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The Rising Tide

July 23, 2014 | Samuel Baggenstos

Every day the lake rises.  Sometimes an inch, sometimes a foot.  The change isn’t noticeable to the tourist who is passing through, but for the locals and seasonal workers, rising waters mark the passage of time.  In May, Cassidy and I paddled through the Castle Rock Cut, the neck of water that separates low-lying Antelope Island from towering Castle Rock.  As we laboriously navigated our kayaks through the man-made passage, red numbers spray-painted on the cliffs walls indicated that only five feet of water lay beneath our boats, while we blanketed in shadow from the rock that fenced us in.  A month later, Cassidy and I again navigated cut.  Not only were the red spray-painted lines hidden beneath the water, but there were also no cliffs on either side.  The water in the passage was almost level with the sandy dry land. 

In many ways the landscape mirrors our experiences here at Lake Powell.  Week to week, little seems to change, but overall, over the past two months, we have made progress.  Both Cassidy and I have enjoyed the blossoming of friendships with our co-workers.  I have become good friends with the two ladies I work alongside with every morning.  One of the things that has brought us together are the same questions which are inevitably asked ten times each day: It is it Arizona Time or Utah Time?  How can go to the Rainbow Bridge?  A wee-fee connection, is it possible (French)?  I’m hoping and praying that before I leave at the end of August that some of the people from the front desk will come to one of our services.

God placed me at the front desk for a purpose.  Not only do I get to interact with a great number of guests, but I also have formed friendships with the managers of various departments throughout the resort.  The general manager of operations at Wahweap greets me by name at least once a week, and asks me for the nights’ occupancy.  The lodge supervisor, has been supportive of me in learning my new job and accepting of the ministry.  A friend, from security, weekly gives me change for my cash drawer, as well as giving me rides around the resort.  I am hoping that the friendly and responsible manner in which I interact with them will pay dividends for the future ACMNP teams at Glen Canyon.

Attendance at services continues to be low.  However, it has been a blessing getting to know the three employees who regularly attend services in the evenings.  God is slowly teaching me the real meaning of servant hood.  Coming into this summer, I somehow had expectation that the ministry would be a non-stop whirlwind of preaching, working, and backpacking, and that there would be co-workers constantly knocking on my door, begging to hear the salvation story.  It has been very different.  Instead, our main job has been the slow formation of relationships with co-workers and the careful preparation of worship services.  I don’t know what will happen in the next month, but our call to ministry remains the same.  The quiet and solitude has led to a greater level of inner reflection and contemplation of God’s character than I have ever had before.                                 

We still have goals for the rest of the season.  I would love to see ten new people attend our services by the end of August.  Pray that the hearts of coworkers, guests, and ourselves would be softened. Pray especially for my friend at the front desk.  We have formed a close friendship, and I would love for her to open up about more spiritual matters before I leave.  

I hope you are having an excellent July!  Til next time!

Sam Baggenstos 

"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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