Upward Bound – First Week

Upward Bound week 1 – So much has happened already and it’s only week one! From hiking the Alps, sliding down snow and climbing mountain faces, so many challenges – time flys way too fast. The week started off with a Sunday night meal and some basic information. We got to meet all the wonderful people that we will be with for the next 5 weeks. I found out I had been put in one of the bigger rooms which has 8 beds. This came as a slight shock after having assumed I’d be sharing a room with one or maybe two others but eight?! But I don’t mind, it’s fun and it’s only 5 weeks so you gotta make the most of it. But by the sounds and feels of things we won’t be staying in our rooms all that often…

So one of the things we are practically learning about is trust. And a way of learning this is trusting our leaders and what they have planned for us. Like in life we don’t always know what comes next and what’s around the corner so our leaders don’t tell us what we are doing in the days ahead. We only know one routine at a time. Dinner in 1 hours, pack your bags and be ready in 30 minutes, meet at the climbing wall in 10 minutes etc… it makes it all very exciting and unpredictable. You have to be always mentally prepared for unexpected schedules. Just like the unpredictable life we live in. This is why it’s essential to have God has your solid rock and foundation in which you lean on and trust in. He is the only one who is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is our anchor and gives up peace so despite what’s happening in the crazy world we live in we know we can find strength and steadiness in him.

So Tuesday we went on our first mini hike where we had some quiet time to think up of our fears and goals for the weeks ahead at Upward Bound. Some of mine; being afraid of keeping my group behind because of being unfit, aiming to hears God’s voice clearly and impact the lives around me with encouragement. To do each challenge with all that I can! We then shared these with our group and then had group challenges and team building exercises, which was fun. I love our small group! We have an English leader, a beautiful married couple from Germany, a chick from Romania and one from Canada, two guys from Canada and me. If I had to give percentages of what we do in our group it would be 70% laughing, 20% answering questions 5% praying and 5% coming up with new team name using the name of our leader. It’s great!

Wednesday we got told to pack our bags and we left for our first big hike. We walked for 5 hours up to a beautiful location in the Austrian Alps. The hike was intense, I have never walked so far and high up in altitude before, the struggle was real but I miraculously made it. With the cost of gross blisters on my feet making the following hiking days painful. We stayed up in the Alps in a large hut for 3 nights. During our days we did rock climbing on the faces of mountain cliffs, klettersteig and zip lining. We learnt different hiking techniques to use in different terrains. Such as sliding down snow or sliding down a long steep slope of small rocks. It was all scary and outside of our comfort zones but at the same time thrilling and fun! Like nothing, I’ve ever done before.

Saturday Morning we got woken up early (we didn’t know at the time as we aren’t allowed phones or watches) and left to hike to another point on the map. At this stage we didn’t know if we were going to go back to the base or continue hiking elsewhere – with out few dirty clothes what we had and little food left. It was a risk eating lunch so we saved some for the next day just in case! However, after hiking 12km in 4 hours we came to a bus stop and discovered we were going home – phew, we then finished out food!

I loved loved loved worshiping and spending time with God in the Alps just marvelling over his creation! Something I wrote in my quiet time:

Father, you’re so perfectly creative! From the endless horizon of Alpines topped with snow down to the luscious green valleys painted with flowers in every colour of the rainbow. From the paper flat land of red dirt and gumtrees to the tumbling blue waves of the sparkling ocean. From the colourful butterfly’s and buzzing bees to the mighty lions and fuzzy bears. All of these things so intricately made, so complex and perfect. Only you could create such perfect wonders! And still, out of all of this you call us your prized possessions, your children created in your image. You love for us greater then what we can possibly comprehend. Thankyou.

Can’t wait to see what the future weeks will bring!

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