I’m not an exceptional writer. I am not going to write this post and all of a sudden, everyone will understand how special Eagle Quest is. I probably will ramble, and some things won’t make sense. But, I do know that I have now been living at EQ for 6 weeks, and God has taught me more than I thought, so I will try to share some of that.
So, where to begin…
There is a certain reliance on God that comes with wilderness guiding. A whole group of people is relying on you to keep them safe and dry, well fed, healthy, hydrated, etc. It really is a lot of responsibility. Then you add in the fact that you also send them over 160 foot cliffs, down 3000 foot ziplines, up rock walls, and into caves, and the responsibility exponentially increases. Which is pretty hard to handle on your own. Things will go wrong. It will rain. Campers will run out of water, tents will break, it will be hot and sunny, it might hail on you, plans will go wrong. But the beauty of the whole thing is the chance it gives you to fully rely on God to take care of you through the hard stuff. The challenges don’t go away, but its learning to take them and use them, that’s important. It’s a constant prayer for strength and direction. Asking for wisdom from God on how to challenge these kids into growth, but not into panic and how to turn experiences into true learning. It’s praying against the camp high so that the changes experienced in the wilderness carry over into life on the other side of the 8-mile dirt road. Good thing God tells us all about asking him for help. Psalm 121 “where does my help come from? It comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
The thing is, all the most challenging aspects of guiding also become the most rewarding. Such as working with a camper in the rain to keep a fire going to cut through that dark, rainy night. Or having genuine conversation with a camper as you hike up the steepest, longest, hardest hills on camp (and probably in the whole world come to think of it.) Or patiently explaining over and over how to use the camp stoves, how to set up tents, or how to put on a harness. Those are the moments when you know that authentic relationships are being formed; the rain will stop, the hill has a summit, and sooner or later the stoves work, the tents get set up, and the harnesses get put on with the satisfaction that the campers have learned how. The wilderness forges bonds that are not easily broken. Vulnerability comes with talking about life stories with no outside world distractions.
The changes are clear. There are the simple changes that involve conquering fears (heights, spiders, pooping in the woods), and the deeper changes (opening up in a new way, consciously spending time with Jesus daily, seeking out what it means to follow him and asking relevant questions). Part of my goal in being a good guide is to take the simple lessons learned and relate them to make deeper changes. I have done a good job, I have done a bad job, but I know that none of it is in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “ Therefore my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” God uses our work no matter what. Knowing he is in control the whole time is comforting, and knowing that He is using the challenges to refine us and our campers makes being an EQ guide fulfilling. Not to mention you get to do some bomb activities, work with some stellar people, and meet new groovy folks every week.
I love EQ.