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Praying for MKs during a Crisis
I attended Wilderness Reboot a couple years ago. I needed something that would challenge me physically and spiritually and also provide encouragement that I could meet these challenges. I was in a transition time and was seeking God’s will for my life, and I wanted our relationship to deepen. I also wanted to learn how to trust and engage with the communities that I was a part of in Canada to a fuller measure than I had been. So what better than to adventure into the Canadian Rocky Mountains wilderness and share new experiences and life stories with strangers who, strangely enough, very quickly felt just like family?
It was truly an amazing week.
The week wasn’t set up to educate or inform but to invite space and the freedom to address my relationship with God, with my past, and with people. I loved the times of community and fellowship as well as the times of solitude with God. I loved the combination of new and familiar. There were so many times I’d start sharing some odd thing about how or where I grew up and found that, in another town, in another country, on the other side of the globe, there was someone else who had that same (or hilariously similar) experience!
I also appreciated the basic routine of each day: both its dependability and the variety. We began each day with breakfast, worship and prayer around the central campfire. One of the Reboot leaders would lead a short devotion and then we would each spend the rest of the morning in solitude with God. After lunch we would engage in activities that our hosts, the Blue Bronna Wilderness Camp staff, planned and led. These activities included hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing/repelling, swimming/crossing mountain rivers and then cliff jumping. After supper we gathered for more worship and then two MKs each night would share their stories. The worship and devotional time encouraged me to seek God earnestly during the quiet time; the quiet time allowed space for God to work on my attitude or anything else He wanted to address that day; and that prepared me for the activities of the afternoon which, although fun, were challenging in many ways.
My second day there is a prime example. I was ready to quit and go home. I was so cold and it was so wet and gloomy! I grumbled to God through most of the quiet time, struggling to give Him my discomfort and sore attitude. And then He met me in the middle of it all with “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted in all the earth” (from Psalm 46). So I began to thank Him and softly sing praises. And He changed my heart-attitude from complaining to praising! And what a timely attitude check that was because that afternoon the activity was horseback riding and it poured rain the entire journey. And I normally would have hated every miserable second of it; instead I had a marvelous afternoon! We made make-shift waterproof clothing out of garbage bags and duct tape, helped each other get comfortable with horses (for many it was a first), sang songs as we marched along, tried pine needle tea (or something like that), conversed with each other, and enjoyed the splendor of the great outdoors!
One of my favourite parts though, was the privilege of hearing each MK’s story. We would listen and respond with feedback like, “I heard this or that in your story” (responding with our minds--facts) and “this or that touched me” (responding with our hearts--emotions). And then we would spend time praying for each person that shared and would share a word, picture, or verse that God had given us for the sharer (responding as the Holy Spirit leads). I appreciated this method of sharing and responding very much. I felt heard, understood, and deeply cared for. Of course, it was a terrifingy leap to trust 17 strangers with my life’s story—the pain and the joy, the strangeness of my experiences as well as all the commonalities. But oh!—the blessing I received in trusting, in sharing, in being vulnerable FAR outweighed the fear. The kindness and compassion from the fellow MKs, Reboot Staff, and Bronna Staff, brought me so much healing, as they listened to my story and shared their responses. And to be trusted with everyone’s life stories—what a treasure each person is!
I felt heard, understood, and deeply cared for...
what a treasure each person is!
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