Friends in Yellowstone
When I arrived in Yellowstone I had expected to spend a lot
of time with my ACMNP team and build a great community with them. This proved
to be true and I am so thankful for the team God pieced together for ministry at
Yellowstone Lake. I also expected to meet many amazing people with much
different backgrounds and belief systems than I. I also found this to be true
in a way that exceeded my expectations. I found that you don’t have to be from
the same part of the country, from the same continent or believe the same
things about this world to have so much in common with a person. This is one of
the favorite discoveries I’ve made in the park so far.
But for some reason what I did not think much of in advance to my arrival were the brothers and sisters in Christ I would meet here in YNP who are not a part of ACMNP. It is pretty encouraging to meet others who are excited for the worship services we lead and who share the commonality of knowing and abiding in Christ. They have adventured and hiked with us, helped us lead worship and encouraged us in our ministry from the beginning. I wish I could share about each of these encouraging brothers and sisters here. Because we have met so many supportive Christ-lovers I will just share about the two who stand out in my mind at the moment… Joe and Chelsea. Right now the married couple from Michigan are either packing up or already on their way to road trip the coast of California. These two who have been married for a little over year worked in the kitchen this summer. Chelsea as a server and Joe as a line cook.
Last night, which happened to be the couple’s last night in the park, I asked Chelsea what some of her favorite memories of the summer were. She reminded me of the time when we reached the end of a trail on a hike in the Tetons. From the lakeside meadow we rested in, Joe spotted a great overlook in the distance and proceeded to convince us all to bushwhack to the top with him. The climb was a bit harder than expected but the view was well worth the scamble.
This reminded me of a similar memory I share with them when we hiked to the Great Prismatic and Fairy Falls. A group of the guys including Joe decided to climb up the side of the falls. Following closely behind them was Chelsea who inspired the rest of us girls to join in the ascent. Another adventure. Another well worth-it view.
At this point I am realizing that most of my memories with them involve some sort of great adventure. For example, on another weekend as we hiked to the top of Bunsen Peak, a thunder storm unfurled and we saw lightning hit a tree nearby. Full of adrenaline from potentially being caught in a nasty thunderstorm, Joe and Chelsea led a pack of us running in a straight line down the mountain completely ignoring the switchbacks that brought us to the top.
The most humorous memory I have with them though was probably later on in the same day. On our way home from getting our civilization fix (eating Mexican food and watching Godzilla in the nearby city of Bozeman), Chelsea and I were so caught up in our conversation that I missed a turn and drove an hour or so out of the way. For a car full of hungry and tired friends, this was not so funny at the time.
Joe and Chelsea have been friends who are always up to climb higher, explore farther and not even complain when we drove for longer. They are only the first of many who will start leaving Yellowstone in the next few weeks, but I felt it important to commemorate a couple of the friends who I was very thankful to spend much of the summer with. It makes me sad that they are on their way to new places today but I know God will continue guide and abide with them- as He promises to with all of us as we embark on the next adventures He’s planned for us.