Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Moab Reflections

This week we thought we would share some insights and reflections on the Moab Climbing Course from some of the students and instructors. This course was a challenging 10-day climbing and rappelling course that pushed some students to face fears they had never had to face before. The discussions and applications to life back home began well and will continue throughout the year as students keep building upon these experiences. We hope you enjoy their thoughts!

"I feel like God spoke to me through the silence I was able to experience on this course. It's always easy for my mind to drift when distractions are all around me. But during the solo times we were given, I could listen closer for God's voice, I could see his majesty in the rock all around me. And I could feel his presence when it was just me on the rock. It's peaceful to feel that sense of freedom." --Hawk

"Since it was my first time ever climbing, and having a healthy respect for heights, I was challenged to trust God was in control and have faith that he would take care of me and that the equipment would work. I have a new level of confidence that I can accomplish difficult things and work at them as hard as I do my favorite things."--Jase

"Since this is only my second EMH course and my third month at this school . . . I struggled to show my personality to the other kids. I wanted to be accepted by the other students, and I realized I was inhibiting  myself to not act and react to people as I normally would. I'm still trying to find a balance in this, but I know now--after talking to the students about it that night--that I will be accepted and that pleasing God when I am myself is all the pleasing I should worry about."--Grace

"Some of my favorite moments from the course were sleeping in my hammock, my first lead climb, and ultimate frisbee at the park. I learned a lot about climbing and gained a lot of confidence. It really encouraged me to strive to do new things and excel at old things."--Jacob

"My favorite moments came every time I had completed a climb. The realization that I did it, that I overcame the pain and struggle of the climb, that point when I was at the top."--Joel

"I was really impressed with students' ability to be vulnerable with each other; I think it was

really good for the community aspect of EMH. I was also really moved by the rest of the group's response to the vulnerability. We've got a really solid group of students who care about each and who each want to grow and challenge each other. 

"It was cool to see students learning and pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone in terms of both climbing and repelling and also in opening up and being vulnerable. I saw a huge growth in courage and hope that what students learn on the course they'll be able to apply to their everyday life and challenges." --Deanna, EMH Instructor

"The Moab course presents a different set of challenges than the backpacking courses as it incorporates rock climbing, canyoneering, cliff jumping, and quite a bit more driving. While the backcountry setting of the Sand Dunes course is not without its own set of challenges, the Moab course introduces a different way to experience God’s creation… by hanging off of the side of a cliff. Backpacking encourages quiet contemplation and focused reflection, whereas rock climbing and canyoneering shift the focus to an acute awareness of trust. Students experience this trust on many different levels. They must trust that the instructors will keep them safe on the rock wall, they must trust that the gear will hold in the event of a fall, and they must trust their peers as belayers.
The whole of this experience requires students to surrender control; They hold some degree of power as they cling to the wall, but the reality is that no one can hold on forever. At some point we all fall. 

"Pushing the limits of rock climbing is only made possible through the use of reliable equipment. Students must learn how to operate that equipment, but ultimately they are presented with a question of faith. Will this equipment save me? They are armed with the knowledge that the rope is strong enough to save their life but in order to demonstrate their trust in that knowledge, they must surrender full control to the equipment. In the same way, we all must learn to rely on one another when we fall, when we let go, when we fail. As we trust our belayer, we must also learn to lean on the strength of those around us and as we express full commitment when we trust the rope, we must also learn to rest in the assurance that God is in control… That He is able to rescue us if we place our trust in Him." --Mr. Euler, EMH Instructor

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