Students Enjoy Outdoor School at North Star Camp

2014 Peter with the Boat Outdoor SchoolStudents from across the Minnesota Conference participated in the second annual Minnesota Conference Outdoor School at North Star Camp last September. Eight schools with 65 students in grades 5-8, along with their sponsors, packed up their gear and made the trek to Brainerd where their school changed from a classroom with four walls to God’s classroom—the great North Woods, meadows, lakes and wetlands. Students had the opportunity to experience for themselves the words of George Washington Carver: “Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.”

The week’s theme was One Time Long Ago in Galilee. Activities focused on a time when Jesus walked, taught, meditated and healed, not in a temple or classroom, but in nature. Classes were divided by grade level in the mornings to study the four ecosystems. In the afternoon camp craft, Bible Lab, weather, knot-tying and art classes were the focus.

In a class led by superintendent of schools Connie McCormick, students assembled their own tackle box, enabling them to become “fishers of men, Galilean style.” Morning and evening devotions were filled with praises to our Savior, followed by a stirring first-person monologue by Pastor Sherman McCormick depicting one of the most effective fishers of men of all time, the apostle Peter. Several students said listening to Peter’s story was one of their favorite Outdoor School experiences.

During the crisp, autumn days ample time was also given to hiking, canoeing, playing games like nine-square and capture the flag, renewing old friendships, making new ones, and reconnecting with our Creator.

This story was written by Kathy Davis, who writes for Minnetonka Christian Academy. It was also published in the November 2014 print edition of OUTLOOK.


Minnetonka Youth Learn to Camp, Climb and Serve

Mntka_Youth_Rebekah_Lee-JonesThis summer the Minnetonka youth spent 10 days in South Dakota for the 20th annual rock climbing trip. Four of those days were dedicated to the Payabya Mission located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation where my fellow travelers and I volunteered to clear brush, mow lawns, weed, clean the church, and set fence posts.

The second day at the Payabya Mission was probably my favorite of the entire trip. We were able to go into the reservation and distribute items we had collected—toilet paper, clothing, Bibles, toiletries, blankets, stuffed animals, and food packaged at Feed My Starving Children. It was amazing the way the people responded and the look of gratefulness on their faces! We also handed out invitations for a Vacation Bible School that we were hosting at the mission.

That Sabbath 19 children showed up for VBS, and we had an awesome time! I had the opportunity to pose as the Samaritan woman and talk about the symbolism of living water and how it didn’t matter what anyone had done in the past; if they were willing to accept Jesus as their Savior, He would take away their sin. During VBS some of us got really attached to the kids at the reservation. They will often be in my thoughts.

The next day we all piled back into the vans and headed to the Black Hills for rock climbing—a seemingly never ending cycle of waking up early, packing lunch and trusting our lives to the skill of our belayers. Each day most of us would step into our harnesses, buckle up, and carefully defy the laws of gravity. We even climbed to the top of a 100-foot rock for a worship service on Sabbath.

The rock climbing portion of the week made me think about how much we need to trust our heavenly Father. We hang in the balance, trusting our God to hold us up and keep us safe. He is our most skillful Belayer, and He won’t let us fall one inch!

This story was written by Rebekah Lee-Jones, a junior at Minnetonka High School and a member of the Minnetonka Church Youth Group. It was also published in the November 2014 print edition of OUTLOOK.