Monday, August 25, 2008

i LOVE team camo!

walkabout was quite an adventure this year. it was quite different to be on campus for the week leading up to our wilderness trip. for one, i got to be the one to make all the banana bread and peanut butter power spread for each group. all the preparation that i helped with really made me appreciate all the hard work that i've taken for granted in years past. it was also really great to get to hang out with martha (and all the other acs and aacs) that week, as we worked to get ready for the days ahead.

friday finally came and we got split into our walkabout groups. i was so excited to be on walkabout with martha, but the rest of our team turned out to be pretty awesome too. cash got to lead our group which was so fun. we also had four leshana ras-brent, elizabeth, j and rebekah, two pcwb ras-heather and steven, and two co-ed ras-liz and darek.

i was the only returning res. life staff member on our trip, making me (along with martha and cash of course) the only one to have been on walkabout before. i was also the only senior in our group-so, needless to say, i was a little worried that there would be too much distinction between us. i was also afraid that this trip would be too similar to other walkabouts. however, God truly dispelled both of these fears entirely.

from the very start, our group seemed to have a comraderie. martha gave me the task of coming up with some get to know you games. i decided to break down barriers early on and have everyone make animal sounds that came from an animal that shared the starting letter of their name, this was hilarious, along with the start of many group jokes, particularly steven's sasquatch noises. and it only seemed to get better from there. (i was an aardvark and made slurping-up-ants noises, if you were wondering)

God provided not only the connection for our team, but also the different challenge i was hoping for. =) for starters, our first night was awful. as martha said, "now we know what hell is like." we followed the same trailhead as last year to mirror lake and set up camp. but unlike last year, it was excessively hot and we were suffering from swarms of mosquitoes. it felt like we were experiencing a plague of Biblical proportions-utterly miserable. sleep was difficult to come by for all of use, due to the constant buzzing in one's ears, the insects devouring you and the awful heat. thankfully, we packed early the next morning, eating breakfast on the trail, finding some respite from those small terrors.

our next adventure was found as we attempted to summit the south sister. we awoke at 3:30 AM in order to get an early start, but after hiking about 45minutes we were caught in a thunder and lightning storm. brent had prayed that our group would see the glory of God that day , but this wasn't what any of us had imagined. after waiting under some trees for the storm to get farther away, we all went back to sleep. after our naps, the storm had passed as we decided to climb the mountain-at least as high as we could go before turn-around-time. we ended up at least 1/2 way up. not only did we have lunch up there, we also had christmas. cash had carried 2 bottles of martinelli's sparkling cider up with us. he gave us the task of finding or making christmas gifts for one other person in the group. there were definitely some creative results. j carved me a mooth stick and i made brent a snow woman made out of rocks (a little shy, but solid and if she were truly made of snow, she would have melted at the sight of him. =) aside from gifts, there were toasts, christmas carols and "family pictures" taken under the christmas tree-decorated with our whistles, sunglasses and bandanas.

the next day (day 4) was a long day of hiking, with 9 miles to cover. but everyone's spirits were high since j and elizabeth (our leaders for the day) had declared it to be accent day. very entertaining! the only bad part about this hike was that i woke up with a sore throat and being a little sick/stuffy made the hike not quite as pleasant. that night began our solo time and as i was placed in my area for the next 24 hours, i realized how sick i was beginning to feel. so i promptly set up my tarp and attempted to get some sleep in spite of the daylight. however, sleep did not come easily for two reasons-1. i was feverish all night long and 2. it POURED down rain. despite the good shelter i had made, 1/2 of my sleeping bag still ended up soaked. i didn't find out until the next morning that i had been one of the only ones not to abandon their individual tarp for the group tarp (which also ended up completely soaked.) in the morning, my fever had gone away, but the rain had not. i awoke to cash gently calling my name and then informing me that we were packing up and heading to the van (about 5 miles away.) because even in the event that it stopped raining, there wasn't enough time for wet clothes and sleeping backs to become dry. and besides people, including me, already were or were getting sick.

hiking in wet clothes in the wind and rain 2 days early wasn't anyone's favorite, but everyone had good attitudes. when we got to the van, we discovered we weren't the only ones who made the decision to hike out. all but 2 groups had left sisters wilderness early in the best interest of their groups. although i was (and still am!) a little disappointed to leave sisters early and have plans changed, walkabout didn't end with our van ride home (which included listening and laughing at brian regan, along with martha and cash's imitations of him, and the soundtrack of our trip-which included, down to the river to pray, ain't no mountain high, and raindrops are falling on my head)

after showers and sleeping in a warm, dry bed, we met the next morning for more walkabout time. martha got it worked out for us to spend the day at the camp where we had our spring staff retreat. we even got the same cabin! the day was spent getting coffee at chapters, telling life stories, eating walkabout food, having some solo time and laughing.
this was such a good day, coupled with the blessing of the next morning in my apartment-pancakes, verbal affirmations, pictures and worship.
it was so hard for me to let go of this beautiful week.

so-a few things, God showed me on walkabout this time around-
-a new excitement for my staff this year and all that God has planned for the days ahead
-trusting him whether i think i "know" what's coming or not
-true peace about my future
-the blessing of good people in my life