At Cornerstone Church we celebrate the blessing of college students in our church family throughout the year. However, every four years, a group of students graduate. We say “until next time,” and we see God launch them in to the world full of dreams, ambitions, and a clear calling of what it means to live the rest of their lives for His glory.
As a means of capping the college season, each summer I take a few of our graduates backpacking, fishing, and/or mountaineering. We spend time deep in the wilderness – laughing, crying, hurting, and pushing ourselves beyond our usual limits – and over the course of several days connect with the Creator and one another without the distractions of low-land urban life. This year was no different.
On Monday, May 6, myself and three students, who have invested the last several years serving in various capacities at Cornerstone, drove to the Roan Highlands area of the Appalachian Trail along the North Carolina/Tennessee border. We planned to spend three days backpacking in pristine alpine meadows (rare to the East Coast), but what we found were mountains shrouded in clouds and a less than ideal weather forecast.
After two days, close to 20 miles on the trail, and soggy boots, tents, and packs, we retreated to lower ground and to the refuge of one of the student’s family cabin. While our plans changed, our conversations will be ones I will remember for a long time. All three men are of incredible character, and they, along with the rest of our graduating seniors, will be incredibly missed by this church family.