Written by: Maiibe Morales
Just four days before the backpacking expedition would be leaving, Esteban surprised me with a phone call, asking, “What’s up, Maiibe? What are you doing next week?” In that moment of my life I had just been finishing up the necessary papers to enter and study in a local university. I needed them to register on the following day; but I wasn’t able to obtain them. In addition to that, my spirits had recently been down because of difficult family situations. But when Esteban asked me to accompany him on that backpacking expedition together with some other young adult female participants, my heart jumped for joy! I had asked God that very same week for a new opportunity to be able to spend time in his creation, enjoying nature and Him. Suddenly, things came together. I was able to get together the proper papers, I successfully got registered in the university, and my mom said that it should work for me to go without any problem.
From there I confirmed with Esteban that I could lead with him, and nervously began the adventure; in spite of the fact that I had gone on a backpacking expedition through El Refugio previously and had been an intern there for 12 weeks. But to be going as a leader into the wilderness— this was a new level and I was scared of not being prepared. Even so, I opened my heart to God asking that he would use me as a reflection of His love.
Esteban and I spent time asking for wisdom from God and preparing ourselves for the coming week. We desired for this time not only to be a blessing in our own lives, but for Camila and Andrea as well: the participants that would be together with us all of those days. Above all we wanted God to have control of whatever situation that would present itself during our adventure.
The week we had been longing for began, and we had a great time with the girls the first day: getting backpacks ready, building trust between each other, and burning marshmallows together around the fire. During the first night we simply enjoyed gazing at the brilliant stars in the sky. From the second day forward we were ready for the unknown. But I can say that it was a time of great laughter, trust, affection, friendship, mutual concern/care, immense nature, animals of every kind (we even saw two condors!), things that scared us, making us realize God continues to be in control of everything, and it was especially a time for us to learn in God’s classroom about His love for us.
Being sincere, I remember that my first backpacking expedition didn’t end well: my life was confronted by my celestial father. But I saw something very different in myself during this experience. I recognized that God was the only one who could’ve been responsible for my transformation. He moved me to give the best of myself and to seek his presence, and what then did I gain? Abundant life. Those are the moments when I understand that my thoughts don’t compare to those of my God and for that I love Him! How incredible!
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10