I apologize that it's taken me so long to sit down and write another blog post. I believe the last one I posted was in early June and it's already July, which means that I have less than a month remaining here at the Ranch. I have come to the conclusion that it will be a bittersweet ending when the time comes. I can, without hesitation, say that I am a different person than when I came here in May. I have been stretched physically, emotionally, and spiritually since setting foot on this property, and though it's been hard at times, I wouldn't change anything. I came here with so many questions about life, about my relationship with God, about what the next step is, and ironically, the Lord has quieted my questioning. I'm not saying that my questions have been answered, nor am I saying that I no longer have them. Rather, God has taken me to a place of abiding in Him. It's a place of desperation, but paradoxically, it's a place of freedom. So before I ramble on further, praise God for His faithfulness!
Trac II Session I has just finished up. For those of you that didn't know, I, along with 3 other college students led 33 high school students 109 miles on mountain bikes to the Pacific coast. In short, it was a phenomenal trip! The Lord literally transformed these students' lives, and I'm not just talking about overcoming a physical feat. We, as a staff, emphasize the difference between living out your flesh and living out of your spirit. Jesus talks about this when he blatantly says that which is flesh is flesh and that which is spirit is spirit. It's so cool to watch God transform the lives of these students from operating out of the flesh, and learning to depend on the Lord, all the while being transformed by the renewing of their minds.
One awesome story is about this guy I had the opportunity to get to know and to minister to over the course of the two weeks. His name is Jannie (that's pronounced "Yawnie"). He's not foreign either. It's just a cool, original name. Anyways, we had a talk about surrendering and dying to yourself, in which the Lord prompted me to ask this guy, straight up, if he was ready to die to himself. Immediately, this 6'4 All-American broke down, started crying, and just hugged me. He told me that he hadn't been able to sleep or eat in the last 24 hours and that he was miserable. We literally talked for about 2 hours in which he came to the conclusion that he couldn't honestly say that he wanted the Lord, nor did he want to die to himself. The Lord is so, so good, and so faithful to us! After praying with him, I told him that I was going to fight for him and that the Lord would not loosen His grip on him.
The following night Jannie came up to me, crying, and looked directly into my eyes, and said, "Travis, I'm ready to die." He began to say how he realized the God was on his side, that he didn't have to prove to God that he was worth His love, because the fact of the matter was that God already loved him, point blank, for no reason. It was incredible! That night he surrendered his life to Christ, and we ended up baptizing him in the swimming pool at 11:00 pm.
I cannot tell you how the Lord blessed me through this entire ordeal. I have the type of personality where if I see something wrong, I want to fix it; however, God forced me to place this into His hands, to trust Him and let Him deal with it. We are foolish to think that God is unable to meet people exactly where they're at. We are also foolish to think that God is not big enough to handle the honesty of the desperate heart of an individual. Is this not walking with the Lord? When we come to God out of complete desperation for His Spirit.
Another ordeal out here, of which I am sure you have heard about, are the forest fires in northern California. There is smoke everywhere. They'll come to an end soon.
I praise God for you all. Thank you for praying for and beside me. I am grateful to be in this with you all! Praise be to the living God!
"But when their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. And the Lord is the spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. But we all with unveiled face are beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord." (II Cor. 3:16)