As I was starting today’s blog post, I saw that I had an unpublished draft saved. I thought I had posted this in September, but apparently not. So, in the spirit of “it’s better late than never,” here it is:
As I turned on to the road marked Dead End and my phone, propped up as a GPS, flashed “No Service,” I rolled down the windows and took a deep breath of the fresh brisk air. The landscape, other than the steeply rolling hills, reminded me of the woods of Minnesota, with tall hardwood trees and glimpses of a river on one side of the road. I, and a car packed with camping gear, another missionary, two students, and enough groceries for twenty people, pulled into the driveway of a tiny cabin. We had made it to our destination. As we piled out of the car after three hours of being on the road, we admired the adorable cabin and beautiful river across the road. It was refreshing to be out of the city and away from civilization, even if it was for less than 48 hours.
Last weekend we took about 20 women to go camping on the Delaware River in New York. It was a great weekend of getting off campus, getting to know some of the freshmen students, hanging out with some of the older students, and taking a break. It is amazing how much more you can connect with other people when the distractions of homework, cell phones (we had no cell service), work, and computers are gone. Together, we played Yahtzee, sat by the river, made dinner over a fire, went hiking, and spent undistracted time together.
I really appreciated this opportunity to build relationships with students. It was weird to start the year as a missionary and not know any of the students. I have been a part of the SPO chapter at the University of Minnesota for the past six years, so it is weird to work for SPO but not know any of the students very well. This weekend was very helpful to get to know the students better. I left feeling more rested and more connected to the community. I’d say that was a successful weekend!