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Bibles, Boats, and Beers

June 26, 2014 | Samuel Baggenstos

Leaning forward, I trudge up the hill, my feet sinking into the soft sand with each step.  As I reach the crest, I glance back over my shoulder: in the far distance towers Castle Rock, its shadowy form outlining the waning light of dusk.  In front of this stretches Wahweap Bay, its tranquil waters dotted with the lights of houseboats.  And closest of all sits the sprawling resort, its eight building arranged in a giant checkmark.  Scattered throughout the hotel rooms sit people from all over the world, some of them gripping lattes prepared by Ashley, others lying down after a filling meal served by Cassidy, and still others drying off with towels given them by me at the front desk. 

Breathing deeply the cool night air I turn slowly around and then walk slowly across the top of “the hill.”  Finally I reach Dorm 4.  At the picnic underneath the tree sit a small group of people, smoking cigarettes, drinking beers, and talking loudly while pop music blasts from the stereo of a car.  Nodding my head, I walk pass the table, entering the end of one building.  Reaching my dorm room, I open the door and walk inside.  I throw myself on my bed, still in my tan khakis and maroon polo.  Closing my eyes, I try to clear my mind of the stress of work.    Another day draws to a close at Lake Powell. 

Five weeks have flown by here.  All three of us have settled into our jobs and are enjoying relationships with both coworkers and dorm mates.   In addition to our work, we have done plenty of exploring.   We have trekked to nearby hilltops to enjoy some solitude, taken a boat tour to Rainbow Bridge, kayaked into Ice Cream Canyon, and hiked to “the windows,” which are massive holes in the cliffs adjacent to Wahweap Bay.

It hasn’t been easy though.  For Cassidy and I, it has often been a struggle forming meaningful relationships with dorm mates up on the hill, many of whom think that the best sort of fun is getting as drunk as possible every night.  Fortunately, my work schedule has changed from mornings to more standard work hours, making it possible to hang with people outside at the picnic tables.  Also, Ashley, after much prayer, advice, and reflection, decided to accept a job offer at chiropractor’s office back in Eugene, Oregon.  She will be leaving in a couple of days and we will miss her, but we wish her the best in this exciting opportunity.

The worship services at the amphitheater have proved more challenging than expected.  Mainly due to a lack of publicity, no one attended our first two services.  However, on Sunday the 22nd, several important things happened.  First, a group of fellow ACMNPer’s visited us from Grand Canyon South Rim.  Not only did some of them attend our worship service, but they also hung out for the day with us, providing fun times and encouragement for our ministry here.  Second, Dave Degler from the front office in Colorado visited us.  He provided us with ideas for publicity, and was also able to network with both the concessionaire and the Park Service.  After talking with him we have decided to add an evening service and possibly host a weekly event at the amphitheater.  We are also close to securing permission to walk around the campground on Saturday nights and talk to guests about our services. 

We still covet your prayers. 

·         This weekend we are hoping to launch a new publicity campaign; pray for this possibility

·         Pray for our coworkers: they desperately need the love of Christ

·         Pray for discernment; sometimes it is difficult to know how to act in this environment

·         Praise God that we are allowed to walk around the campground on Saturday nights and talk to people—may God do great things through this opportunity!  

"Coming into this program, I did not realize the need for Christian missionaries within the U.S. This opinion quickly changed upon learning that there are no Christian churches in the area, and we were the closest option for Christian community within about a 45 minute drive."
– Christopher, Zion 2010

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