It’s a long road from Vancouver to Mammoth. Longer still when you drive that long road alone...
...just you and your thoughts, and an armload of podcasts and music.
The last six months have been a wild ride of faith, testing and endurance. I left my day job and signed up with Youth With A Mission to help start a new program dedicated to guide Christian snowboarders and skiers into an experience with God and the world that would shape the way they do life from here on out.
It’s been difficult adjusting from a regular paycheque to “I have done everything I know to do to invite people to invest in my adventure and God knows what He’s doing – I hope!”
So, with that, I loaded up my car, jumped in and headed south... 1km down, 1,799 to go! Next stop: Redding, Ca, plus a couple stops for fuel and cold brew.
This really was a journey of faith. Ostensibly, I was doing two things: going to visit family, and attending the Lighthouse Global Summit, but it was also a spiritual homecoming of sorts.
I hadn't been to church at Bethel in Redding for close to 5 years, a place of very significant spiritual development for me. My time there took me from a fairly cocky Christian who was pretty sure that he had everything sorted to a much more humble one with a much stronger perspective on who God is and my place in the world.
During this last visit the church leadership announced their new "Arise & Build" project -- a massive expansion to meet the overwhelming need for space the church is experiencing. They haven't even broken ground at the new location and they have 12% of the budget funded already!
My first thought was that I could take this to God and use it as justification for Him to work in my life. But then, when I got back from my trip, my dad brought up a good point, "God is a good father and He doesn't need us to use testimonies as precedence for blessing." Seeing x number of millions donated and pledged for one part of the family shouldn't make me envious that He is blessing them and not me, it should build my faith that He has innumerable resources available!
Faith built up!
I've said it before but, "This should be my new hobby."
For the next week I was in the Mammoth area in the Eastern Sierras. We went paragliding, took photos, drove quads into the mountains, enjoyed beer and good food, and hiked around past dilapidated mining structures, through snow and around lakes. There was the Lighthouse Summit with amazing worship, loving friends, inspiring teaching and encouraging prophetic words!
One young guy introduced himself to me:
"Hi! I've been watching people greet you and give you big hugs, you must be a big deal around here!"
How do you respond to that?
"Yes, yes I am!"
"Um, yeah, sure. I suppose I've been around for a while..."
Regardless, I left the week in Mammoth with my spiritual fuel tank veritably brimming! Nothing beats being in a place where you're valued and loved.
My long drive down to California was filled with anticipation for the people I'd see, the significant places I would visit again and what God would show me on this journey.
My long drive back to Canada was different...
It was filled with the deep satisfaction of having been somewhere significant and assured of your valued place in it. For a 20 hour drive across 3 states over 3 days, it was restful. Peaceful. There is a deep satisfaction that comes from the knowledge that your sacrifice of time and finances to obediently to travel solo a long way from home was not in vain, but honoured, is sustaining.
Is it a long road worth driving? Yes. Is it a long road I will enthusiastically seek to travel again alone? Only time will tell...
All the best on all your adventures.