As I floated down a flat stretch of the Nantahala River with my fellow SHERPA’s, I looked over to Matt, one of the Outdoor Mission Camp staff and asked, “Matt, does this EVER get old?” He looked at me, then looked at the trees surrounding us and the mountains that could be seen through wide gaps in the trees, and said, “Just take a look around man.” And as I took in the view in the seconds leading up to the next rapid I knew exactly what he meant. How could spending your day having a blast in God’s creation with incredible people ever get old?
I have been at Outdoor Mission Camp for a week now and it has already been an incredible adventure. I have 11 new friends who were complete strangers just 8 days before. I got to spend two days being certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. I have eaten incredible food provided by some wonderful volunteers from the community. I have been lucky enough to hear my fellow SHERPA’s share their personal testimony around a campfire. I have shared my testimony in a room full of couches in a cozy mountain cabin. I have been brought to tears by the love and passion for God displayed by my new friends. I have been challenged and pushed by peers who seek to honor God in every single thing that they do. I have experienced true worship in a small circle of people singing whatever song is on their heart. I have taken numerous personality tests to discover my strengths and weaknesses, gifts and abilities. I have learned a lot about interacting with other leaders and tackling challenges as a productive team. I went whitewater rafting for the first time ever, and in the same trip was given the chance to guide our raft (somewhat successfully). I have been way too cozy in a tent full of guys, and been blessed to wake up to a bright sun and warm meal on a chilly morning. I have experienced true Christian fellowship, and am learning to live in community.
I went into this summer ready to hang out with kids in nature and do cool stuff with them. This is still true, and that time will come. What I didn’t expect is that God would move and shape me in such remarkable ways in such a short period of time. One of the coolest parts about this past week is that everything we have done, all the training and fun and worship and companionship, has been to prepare our hearts to lead kids in wilderness adventures in a way that reveals the glory of the Creator. One week in and I couldn’t be more excited about the things to come. I ask for your continued prayer and support as I know things will not always be easy, people will get on my nerves, I will get tired, I will get hungry, and at times I will wish for nothing more than to be safe and cozy at home. But that is not what God has called me to. God has called me to this adventure, and I intend to live it out!
Quick Fundraising Pitch: I still have about 700 dollars to raise for this mission to be fully funded, and donations are accepted until July. You can give online here. Just be sure to include “Scottie Hill-SHERPA” in the comments section. It would be greatly appreciated!