Imagine climbing into a van with people you just met days ago and traveling fifteen hours away to a mystery destination to do mysterious things. Sounds like something you’d be in to? Then this past week with OneLife would spring your interest. From climbing The Beehive to swimming in freezing cold waters, within three days we grew closer with 39 strangers than some of us are to our best friends.
I have never been much for activities that involved much physical work, but hiking up the mountain called “The Beehive” I felt supported by my new friends and was given strength to keep moving by looking to the Lord for support when I felt scared. There were two ways up this particular mountain, an easier way and a harder called the iron rung trail. We departed from the bottom in small groups which made discussion and growth in community easier as we hiked. The terrain was rugged and difficult to endure, but through encouragement of our peers we succeeded and got to enjoy the beautiful view at the top. We experienced the Atlantic ocean from a whole new height and really got to embrace God’s beauty that He created for us to show love to. We hiked down the back side of the mountain, then ate lunch in our hiking groups which again, allowed for wonderful conversations to flourish as we rested, ate, and skipped rocks on the small, yet beautiful, pond in front of us. We found ourselves talking about everything from the beauty before us, to our most embarrassing moments. This allowed our relationships to grow and for us to feel more comfortable opening up to the group and laugh with one another.
After a long and sweaty hike, a group of strangers turned friends dove into the freezing Maine Atlantic Ocean. We got to play games in the water and shiver together. Through this adventure we learned how strong we are, how similar we all are, and how to celebrate each difference between us. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be as close with my new friends as I currently am if it wasn’t for this surprising camping trip and life-changing hike. It all truly reminded me that whether I’m at the top of the highest mountain, or in the deepest part of the sea, I am a part of God’s wonderful creation, and along with the beauty around, He chose to make me.
This will definitely make me see myself in a new and amazing way moving forward in my education at OneLife. I can look at my own heart with more love and acceptance the way God sees me. I can now open up more and am willing to take risks because I know my creator is beside me whenever I do something new or intimidating.