Growing up, I was never a huge fan of summer camps. The idea of doing crazy outdoor adventures with strangers never really fired me up. When I was told the journey team would be training at a place called Camp Highland, I was a little apprehensive about what this training would be like. I didn’t think a week at a summer camp would be necessary for a mission trip to East Africa, but boy was I wrong.
It has only been one week in the Journey adventure and I have already learned so much. I learned that through weakness and fear, God makes us strong. If you know me, you would know that ropes courses and rock walls are just not my thing. At all. On Friday we made our way over to the ropes course and I was terrified. The ropes course at Camp Highland is probably seventy feet tall, or at least it felt that way. While I was strapping on that harness and helmet, I just kept thinking to myself, “Meredith, RUN! Run into the woods and maybe no one will notice that you’re missing.” In order to successfully complete the ropes course, you need a partner. I was paired with Hailey Lombardi and I was so nervous she would be frustrated with the fact that I was so scared. Luckily, I was wrong. She was so encouraging and positive through out the whole situation that I knew I could trust her to get me through that entire death trap they call a ropes course. Her encouragement and the encouragement from the rest of the Journey team really helped me find strength through the Lord, and by the grace of God I was able to complete that ropes course with out peeing my pants from fear.
I learned a lot about trust this past week. I learned how to trust my team, trust in myself, and more importantly trust in God. The CTI staff went into a lot of planning for the past week, to where the interns would just have to trust in them and surrender control. Surrendering that control and just having blind faith in my team and the staff was very hard for me. I don’t give trust to just any body, but the Lord had a different plan for me. The different activities and teachings really opened my mind and heart to trusting the CTI staff and interns. I think it’s safe to say all the interns were vulnerable and open. This enabled us to lean into one another this past week. Putting trust in each other is such an important factor in our trip to East Africa. With out it, we would probably all go crazy and want to kill each other.
I know this is such a cliche, but I would not change a single aspect of what happened this past week at training. Last Sunday, Nathanael said we are now part of the Journey family, and I felt that this week. We grew closer as a team and I know we will face this summer as a family. It is so crazy to think that a week ago we were all strangers at one point. I walked into the welcome party not knowing any body and now I feel so close to every one on the team. It is amazing that we all feel this close from just one week; I can’t imagine how close we will be at the end of the summer.
Camp Highland was such a blessing. With out that week of crazy outdoor adventures with complete strangers, I don’t think we would have been ready for a summer in East Africa. I know we will all face ups and downs this summer, but I am confident that we can over come it all, with the trust we have in each other and more importantly in God.
One verse I really clung to this past week was Isaiah 12:2 “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song and he has become my salvation.” With the power of trust, God will give all of us strength this summer. If we all surrender completely to the Lord this summer, we will be unstoppable. I am so excited to see what God has planned. He will do great things in East Africa and I can’t wait to see it all unfold this summer.
-Meredith Gatlin | Journey 2017 Intern