“This is too big to just happen” – currently unbeliever
I got to share my faith with a German guy named Kornel this morning at sunrise over the canyon. Justin and I woke the rest of the ROALT crew around 4:30 am so we could pack the last of the things and see the sunrise before heading out. After the sun rose the rest of the guys went back to break down the tent and I stayed a few more minutes. As I stood there taking in the sun and the many shadows on the canyon walls that were slowly being overcome by the light, Kornel walked up to me and said with a laugh, “Pretty mediocre wouldn’t you say?” motioning with his hand out over expanse. We laughed and he went on to say that he had traveled for the past six weeks in the states through many big cities and when I asked him what his favorite thing was he said, “This, without a doubt, this is just, incredible.” It was one of those moments when you have only been talking to someone for about a minute or two and you think, “Maybe I could get this guy’s email and build a relationship and then share the gospel with him! Yeah, that will work!” Well, what if that didn’t work? So right then I told him what I believed about who created all of this and that since God is the greatest and perfect, the only way he can stay perfect is to not pollute himself with imperfect people like us. I explained that God sent his son Jesus to die for our sins so that we could be saved. He seemed interested, or at least happy that I was comfortable enough to share with him what I believed with out cramming it down his throat. “You can live your life around … but when you see something like this, you have to admit, something doesn’t make sense, this is too big to just happen.” Really nice guy, I did end up getting his email and he invited me to come visit, and stay with him in Germany, which is awesome. Please pray for Kornel, that God will open his eyes to the light of the gospel, that we might meet again one day in heaven.
We had packed all the gear last night so we only had a few things to do before getting on the road again. Collin was first up on driving duty and he was excited about the opportunity to beat his personal best of ten minutes. He ended up driving all the way into Utah where we made a much-needed pit stop for supplies at Wal-Mart before entering Zion National Park around 1:30 pm. We had known it was going to be a stretch to find a campsite in the afternoon on a weekend, but we had prayed that God would provide a place for us when we left the Grand Canyon and we were confident He would. When we started to get closer to the campsite and all the signs said “No Vacancy,” we started to get a little nervous. Someone said “Start praying” but we had prayed about it already and God was going to take care of us so we just decided to drive into a packed camp ground that said “no vacancy” and just look around any way. We drove up to the guard shack and asked the park ranger who went back in the back and then came out if there was any space and he said there was none, but since we were a school / group, they could put us in an over flow group camp site. Praise God! We set up camp quickly and prepped for the water hike.
Water hike? Yes, a several mile water hike through a river. Why can’t you just hike along side the river you might ask, or at least that is what I was asking myself until we reached the entrance of The Narrows.
Solid rock walls jut up on either side of you, water running through the canyon reaching from wall to wall in most spots and the depth ranging from knee deep to over one’s head, but for the most part can be waded through. We hiked for several hours and had an incredible time. As evening came there was less sun in the canyon and it started to get much colder. We had been told about an epic waterfall that you could climb up and jump off of, so that was our goal. We only had a set amount of time before we knew we had to head back. If we stayed out too long it would be dangerously cold to hike all the way back in the cool spring water with no sun for heat, not to mention the shuttle to the trail head would stop running and we would have a several mile hike back to the van after having hiked 5 hours in the water. We had left most of the other hikers behind at a major junction in the canyon and it had been a while since we had seen any one else. The canyon began to tighten and the hiking became more difficult; we kept going, getting more and more excited as we went. With each boulder pile we climbed and each waterfall we scaled, I mentally calculated the chances that any one else was ahead of us and as the obstacles got more intense, I became more excited at the realization that we were the only ones out there!
Finally, we found the waterfall! There have been different points on this trip when we all have just been overcome with excitement and amazement at God’s creation and at the fact that we get to see so much of it like we are on this trip; this was one of those moments. The narrows was absolutely amazing and like nothing I have ever seen before. I couldn’t think of a better group of guys with which to explore such a place. This truly is the road trip of a life time, and it never would have happened if Liberty University had not believed in the adventure and made it all possible.
We goofed off at the waterfall for quite some time and took a lot of videos and pictures. It wasn’t until we started to hike back that the entire ROALT crew almost simultaneously realized we were so hungry we could probably have eaten our entire bus at that moment. Thankfully we have amazing cooks in the crew. Collin, originally from Malaysia, has proven his worth to the team through his many abilities. His cooking, like his other talents, is top notch. Phil from South Carolina, and “Jay” (Jonathan) from Georgia, are both southern boys; camp food is in their blood. When it comes to cooking things like chili, grits, gumbo and steak, look no further! The guys had gotten chicken and noodles and Alfredo when we were at Wal-Mart earlier so “Chicken Alfredo!!” quickly became a motivating slogan that would be shouted out randomly to essential replace “I’M HUNGRY!” We made it back and cooked up our dinner. We surprised Tim for his birthday with a steak cooked by none other then the steak master Phil Godley. Tim cut off a piece for each of us and it was truly amazing! We ate a delicious dinner and crashed for the night.
Please do not forget to Pray for Kornel, that God would continue to reveal Himself to Kornel and that Kornel would come to believe in Jesus as his personal savior.