This week I am in my happy place – the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA). Last week 27 youth and leaders were at Camp Refuge in Iowa. This week, eight of us are headed to the Canadian border on the youth Boundary Waters trip.

I love the BWCA – brilliant night skies that bring Psalm 8 to life, lakes that stretch in endless procession like strings of blue pearls, and the chance to see a moose or bear or wolf. And yet it will be the hardest I’ve worked physically since COVID. Paddling, portaging, and sleeping on the ground don’t come as easy as it once did. And while we have had drought, the BWCA has had weeks of rain this summer, so the mosquitos are said to be extra bothersome. Even so, I love it.

 I hope the experience that the youth have this week of God and God’s creation will make a permanent impression on their souls. They could have chosen something easier to do this summer, but they chose to challenge themselves for the sake of an unforgettable experience.

May you do the same. Do something challenging for God this summer. Step out of your comfort zone. Volunteer for a ministry (maybe working with youth?), go on a mission trip, sing in worship, help a stranger, give generously, love extravagantly. Take a risk for the chance to experience God in a fresh way. I bet it will be worth it.

Pastor Mark

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory in the heavens.
  – Psalm 8:1