(This guest blog post was written by Andrew Bellisle, one of ACMNP's 2012-2013 Recruiters and summer 2012 alumnus from Grand Teton National Park, WY.)
Through car rides, plane flights, train stops, and bus rides; classrooms, climbing walls, and table talks nationwide; through phone calls, emails, and 1-on-1 face time; I’ve been pouring out every ounce of passion I possess to interest people in our mission. Evidently, my time in Grand Teton National Park last year wasn’t just to bear fruit during the summer. Fruit is still being grown and harvested as I continue to reflect on and learn from my experiences there – experiences which now help me to do my job better as an ACMNP Recruiter.
You learn a lot in the parks: from the people, the quiet, and the Lord. Growth is almost inevitable, and I learned some priceless lessons tucked away in the Tetons. Perhaps the greatest was on unity. I want to shout from the hilltops a message of fusion among believers! ACMNP does a beautiful job utilizing the gifts of Christians from all over the church spectrum. In the Tetons, I served on a team of 13 that consisted of about 8 different denominations, everything from Pentecostal to Catholic. I witnessed the intricate beauty displayed among a divinely orchestrated and diverse team of people, all welded together by the belief in Jesus as a needed savior. Now it’s easy for me to see the value and potential in the believers I meet on the road, regardless of what denomination they claim. It makes me wonder what would happen if Christians in our country, from every denomination, joined together more regularly to put their gifts together into one mission, loving God and loving others.
It excites me to know that the ACMNP alumni I meet along my travels have been learning the same lesson. When I meet an alumnus going to Mt. Vernon Nazarene in Indiana, I receive the same welcome and have the same Jesus connection that I do with an alumnus from Presbyterian College in South Carolina or California Baptist University. From the home of hospitality in the Southeast to the professional business region of the Northeast to the climbing/ski folks of the West, I’m learning that people are people. We’re all broken, all in need of redemption.
And if we as Christians realized this as I did in the Tetons or ACMNP’ers did in Yosemite, Denali, Acadia, or the Virgin Islands, maybe Christians could become known as something greater than a religious group. Instead our image could be a beautiful construction of a diverse group of people, all deeply in love with our Lord and radically striving to fulfill the lifestyle and purpose that Jesus called us to live. If every region of this country, every denomination, every Christian joined together in the same way that this ministry does on a small scale inside national parks, maybe it could be noticed on a large scale throughout our country and our world. Maybe Jesus would be noticed. And maybe God would be magnified.
(If you're an alumni of ACMNP and interested in recruiting, find more information here.)