I started my 10 day summer vacation from my day to day work at Morris, MN by going on a 2-day hikking-camping trip to Chipewa Falls, MN (close to Lake Itasca Long Lake Park & Campground-Clearwater County)-headwaters-where the "great-mighty" Mississippi River starts).
I went with some former UMM friends-alumns: Dan Specht (former resident of mine at Gay Hall II-III, Crystal Specht, and Bill Royce from Fargo, ND-Harvest Community Church, which was about a 2 hour drive northeast across the ND-MN border.
After a long drive (stopped for "awhile" at Walmarts' supperstore in Detroit Lakes), we hiked for about 40 minutes along the "North Country Trail" by the corner of Upper Ten Mile & Lake Road (close to hwy 200 and 371 south of Walker, MN.
I'm preparing for the hike by covering my head from the expected mosquitoes
We started around 11:20pm and finished past 12 midnight when we arrived at our "city-like" (can hear the cars driving by this highway (371?) close by) campsite. God layed some life applicable lessons along with verses from this 40 minute hike:
-Get rid of your baggage: Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest"; We get so busy in life because we carry too much baggage (eg. time, materialism, friends, activities, etc...). During the hike, I had to carry Dan's "Big Green Bag" filled with food and other camping "stuff" that wasn't all necessary. There were times that I wanted to just take something out to make it easier and lighter during the 40 minute hike. When Bill found our campsite ahead of us, he came over and helped me carry the "Big Green Bag" after he dropped his camping gear ahead. Oh, I felt relieved as I finished towards our destination. We need to keep reminding ourselves and look at our time, friends, materialistic stuff, etc..; determine what is "holding us back" in our growing relationship with God. Or what keeps us from receiving the abundant life-blessings God promises us (John 10:10). Yes, we are going to go through persecution and struggles, but this make us "stronger" and depend on God more. However, we need to stop "sabbath-rest" from our daily life's taks, and evaluate our life. In my daily life, I try to go before God on my knees before going to bed and lay all my day to day problems before Him. For example, "I come before you Father and I commit to you "Such-Such" (person I have in my heart to pray for). I totally trust You that you'll handle "Such-Such" according to your will" . I pictured Jesus (eg. Bill) carrying all our sins, worries, prayers, needs, etc.. when He was nailed to the cross at Calvary! We just need to go and call to Him!
-Shepherd/Leader: Luke 10 "Shepherd of His Flock"; God puts authorities, pastors, leaders, parents, etc.. in our live to submit to and trust. Yes, we need to trust God and not man. However, we need to trust man, but not totally like God/Father in Heaven. Bill was an experience hiker and God layed in my heart to trust that he was going to take us safely to our destination during times of denial during the hike. I pictured Bill as a "shepherd" during this hike and Crystal, Dan, and I were "sheeps". In my life, I need to trust my local pastor of my home church as he has more experience in walking with Christ. Bill at times walked so fast that we couldn't see him during the hike as the path was curving and trees blockes our site of him. We had to call out to him at times to slow down. Leaders need to look back at times of the people they disciple or lead. However, they sometimes got to continue looking ahead and let the follower trust in God.
-Perseverance: Philippians 2 & Romans 5 "perseverance builds character"; I think of quitting many times (job, daily tasks, competitive sports, ministry, etc..), which my daily devotional (reading the Bible, prayer, quiet times with God, pumped up from Sunday services, praise & worship music, etc...) keeps me going!
-Encouraging one another: Ephesians 4:29, 1 Thessalonians 4:18 & 5:11 "encourage each other"; Dan fell back at times, so I kept on telling him "you can do it!" or I would keep singing/whistling familiar prasie & worship song. In our day to day life, we need to do the same with the people God puts in our life day to day (eg. strangers, friends, family, brothers/sisters in Christ-missionaries, pastors, leaders, servants, etc...). For example, recently my close high school friend for 8+ years and going-had a unexpected life trial: wife of only 2 years died of cancer. When I was over at his apartment after the funderal-memorial service, he told me how lonely and "not so friendly" the environment was at his apartment where he used to live with his now deceased wife (felt her presence there). I told him to tune his radio to 98.5 FM "Christian Radio Praise & Worship Station" to change the environment of his apartment until he moved out. I shared how "praise & worship" music has changed "unfriendly" environments I've been in (eg. home, college campus, etc..) and God's presence gives me that comfort, healing, and love during "tough" or "good" seasons in life.
-Praising God: Ephesians 5:19 "singing psalms"; Singing those worship songs we sing every Sunday service throughout the week is important to keep one's spirits high. During the 40 minute trek, I would sing different praise and worship songs to keep "focus" (mind and spirit) and to not get distracted by negative thoughts ("Does Bill no where he's going?", "I'm never going on a hike with Bill again", "I'm tired", "I can't do this!"). -Keep focus in your daily walk with Christ: Matthew 6:33 "seek first his Kingdom"; we sometimes can get distracted in life (eg. temptation, selfish desires, etc..) that may take us from the path that God has already paved for us. Along the hike, we had to go around this muddy area. There was a log to cross it, but it didnt' stretch long enough over the mud. We as a group waited for each one to go around it to make sure none of us fell or go too muddy. The path may someitimes may not be easy to go through, but we just need to get back on it continue our voyage. As I write this, that mud can sometime symbolize sin. Everyday, we get dirty in the natural (car smog, ink pen, food stains, mud, etc...) and we need to wash ourselves with soap. Same goes with "sin" (anger, jealousy, hate, etc...), and we need to daily go to our Heavenly Father to ask for forgiveness.
*Note: I shared this (some of the verses above) on Sunday, August 10th at Fargo's Harvest Community Church (church plant by my local church, which I was blessed to hear a message by fellow UMM Alumn-Eric Kallio on "Speaking Truthful: Opening yourself up to minister to others in order for them to relate to you". God spoke to me to share more about my personal testimony via internet-check it out!
Saturday, August 8th
We woke up around 8am to sounds of the wilderness that surrounded our campsite (swamps in both sides). Bill made some good-tasting potatoe soup (cheddar cheese, ham, etc..), while we ate some other breakfast food that was in the big-heavy green bag. Then, we roasted some "smores" (marshmallows roasted from campfire packed betweek golden-graham crackers w/Hershey's chocalate). Many of us wanted to head back to "reality", so we packed our "stuff" and hiked on the same trail through bugs flying across our face in the early morning sun heat.
I'm eating one of the roasted marshmallow-hmm..hmm..good!
Learning to be greatful of the convenience of indoor plumbing (a picture of an "outy" or toilet)
We toured around the Chippewa Nat'l Forest region visiting several natural sites:
....North County Trail (connects SD to NY)....
Akeley-"birthplace of Paul Bunyan" (site of one of the largest sawmills in the world)...
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to petition against Jimmy, who has been brainwashed from a recent UMM funded trip to Maine that Paul Bunyan originated from Bangor, Maine
-Paul Bunyan Sites in Maine:
My Maine View
-Paul Bunay Sites in Minnesota:
Paul Buyan Trail
Paul Bunyan Catalog, from Roadside America
....and Log Camp "restaurant" along County Hwy 18. (northwest of the intersection of hwy 71 and 200) in Park Rapids, MN.
Related Resources on Minnesota: