La Vida Through The Eyes of May Support Staff

Summer is officially here and we are near the end of our first College Expedition!  Students headed up to La Vida’s Base Camp on May 17th and 18th and today is the second day of their “solo” experience. They return to Base Camp tomorrow and we will get to hear about how their lives have been changed through their experience in the wilderness.

Our crew of support staff serve the students and leaders throughout the trip in many different ways. We thought it would be fun to give you a glimpse into our experiences the past week and half:

Stephen Rich, Sophomore at the University of North Carolina:

“Coming into this session, I did not know much of what to expect. I am a student at the University of North Carolina, making me a bit of an unusual part of the staff. I went through the La Vida program as a high school student in Gordon-Conwell’s Compass program, but was only here for those short days on trip. However, coming back to base camp has been such an incredible experience. As a part of the support staff, we have worked together to support the Sherpas and those on trip—praying for them each morning and throughout the day, writing notes of encouragement, preparing food for them, and doing anything else that we can do to show them love and support. Additionally, we have completed various tasks around base camp—gardening, roofing, painting, mowing, cooking, and cleaning, among others. Contrary to the natural response of such copious and sometimes strenuous work, I have found such joy in my time here. The Lord is so present here. He is present in the conversations and interactions of the staff. I have seen and heard of how He is moving and working in others’ lives, and that is a beautiful testament to His goodness and faithfulness. He is present in our work. Instead of seeing these tasks as something to simply check off of a list, it is important to keep in mind the eternal impact of this work. In giving ourselves up to His Spirit, we were able to see the purpose and joy in doing work. For we are not doing this work for our own glory, and we are not doing this work for the glory of La Vida, but we are doing this work for the glory of the Lord. We are doing our very best to create an environment that is centered on the Lord, to create a place that is designed to assist people in seeing the Lord and what He is doing in their lives, and to facilitate a deeper knowledge and relationship with Him. That is what I have come to see is the heart of La Vida. The wilderness is a beautiful place that never ceases to amaze me. Building friendships and learning about living in community is incredibly important, valuable, and close to the Lord’s heart. But above all, it has been a joy and a blessing to see the Lord reveal Himself to me, the rest of the staff, and the participants this May session. ”

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Stephen mowing the lawn at base camp.

 

Linnea Hultberg, Sophomore at Gordon College:

“I was originally preparing to work as a co-Sherpa this May, but because a few people had to be moved around, I got switched to work on support staff. Looking back on this session, it was completely God working to place me here. I think that if I had been sent out on trip this May it would have been a very positive experience, but instead I got to see the gears of La Vida. I got to see the safety nets and community that silently encourage, pray, and indeed support the groups of people out on trip. It was great belaying different trips at the high ropes course and at different rock courses. It was great following each trip through the itinerary and praying for each group each day. It was great subtly improving base camp through gardening, painting, mowing and countless other jobs so that those who come through La Vida have a better, less distracted experience. It was great checking and organizing gear so that we know each trip will have gear that works. And in it’s own way, it’s great knowing that most of what we do here at base camp will go unnoticed. It ensures we’re not serving for recognition or praise but rather out of our love for the program, the people involved, and for God. There is a joyful contentment in our job. While forming bonds with your group and experiencing the beauty of the Adirondacks is something I still very much look forward to doing, I am so glad for the experience I gained through serving on support staff, and I love the community and beauty that comes from it as well.”

Linnea and other staff spinning the parachute (Eleanor is sitting in the middle). Through all the hard work, we have found time to have some fun!

Linnea and other staff spinning the parachute. Through all the hard work, we have found time to have some fun!

 

Sam Craig, 2015 graduate of Gordon College:

The sound of shuffling papers, books, and muffled voices have now become just a distant memory of our finals week at Gordon College. Now, the sound of laughter, bird songs, and the F18 (dishwasher) have taken their place in the background noise of the La Vida Base Camp up in the Adirondacks. Even the conversation has changed. Instead of discussions of papers, projects, and term exams, the conversation is full of our daily adventures–of fighting off black flies, raking the grass, van moves, painting cabins, and the assortment of other various tasks that need to be accomplished before participants arrive for celebration. And it is not only these tasks that hold our attention, but the moments we share together, as a staff, that keep our spirits high. We work, play, and pray together. Each day we learn a little more about one another and celebrate one another’s quirks, odd jokes, and joyful life. And it is here, in the support staff community, that I’ve seen God’s work being done and have experienced Christ’s presence. The sounds surrounding us may have changed, but God’s work in and around our lives continues and it has been my joy and delight to participate in this good work.”

Sam helping put gravel down in the garden.

Sam helping put gravel down in the garden.

It has been a fun few weeks with this group of students!  Here are a few more pictures:

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A long day of roofing, but the equipment building is one step closer to completion.

 

Ansa helping make plaques.

Ansa helping make plaques.

Handstand contest 🙂 Stephen won.

 

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Sherry helping in the garden.

Photo Credit: Amber Dvornski and Nate Hausman

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