August 20, 2015
Peace, grace, and joy to you from Carly, called to be pastor and teacher among the planted, budding, blooming, and spent faithful and doubtful in La Grange and beyond. May these last days of summertime bring you refreshment and renewal.
This week, our young people will bring the message of renewal to you. Three Zackleys shared with us their experience of the Boundary Waters on August 9. Since we were in the Chapel and many were not able to experience their stories, I'm sharing them here. May they bring you hope, laughter, and joy. And may you be just a tad bit covetous of their experience of heaven on earth.
Boundary waters, Sawbill Minnesota. Home to the pristine waters of the incredible Minnesota natural world. I was so lucky to have been persuaded over and over again to venture on the trip with the Zackleys. The trip up was exhausting and full of lip singing, pickle stops, laughter and of course sleeping, because it's not like we left at 4 in the morning...
At first I was pretty nervous. The only people that I really had known were my brother Kitt and Sylvia. The other 5 people I knew of, but hadn't gotten to know them very well. Finally we had the chance to stretch our legs at Sawbill. The campsite we stayed at for the night. We practiced lifting up canoes and packs. OH. MY. GOODNESS. They were soooooo heavy but I was also the smallest one there, but that also changed. After the trip I became not nearly as strong as Paul Likness, who if you didn't know is a tank. That man can triple pack. I was lucky to lift one bag up on my own. Carrying the packs on portages and canoeing against the wind helped a lot with muscle building. The first day out on the water was beautiful. The weather was the best, it was warm and sunny and it made the forests light up like big green Christmas lights and the water was like a bath. As far as first impressions go, Sawbill was 100% perfect.
We got to the camp site and it was pretty basic, dirt and trees on a big rock in the middle of a lake, it was pretty cool though. We made it work with a few hammocks. Later that day we canoed to a big cliff on Cherokee. Then jumped off and 40 feet later we smacked the water. If you're curious what jumping off a cliff is like? First word of advice, don't try it. Second, when you are at the bottom on the water and think to yourself ppffft I can do that, that thing is tiny. Third, then you climb up. Fourth, you look at how beautiful everything is from up above. Fifth, you look down and quite frankly it feels like you're going to throw up your heart (don't worry none of that happened on this trip), also the longer of a fall it looks, and you're going to want to pee your pants. BADLY. You'll look at each other and then ask "well, who wants to go first?" *looks at dean* and he jumps in first and we all step back and release a collective 'Oooooooooh ' then out comes a previously submerged Zackleys and all of us laugh hysterically. Then well all jump in.
After the first few days the weather turned kind of cold and windy. We still managed to have fun. Lots of singing on those rough paddling days. There were some 100 bottles of beer on the walls, yellow submarine, dancing queen, and you know all the other weird songs teenagers sing.
Once we got "home" base camp for the night, we'd have dinner and a fire, which thanks to Cooper he brought a hatchet to make the amazing fires. My favorite part of those fires was that everyone was there, gathered as one big happy, sleepy family. Then Sylvia would ask "what line to the song did you come up with? Where did we all see god?" the song Sylvia was talking about is "he's got the whole world in his hands...." Then we would come up with the next verse. Some responses were ~on the mountain, the cliff we jumped off of, the little frogs I was told not to catch but caught and played with them anyways, the gentle giant moose that we gazed at, and lastly, the Zackleys our small dysfunctional churchy little group who makes inside jokes about pickles and hammocks and how one of the boys is a bed..... Never mind that last one. But I am apart of that small goofball Zackleys family and I feel accepted and 100% proud to be a Zackley.
Thank you Kitt, Sylvia, mom and dad and all of the others how helped encourage me to go on this trip. I was spoiled by the second world. Apart from phones and Netflix and candy crush. It sounds cliché but I feel like a different person. Happy, in touch, thankful, and blessed.
My experience going on my first Boundary Waters trip with the Zackley's was more than what I had expected. Expecting us to portage less and stay closer to Sawbill, I ended up feeling content with our trips route. Not only portaging longer distances but portaging farther while falling on your back looking like a turtle with the packs, that include all your week's' worth of camping and canoeing, and stepping in mud that makes you sink almost up to your torso, makes you feel so satisfied with the journey you have taken. The packs that are carried weigh around fifty pounds, feeling as if you are being dragged down for the first couple of days and eventually they feel twenty pounds lighter than what they had felt at the start of the week.
The weather on this trip turned out to be a lot nicer than what had been expected, having only gotten rain a few times, lasting less than ten minutes each time. When your whole pack gets wet, including all your clothing, it can lead for a miserable time. Sometimes having to set up camp and putting up tarps in less than four minutes, making sure your campfire doesn't get wet so you can make dinner that night is crucial.
When we had started the canoeing adventure, we all complained about our arms and how sore they were, thinking we were going super fast when half a mile up were Paul and Sylvia, who hauled it everyday. Me, personally, being in a canoe with Dean and Cooper was an interesting experience. Singing, joking, and just getting to talk about the most random things was an enjoyable time. This week, I felt I had bonded with everyone individually, trusting Kendall, Dean, and Kitt when they say the jump from the cliff wasn't too high. I, unfortunately, ended up with a huge bruise, because I thought sitting down mid jump was a great idea. At the end of the day, we had gotten Sylvia to jump off of the cliff, making us all so proud that she had done it. Helping keep the fire alive and getting to know the stories everyone had to share was a blast.
Being away from my phone and technology for a week really helped me to feel closer to God. There was so much more time to think, without distracting notifications every second. On the day before our last on the water, we had seen a moose, which I think was one of the coolest things on the trip, seeing all the beauty that is in front of me. I felt like God was truly there for me, motivating me to keep going even when I felt like stopping. I also helped be a motivator, helping Kendall push through all the long portages throughout the way. After the week, I felt like I had so much of a closer bond with God, making it even more worth the effort we all had used on this trip.
Then finally, the journey back to our homes in La Grange, Brookfield, and Riverside, I realized what a great time I had this week, spending it with some amazing people. Spending the night in the church was an escapade with trying some pizza with broccoli on top of it, as opposed to all the tortillas we had eaten that week( \(*
◡*)/ ), dancing to songs playing on the boom-box (that we had requested), and staying up watching the movies we had got from the local red box. Honestly, getting back to all of our technology and out of the wilderness, I was a little disappointed, just wanting to go back to being in the wilderness. Other than swatting all the horse flies and mosquitoes away, making sure they don't get you, I had a great time on this trip, really enjoying the experience I had and feeling like I had bonded with everyone that had went on the trip.
In the spring of 2012 is where my journey here began. My parents had been going to church all of a sudden and had been raving about it. But me being me, a high school sophomore at the time, I wanted nothing to do with something like church. I had heard stories of great choirs and great people which sounded good but still... for my mom and dad.
Spring break was coming up and I couldn't wait to be liberated from school for an entire week. The idea of doing nothing for a week was exciting to me at the time, however it wasn't to my mom. She had found out here that there was a youth group, and I was eligible for it. She told me that during this spring break they were going to go to Tennessee for a week and work and do some fun stuff and come back.
The idea was terrifying to me. My spring break was going to be spent working in Tennessee? With a bunch of people I'd never met? I asked her if she was mad at me for something? She replied with a high pitched "it be funnnnnnn!" I said "there's no way I'm going to the middle of Tennessee to work with people I'd never met."
But my mother prevailed against my constant nagging of "please don't make me go" and sure enough I found myself in a couple of days standing in the church parking lot with a suitcase and nervous look on my face at 4 in the morning. A white van was running in the middle of the parking lot, silhouettes of people moved gear into the back of the trailer that connected to it. I realized those silhouettes were the people I'd be working and rooming with for the next week.
Shortly after everything was ready, we said a prayer, hopped in the van, and I managed to shoot my mom one last "nervous look" before the doors closed. The lights in the van turned on and I saw the people I was going to be with; they were people just like you and me and at that moment i felt much better. I knew that I was going to be ok.
That week ended up being one of the best weeks of my life. I felt a sense of pride, accomplishment and even love in helping the people we met. However what really was the best part of the week was the people I worked with. These people went from strangers to best friends in the span of a week, and that's what kept me coming back.
Every trip I've had with Zackleys has been the time of my life. I'm not kidding when i say some of the best days of my life were spent with the people in this group. No matter where we went I was happy I was there.
However all good things have to come to an end and just a few days ago was my last Zackleys trip. The trip would be at boundary waters in the Minnesota-Canada border. This would mark my 3rd trip there. To me boundary waters was a place next to heaven, and sometimes next to hell but in a good way. For a week you escape civilization and enter an entirely new place. The places you go and the sights you see don't exist nearby. There aren't many places so untouched and so beautiful as boundary waters. This trip I knew what was coming it would be no surprise as to what I'd have to do, but every year is different in its own way.
This year it was mainly just guys which I was totally fine because last year was all girls. We set off early in the morning and as we left the docks with all of our belongings, civilization stayed behind. A smile grew on my face and I paddled away. The trip was filled with laughs, adventure, and lots of paddling. And as I watched the stars glisten on the last night I knew my journey would soon come to end.
And so my journey ends here, today with all of you and I just wanted to thank everyone that had a part in making it possible. Without you I wouldn't be the person I am today. Thank you.