Unplanned Adventures: Our Journey's Conclusion

We intended to hike around Sylvan Lake that afternoon but the ever present enemy, fatigue, had set in on the party; so, it was decided we would take some time at the gift shop and then head over to the campsite early to start cooking supper. This sets the stage for one of biggest upsets (or adventures, depending on how you look at it) of the trip. The tents were set up, our meal was cooked and being eaten, and we were nervously watching the storm clouds roll in. Educators Lucas and Stephen, both Eagle Scouts, knew we needed to be prepared for any emergency. The fact that we had a missing rain tarp led us to set up one of the tents under a small awning in the campsite. Of course someone tripped over the rainfly of the small, one-person tent, thus ripping the edges off. Then, the wind ripped a hole in the corner of the same tent. The women’s tent stood strong and proud through it all, until the whole campsite started to flood and the floor of the tent was discovered to no longer be waterproof. The tent under the awning was doing fine until we realized that the entire tent was slowly being surrounded by an ever-expanding pond. At the same time, the hole in the single man tent was becoming a major issue for its occupant. It was quickly realized that the tents, or at least its occupants, might not be able to weather this storm. After several minutes of drenched lounging and shouting night prayer together in unison, Stephen made the executive decision to abandon camp and order a motel room for the remainder of the night. 

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We awoke and made breakfast over a portable stove that was under the eave of the motel. Despite the craziness of the previous night, the wildlife drive was still on and we got to see an amazing buffalo herd travel across the plains in Custer State Park. We then traveled north and got to take a hike around Sylvan Lake on the Sunday Gulch Trail (we highly recommend it). Educator Betsy Peloquin was disheartened to find that the advertised moderate hike had turned into a hike more suited for the Mounties of the Canadian wilderness. The day ended with an authenticated Chuckwagon dinner with a musical show on the side. We ended our last night in another motel (we planned for this one) in Rapid City. The trip’s final day included a stop at the infamous Wall Drug Store, before quickly traveling to Sioux City for Betsy’s sister, Katie, to take an online midterm for one of her classes. Soon, after 10 hours of driving time, we arrived back home, safe in our own beds.

When a group of people called by God get together for a missionary expedition, whether it's through NET, FOCUS, SPO, Christ in the City, or our own Teach for Christ, you’re bound to get the adventure of a lifetime. But aren’t we all on an adventure? The greatest of all adventures is to find Jesus in all the nooks and crannies of our lives, giving him everything we have. The next step is to bring Him wherever we go, whether it's to the young people we serve or the men and women we meet on our individual journeys. An adventure should be planned out, true. But as Samwise Gamgee in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Ringsputs it, “It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” So it is in our journey with Christ.

Stephen Barnhart