Most camping trips are pretty ordinary…Sleep in a tent, roast some hot dogs over an open fire, enjoy the fresh mountain air and make some delicious s’mores. Well, I’d say that our camping trip with 14 teens was anything but ordinary. God did some extraordinary things over the three-day trip to Jasper.
When our team debriefed and recounted some highlights and unique moments, we realized just how much God really had His hand over the entire camping trip. God cares about all of the details, both big and small. I could go on forever about this point. God answers prayer! Here are 3 of the big ones that immediately come to mind:
We were short a male leader for the trip and prayed tons that God would give us the perfect leader to bring along. We faced so much uncertainty and there were days where we wondered whether the trip would even happen or not. Four days before we left, we were able to get confirmation that a youth leader from a Church that we partner with would be coming along as a leader. He was an awesome addition to our team and we were so thankful that he helped us make the trip happen!
The week leading up to our departure date the weather forecast gradually got worse until the day of the trip, where we expected to have rain every single day in Jasper. At one point there was even supposed to be a thunderstorm on the day that our rafting trip was planned for, in which case it would have needed to be cancelled. God is bigger than all of the professional forecasting equipment though, because we did not receive a single drop of rain except for when we were sleeping one night. Otherwise we had a lovely mixture of sunshine and clouds. Even though the trip still would have been fun with rain, it was a small gift that God gave us by allowing us to enjoy such nice weather.
Our 15-passenger van suddenly wouldn’t start when we were leaving a lake in Jasper on the Tuesday afternoon that we were heading back home. We jump-started it with my jeep and it miraculously started back up. Onward to Hinton we went. The van had zero issues on the way to Hinton. Once we got to Hinton to stop for gas and slurpees, the van once again wouldn’t start. This time, jump-starting it didn’t work. We were filled with dread and anxiety about what this might mean for getting our 14 kids and trailer full of stuff back home. We prayed together as a team and God came through for us yet again. AMA responded extremely quickly despite an initial warning that it could take an hour before they arrive. Additionally, they took it to a shop only a few minutes from where we were stranded, fixed it in less than 30 minutes, and did it all for free. We have absolutely no doubt in our minds that God allowed us to get the vehicle from the nearly-deserted lake in Jasper, to the 711 in Hinton where we could have prompt help come to our aid.
We’ve been finding ourselves often praying for God to show us more of His glory recently, and we fully believe He used many instances on this trip to do exactly that.
We can plant seeds and do some watering, but it’s God who brings the increase. Throughout the trip we had lots of little opportunities to “plant seeds”. There were conversations about God’s greatness, His answers to prayer on the camping trip, and things He’s doing in us leaders’ lives. We had a bunch of the kids optionally join us for morning devotions and prayer time and considered it such a beautiful opportunity to have the kids witness authentic relationship with God and community with believers. One of our girls on the trip even picked up the apostle John book lying in the van and read it for over half an hour. There were talks with some kids about things like praying, leadership, gifts they have, death, what it means to be a gentleman, true beauty, and other life talks. We had opportunities to encourage kids and support them in taking initiative, being leaders, and encouraging one another. At times there was such a feeling of family among us. Despite no huge “breakthroughs” on the trip, I 100% believe that God was setting groundwork for some big things. He’s always moving and transforming, even when we can’t see the fruit of it right away.
I’m so thankful for the many ways God answered prayers and strengthened our faith through this Jasper trip. There’s certainly nothing ordinary about a trip that begins with a prayer to see more of God’s glory displayed!