My in-laws run a wilderness camp called Discovery Ministries. It is a ministry that helps people overcome personal challenges and conflict. Being a ministry, it obviously focuses on placing trust in God while pushing people out of their comfort zones. They lead challenge trips, which involve hiking in the wilderness for day to a couple of weeks; facilitate group discussions and interpersonal conflict sessions; and offer retreat and camping facilities. At the core of their philosophy is the use of experiential education to bring about personal growth—mentally, physically, and spiritually.
I value their work. The United States is a country that has begun to lose its connection to the natural world. We are lost without our televisions or smartphones. We have difficulty relating with one another despite greater technological connectivity. And I feel that the church in the United States desperately needs growth—mentally, physically, and spiritually. I worked in a Christian book store and encountered many people who couldn’t deal with conflict. Many of the Christians I have encountered are passive aggressive—we kill with insincere kindness. We have also made our faith into one of head knowledge, often bypassing the heart (except when singing worship songs or reading Christian literature or feeling good about how much God loves us), especially when it comes to relating to people who do not share our beliefs. We like to box ourselves in a safe Christian bubble that constantly reaffirms our beliefs and (more importantly) our feelings. We have often ignored the practical aspects of Christ’s teaching: forgiving others, loving others, caring for others, and having mercy on others. We tend to proclaim what we think is best for the world, always within the safety our Christian bubble.
This is why I value the work of Discovery Ministries: they encourage Christians (and those who are not Christians) to deal with the difficulties of life by taking them out of their comfort zone. They provide an environment that fosters encouragement, growth, challenge, and forces people to actually relate to one another.
Next month I will be participating in a 24 hour hike-a-thon for Discovery Ministries. They rely on donations to pay salaries and maintain the facilities around the camp. They recently built a new office area. It is usable, but they do not have the money to finish it.
I’ve set up a fundraising page on Indiegogo. I’m hoping to raise $500 for the ministry. My hiking goal is 20 miles. I have a few incentives that I am offering, specifically writings that I have done. I would appreciate it if you check out the campaign and consider donating as much as you feel you can.