July 24, 2012
This is the first installment in Dim's series chronicling his and Gayles' adventure this summer through Compass. Enjoy!
Does spending 28 days with 26 kids aged 15-18 sound like fun? Not if you’re normal no, but as our American friends like to tell us, my wife and I aren’t normal! And it’s not just the way we say aluminium, car park and rubbish; it’s because we’ve chosen to spend a month of our summer holiday (that’s ‘vacation’ in English) being leaders on Compass.
Compass is a program run by Gordon-Conwell for young Christians who have been identified as showing potential as future Christian leaders and who already have an interest in Christian ministry. Needless to say they are not your average 15-18 year olds! They are, in actual fact, completely amazing as I discovered in the Adirondaks last week.
The first third of Compass, known as the "Wilderness Expedition," is spent with La Vida. La Vida is the outdoor education department of Gordon College and has a base camp close to Lake Placid, NY. The morning after the Compass kids arrived, many flying in from all over the States, we drove up to spend the next nine days team building, rock climbing and hiking in the wilderness. Six of the nights were spent camping out in the wilderness and learning to survive in the great outdoors.
During the days we climbed mountains, bushwhacked through the forest and learned how to use a map and compass, all while carrying packs which were bigger, and at times heavier, than some of the kids themselves! And we loved it! Every one of us achieved goals we never thought possible and formed some wonderful friendships.
Yet for me the best moments of all were spent around the campfire at night. We would share stories of the day, study God’s word and then tell our testimonies.
There is something about the flicker of firelight, a ceiling of stars and the warmth of a sleeping bag, not to mention helping each other to climb a mountain that day, which encourages people to share, to pray for each other and to bear one another’s spiritual burdens too.
Perhaps it’s been too long since you took a walk in the woods? I highly recommend it.
Next up, theological expedition back at Gordon-Conwell.
(If you know any young people who will be 15-18 next summer, why not talk to them about the Compass program? Find out more about what they offer.)
Dimitri (Dim for short) and his wife, Gayles, moved to the U.S. from England in 2011 to pursue a Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell. He grew up in a little town in England called Sevenoaks and completed his undergraduate degree in Automobile Design at the University of Coventry. Upon graduation, Dim spent some time as a ski instructor, a church intern and an assistant pastor. When he’s not pretending to study, he’s usually dreaming about skiing.
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