sunrise to follow, I was hooked.

Day 3: Confrontation, Durango, and Rafting I woke up with the three other guys (Mike Rich and Dakota) who had decided to sleep outside as well, and was greeted by a beautiful sunrise! The first of many to come. Today was one of the first scary days i encountered. I was freaking out all morning. We had to go to various stores in Durango, and a) tell a cashier that Jesus loved them and b) confront the manager about the content and placement of the scandalous magazines by the checkout lines. I confronted Walmart about their magazine along side with Kadi, and we actually were able to have a pretty good talk with the assistant manager who did not like the content as well. I felt very accomplished because I was freaking out. This may be a surprise because I hid it so well, but believe me, just about everything I did, i was freaking out inside. After we went to one of the grocery stores, we saw a beagle get hit by a car and we tried taking it to the hospital but it died on the way there. That was hands down, the saddest part of the trip. We also had to give blood on this day, but not to use it as an excuse, I was having some heart panic attacks which was kind of scaring me and raising my blood pressure. So I was unable to partake in that task along with a lot of other people. We all met up after that and ate at Serious Texas Barbecue which is some pretty legit food. And then we all went rafting as a group. That was pretty darn sweet. I love me some rafting. Once again, we slept outside that night (Dakota decided to sleep out in the middle of the field). By the way, the temperature on most nights was in the low 30's.

Day 4: Repelling, Darkness, and Trust After eating breakfast, and having a wonderful talk on Identity and then the contrast between trust and fear, we split into two groups, one of which would go repelling first, and one that would go exploring caves first. My group was the repelling group. It probably took us 45 minutes just to all get our waist straps on right. We decided Kadi should go first because she was obviously the most afraid. And even though it took her forever to make it over that initial drop, she conquered that cliff like a champ. I then went next and just ripped it off like a band aid. After that, i stuck to taking pictures of everyone else going. 3 hours later, the other group arrived and we switched places and drove down to the cave. i had no idea what to think of this activity but afterward it was one of my favorite things. It was dark, and muddy, and there were a lot of holes and deep crevices. When we got to the back, we took some group pictures and then had a moment of pure darkness before heading back out. It was such a great day just to learn that no matter what we go through, God will always be there, no matter how dark and backed up we get, God will always be there, and when we choose to step out in faith for Gods Glory, God will always be there.

Day 5: Testimonies, Sharing, and crowns in heaven.
Talk about getting out of your comfort zone, today was the most uncomfortable day for me (it will also probably be the longest story). We each were assigned to various churches in Durango, Bayfield, and Ignacio, and we had to get up in front of the church to share our testimonies. so a little background for you, what i consider my home church is Applegate Christian Fellowship in southern Oregon. It is a church of around 5000 and there is an outdoor amphitheater as well as an indoor normal church area. One band in particular is the worship leader there, Seven Places, and many other lead singers and artists (such as kutless) come out of this church so its always filled modern hip music. Fast forward to my small church in Ignacio. Im sitting there in the pews of Ignacio baptist church and so far the average age of the people walking in in around 70 or 75. Finally a couple younger people enter and lower that average just a little. To start us off, we read out of a hymnal which was an experience for me. Oh and i forgot to mention, there were 23 people at church that day. So after the songs, i got up and gave my testimony and before i knew it, all was done. The pastor then went on to talk about pretty much the same topics as me, finding your identity in God and being a child of God. I thought that was pretty tizzight. So then the people that were at the small towns of Ignacio and Bayfield met at a church in Ignacio and we went sharing. Background on this town...Ignacio is a hard hit town of poverty, drugs, and alcohol. At only a population of a little over 1000, 50% is probably from the Southern Ute Indian tribe. We tried walking around and talking to people but there was hardly anyone outside. Me and my partner, who was just entering his freshmen year of high school; grown up all his life in Ignacio and Durango, went door to door, searching for people to talk to. After getting the door shut in out face once, being completely ignored once, and then getting turned down once, we finally found a guy who was entering his house from his car and got into a conversation. He said he was brought up in a christian home but isnt real proud of where he is right now. i shared a little of my testimony with him and asked if he wanted to develop a relationship with God so that he can feel proud of where he is right now. He said he didn't have time and left for work. So the first evangelizing experience was quite a time. That night we watched the Bema video which is a video of a sweet skit done at a church which encompasses the part of heaven where we are given crowns based on our work on earth, and us laying our crowns down at Jesus' feet. It was an amazing video!!! Definitely affected the way i look at things. Everyone should get a chance to see the video. Well that is all for day 5. A lot of story, but not very many pictures taken.

Day 6: SNOW DAY!!!!!
So this was the day when we were supposed to go on a solo camping trip, but overnight while most of us were sleeping outside, it began to snow. Mike and Rich and whoever else left that night, woke up in the middle of the night and moved inside, telling us, "guys, its snowing, you might want to come in" of which i replied "perfect" and covered myself in my sleeping bag. April, Lindsey, Kadi, Dakota, and I woke up that next morning covered in around 2 inches of snow. it was majestic. The low that night was in the low 20's and the high the next day didn't even reach 60. With that said, we ended up not having our solo that day. We, instead, had a free afternoon where me, Joel, Paul, and Dave hiked down to the waterfall near our lodge. We took a lot of pictures of the waterfall and the rapids. We even tried damming the flow of water (not very successfully). It was a beautiful area for sure. Not too much happened on this day, other than more games of pool pig, and an epic game of signs.

Day 7: All Alone ...
Today is the day, . . . the day we would spend 24 hours in the wilderness alone. The temperature had risen enough to enjoy the time with God. We spent all morning packing up and getting oriented with our equipment. I brought an extra pair of clothes, a sleeping bag, a lighter, a flashlight, two ropes, a plastic tarp to protect us from weather, and a bag of food. Nate walked me out to my awesome camp site near the marshes where the only way to get to it was to cross a log. I set up my camp site by getting the fire wood and preparing the fire pit. I made a bench, a pulley system to hoist my food 20 feet in the air, a sundial, a bathroom, and a devotional bench in the shade. It was sweet. Oh i forgot to mention i brought my guitar too and spent multiple occasions just worshiping. I read the entire book of second kings. I walked about about a half mile to the rapids on 3 occasions to read the bible while i was perched over the water on a cliff. When my sundial hit about 7pm the sun went behind the trees so i started my fire and ate. it wasnt long after it got dark that i huddled up in my sleeping bag, let the fire dwindle, and fell asleep under the stars for a peaceful night sleep. The solo would continue on the next day.

Day 8: Reunion and grueling hikes
The next morning, it took me 45 minutes and a thumb blister to start my fire because everything was damp. I then ate my food, worshiped and had some more devotionals. When my sun dial hit 11 o clock i packed up and headed back to the lodge. Found some sweet areas to take pictures such as the one to the left when i found a nice little rapid. After we got back to the lodge, we repacked, ate lunch, and headed straight back into the wilderness for our grueling leadership hike. We were split into 4 groups of 4 members and then leaders. My group only ended up with 3 students, Alyssa, Katie and I, but we had 3 leaders, Leah, Jesse, and LouAnn. The leaders were only their for safety and couldn't help out. One student had to lead the group however they thought necessary and one student had to be absolutely silent. We rotated positions every hour. They dropped us off really far away, showed us the mountain we were trying to get to, and gave us a elevation map. We had to cross a river on a log, then climb a grueling ravine that climbed 2000 or so ft in elevation, and then climb a really long trail to get up to the lake in the mountains. It took our team 4 hours and 30 minutes and we were the first ones to the lake. But another team who left after us, got there in 4 hours and 18 minutes. The other two teams were a story in themselves. One team had to use a rope to wade across the river and got there in 5 and a half hours. The other team ended up getting a ride to the lake. They still ended up at about 6 hours. We made camp at the beautiful lake but i didn't have my camera so you have to take my word for it. We ate, and then went to bed out of exhaustion.

Day 9: Hiking back and hangin' in Durango
After a BEAUTIFUL morning, a walk around the lake, devotionals, and breakfast, we packed up and hiked back downhill to the lodge. The rest of the day was pretty much free, so after taking a short nap, Dakota woke me up (and kadi because she fell asleep too) and the three of us plus Stephanie, April, Alyssa, Joel, and Katie drove down to durango to hit up the town. We went to Coldstone and then on Kadi's request went to Ralph Lauren where everything was extremely expensive. Other than that, not much happened. Another game of signs occurred on the way back (my sign was a wildcat, repping the school!!!). I got to watch veggie tales on the drive. That was basically the day. very chill.

Day 10: Evangelizing in Durango day 1
I do not have any pictures of the next two days, but the last day had a lot so i will be posting pictures from the last day. Anyway, Today was also one of those days where i woke up and just wanted to quit. I get so scared when I have to go share the gospel and its not because I don't want to share the love I have, or that I am scared of confronting others, or anything. I just don't ever know what to say and my spoken word is so hard and slow to formulate sometimes so i always think i am going to screw something up. Anyway, i was scared out of my socks. I was very happy when I got paired with April though. She is an amazingly kind and loving, and listens very well, so I knew it would be a good sharing experience. That calmed me a little. Me and April were dropped off at a park around 1:30 and were told to "meet at the rock at 4 o'clock." sorry it was just so catchy. We found two guys enjoying a summer lunch and April asked them if we could join them and if they wanted to take our picture survey. One of the guys was named Skyhawk, and was a native American in the process of moving. The other guy, forgot his name, was a very analytical science oriented guy. April and I took turns asking them questions on the Soularium of which SkyHawk would talk for 15 minutes each time. It was a great conversation that really provoked thought in both of them. Sometimes Skyhawk, who had a spiritual background, would go back and forth with the other guy who was agnostic. We went through the gospel with them through the 4 spiritual laws booklet and then finished the conversation just talking about animals and stuff. When we were done it was 3:18. We tried to start another conversation with another guy and got through the pictures with him but he didnt want to talk any further. After that 10 minute convo, me and April didnt really have any time left so we walked along the river and chit chatted about lives and i took some pictures on her phone. It turned out being a great day!

Day 11: day 2 in Durango
I was getting kind of sick on this day so it wasn't the best day for me at all. It was hard enough being out in the sun of durango sharing. For that day, I was paired with the awesome Stephanie! We were dropped off in the South East corner of downtown durango. Being in the park was so much easier for me. In downtown, it seemed like everyone had an agenda and were in very large groups. We ended up, well Stephanie ended up talking to someone who was working at a booth for a while. After that, I was just getting so overheated and overwhelmed. We walked down the entire downtown and then ended up sitting at a bench for a while in the shade and just talked about things that bothered me. Then one of the main leaders, Kyle came up, and no sooner did he arrive and ask us how we were doing, another pretty drunk guy came up and asked us a question of which Kyle jumped on and started a very long conversation that led into his spiritual background and the gospel. After being very overwhelmed and put on the spot, i shared my testimony with him and he got very serious all of a sudden because he felt he had abandoned his children by leaving for war. We gave him our contact info and told him to think about it. He kept telling me to reconnect with my dad, of which we told him to reconnect with his heavenly dad. That night, I started feeling very sick and feverish and weak and we had to give a 10 minute teaching on a snap shot of God. I had chosen true love while i was on my solo and had gotten the entire outline done and all the verses ready but had since not had time to finish it. After everyone finished theirs. I had to give mine without my notes and completely from memory from 4 days prior. It wasnt very good but i got most of my point across and only forgot one verse and point of my outline. after that i was feeling ready to pass out. I immediately went outside and went to bed.

Day 12: talks, jumps, trees, waterfalls, bonfires!
The last full day! We spent the entire morning going over our spiritual gifts and stuff like that. I found out mine were Teaching and Serving which i would have already thought. My 3rd was a little surprising. it said leadership. ...We had one on one time with our disciplers. Mine was the awesome Nate, who taught me a ton of ways to make my next year work with men's group. He taught me bible study ideas, and men's hangout times, and soularium tables on the mall, ways to get get guys interested and grow our mens group for cru. I learned so much. All the men in Cru better be getting prepared for an amazing time! We are going to step up to the plate and become the leaders we are supposed to be. After that, Dakota, April, Katie, and Lindsey went to the waterfall and took some sweet pictures. We took awesome pictures jumping off rocks, we freestyle climbed some aspen trees. We shot some clay pigeons. I hit the first 6 or 7 in a row before missing. The hidden talents i keep finding in myself. bizarre! And then to finish it off, we had a massive bon fire, where we burned the old deck and the old foos ball table and a bunch of other stuff. It was A-MAZE-ZA-ZING! We then slept outside for our last night :(

Day 13: Durango and the Drive home...
The last day, we had to say our good byes to the ones flying out. We all packed up and cleaned. Over the duration of the trip my tire had deflated, apparently it had a nail in it. So after I packed, I had to go to town and get it fixed which was only 12 bucks and i got 3 free sodas and water for the trip. Dakota, Kadi, Steph, and Lindsey, and I went to serious texas barbecue one last time, and then went shopping downtown to all the sweet stores. We each got color changing sea horses to remember our time. But then, sadly, everyone had to leave, so i went back to get my fixed tire remounted on my car and drive the 9 hour 15 minute drive back. I ended up taking an accidental detour but never panicked. i ended up just going through a very scenic northern part of navajo nation in arizona. (the roads were horrible!) I got back at a little after 11 at night. And that was my trip!!!!!!!!!

If you would like to see all the pictures, they are on my facebook here, here, and here!!!! i thoroughly hoped you enjoyed my story and pictures. It was such a great experience!!! Have a great day!