When putting together a major summer trip, consider making a journal to go along with the experience. Whether it’s a mission trip, Servant Event, adventure experience, or a summer camp, consider giving students a brief passage with a few thoughts and plenty of writing space for each day of the journey. Then institute a quiet time each day when all students promise to honor a code of silence, so they can spend time writing in their journal and in their personal relationship with the Lord. Have the group help determine how long this time will be each day. (15 -30 minutes is about right for most senior high groups.)
For a recent adventure trip to the Colorado wilderness, we put together a journal for our students with background regarding things God has done on mountains. Following are a few brief examples from which you could build your own journal:
1. Noah was given rest after a season of great turmoil on the mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8…). What is in turmoil in your world? How could God bring you refreshment while in these mountains? When have you experienced God’s refreshment after a long season of storms? Write a prayer requesting God’s renewal.
2. Abraham was tested on a mountain in the region of Moriah (Genesis 22). What “tests” are you experiencing on this trip? Physically (long hikes, aching feet, sore back), mentally (overcoming fear of heights, making new friends), spiritually (having an extended quiet time, being honest with the Lord)? God provided for Abraham’s need in a ram caught in a bush. When has God provided in unusual or miraculous ways for you?
3. Moses was given the 10 Commandments on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20). Review the Big 10; ask yourself, with which of these do you struggle most? Thank God for creating these boundaries for us. Ask Him to convict you when you err. Praise Him by writing the lyrics to a favorite song for the forgiveness won through Jesus on the cross!
4. On Mount Carmel (1 Kings 19), Elijah had just seen God do mighty things and yet was very bummed out and feeling alone, to the point of saying, “Take my life.” Have you ever felt that way? Alone and uncertain about how to go on? God encourages Elijah and says, “I have thousands out there who are set apart like you; go be with them.” Who has God provided for you to be with in times of sadness or depression? Which of the people on this journey might encourage you or perhaps need your encouragement? Pray that God will speak to you in “gentle whispers” this week. Write a prayer and sing a song of thanks to Him now.
5. When Jesus was tempted, Satan took him to a mountain (Matthew 4). How does Satan tempt you? What entices you? Would you say you have worshipped the creation rather than the creator? How did Jesus respond to the devil? How can you store up the Word of God in your heart so that at the moment of temptation you are able to resist? If God’s angels were to appear to you now, how would they attend to you in your body, mind, and spirit?
6. Coming down off the mountain: What has the Lord taught you this week? What in His creation most stirred your heart? Which physical challenge did you find to be the biggest stretch (rock climbing, white water, backpacking)? What mental challenge was most difficult? Most rewarding? What about the spiritual opportunities? Read Matt. 17:1-9. Jesus was changed on a mountain. How do you feel changed? What has God given you of eternal value in the past week? Write about it now… What is a favorite song to help you remember this week? Sing it now… What funny thing happened that you hope to remember? Write about it!
Pray: Lord, keep us mindful of the fact that You are the creator of the mountains, greater than all creation… “The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth” (Ps. 97:5).
7. Draw or describe a favorite memory from our journey…