Last Spring when I was getting my internship nailed down with Church of the Open Door, Brett Ayers, the youth pastor, told me I would be going to Canada with the high schoolers. The moment I hard that I was looking forward to it. This past week was the trip and we took around 30 students and leaders to Canada! We went to a camp called Canadian Adventure which is a ministry of Silver Birch Ranch in White Lake, WI. Canadian Adventure is along the Montreal River and is one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. God’s creation is so beautiful up there and it was great to get away from technology, media, and the busyness of life for a week and enjoy God’s creation.
We did so many things while we were there that it is almost hard to remember all of them much less write about them. We did a lot of hiking and spent two days just doing that. We hiked to water falls called Hidden Falls and also hiked up a mountain called Mt. Sinai. We also did some team building activities the first two days. What we did before we got to Canada is we split all the students up into groups of 4 or 5. Each group had a leader, or two, that lead that team. Throughout the week the students did various things with their team. We did low ropes a few times and each team worked with each other to complete each low rope activity. Also, the teams would meet after the personal devotion time in the morning and discuss what they got out of their devotional time. I had the privilege to lead a team of four students with a college leader named Matt. We had two girls, Katie and Cheyenne, and two guys, Derek and Tyler, on our team. We had a blast as a team and it was an honor to get to know these students and watch the Lord work in their hearts all week. The first few days of the trip we stayed at the main Canadian Adventure camp and only did day activities like low ropes, hiking, swimming, frisbee, volleyball, canoeing, and things like that. On Wednesday was when the trip got really good. The camp has a few cabins along the river and they have one called Blackhawk that is about 30 miles up river. On Wednesday we loaded up the boats with luggage and food and headed up river. Being on the boat for a few hours was great and allowed us to have time to bond as a group. On the way upriver we stopped at a huge waterfall called Ten Miles Falls. We had lunch on the boat there and then got out and played in the waterfall. It was huge so it was fun to climb up parts of it, swim in it, and go under the water as it came crashing down. After awhile there we headed on upriver and got to our Blackhawk cabin. This cabin was just one big cabin with two side so the guys were on one side and the girls were on the other. We stayed at Blackhawk until Friday so while we were there we had no running water and things like that so all the meals were cooked over a fire which was awesome! Each team was assigned a meal so each team got to cook a meal as well as cleaning up and such. We had two great nights of singing and studying the Bible around the fire at Blackhawk! Thursday was a great day! We went up the river a mile or two from Blackhawk to a huge set of water falls called Golden Staircase. At the bottom of the falls there is a 20-30 foot cliff that is perfect for jumping off of. So we spent some time jumping off the cliff and also had lunch there at the bottoms of the falls. After lunch we did a two-hour solo time. For anyone who doesn’t know that term that just means it’s you alone with God for a certain period of time. We started from the bottom of the falls and just dropped students off in various places along the falls for about a two-mile stretch. They had two hours to do their devotions for the day, pray, sing, or anything that they wanted to connect with God. It was an awesome time for not just the students, but for me! After the two-hour solo time we all meet tat the very top of the falls and had a great time of worship. We all sat by the falls and sang worship songs for about an hour, it was awesome! If you thought Thursday was good, wait until you hear about Friday! So Friday was the highlight for me! There were nine students on the trip who wanted to be baptized. So on Friday morning me and Brett, well Brett lead and I just observed, a baptism class out by the fire. Brett talked to the students about what baptism was Biblically and how it is an outward picture of an inward reality. All the students understood it and were ready! We gathered all the students in the boats and headed back to the base of the cliff we jumped off of Thursday. There each of the nine students shared their salvation testimony and were baptized in the Montreal River, amen! It was awesome! I was privileged to get to help baptize three students! After the baptism we loaded up the boats and headed back to the main Canadian Adventure camp and had a great dinner. Friday night was when God blew us away! We gathered Friday night for our time and worship and little did we know we would end up singing till midnight! One of our leaders, Tia, led us all week with her acoustic guitar and on Friday we started singing and the students didn’t wait to stop! Students, and leaders, were lifting their hands, prayer, and singing their hearts out to God! After a few hours we broke up into our teams for a time of just sharing what God is doing in our hearts and it was great to hear my students on my team open up and share. On Saturday we wrapped up our study in Philippians and started our long journey back to PA. We drove through the night again and arrived back around 9am on Sunday.
Overall the trip was amazing! God worked in my heart and it was amazing seeing students changed by God and His Word all week! Below our some pictures from the trip. You can click on the pictures to make them bigger.
Here is a picture of all the leaders at the top of Golden Staircase!
Here our some pictures of the whole group. First picture was at Golden Staircase and the second picture was on top of Mt. Sinai.
Here is a picture of my group for the week! (Tyler, Matt, Katie, Me, Cheyenne, Derek)
This guy was an intern at Canadian Adventure so with both of us having the common bond for being an intern we had to get a picture together.
This is me jumping off the cliff. Not the best picture, but the only one I had of me jumping.
The best pictures of the whole trip, the baptisms! I helped baptize three of the students and you can see those picture below.
Here are a few pictures of me with some of the students!