Boarding the bus, our anticipation was high. Feeling it lurch forward, our curiosity was piqued. Seeing it rush down the highway towards Lillooet, our fate was sealed—or so we thought. Suddenly, the bus sharply turned left, bringing us back to Fountainview through the second entrance. It braked and stopped at the bottom of the hill, and as we disembarked, we saw the grassy “bowl” full of mattresses, sunflowers, and gorgeous decorations. A hand-drawn sign welcomed us with the words, “Glampout 2014,” and ethereal icicle lights were strung all around the perimeter, connecting the apple and plum trees in a golden haze. Our journey had only lasted for two minutes, but we soon realized that a trip doesn’t have to take a long time for you to receive two nights of extreme excitement.
Bonding weekend is all about, you guessed it—bonding! The deans had carefully hand-picked the activities that would best help us to get to know each other, and these activities included lining up and facing each other to ask pre-arranged questions, grabbing a random hand and seeing if you can untangle yourself, and many more. After a beautifully prepared and equally amazing meal, it was time to gather around and listen to evening worship. We listened to Arelia’s thoughts as our eyes gazed into the blazing fire. Our souls were filled with spiritual food as she presented our theme for the weekend: “Who are you, God? What would you have me to do?” Our minds were presented with Scripture upon Scripture of countless Biblical characters whose lives answered those very questions. With Joseph, God called Him to lead a nation to save people and show them the sustaining strength of his God. With Daniel, God called him to be a living miracle to show others how powerful He was. God was presented to us as a personal individual who wanted the best for us—who didn’t just want us to follow Him, but to serve. We really focused on how we could become the girls that God wanted us to be; whether that be a nurse, teacher, or someday, a wife and mother. As a whole, we learned a lot, and our perception of God’s general plan for our lives was broadened to the point where we could see the beauty of it. It was a beautiful painting, drawn skillfully by the Master.
When the dusk finally fell after our nightly, spiritual refreshments, we headed back to “camp” with a song in our hearts. We gleefully found our beds surrounded in a warm glow, as someone had turned the lights on. Laughter rung out from our meadow-like haven, and slowly, one by one, we closed our eyes as the sweet taste of blissful sleep engulfed us like a warm, fuzzy blanket. I’m sure that a smile played on each one of our faces as a wonderful thought nudged us in the side just before we slipped into rest, and just as we crossed the threshold, we knew it; we were sisters in Christ Jesus, our Lord, Saviour, and Painter of our lives.
Spring fever is not a feeling; it’s a state of mind. When you’re in this state of mind, assignments just don’t get done. You have to get outside and move your muscles. You must feel the wind blowing your hair and smell the pine trees. There’s no known cure. The call of the wild can be beaten back over and over again, but eventually, it always overwhelms you and carries you outside.
Fortunately, Bonding Weekend came just at the right time for me. I was not in the mood to sit and mope in my room all by myself. Friday after lunch, the guys hopped on the old 25 passenger coach and rode to the Blowdown Trailhead. Along the way, we had to cross several deep water bars on the old decommissioned logging road, piling rocks into the tire tracks until the bus had clearance. When we arrived at the trail head, we all grabbed our packs and set off down the trail.
It was a perfect way to spend the afternoon. There were forty odd guys scrambling up that overgrown trail and across the boulder fields. Forty sweaty bodies carefully balanced their way across a log bridge. Forty hungry pairs of eyes ate up the majestic scenery, and forty mouths sampled the ripe huckleberries beside the trail. We were together, outside, working hard, and having the time of our lives. That night, forty tired guys slept like babies under the stars.
The next morning after a breakfast cooked over a campfire, we had church service. It wasn’t a pastor preaching a sermon; it was a discussion that we all contributed to. Again, we were together, outside, thinking hard, and having the time of our lives. We discussed such meaty topics as, “Who are you God?” Without knowing who God is, there’s no way we could understand who we are, or even the other important question we discussed that weekend, “What would you have me to do?”
Saul of Tarsus had a wonderful conversion experience on the road to Damascus. These were the only two questions that were answered for him that day. Before that day, he was seeking to destroy the gospel. After that day, he dedicated his life to defending it. To be able to discuss these important questions was a wonderful learning experience.
For me, Bonding Weekend was more than a temporary cure for my spring fever. It was an opportunity for me to get to know around thirty-nine other guys—guys like me. Each of them has a different personality, different strengths and weaknesses. Bonding Weekend allowed us to meld together into the Fountainview Academy Guys Dorm of 2014-15. During the hikes in the beautiful scenery, the meals around the smoky fire, and the meaningful talks with each other; we drew together in close friendships that won’t be forgotten. Overall, the trip was not only a fantastic backpacking trip to Blowdown Cabin, but a weekend of wonderful spiritual food and bonding.