Even in the silence there is sound.

Even in the silence there is sound.

All of the guides were waiting and waiting for the group of high school students to show up to our front porch. After what had seemed to be an hour and a dozen brownies later, we saw the bus come over the hill and up the road. Naturally, I ran over to the Eagle Quest sign and climbed to the top of the pillar where the sign was hanging. We all stood there waving to these students and greeting them. Little did we know that everyone on that bus was going to change our lives in some way.

My group hit it off immediately. We all shook hands and said our names and that was about as formal as we ever got. That first night we went climbing. Everyone loved doing that … especially Zach. Everyone had already climbed so we were all watching Zach climb. Zach loves animals. So when Zach was climbing, he found a snake on the wall. Joe, my co guide was his belayer. “Hey Joe there is a snake over there! Im gonna go catch it!” Before Joe knew what was happening Zach threw the snake down right in front of Joe. Here’s a pro tip on rock climbing. Don’t throw snakes at your belayer. Joe turned out to be ok from the snake being hurled toward him, and like a pro, was not distracted from his belaying responsibilities.

The people in our group were awesome. There was a kid who ate a bowl full of candy and knew the flavor of every Jelly Belly without even tasting it. Naturally we named him Jelly Bean (Noah). Another kid burped so loud it moved mountains, his name was BoomBox (Kyle) and yes he is a legend and a superhero. One kid filled up a 3-liter camelback full of fruit punch drink mix every time we refilled with water, he was Fruit Punch (Jack). Yeah, we were real clever with the nicknames. There was also SpiderDan (Daniel), Cole, Blake, Wheezy (Alex), Hank (Zach), Delta (Cooper), Australian Joe, and myself. We quickly all felt like a family. That was due to how open we all were. Whether it was because we got to tell our life stories to each other, have Bible study, face fears together, or it could have been all the funny moments of making torches out of dirty shirts and socks, passing gas, and lighting our snacks on fire. What ever it was, it worked! No matter what the weather conditions were or how tired we were, there were never very many complaints, and it rained 4 of the 6 nights on trail. Have you slept outside in the rain before, it gets pretty easy to complain. But, these guys were champions. They all piled into our 1 rain tent and slept in a giant pile. No one bickered or argued about more people coming into the tent, they were understanding and accepting of anyone who was trying to escape the never ending monsoon. And that was the attitude of everyone there, accepting and loving. If that doesn’t sound like Jesus, then I don’t know what does.

We could all feel God in the rain. He could hear our prayers for the rain to hold off until we came off trail. That sounds so cheesy right? Tell that to the lightning storm that went just to the right of us, while the rest of the sky was clear and full of stars that last night at the windmill. God showed us all his glory that night when we were worshipping him underneath that canvas of stars. Everything that we went through proved that God was there. Even in the silence there was sound.

I couldn’t have asked for a more amazingly fun group. I grew in my faith and also in my relationships with others more than I ever could have imagined. This group of guys is incredible, they are adventurous, hilarious, and have an unending curiosity for the Lord. I feel as if I learned from them more than they learned from me. Going out on trail with 10 other guys for 6 days seems to have that effect on you.

I wouldn’t be mad if they all came back and we did it all again. This time Hank, you can have seconds. lightning_ copy1              Story by Mitchel Burgener, Photograph by Andrew Miller


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