by EMH student Hawk White
When I first began attending DPCA as a freshman, I was scared to death to sit in a classroom full of strangers and listen to a teacher present material that I would later be tested on. But everyone at this school welcomed me with open arms, teachers and students alike. It made the transition from homeschooling to DPCA so much easer. Everything new that I experienced here excited me, but nothing excited me as much as EMH.
I love to be in the outdoors more than anything on this earth, especially when I get to be with friends. EMH offered all of this. What could be better than spending days at a time out of the normal regime of school, mountain and rock climbing, hiking, rappelling, exploring, and simply enjoying God’s creation? Spending time with friends while doing all of these things truly makes for some of the best times of my life. Those are the main reasons I participate in EMH.
Some of the best times I've had thus far this year took place on the Sand Dunes course at the beginning of the year. It’s always tough when you have to step out of your comfort zone for days at a time with people you don't really know that well. But somehow this trip was different than ones I've been on before. Everybody acted like family, even though we had new people from out of state. Nobody complained, people started to stretch their limits to entirely new levels, and everyone was willing to take risks, whether it meant hiking farther or being able to walk on steep terrain and keep pushing forward. Nobody ever got to the point of saying, “I can't go on”; there was always one more step to take. That was probably the biggest highlight this year for me.
During this course I learned that I'm not very good at dealing with people, nor am I very patient with them. This course forced me to confront these issues, and I’ve slowly seen God change my reaction to people. This is the greatest thing I’ve been able to take away from this program for myself so far. I'm far from being the man I want to be, but this EMH program has helped me to see the man I need to be, whether it's helping and interacting with my group around meals or taking the initiative to be the bad guy for a moment so that things can get done. Or even if it’s as simple as being a good listener and following instructions well, even when it’s hard.
I can't wait to see how the upcoming courses play out. I know God is working to help me become a better man through this program, and I can’t think of a better way to spend my upperclassman years of high school than to be involved in this school and EMH.
Ekklesia Mountain High is a boarding and day-student program for high school juniors and seniors at Darren Patterson Christian Academy, in which approximately forty days of wilderness experience and leadership training is integrated with rigorous academics in DPCA's Biblically-centered environment. To learn more, please visit the school's website at www.dpcaweb.org, and the EMH program's website at www.emhweb.org.