“Bang! Bang! Bang!” the sound of a wooden spoon hitting a round metal cooking bowl disrupted me as I quietly sat reading my devotions at 6:30 in the morning. “Attention all seniors! Be at the school building in 10 minutes for departure. We are leaving in 10 minutes! Bang, bang, bang!” The steady sound of thumping metal receded as our dean, Megan, moved on to awaken more unsuspecting victims. I sighed, not too surprised, and painfully moved to ready myself for 4 days of hunger, cold, and memories. Thus began the biggest experience yet for the current senior class of Fountainview Academy: Senior Survival.
For four days, we were hidden in the backcountry of British Columbia. We left early on Thursday morning, and came back tired, filthy, and happy on Sunday afternoon. Although some of us were cold at night, the weather was the best it has ever been during the annual trip with only one millimeter of rain on Friday afternoon and sunshine the rest of the weekend. We were able to find alfalfa, rose hips, wild strawberry leaves, burdock root, sedge, and lots of other edible plants. We often cooked these into pots of “delectable” bush stew. Overall, food was scarce, but I think that many of us will agree that it’s not how good the food is, it’s about how hungry you are.
My experiences this last weekend helped me to understand the extent of Jesus’ change in circumstance when He came to Earth in a new way. When I woke up every morning and rolled out of my shelter with dirt, sticks, and leaves blanketing me, I felt so gross and dirty. For me, this was only a short weekend of camping; but when Jesus came to this world, He was immersed in sin and surrounded by sinful people for a full 33 years. To Jesus, sin is way more offensive than dirt, yet He chose to stay here with us so we could learn what it is like to actually be clean from sin. This kind of love and commitment is so much more tangible to me now, as I have an experience that helps me relate to His.
In addition to helping us grow spiritually, this past weekend of survival training has brought our class closer in a way nothing else could have done. It gave us the opportunity to go through an uncomfortable situation, let us see each other’s strengths and weaknesses first hand, and finally, forged us into a team.