In late summer, our students and interns were not only exposed on rock faces and exposed to the elements for 15 days, but they were exposed to the reality of God and to one another. Here’s what they learned.
Praying specifically each morning about my fears calmed me down and gave me a sense of peace, and I felt more ready to conquer whatever the day held for me. Meeting this goal each morning then helped me learn in a very real way that God is bigger than my fears and is present with me as I face them.
In the past I’ve had the attitude of “yeah, God is real, but I need something to prove that. I need evidence. I see nature - I get that. But I need a personal experience.” And this trip hit me hard with that. Even though God pushed me to my limits, He showed me through that how real He is.
Graduation was held in early June. We are very proud of our students who finished their California high school graduation requirements, but are continuing their time as students at Christian Encounter.
*CEM’s annual 15-day backpacking trip serves as an opportunity for our students and interns to unplug from the responsibilities and distractions of daily life and experience the great outdoors. CEM has been leading wilderness backpacking trips since its inception over 40 years ago.
Our participants learned the importance of these phrases as they took turns ascending the rock face, some more than once. But rock climbing was only a small portion of their 15 day trip. On the first day of the trip, they completed some team initiatives that gave them a taste of what was ahead. During the remainder of the trip, our lean and mean group of eight learned the importance of communication, perseverance, and trust as they took turns navigating unfamiliar terrain to get to their camping spot each night. And though they unwittingly left their spice kit in their last resupply, they ate pretty well, too.
In my physical and emotional challenges, it was important to trust God and know that He wasn’t going to give up on me, so I shouldn’t give up on me either.
In August and September, Salena Berger and Austin Sather stepped into staff positions upon finishing their two-year and one-year internships, respectively. Salena came on as a full-time receptionist, a position formerly shared by two people. Austin joined Dave LaRash in the Maintenance Department as the Maintenance Coordinator.
"The things that CEM enforces have allowed me to look at life from another person’s ideas, even if I don’t agree with them. I’ve learned that being able to take in someone else’s perspective on how the world should be run is a good skill to have...I’ve excelled much farther than I thought I could have at age 17. But, I believe that aside from my schooling, the one thing that the staff and interns here have taught me is that life is a lot easier when you’re obedient to authority and you do what’s expected of you. Even if in your eyes it’s illogical, know that the world won’t always be there to spell things out and make sense to you. You can’t protest against everything life throws at you...Thank you to everyone who had enough faith to pray for my stay. God is the best foundation I’ve ever had. He has been here with me every day, and the things I’ve learned and experienced through Him are life-changing. I feel the most complete I’ve ever felt in my life."
- Kalani, 2018 CEHS Graduate
“Look what God can do.”
I am 19 years old, and I have been at the Ranch for one year and four months. I came to the Ranch with the goals of getting my diploma, and wanting to prove people wrong about not being able to get it. When I was a kid, I went through foster care. My adopted parents later told me, that most kids who go through foster care do not graduate from high school. It was at that time I decided that I would get my diploma at any cost. As it turned out, it only cost me hard work and dedication. I had both, so I made sure that I used them. Through strict determination and hard work I managed to get onto honor roll for each quarter while being at the Ranch. This last quarter I earned 101% in two classes. This is the best that I have ever done in school."
- Dorrie, 2018 CEHS Graduate