The United States needs Jesus. For too many years we have claimed him by words only. So many of our own countrymen have dressed up, attended church on Sunday, sang the songs and maybe even gave some of their money, only to turn around and deny Christ with their hearts. As we hear from missionaries in other countries, they are telling of how people are hungry for Jesus. I’m afraid that’s not the case here. Too many have put on masks each Sunday. Authenticity and honesty have flown the coop. There is no denying it.
This is one of the reasons why we believe so strongly in what Journey Quest is doing. You see, in wilderness ministry, the mask is often removed and the real person is exposed. The truth is revealed only to show the strongest are often the most vulnerable. Through the avenues of whitewater rafting, peak ascents, rock climbing and the like, men and women and young people, often find themselves face to face with experiences that teach them for a lifetime.
One of our dear friends was recently recounting an experience she had rappelling in Colorado a couple of years ago, where Mark and Steve N. worked with another ministry. She was confident in her ability to do it. No big deal to just back over the edge and rappel the cliff face. She trusted the rope, the gear, the guides and herself but when she backed over the edge, she slipped and hit the rock. In that moment she felt a loss of control and fear stepped up to bat. Steve N. was right there. He has seen this scenario before and with the Holy Spirit and scripture he reached out to our friend to address the fear that she was facing, the fear that had taken control. As she was recalling this hair raising story to us tears were welling up in her eyes. Something big happened on that rock wall in the mountains that day. She came face to face with a fear she didn’t know and a wilderness missionary was right there to help her through it. She made it to the bottom of the rappel just fine. There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out all fear.
This past July the senior high students from our church went to Journey Quest for a week of adventure. The second day there would be peak ascent day. The group I was with started up the trail for Spring Mountain, a beautiful mountain rising 13,244 ft. above sea level. One of our students was getting very tired. We had started our day at about 4:00 that morning and we had been pushing hard the 5 1/2 miles to reach the summit. About a mile from the summit he wanted to quit. “Just let the group go” he told me. No, we weren’t going to let the group go, we are part of that group. We are a team. The other students, who seemed to all be distance runners, held back. They let this young man take the lead and set the pace. They were anxious to make the summit, but knew it was important that no one was left behind. They kept cheering him on “You can make it! Your almost there!” until finally he was the first one to tag the summit! I cannot explain the look on his face. He accomplished what he thought he couldn’t. He’s been told many times through his life that he’s not good enough, not cool enough, not smart enough. On this day he and our team proved that all wrong. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.
You see, wilderness ministry is much different from youth camp. Like Steve N. says, it’s like youth camp but on steroids. More than that though, there isn’t a great Bible teaching motivational speaker. Rather there is the wilderness, and God himself. The wilderness serves as an experiential learning opportunity for those who are willing to accept it’s challenges. Time and again people young and old come along with Journey Quest into the great cathedral of the Creator’s wilderness, and they experience God is a very real way.
Steve & Mandy Reiff are currently raising support to join Journey Quest’s staff full-time. For more information, see their blog at reifffamily.journeyquest.org. If you would like to partner with them financially, visit our donate page.
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