Mountain T.O.P…when I first heard that phrase, it filled me with a mix of anxiety and frustration. The only reason I was going was because my parents gave me a choice- Junior High Track or Mission Trip- and I chose the one I thought I would be running in less. Now, even if I wasn’t going to be running, I wasn’t too thrilled. “My parents are making me go, so I’m not gonna like it,” was the outlook I had on it that lasted until we stopped at a McDonald’s on the drive to Camp Baker. At that point I decided to just let it go and see where the week took me.
Sunday, after moving in to our cabins and sitting around for a good 7/8ths of the day, I met my YRG. At first I was intimidated by them…”I barely can get the kids from my own church to notice me, how am I going to talk to these people I don’t even know for a week?!” On Monday, that attitude remained, but subconsciously, I let go and let the day go its course. I made friends with a boy from Nashville, BJ, early that day at the work site. I talked to the rest of my group then too, and by lunch Tuesday I felt right at home with them.
The week flew by from there. I not only bonded with people from my own church, but new people who astounded me, and most importantly, I grew closer to God. The people seemed real...genuine…the whole week was a defining experience, and the memory of it is clear, not fuzzy like other events.
On one of the last nights there, I shared an analogy I had come up with staring at the moon during the ‘09-’10 school year. I said that the moon is like Jesus- bright like none else, shining through the darkness and guiding us when we cannot see. He shares the sky with the stars- his fellow Christians, his followers- who, while not as bright as Jesus, still spread light to those around them. The only thing brighter than Jesus is the Sun, which is God, making life possible and making our way clear when we see him. Everybody really seemed to like that, and a man from Jerome church approached me and shook my hand. He told me he would never look at the moon the same way again.
God touched everyone on the mountain those few days. During them I realized God was with me, that God was with all of us- he always had been. The only thing that changed about that when I went down the mountain was that I acknowledged that.
Overall, it was an amazing experience. Anybody interested in seeing beautiful scenery or meeting new people, or just recharging your faith battery should seriously consider Mountain T.O.P as a place to go. Thanks for reading!