“Into the woods I go, to lose myself and find my soul.”

That could have been the mantra for a group of area students who took time to contemplate their spiritual walk on a camping trip this past week. Led by Jon Phillips, youth pastor at the Crossing Fellowship in Gothenburg, 17 students and 10 adults piled into six vehicles to make the trip to Colorado.

The crew was treated to stunning views, lake fishing, cliff jumping, mountain biking, caving, and a blessed reprieve from technology. Each day began with a devotion focusing the teens on God’s will and purpose for their life. They then took time to individually pray, reflect, and talk to God before getting started with the day’s activities.

Aidan Mullen, a junior at Brady Public Schools, found a deeper appreciation for nature on a hike to the summit of the mountain with Phillips. “The views were amazing. Pictures don’t even do it justice. And because of the devotions we did, I just really felt like I saw God’s creation in a different light.”

Phillips was most impressed by the initiative the students took to strengthen their relationships to each other and God during the outing. “Us as adults just kind of stepped back and allowed the kids to take over. It was really awesome to see students step up to lead other students, and really take initiative with the spiritual side of things. These kids are going to be more of an influence on their peers than us as adults ever will.”

There’s just something about the camaraderie of like-minded people, surviving in the wilderness that forges bonds like nothing else can. They began the trip as individuals, but they ended it as a close knit tribe with a new appreciation for God’s will for their lives.