WOW! What a week! I have been looking forward to sharing with all of you what this week has looked like for me. Well, I guess I will start from the beginning:
On Monday morning Ian dropped me off at the church in SLO (thanks Ian!!!). Immediately we were loading tons of camping supplies into four cars. No one knew what what going on or where we were going, but we continued to load for about a half hour. We then caravaned about an hour out of SLO (I have no idea what direction or where we went) until we met a dirt road into a forested area. At the end of the dirt road was a huge abandoned barn in the middle of a little meadow surrounded by trees and mountains on all sides. This is where we were to camp. We found out it was a HUGE area of land fittingly named “Gods Country.” Aaron, the leader of our clan, quickly ushered us into an impromptu orientation that he started off by saying, “Your gunna want to quit before this is over.” He informed us that after we pitched our tents we were going to go to a local thrift store where were were given $25 to purchase all our clothes for the summer including clothes for hot and cold weather, and a plate, bowl, silverware, and a cup. All essentials for our time at the camp. We quickly pitched our tents (and didn’t stake them down) and went to the thrift store. I got the most atrocious clothes, there were hardly and to choose from, but we made the best of it. When we got back to camp we noticed that the two guys tents had gotten blown away. One of the tents polls were completely shattered and the other (mine) had gotten blown into a barbed wire fence and was shredded all over. Needless to say it was a hard first day.
It has been very intense physically and spiritually. We start every day of by waking up at 7a.m. sharp and spending an hour in complete silence. This is my favorite part of the day, finding a little log to sit on to watch the sun rise above the mountains covered with fog in the stillness of the morning. I have never looked at quiet time with Jesus quite like that. Every day is planned to the T, and we all have no idea what is in store. There are three meals a day, no snacks, no sugar, no luxuries. I was able to take one “shower” this week which consisted of me bending over a spickit used to give water to cows. We are in poverty and poverty “doesn’t take a day off.” Every day has been spent with hours of rigorous stretching and pulling of our minds and spirits. The other day we went on four separate one hour hikes with our “Silas” ( it’s modeled after Paul and Silas’s relationship). Each hour we spent with one person talking and one person listening. After hours of talking and confessing to our Silas like we never had before, our leader for the day (Nate Larkin) said, “Okay, you’ve confessed all day to your Silas, now get a piece of paper and write down that one thing that you hid from him.” Pretty intense!! This is an example of some of the things are day is filled with.
We have had such great guests come to our little commune, Authors Pete Gall and Nate Larkin, Tony Campolo, Daniel a street musician from South Carolina, Paster Tom from FBC, Aaron Porter, and Lyssa. The Lord is moving at this place!
Saturdays are our sabbath day. We are to use this day to rest, relax, and recover (from sleeping on rocks! My hips are bruised). I hitched a ride from Kate from our group and she dropped me of at Uncle Marks house, it works out perfect. So on Saturdays i will be here eating fried eggs, drinking coffee, and sleeping in a real bed. Oh, and we are given $15 a week to spend in what ever way we want. I think i will try to ride a bike to a thrift store today cause i need some pants!
Oh and one other thing, I have a funny story for you. A couple nights ago I had a bad dream and I was yelling “WAIT, WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!!!” a good seven times, I then proceeded to climb over a guy in my tent to unzip the tent to get out. As I was unzipping the tent I came to consciousness and I realized what i was doing so I just went back to sleep. In the morning after our quiet time I was eating my cheerios and a guy from the OTHER tent asked me, “So Luke, what should I be waiting for?” I soon learned that I woke up everybody including all the girls whose tents were a good 50 yards away. Everyone seemed pretty entertained about it. Which reminds me, I am in a group of 13 AWESOME and wonderful people.
Physically this is hard, really hard. Little food, no shower, its super cold at night and in the morning, its hard to sleep, and you always feel filthy. After a week it is hard, but it is fun. I pray that the Lord will continue to sustain me.
Spiritually this is hard, really hard. I am at a place where I cannot hold anything back, I have been praying to be stretched, and the Lord is answering. I need strength to be positive and strong. This is all very exciting but also kinda scary. We will be with the homeless and homosexuals. We will be going to Mexico to help build houses. When? I do not know. How long? I do not know. I would guess we have at least another week here.
Give thanks for the simple things! We are so blessed!!! There is beauty in the simple things. God is revealing to me idols in my life that I didn’t even know were idols. One week with nothing has shown me how much I rely on my comfort. I praise the Lord for the next seven! I love and miss you all!
I will leave you with a couple jokes from tony Campolo:
“I am not Pentecostal!! I don’t speak in tongues, I don’t even kiss in tongues.”
“The only difference between a Baptist and a Terrorist is that you can negotiate with a terrorist”
“You don’t have to be Baptist to go to Heaven, Amen? But you better not take a chance”