Elijah in Montana

This summer I have experienced the “Branching Out” curriculum three times. One of the bible stories that we focus on is the story of Elijah going to the top of mount Horeb because God said God would speak with Elijah there. A great wind passed by Elijah, but God was not in the wind. Then a great earthquake shook the mountain, but God was in the earthquake. Finally, a powerful fire moved through the fields and mountain, but God was not in the fire. Elijah put his cloak over his eyes and moved closer to the cave, only then did he hear God speak to him.

During my week in Montana I experienced all of these natural phenomenons. My first night here, most of the campers and counselors woke up to an earthquake at 3 am. The next day we learned that it had been a magnitude 4 earthquake. For those of you who have kept up with my summer are probably realizing that this is my second earthquake this summer. I think I’m cursed. On Thursday of camp we went on a five-hour rafting trip (the trip was not designed to be that long, but things happen). During the rafting we experienced some strong winds pushing us up stream. On several occasions the winds would blow us to the sides of the river and into trees. Finally, fire has been blazing all week of camp. From the day we arrived at camp till the end of camp we have been watching the smoke grow larger and larger from the wildfires blazing through the mountains near Lincoln, Montana.

But just as the verse says, God is not in these events. God is in the quiet. A camp with 8 rambunctious campers is rarely quiet. But there are times when we all focus on a meditation. Camp is a fun and exciting time, you get to see old friends and meet new ones, play games, swim in the river, and eat all the camp food; yet there needs to also be time for reflection. For many campers, this is the time they get away from family and friends and technology. To experience nature with people their age. I have really come to appreciate the silence this summer. Whether the silence is on a airplane or right before bed or in the shower, God is in that silence.

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