Walkabout’s Impact

Two weeks ago I went on a journey in the Smokey Mountains with all of my fellow Resident Chaplains for the coming year at Greenville College. All 60 or so of us gathered in the parking lot behind West Oak at 3:00am for prayer before we all piled into the school people movers for the 10+ hour drive down to Tennessee. On the ride down there I curled up in the far back right seat of the people mover and attempted to sleep as much as I could before having to hike for eight days in the wilderness. As much as I tried, I could not. Partly because of how uncomfortable those silly buses are and partly because of how nervous I was for the coming hike.

Walkabout is a time when all of the school leaders of the coming year, mostly Resident Chaplains and the Student Government leaders. We hike out into the woods in small groups of about eight people seeking a spiritual retreat with God and to build relationships with each other. We march out with packs on our backs expecting certain things out of Walkabout, but completely open to whatever God might have to throw our way on the trail.

For many people, the most impacting and life changing moments come from our 48 hour fast alone in the woods that each group takes a few days into the hike. We are each placed in a small spot with an area to lie down and meditate in. Being alone with God for that long with nothing to do but think and pray is a rare experience in our cluttered, day to day lives. It is hard to explain what this pause in life is like. At first you pray and read some passages from the Bible given to you. You meditate on the coming year and how you play a part in it. You offer up to God your worries and fears, and then praise him for his grace in bringing you this far. But then… it is so easy to get distracted after that. I would find myself staring at a single ant crawling around my patch of dirt for hours without realizing the time. I whittled a stick to just about nothing in my time of pondering. However, despite the almost eminent boredom that sets in to the inexperienced “faster” and “solo-time-taker,” it is certainly a powerful and, if you let it, revealing time with God.

Personally, Walkabout was amazing because of the group I was with. Our little troop soon became a tightly knit force for Christ as we learned about each other and heard each other’s stories and struggles. We grew closer than just friends as we sat in the pouring rain together, huddled close together for warmth underneath a dirty tarp when we were too wet to use our sleeping bags. We sang Disney songs together on the trail, pumped clean water together, laughed together, cried for and with each other, and made memories that will last forever. The six other individuals who I hardly knew two weeks ago are now some of my most precious friends.

Walkabout was an journey that I believe more people should take than just the student leaders on campus. I know that given the option, I would do it again in a heart beat.


Posted at 11:04pm
Tagged walkabout Greenville


Cafe Latte at a coffee shop in Mukwonago with @carmenmarie12 #chad #glory (Taken with Instagram at Espresso Love Coffee)

Posted at 11:21am
Tagged glory chad


Puppy chow! #chad (Taken with Instagram)

Posted at 10:27pm
Tagged chad


Oh you know, relaxin in the people mover. #glory #chacos #nice #chad (Taken with Instagram)

Posted at 5:08pm
Tagged chad chacos glory nice


View from the back of the mover. All summer long. #glory #gc #chad (Taken with Instagram)

Posted at 5:07pm
Tagged gc chad glory


Chillin inside #sohotoutside #ilovecheapgass #chad (Taken with Instagram at Phantom Ranch Bible Camp)

Posted at 3:44pm
Tagged sohotoutside chad ilovecheapgass


Basho #asian #glory #irefuse #thigh #chad (Taken with Instagram at Phantom Ranch Bible Camp)

Posted at 12:18am
Tagged irefuse chad asian glory thigh


Instagram! #bandwagon (Taken with Instagram)

Posted at 11:25pm
Tagged bandwagon


Deep cries out! #irefuse #whitethigh #phantomranch (Taken with Instagram at Phantom Ranch Bible Camp)

Posted at 10:57pm
Tagged irefuse phantomranch whitethigh


Africa is still wonderful … but different.

Tonight I am writing from Senegal, West Africa. Africa is where I spent my entire life before coming to the States, and Senegal specifically is where I went to highschool. This is the first time I have been home in two years, since I graduated from Dakar Academy. It has been so refreshing to finally come home to the place that I love and feel most comfortable in. I was originally worried before coming back that I would have forgotten my French, or not remembered certain things about the culture, but I was pleasantly surprised that I jumped right back in without missing a beat! However, things are different here. I came back to my highschool to see my little sister graduate from there, but also to revisit old friends and reconnect with my classmates who were also back for grad this year. Since coming home, I have realized a few things.

The Dakar Academy that I knew and loved is pretty much gone. I only really knew a handful of students at school now and barely remembered the names of many others who had been there when I was in highschool. I realized that the reason why Dakar Academy was so special to me was because of the people that I lived there with who are now scattered around the world. I realized that wherever my friends and I get together, that is Dakar Academy. Dakar Academy is most definitely a place, but it is more of a starting point for relationships, relationships that will last a lifetime and be deeper than any other. It is the place where we meet and continue on in life together. We may not live together, or even see each other for years on end, but those people are what made DA so special.

I now realize that it takes coming back after a few years to really understand Dakar Academy and everything that it meant to me and how it shaped me to be who I am today. When you first leave, you say goodbye to everyone, and are sad to leave, but there is this image in your mind of what Dakar Academy is supposed to be like. But it takes coming back again to see that although you might have attended DA for a long time (6 years in my case), it changes too fast to keep up with it all.

Dakar Academy and that campus will always hold memories of my life, the deepest and best memories for sure, but it will never ever be what it used to be for me. Dakar Academy is in my heart and in the faces of my friends who I know at the deepest level that you can know someone.

That is Dakar Academy.

1 note

Posted at 8:17pm
Tagged existential africa life change highschool dakar


Stuff I like