I love the experience of climbing mountains and being high up. While some people really like going to the beach, I like going in the opposite direction. It’s not that I have anything against the ocean and the beach, I just like being up where I can see really far away. It might seem kind of silly, but I feel close to God when I am on a mountaintop. I’m not sure how well I can explain it, but I’ll try. In some way I experience God’s greatness and power when I go far away from where the hustle and bustle of the city is. The air is clean and it is quiet and peaceful. I can think better and praising God just seems so natural. Climbing for me, as strange as it sounds, is a form of worshiping God. I realize how great He is and I praise Him along the way to the top. Psalm 19:1-6 is one of my favorite psalms. It really resonates with me when I read how the beauty of God’s creation testifies of His greatness and glory.
Living here in Arequipa, we are surrounded by 3 massive volcanoes. They are beautiful and I feel the urge to escape the city and go climb them almost every time I see them. They make this city an incredible place to live. My teammate Jeremy Daggett and I share this passion for climbing. He found a group on Facebook that climbs these volcanoes and takes similar excursions out of the city and he and I were able to go with this group to climb the smallest of these 3 volcanoes in July. (Saying it’s small is sort of ironic as it is 18,093 feet in elevation.)
Being with this group is a natural way for me to share something I had never experienced with Peruvians that I didn’t know. Part of my job as a missionary is to meet people and become their friend, sharing life experiences. In this process opportunities arise in which God can be revealed to my new friends. I don’t always know what this process will look like, but I invite the Creator of this beautiful earth to speak and work through me so that the good news of Jesus can be shared with people I get to know and build deeper bonds with. I really believe that there is nothing more important than sharing Jesus with people, but most people will not listen if I just walk up to them without ever having met them and start teaching them about Jesus. There has to be some sort of foundation laid to start the process of sharing the good news about Jesus. If people get to know me and understand how genuinely interested in them I am, they are much more likely to embrace my passion for Christ.
So my prayer is that God bring non-believer mountain climbers together with believing mountain climbers like me so that He can be the focus of such excursions amongst more people of the outdoors.