As the last addition to this blog series, here’s an inside look into peak hike days with one of our guides, Kyle:
“One of my favorite activities I strive to incorporate into Journey Quest’s peak hike days is an analogy called Burden Stones. After our group starts the hike and we are about a quarter of a mile in I have everyone slow down. I then tell them to analyze theirs hearts and see if there is something weighing on them. After a half mile has gone by I slow the group down again and tell everyone to pick up a stone from the ground that matches the weight on their heart. They have to put this stone in their backpack or carry it in their hand. They carry their stone for the entire hike up, and only once we reach the summit do I tell them what it’s for. I too carry one.
I have everyone circle up and we take out our stones. There is one group in particular I remember so vividly. I start off by telling everyone that the stones represent a burden we are carrying, something that is weighing down our souls. It’s baggage, unnecessary baggage that we ought not to be carrying. We are supposed to go before the cross and lay our burdens down and leave them in the Father’s hands, dealt with by Christ’s blood, and brought to resolution through the Spirit. I share what my burden is and then open it up to let anyone else share what their stone represents. We then pray for them and throw the stones into a lake or stack them at the top of the mountain to leave behind.
This one group in particular was the youngest group I had taken up. The boys were about 9-12 years old and some of them were with their fathers. Everyone was silent when Jonathan, a 10-year-old, stepped out from behind his dad with teary eyes and just said, “Everything” and broke down crying. He shared the hurt from his family life being split apart, how school was hard, or missing his grandma. I was blown away. Usually when I did this analogy people share something superficial or slightly personal, but this whole group ended up sharing something deeply meaningful and heart-wrenching. Getting to hear every heart lament and getting to pray for each request was so wonderful. I’ll never forget how raw and honest that group of middle-schoolers were. God was near to them even in their sorrow and all they could do was ask Him for help.”
when people see you guiding for Journey Quest, it’s easy to think it’s just another thrill seeking summer job. But JQ is so much more than that. Each week we have the opportunity to share the Gospel and speak life into the lives of families, teens, friends, kids, and leaders. Because of the unique environment of the wilderness, we are able to reach people in an uncommon and incredible way. Thank you for supporting us and thank you to our guests for making the Journey Quest ministry possible