Unbearable Beauty

photo 1-12“I am roaring drunk with the lust of life and adventure and unbearable beauty.” – Everett Ruess

This month I’ve been totally wowed by the incredible world around us. Above is just one moment of the adventure – jumping off of a sandy beach in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

From the intricacy of tiny white flower petals to the expanse of a massive canyon, every iota of our world speaks of passion, love, and beauty. The great outdoors have a way of making you seem small and insignificant, and giving you a fresh perspective.

But the existence of this unbearable beauty everywhere begs an explanation.

Ann Voskamp asks simply “How can we behold loveliness – and say that this world looks like this if there were no God?”

Truly, through everything God has made, His eternal power and divine nature become visible – so that we have no excuse for not believing (Romans 1:20).
This month has been a month of healing and refreshment – I got dirty with my sister in the Flagstaff Mud Run and guided youth rafting down the San Juan River. I also had the opportunity to spend wonderful moments with my extended family at a gathering to celebrate my Papa’s life, and my Granny from Colorado flew in to visit – these are memories that I truly cherish. I also preached a sermon on how God’s power to heal points us to the wonder of God.

As I leave tomorrow to return to Boston, you can join me in thanking God for the restoration He has done in my heart and soul these past few weeks. I am filled with excitement and anticipation for what God will do this fall – The launch of Journey Church on September 28th, and 10 Days Boston from September 24th to October 4th!

Spending time in nature attunes me to the age-old rhythms of time, of wind and water – God is so big! Yet that He concerns himself with the ins and outs of our day-to-day lives continually astounds me.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3)

In His abundant, unbearably beautiful love,



God’s Fun Side

As my bike tires sped along the gray asphalt path, spring green leaves canopied above and drizzly mist tickled my skin. I smiled, as the first-time-this-year pleasantly warm temperatures filled me with joy, inside and out.

All of the sudden, the skies ruptured open, flinging sheets of rain downward. I watched as large drops of water splattered onto every dry corner of my clothing, making it tie-dyed, then solid, until every ounce of me was solidly soaked. While other street-goers scampered for shelter, my legs continued pedaling, the water separating around my bike like the parting of the Red Sea. I actually enjoyed getting wet in a warm summer rain, and really, once you’re wet, you’re still wet.

I had been thinking about a lot of things that day, and came to understand that I had lost a bit of my sense of wonder of following Jesus. Somehow, amidst all the ministry meetings, bible studies, and Sunday services, following Jesus had become a bit dry – which is a sign that something needed to change, as Jesus is never boring.

So I prayed, “God, can you show me your fun side?”

A burst of lightning flashed above me, simultaneous with a deafening clap of thunder.

A few seconds later, my bike tire nearly ran over a red rose right in the road in front of me.

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 6.45.06 PM

What a cool way for Jesus to answer that prayer! He is so fun, such a romancer.

Yet the most ironic part about this story is that when I got home and checked my email, my friend had written me, saying, “This morning I saw this beautiful red flower all by itself in this abandoned parking lot with lots of garbage everywhere. For some reason I thought of you. You are that beautiful red flower in all its greatness and glory among the world. Keep shining bright Kelly!”

Wow! Isn’t that cool? Yes, God most definitely has a fun side. I dried and hung the rose on my wall to remember that we must never lose our sense of wonder in following Jesus.


Have you ever wanted to go on a treasure hunt?

ImageTreasure hunting is no longer just for children, or those storybook figures that find dusty maps in attics that fall apart at the seams. Whether you’re five or fifty, anyone can go on a spiritual treasure hunt.

You might be thinking, what exactly is a spiritual treasure hunt? It’s simple. First, you pray and ask God for clues of the people that you might encounter, people that are ready to receive Jesus’ love. The clues could be locations, a person’s name or appearance, or prayer needs. You write these down and use these words of knowledge to lead you to the “treasures,” the people who correspond in some way to the clues. Truly, it’s a grand adventure just waiting to be had – I have found this prophetic evangelism to not only be effective, but also a lot of fun!

At Journey Church we have life groups where we meet together weekly to grow deeper together in our relationships with one another and with God. My life group is geared around outreach and living a missional life, and last week our group went treasure hunting. What God did through this evening is CRAZY!

First, Leah and I prayed together, and we wrote down the various clues that we felt like God was speaking to us. These ranged from a streetlight, to Bob, to heavy bags, as well as the color red, a twisted ankle, the “pit,” and more.


Then, we departed and asked the Lord to guide our steps…I felt like we were supposed to go to the Harvard Square “pit” first, and there we found a man sitting on a table with two huge canvas bags. We came up to him and said, somewhat hesitantly “Hi – this might seem a little odd, but we’re on a treasure hunt, and we think you’re on our list.” We showed him the clues that pointed to him, and then just listened and heard his story.

He kept trying to convince us that he wasn’t our treasure, but about halfway through our discussion, I felt prompted to ask him if he had a twisted ankle. To my surprise, he looked at me with wide eyes and said, “Actually, yes, as a matter of fact!” He told us how when he was walking there that night, a car had bumped into his foot and bruised his ankle.

We asked if we could pray for him, and he readily accepted. We asked God to bless his life and new job, to give him a happy summer (his request) as well as heal his ankle completely. He had no pain after we prayed, and it was obvious that the Lord had led us to him as our first treasure of the evening!

We then ventured downstairs and reviewed our clues, one of which was “guitar.” We stood in the middle of the subway station, watching and waiting, and not ten seconds later we noticed someone walking by that was carrying a guitar. He also had red on! We started talking to him, trying to find clues on our paper that pointed that he was our treasure, and I randomly asked him, “Is your name Bob?” convinced that it wouldn’t be, because he was Asian. To my surprise, he said, “How did you know that?” Turns out that he as from Taiwan but his American name was Bob!


The crazy thing is that two days later, Leah had a dream that she saw Bob again, and this actually happened last night when we did our “Free Hugs” outreach!

Yes, God still speaks today, and He will lead us when we trust Him and step out to share his love.

Now, treasure hunting is something that has to be experienced to really appreciate it…so go out and do it!  I’d encourage you to check out Kevin Dedmon Ministries to learn more about Treasure Hunting and here’s a sheet that you can use to go on your own treasure hunt!

I can’t wait to hear about your crazy awesome Jesus stories and the people that He will lead you too!

Made to Sing

Lately, as I stroll into my ministry meetings with my helmet clipped to my backpack, I get many stares.

“You…biked here? Today?” As if I just cart around my helmet for fun.

“Yep. I bike in the winter. It’s how I get around,” I respond, nonchalantly. And I usually get a blank stare, as if someone told you they had just walked to the moon.

Yesterday, I was toodling along the road on my bike here in Cambridge, heading to the Journey Church office. My head was spinning with all the things I had to do that afternoon – the people to reach out to, the all-important meetings, the emails to respond to. Somehow no matter what I do, my to-do list never seems to shrink. Today there was something that struck me though: I noticed that all the birds were singing.on’t they know that it is winter? That February in the northeast is absolutely, positively bone-chilling? I’m pretty sure it would be warmer to crawl into a grocery store freezer and stand in front of a full-blast fan than to bear the chilly gusts of the New England winter.

In fact, I bike like a madwoman not to save time but to keep my extremities from freezing and falling off. As icicles form on my nose, my feet spin in circles generating a nugget of heat inside my down jacket. My greatest fear is that my body parts will suddenly stop moving and I will keel over, frozen to my bike, crashing to the ground as a living icicle for the world to laugh at.

In that moment I was so numb I probably wouldn’t even noticed the birds, except that they were positioned strategically on a stark stick tree at a stop sign, their tiny claws clinging to the icy brown branch, singing their little hearts out.

(photo credit http://3.bp.blogspot.com/)

And in that moment I said, “God, I wish I were a bird like that, that I was just made to sing.”

And I heard Him speak to me clearly in my heart, “You are.”

And that just wrecked me.

I was made to sing. Just like the birds, I was made to sing, to dance, to run barefoot through meadows with hands outstretched and scale big trees to watch the sun’s colors fall. Yet as we grow up, life turns into a never-ending to-do list, with more responsibilities and people to attend to than time in the day. If we’re not careful, we can be consumed with doing instead of being, with completing instead of singing.

Meadow near Tiraspol, Moldova

Life as a bird seems so much simpler. You just wake up each day, eat a bit of whatever food you find, then perch somewhere and sing to the world. In fact, the birds were one of Jesus’ greatest teachers. In Matthew 6:26, he tells his disciples, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

Now hear me out. I’m not saying we have to neglect our daily responsibilities, or pretend that the realities of life don’t exist. I’m just saying that in the midst of life, we must make time to sing.

What do you do that makes your heart sing?

The Grand Canyon, Symbiosis and the Church

Having spent the majority of my childhood in Flagstaff, Arizona, I tend to refer to The Grand Canyon as my backyard, a giant God-shaped playground that I spent many hours trekking, swimming, climbing, and laughing in. My dad used to wake us up at 3:00 am by whistling a descending “canyon wren” tune, then plop my sister & I into the car. We would drive for two hours, then wake up at the beginning of the trailhead, where we descended into the darkness, one foot in front of the other, the only light streaming from our headlamps stuck firmly to our foreheads. As we stepped down into the gigantic black abyss, the eastern horizon would turn from black, to navy, to light blue, and the world around would become visible, before finally the sun burst forth, cascading light in every direction. At this point, we would celebrate by frying up crispy southwestern-spiced hashbrowns with our backpacking stove.

In high school, I took a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon, and was hooked. Determined to become a river guide, I worked a few summers as a raft guide learning to read the river and navigate the Canyon’s rapids. Here’s a shot of me “hanging” off the edge of the canyon in high school…


So you can imagine how thrilled I was when my dad received his private permit to raft down the Grand Canyon for July of 2013.  My parents had always dreamed that our family would go down the Canyon together, and although it had been twenty years since he had originally applied for the permit, God’s timing is always perfect. After coming off an intense 11-month mission trip around the world, this trip through the canyon was quite therapeutic for me. What I needed most was time to rest, recover, and reflect on this crazy place we call our world. It turns out that the Canyon was just what the doctor ordered.

The canyon’s waters washed over me, cleansing me inside and out. Its light warmed my sun-bathing body, radiating off the red sandstone rocks below. The smooth pebbles and limestone boulders massaged my feet as I climbed up the side-canyons barefoot, the trickle of cascading waters filling my ears. Some rapids rejuvenated my child-like spirit and others left me awe-struck, reminding me of the power of the mighty Colorado River. Here’s a few shots of our journey:

   BS_Grand Canyon Jubilee_2013_0665BS_Grand Canyon Jubilee_2013_0324   Fotor072210011BS_Grand Canyon Jubilee_2013_0743

The Grand Canyon can be one of the greatest teachers you can come by. And this visit in the canyon left me with an appreciation for the interdependency of organisms in nature. God creates things to depend on one another – a mutual relationship in which both benefit. Each one, without the other, isn’t quite complete.

Take the relationship between the Sacred Datura and the Sphinx Moth, for example. The datura flaunts beautiful white trumpet-shaped flowers, some almost five inches tall.


Each bud begins in a tight spiral, and as dusk approaches, the flower gradually loosens its grip before finally “popping” open, releasing a delightfully sweet fragrance. Call us crazy, but my mom bought a datura plant, and my family has spent many a night sitting in lawn chairs beside this plant, waiting for hours in anticipation for the final pop. While many teenagers went to the movies, my sister and I watched plants. I’m pretty sure that qualifies you as a nerd.

Because of the depth of the datura flowers, not many insects can pollinate it. However, the sphinx moth is hand-crafted with a six to eight inch long probiscis tongue. As the moth indulges, it becomes “drunk” by the plant’s powerful hallucinogenic composition. I’ve seen sphinx moths hovering around the datura at dusk, just waiting for them to open like the craze of a drug-addict waiting to be satisfied. This symbiotic relationship is just one of numerous mutual symbiotic relationships that make up our world.

We seem to understand that plant and animal species need one another to survive, and if even one organism is removed, the whole system is altered. Think of how much we fight when even one species becomes endangered. The population of Humpback Chub (a species of fish native to Grand Canyon) was devastated when the Colorado River went from being warm and muddy to cold and clear after the dam was put in in the 1960’s. Many people fought to save the species, with hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent to relocate native fish in hopes they would continue reproducing.

My question is – Why don’t we have the same approach with one another – people of different ethnicities and backgrounds, or even denominations? Why do we fight harder for fish than we do for our brothers and sisters who are hurting? Why is it hard for us to understand that everything that God has created is made to mutually depend on each another – humans included? Yet still, we fight, we war, we hate…

“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ and the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensible…(1 Corinthians 12:21-22)

The word here for “indispensible” means more than just necessary – the Greek word used implies being connected by bonds of nature or friendship. In fact, the word “symbiosis” originally referred to people living together in community. It wasn’t until 1877, when Albert Bernhard Frank used symbiosis to refer to the mutualistic relationship in lichens.

I’ll throw out one more term. Remember the word “ecosystem” from science class? It’s defined as “the complex of a community of organisms and its environment functioning as an ecological unit.” We think of this term as referring to the natural world – but what if we think of the church as an ecosystem, as a complex community of organisms and our environments functioning as a unit? Really, that’s all we were created to be.

But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it (1 Corinthians 12:24-27).

I don’t have many answers, but I do know one thing: Nature is one of our greatest teachers. Let’s continue to learn from one another and from the world around us, putting hindrances aside, so we can be the body of Christ that we’re made to be.

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The Orang Asli: A village of joy

Last Saturday, we had the opportunity to visit the Orang Asli, an aboriginal tribe of Malaysia. It was a long journey – We took a ferry across to the mainland of Malaysia, then drove for three to four hours, then hiked for a bit. Finally, we arrived.

These aboriginal people were facing extreme poverty, and. Pastor Choo has been doing what she can to help them by delivering goods and supplies. In order to get to the Christian village, we had to pass through a Muslim village. We found out that the people in the Muslim village have been stealing some of the supplies we have been passing onto the Christian village, so Pastor Choo told us that we were going to be giving the Muslim village some supplies today as well. It was one of the first times that Pastor Choo has ever worked with people in the Muslim village, and it was amazing to see how surprised and genuinely thankful they were that we would do this for them. I feel like God has really opened a door into that community due to the generosity of Pastor Choo and her congregation.


Food and clothing supplies

We then walked down the hill  and waited at the edge of the water for a few minutes, while some of the village men brought the boats across. We hopped in, and then floated across a lake to the Christian village, a tribal people of about 100 whom live on a small peninsula in the Malaysian jungle. The bamboo structures in this village were simple, yet solid. It was incredible to hear about their way of life – the men hunt during the day (mainly monkey and lizards), while the women take care of the children. When we were on the island, I could hardly believe that we were in the year 2013…their way of life was so tribal. And it was truly an honor to be the first white people that had ever been on the island.


Yet, there was something about the way they lived that I really respected – I believe what intrigues me most is its simplicity. Pastor Choo calls this people Happy Valley Church, and I began to understand why as the children sang songs and danced for us. Each of the children radiated the light of Christ; and mothers seemed to be so genuinely happy and filled with joy, just to be living. I could see Christ all over them!


I’m reminded of when Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3). The original meaning of the word “poor” in this verse is not just a lack of things. It means someone who is empty, completely dependent on someone else. The people in this village knew that everything came from God, and their day-to-day existence relied completely on their relationship with Him. For this, they were shown the kingdom of heaven, filled with an unexplainable joy unlike anything in this world.


I wish I could take you, all my American friends, to see this village. We don’t need to have all the stuff to be happy…we’re so mistaken if we think that satisfaction comes from things. Really, all we need is Him. Jesus is the ultimate source of our joy – because only in Him can we be truly satisfied.

Although I can’t take you there in person, the beauty of technology is that you can go to this village of joy on your computer! So sit back, relax, and take in the way of life of the Orang Asli:

When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed.

Our mouths were filled with laughter; our tongues with songs of joy.

Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has great things for them.”

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

(Psalm 126: 1-3)

The hardest thing I have ever done

was making it up to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. And that’s saying a lot, because I’ve done a lot of tough workouts before, being an athlete for eleven years of my life and rowing at the pre-elite level.

Yet there was something about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro that topped every other thing that I have done. When you are doing a tough workout, you feel like you are dying physically. But when I was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, not only was physical exhaustion involved, but also the toughest of nature’s elements – extreme cold which made it so you couldn’t move, as well as high altitude which made it so you couldn’t breathe. The cold, exhaustion, and altitude combined to make you a little loopy, quite incoherent, and lose all motivation for going on. Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it?


Having a few days off of ministry at the end of this month, thirteen people on our squad decided to take on this challenge of climbing to the top of Africa and the world’s highest standalone mountain. Although many peaks can be done in one shot, Mount Kilimanjaro takes multiple days in order to let your body to adjust to the high altitude – the summit is 19,341 feet tall. While the recommended length of time is six days, we chose to do it in five days, naturally.

The first day we started at the Park Headquarters (5,905 feet,) were treated to a delicious lunch, then trekked up the mountain to Mandara Hut (9,000 feet.)

Here is a photo of Katy and I, with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background:


The next day we woke up and hiked to Horombo Hut (12,335 feet), and then the third day we hiked to Kibo Hut (15,518 feet).


That night was the epic night, the night that made us say that hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro was the stupidest and yet most glorious thing any of us have ever done. I’ll give you the play-by-play:

11:01pm – Alarm goes off. Seriously? I don’t think I even slept. I wonder if it counts as a night’s sleep if you wake up at 11pm. Put on hiking clothes: Five layers on top, Four on bottom. Watch Charlie put underwear around his arms to keep them warm. Yes, we’re that desperate and underprepared. I wonder how badly I’m going to freeze.

11:35pm – African tea & ginger cookies. The hot water feels so good in my throat and stomach…Super thankful for the way that caffeinated tea wakes up my body.

11:50pm – Finish packing my pack. Really excited and nervous. Steal Matt’s idea of stuffing his down sleeping bag inside of his outer jacket to keep warm. Guides look at my jacket as if I am crazy and try to convince me not to wear my sleeping bag up the mountain. Wait for others outside.


12:10am – Hold hands and pray for our journey. Take our first steps up the mountain. We’re really doing this. We’re really climbing the highest mountain in Africa. I concentrate on following the footsteps of the person in front of me. Step, step, step. Guides keep telling us, “Pole, pole” – slowly, slowly. Is it possible to walk any slower? I despise marching in a line like this.

12:34am – Hands feel like they are going to fall off. Guides help me put on my big gloves.  This is really hard. We have at least five more hours of this? I wish I could just get zapped to the top of the mountain.

12:45am – Water break. My gloved hands can’t undo my backpack, so the guides have to unzip it for me. Then I can’t unscrew the bottle, so they do that too. I feel completely, utterly helpless – I can’t even give myself water.

1:08am – Turn on my ipod: worship music – gotta love Will Reagan. Feeling really good. Energy rising within me. Take a deep breath, then sing along to the words “There is power in the name of Jesus.” Have to stop to breathe for a minute. Note to self: don’t sing songs at 18,000 feet altitude while hiking up a mountain.

1:39am – Thank you, God, for the full moon that is guiding our steps. It’s so light that we don’t even have to turn on our headlamps. Stunningly beautiful. But the moon also lights up the mountain behind us – it is so tall. It doesn’t even seem like we’ve made any progress. How am I ever going to make it?

2:07am – Water break. Get real cold. I see others keep going up the mountain, so I follow them. Realize it’s the wrong group so sit down on the hill and wait. I am alone and thirsty and yet can’t open my waterbottle. This sucks.

2:34am – Water break. Shivering. Sit down and don’t want to get up. All my body wants to do is rest. Dream of laying down and sleeping.

3:00am – Ipod battery runs out. Motivation is dwindling – Now you’re going to have to fill me up, God. Hear that Travis and Caleb are puking. See one of our guides stumble. Say a prayer for each of them.

3:34am – Moon goes behind the horizon. I can’t see anymore. Breeze picks up; getting frigidly cold. I notice Megan’s waterbottle has frozen solid. Whose idea was this? I wonder why I ever thought this was a good idea.

.4:00am – I can’t do this. It’s too hard. I feel like I’m dying. This was stupid, really stupid. Repeat “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” in my head. It kind-of helps. Or does it?

4:48am – This is torture. How much money did I pay to do this? Someone says, “This is hell on earth” and I tend to agree…Everyone keeps asking how much farther we have to go and somehow the numbers keep increasing. I wonder how that is possible or if my mind is just not working anymore.

5:08am – Dizzy. Very dizzy. Stumbling. Thankful for my poles to help me so I don’t fall completely over. Walking, one foot in front of the other. Wanting nothing more than to stop and catch my breath…Then when we do stop, my body starts shivering and I want nothing more than to keep going. I can’t decide if I want to stop or go. Go or stop.

5:13am – Porters help me to get out my caramel/chocolate candy from my bag. Sugar tastes good in my mouth and gives me a little energy. How much longer!?!

5:37am – Faint blue in the horizon. That means that the sun is coming, which means warmth. Praise the Lord! Every few steps I look behind to the ever-changing colors, which diverts my attention from the pain inside and outside my body.

6:00pm – Porters say we have fifteen more minutes to the top of Gilman’s Point. We can do it! Then they lead us up, over, and through massive boulders. Seriously!?! It takes so much energy to pull your body up even one step. Yet we have to make it for the sunrise…

6:18am – Make it to the top of Gillman’s Point – hallelujah! The reddish orange clouds are so beautiful. The sun comes over the horizon, bathing everything in beautiful glorious light. I’ve never been so happy to see the sun. Just like Jesus – from dark to light. I feel like laughing and crying at the same time but my body can’t figure it out. I eat another piece of candy and leave some for the others.

6:30am – Have to pee but my fingers are so numb that I can’t undo the button on my pants. I have to ask one of our guides to help and somehow I don’t care how awkward it is.

6:43am – Set off for Uhuru Peak, the actual mountain summit. The guides say that our journey from here is relatively flat, thank goodness. Feeling a little better now.

7:18am – Who said that this was a flat walk? There are so many hills. Up, up, up. This place looks like Mars. My body wants to stop. I don’t care anymore. Can’t I just turn around now? P1030328 Stitch

7:49am – Others pass us coming down the mountain. They tell us, “Good job! You don’t have much longer.” I wonder how they can be so cheerful when I feel like crap.

8:08am – Make it to Uhuru Point. It’s the end but it doesn’t even matter anymore. Eat some peanuts. Give some to Ashley but she can’t figure out how to get them from her glove to her mouth. Try to smile for a picture but fail miserably


8:45am – Start our way back down. Feel terrible and want nothing more than to feel better. Eat an apple at Gillman’s Point and stare at the massive cliff in front of us – We came up this whole way? Did last night really happen or was it just a terrible dream, a nightmare really?

P1030315 Fuse

9:38am – Slide down the mountain “skiing” down the gravel slopes. Guides tell me to go “pole, pole” but I ignore them. The only thing on my mind is laying in my bed and sleeping

11:00am – Pull off my shoes. A layer of gravel pours out onto our floor. Crawl up into my bed and sleep…

1:00pm – Wake up. Have soup and fruit for lunch, then head back down the mountain. Walk for 2.5 hours, then sleep at Horombo Hut.


All in all, we hiked for about fourteen hours that day. I’ve never been a part of something that was so paradoxical – It was miserable, and yet glorious. Tiring, yet life-giving. When you’re climbing, you want nothing more than to die, and yet afterwards you want to do it again. As we discussed our experiences, Bryan put it best: “It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, yet worth every penny.”

I’m learning that there’s something about trials and hardships that is surprisingly addicting. Romans 5:3 says “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” When we engage in trials, in pushing ourselves beyond our limits, God does something in our hearts that does not leave us unchanged. Indeed, trials are God’s tools for molding us and building us into the people that He wants us to become. Some hardships are small and some are 19,000 feet tall, but when there is none of you left, you have no other options than to invite God into the equation.

Personally, I know that I couldn’t have made it up the mountain without Christ’s strength within me. Because when I was weak, He became strong. Yes, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was the hardest thing that I have ever done. But I wouldn’t have traded this experience for the world.

Here’s the awesome video that my squadmate KJ made about our journey up Kilimanjaro:

WR Month 5: The Adventure from KJ Blair on Vimeo.