“You’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back”
“Can you promise I will come back?”
“No… but if you do, you will not be the same”
Our last trip of the year… Chilliwack Lake. I think we all expected a relaxing time with a few teary goodbyes mixed in. I guess we forgot that God likes to blow our expectations out of the water, because everyone who was there can attest that that is not exactly what happened. I have no idea how I am going to write this post, so we will see how this goes.
We arrived on Saturday and hiked a few kilometers to the cabin. The last time we were here, in September, we tented in the surrounding woods, but this time we got to stay in the cabin which was nice. We actually had beautiful weather, as Sunday was warm and sunny and for the most part it only rained during the night.
Since this was Easter weekend, on Saturday we focused on the Saturday the friends and followers of Jesus experienced that first Easter weekend. Our leaders shared with us the story in a way we may have not considered it before. They reminded us that the disciples and those who knew Jesus did not know they were in a three-day story. After Jesus’s crucifixion, they did not know He would be raised from the dead on Sunday. Saturday was a dark, dark day for them. Jesus was dead. Everything was utterly hopeless. For the night we left it at that, and sat in the weight of the “Saturday.” The next day was Easter, so we then talked of the resurrection. On that day 2000 years ago, Sunday came, and the unexpected happened. Jesus came back! He was resurrected! We were challenged to think of how our own story is woven into the resurrection: how have we experienced it in our own lives? How have we been set free, made whole, or delivered? We had an opportunity to share about that, and afterwards we got to witness a resurrection of sorts. Quest student Katrina Climie was baptized in the icy cold waters of Chilliwack Lake that afternoon. It was wonderful to celebrate her commitment to Jesus on such a blessed day as Easter Sunday.
Now, normally what happens at the year-end trip is everyone gets the chance to be on the hot seat to be affirmed and encouraged by everyone else. Starting Saturday night through to Tuesday morning, there were chunks of time set apart in which we encouraged specific people. It was cool that we devoted so much time and energy to affirming each student and staff of Quest. There were 36 people to encourage all together, but everyone got their chance and many, many good and glorious things came out of that time. We all seem to have a tough time of describing the weekend, and I am trying to figure out why. I think it is because that what we witnessed was something heavenly… something you do not see everyday. Beautiful things happened, and lives were changed. There was freedom. There was rejoicing. There was mourning for those who were still experiencing their “Saturday,” but there was hope that Sunday would come. There were new beginnings. There were walls being broken. There was grace, love, and forgiveness. Going into more details in such a public way of what happened at Chilliwack Lake would be intruding on a sacred thing, so I am going to leave it at that.
Now, the end has come. We returned from our trip, had a few days to pack and recuperate, celebrated our achievements at our graduation ceremony, had a final Quest send-off, and said our last goodbyes. This is hard. I do not like saying that I am a Quest alumni, because saying that means that it has actually ended. We all knew this was coming, but now that it is here, it is very surreal. We are a family, and whether we like it or not, our lives have been intertwined with one another’s. I never knew I was capable of having such deep love for so many people over such a short amount of time. I cannot imagine my life without you guys. You have changed me, and made me into a truer follower of Jesus.
I am reminded of a quote from one of my favourite books:
“It’s a dangerous business, going out of your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to” -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
I took the risk of signing up for this program called Quest. I was afraid of what was to come. It felt dangerous, and I was both excited and scared for what was in store for me. I was swept down many roads I did not intend to go on, but they were roads I needed to travel, and because I let God guide my feet, I am overjoyed to say that I have come out changed. Discipleship is a lifetime thing, and it does not stop with me. It is my turn to go out and multiply, and to teach what I have learned and shared what I experienced. I have been commissioned to spread the Good News, and I will strive to live my life according to the unique calling I have. My fellow Questies, be encouraged. This will be hard. Life will be different. But remember all that has happened. Remember what we have been through, what we have learned. Remember that He is faithful. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Phili. 1:6). We are being sent out, but we do not go alone. We have the Spirit to help and guide us. And we will always have each other.
It’s been a slice, friends. Thank you for an unforgettable year. I love you all. Keep shining.
Quest was truly a good road to follow, but an even better one is that of a life of discipleship to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.