Monday, June 30, 2008

Go Take A Hike!

Ben took me serious when he disturbed me for the 1,000th time the other day. I turned to him and said, "Dude, go take a hike!"

Well, he did. As you can see by the photo, he started walking North...straight out of the city and straight up the mountain....and up...and up...and up. Cochabamba sits in a valley, with a mountain range on every side. The mountains are 14,000 to 16,500 feet high. Our house is at about 9,000ft. Ben and some other people decided that they did not like breathing, so they went to climb the highest peak, called Mount Tunari.

It was an all day affair. Ben said that the climb wasn't that was just walking uphill, except for, in his words, "The part that could kill you if you slipped." That makes a parent feel good!

Anyway, Ben said that all you had to do was keep walking, one foot after the other. But after about 14,000 ft they had to keep stopping. No one was tired, but no one could breathe. They were all gasping and gasping. Ben said that he will never take breathing for granted again.

Another thing happened. They had hired a guide to take them to the peak. Well, Mount Tunari has two peaks...the one Ben is on and the other one behind him. They were supposed to go to the other one, but the guide got lost. They found out as they approached the wrong peak that this was the first time he had been a guide (although he did not lie...this fact was not disclosed before the climb). There was a turning point, a pivotal decision had to be made and he went the wrong way. Due to weather and time, they were not able to backtrack and go to the right peak. I told Ben that he, Jacob, Caleb and I will do it in the summer (it is winter now). Only this time we will make sure we have a good guide.

I see a couple of lessons to learn from this little excursion. First of all, how often do we take for granted the little things in life...things we never think about until they are gone? Ben couldn't breathe....but this was the first time he had even thought about breathing since moving to Bolivia. God blesses us constantly, in thousands of ways....and many times we just suck the air in and go about our business. One in particular that I have been thinking about lately is the importance of friends and family. What a blessing! Relationships, sharing struggles, victories, laughter and tears! It is incredible to have the ability to walk through life with your family, spouse, children, siblings and the family of God.

But do you take it so much for granted that you don't think about it or do it? I know that I did not miss it until moving to the mission field where suddenly the language barrier stopped the development of relationships. Praise God for my family!

Another thing that we actually used in a family devotion. It makes a big difference who you decide to follow! The guide passed himself off as knowledgeable. He seemed like the right choice. He even charged them for the privilege of following him. Yet, he did not know what he was doing. How often do we follow the crowd, a political leader, image, ideology or religion without really checking into the credentials of the leader? Are we following a person or a group of people because they are right? Or is it because we think that they will lead us to our emotional end that we desire? Or is it just because? God has given us the Holy Spirit, and the Book Of Truth-The Bible, to guide us in our ethical, moral and...well in all of our decisions. Do we use it?

Just thinking in Bolivia!