“I’m nervous in big groups so, on mission trips I’m in the background, but this trip has pushed me to be a more confident Christian.” Hannah, Missouri
Hannah, second from right.
Spanning more than 265,000 acres and soaring up to 14,259 feet, Rocky Mountain National Park is a magnet for millions of tourists every year. Tourists and locals alike flock to the Park to bask in its natural beauty – multicolored wildflowers carpeting the park, meandering rivers, hiking trails snaking through subalpine forests, exotic animals and a plethora of recreational activities.
Earlier this summer, a group of college students and StoryRunners staff members, climbed up the mountain to soak in something different. Something far more precious and lasting than the breathtaking panorama. They came to immerse themselves in God’s Word, in the greatest stories ever told. In doing so their hearts were pricked and their lives were changed. Read on to hear about the experience of StoryRunners intern Allyssa.
“On July 25 college students from campuses across the USA joined us in the Rocky Mountains on a 10-day summer mission trip packed with adventure, fun and amazing opportunities to fellowship with one another. Surrounded by spectacular sceneries, the students learned 12 oral Bible stories from the gospels and learned how to use each story to engage people in spiritual conversations. Each evening, in a story group around a campfire, we dug deep into a story and committed each to memory. God pierced our hearts with His Word, changing us profoundly. Every morning, after a night in a tent, or, in my case, a hammock under the stars, we took our stories to the hiking trails.
“We enjoyed conversations with many people who were eager to hear a story. Each encounter was a great encouragement, not only to the listener, but also to the storyteller. For those who weren’t interested, we thanked them, and we prayed for them as we continued on our way. In 10 days, our students shared 237 stories with 561 people on the trails! It was so uplifting!”
After the 10 incredible days up the mountain, with hearts on fire and rekindled passions, the students returned home, ready and committed to share the stories they learned. At least a half dozen of them have already led story groups back on their campuses, and others are planning to integrate storytelling into their outreaches on campus.
Because of your support and partnership, these students have been impacted tremendously and they will continue to reach others in the coming years.
“I was losing my joy in serving God but this trip helped me get the joy back.” JiSoo, Buffalo, NY (bottom left)
“I have not encountered this much love in a group before. I am so overwhelmed.” Erin, Tennessee (center)
“This was the best week of my life!” “I was scared to pray out loud in front of a group. I was scared of talking to strangers and of bringing up faith in conversations. This week I realized that I don’t have to be scared of things I don’t know about.” Michaella, Texas (Michaella initially implored her boyfriend to turn the car around as they were making their way to the airport. Ten days later she had a new attitude … she didn’t want to leave! In this photo she confidently shares an oral Bible story to a hiker they met on the trail.)
“When Mel* gave that presentation about Unreached People Groups, my heart broke after knowing that most mission resources are allocated towards reached people. I realized how much God is calling me to work with international students. I’m involved in Bridges on my campus, and my Bridges leader wants me to bring Bible storying to campus so I’ll be teaching them the Bible stories and how to use them.” Amaryllis, Texas
Photo Credit: Dustin Brecht Photography