Field Training in Mexico...Thank You Jesus!

The mountain in the background was our challenge for the day.
At lunch, as we scooped up our last bit of rice and beans, Michael asked, "Hey guys, could we go mountain climbing today during our free time?"  Chris and I exchanged a quick glance that said, "Why not?" and began making plans. 

We'd have to leave soon.  The closest mountain was a decent size, we didn't know where exactly to begin since the mountain was surrounded by people's private ranches, and free-time only lasted a few hours... 

This is a picture from atop the mountain.  We could see the dirt road
we came in on.  
From there our van looked REALLY small parked
by the rancher's barn, 
which meant we'd climbed REALLY high.
Can you see our van?
We headed out of town on a small dirt road and ended up at someone's ranch.  The owner smiled and welcomed us with a greeting we didn't understand.  We pointed at the mountain and acted out "hiking" as if we were playing charades.  He laughed and agreed, so we set out.  

Our friend Shelbey carefully choosing her next move.

Although we've hiked many mountains as a family, navigating through a vertical cactus labyrinth was something new.  

We eagerly ascended singing songs of praise to Our Almighty God who gave us such a majestic world to enjoy!

Periodically, as we boosted kids up over large boulders surrounded by intimidating vegetation, we considered the challenge of the descent.  However, the excitement of reaching the top washed the apprehension away and propelled us upward.  The kids led the way and chose the least cluttered route.  

Inch by inch we found our way to the peek, which was glorious...

The Carmodys along with our missionary friends - Shelbey, Mariam and Michael.

Despite our crunched schedule, we spent time atop the mountain reading scripture and praying. Standing so close to heaven (elevation = 6,000ft) we felt especially open to the Lord's voice. Among the many things we've learned during our training, we've learned to always make time for prayer..Thank you Jesus!!!

We had a brief tutorial on climbing down a (steep) mountain, which is significantly different than climbing up... especially when the route is cluttered with painful obstacles.  We mentally prepared ourselves for falling into at least six cactus each and decided it would be a blessing if we encountered less. We talked about redemptive suffering and the importance of offering up our hardships for others. We've been taught to praise the Lord for all the difficulties we face because we know they are opportunities to grow in faith and dependence on Our Loving Father.  This was such a practical application of all we've learned...who would have guessed?  

Thank you Jesus for this unexpected field training. 

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