Grace and Peace to you,
This past week we sent 6 high school boys on a high-adventure trip out to Northwestern Montana. We attended a camp called Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp, located right on the beautiful Flathead Lake. We spent the week kayaking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and hiking in Glacier National park. In my opinion, this is some of God’s most beautiful creation. I also worked at FLBC the past three summers, so this was a bit of a homecoming for me. Flathead has been a home for me, but it quickly became more than just a location to the youth as well.
First, I’ll go into the reasons why I kept going back to work in Montana the past couple summers as a born and raised Minnesotan. Personally, I’ve always had a deep connection with nature and wilderness, both as a space and an idea. I grew up spending a lot of time outside: in my backyard, at my grandparents’ lake cabin, and in and around the lakes in Ottertail County. I was fascinated with wildlife, the way we interacted with our environment, and what we can learn from nature. As I got older and busier with school I found it increasingly hard to find time to get outside and appreciate nature as it is. So you can imagine how special it was for me to be able to get paid as a backpacking guide right outside of Glacier National Park, living and playing in the woods for months at a time. Not only that, but I learned how I truly felt closest to God when out in nature without the distractions of everyday life. I was able to fully live in and among God’s creation in a very intimate capacity.
Our week out in Montana consisted of a lot of physical activity. We kayaked around 5 miles over the course of two days, exhausted our forearms climbing 60 foot rock faces, rafted 8 miles down the Flathead River, and hiked 10 miles in Glacier National Park. We pushed ourselves both physically and spiritually while growing stronger in community and faith. Our high school guys really learned to live into a supportive, community life during the week, continually encouraging each other amidst our challenges.
Our youth were able to fully experience the wilderness Montana has to offer. We slept in tents underneath big, starry skies, swam in crystal-clear glacial lakes, and conquered mountains. Alongside these activities, we were challenged to find new ways in which to engage with God while out in creation. Surrounded by all the Montana beauty, this wasn’t hard. However, the entire idea of summer camps, mission trips, or any other sort of church trip is to come back with a new understanding of our faith and how that impacts our immediate communities and relationships. FLBC’s hope is to send home youth with a newfound reverence and compassion for all of God’s creation, no matter where you come from. There is beauty all around us, and we are called to be good stewards of this place we get to call home. I’m thankful, as always, for the opportunities that Light of Christ is able to give to its youth through trips like these.
Youth Montana Trip
Grace and Peace to you,