Isaiah 40:29-31 “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youth will grow tired and weary and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”
What a relevant verse to learn for the middle of this course – I think we all needed God’s strength this week!
The week began with me being sick as many of us have been coming down with a cold. I got told that we were going on one of the more intense hikes this week so we had to pack the very bare necessities as a heavy bag would not be practical. This scared me and I was very much considering of just staying back because of being unwell. After praying over it I felt like God was saying to just go and trust in him for my strength. I also read a verse from James 5:14 that encouraged me; “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results”. So with that I decided to go, no turning back. The hike was intense but doable and knowing God was with me helped. Especially in areas where there were paths only wide enough for one foot and then it just dropped away. Oh and the fact that we watched “touching the void” on Saturday did not help. I think it was to scare us all on how dangerous the mountains can be. The documentary is a about two men who had a disastrous and near fatal experience on the mountains – being separated for days, breaking legs, having to crawl to safety, falling down crevasse – everyone’s worst nightmare really. So we were all thankful that our experiences turned out to be safe and far better than those in the documentry! Anyhow, we klettersteiged up mountains, crossed glaciers, had a snow ball fight with the somewhat fresh snow, crossed really rocky terrains and reached our first destination of Simony Hut, in the middle of nowhere. We had a message from Tony who spoke about how we are all so different and unique. Something that stood out to me was “God has existed for eternity but he has never had a relationship with you before” How cool is that thought – he loves to spend time with us and delights in us!
The next day we hiked not even 200m when my dear friend Sherra stepped down from a rock and sprained her ankle – just as easy as that. She decided to continue hiking a further 5 hours with us until we reached our next hut. I have no idea how she did it with the steep climbs and rocky ground but she conquered it! However when the boot came off the swelling increased and Andy – our hiking leader decided that the next days hike for her would not be possible so she was blessed with a helicopter ride back to town! Amusing after how it was only that morning that she was saying that a helicopter ride was on her bucket list – and what better place to do it than the Austrian Alps!!! Anyway as a result she now has a cast and crutches which isn’t practical for the course – you can pray for her! And while you’re praying pray for our group leader Tim who has been in hospital for the past week with high fevers and lack of strength – we miss him dearly and wish he would return quickly to us, strong and healthy again!
On Wednesday we arrived home by late afternoon, ready for warm showers and clean clothes. Our knees were pretty sore after walking like “old grannies” (a walking technique to prevent you from falling when walking down steep parts) for hours.
Thursday we had lectures learning about Christian leadership. It was nice to just sit for the day and work mentally rather than physically, our bodies needed to recover. We then went to visit Tim in hospital and got to wheel him outside for some fresh air. It was great to be together as a team again, joking around and laughing lots as we do.
Friday we went canyoning again! This time I was a lot more confident jumping off 10m high rocks into the water. Every time there is still something in me questions why I would possibly throw myself off the edge of a cliff that high into the water – but sometimes, like in life, you gotta just take that leap of faith and trust God to catch you. We swam in the freezing water – I could feel my toes even with boots on – through narrow gorges and it was absolutely beautiful! We even swam underneath a waterfall. Any my favourite part – stopping in the rocks in the sun to have some hot tea and chocolate! It’s so satisfying!!
I’ll leave you with what stood out to me this week:
God is faithful and you can trust in him and he cares for you deeply.