Merry (slightly belated) Christmas and happy New Year! As 2014 draws to a close I wanted to take you through a quick photo journey to share with you a few highlights from my year. I’ll let the photos do most of the talking…
I’m still enjoying living in paradise, AKA South-Central Colorado between Cotopaxi and Westcliffe. I’m just 30 minutes or so from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and there is lots of rock-climbing and of course, the Arkansas River with it’s amazing rapids. My house is still working out well and I’m having fun doing little projects and trimming trees for fire mitigation. I’ve also been working quite a few shifts with Ark River EMS, which serves most of the area between Canon City and Salida, and in February I attended an EMS instructor class. I also joined Custer County Search and Rescue and have participated in some of their training and managed to get out on a few missions.
2014 was our third season at Journey Quest, and it was a great one! In January, we were able to finish the rafting company purchase, so we went into the season debt-free but flat broke. It was amazing to see how God provided so we could pay the bills until the season started and we began seeing some regular income again. Our rafting season was from May-September with right around 1400 people joining us for one of our single-day rafting trips. This year we finally experienced what real high-water was like (it was really fun). With two other bus drivers on staff this summer, I was able to spend a lot more time on the river and enjoyed so many opportunities to share Christ’s love with families and the groups on the way down the river.
We also welcomed about 200 kids in our week-long ministry trips. Last year we had 6 of these trips. This year we had 13! Most of these trips include a combination of river adventures, rock climbing, and peak hikes, and I was in the field for about half of these trips. As Program Director, I’m responsible to plan and coordinate all of these trips and really enjoy working with youth pastors and getting to know many of the students. These trips are really effective and we watched God work in so many ways to bring kids closer to Christ through their time out here.
In August I spent 16 days rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon as part of a men’s ministry trip. Dean, Mark, and I rowed fully-loaded gear boats while Robbie, Colin, Will, and Nick paddled their kayaks for the 226 miles from Lee’s Ferry to Diamond Creek. Despite several close calls, I managed to stay in my 14ft raft, which seemed quite small, through the massive class 6-9 rapids of the canyon (they’ve developed a 1-10 rating system since the normal international system is inadequate to rate the huge waves and hydraulics found down in the canyon). The beauty and scale of the Grand Canyon are simply breathtaking and I often found myself singing praise to the Creator while I rowed!
A few days ago I went skiing with my friend Derek to celebrate my 37th birthday. Derek and I have shared many adventures since we first met in 1997, including spending 23 days on Denali in 2005. After skiing I traveled to Grand Junction to spend Christmas with my family. My parents still direct Alpha Omega Institute and are in the process of developing the Discover Creation Training Institute. My grandparents, Irv & Barbara Nutting celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary this spring! Sadly, my grandmother passed away this fall after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Grandpa Irv is doing well and adjusting to life at a local retirement home, but is understandably very lonely without his wife of 75 years. Would you pray for him?
Tim & Elisabeth are seeing consistent and steady growth at Life Community, the church they planted in Grand Junction less than two years ago. They are now meeting in the old Ace Hardware building up on the Redlands, and over 160 people attended their Christmas Eve service! Their two kids are 5 and 2 1/2, so they keep them on their toes. It’s been fun to spend some time with my nephew and niece while I’ve been in Grand Junction for Christmas.
Soon I’m headed back home where we’re hosting our annual Journey Quest and Redcloud Guide’s reunion over New Years. This is always exciting and a lot of fun to see many great friends. I’m so thankful for all your prayers and your gifts throughout this year. I look forward to what the next year holds and hope I see you soon!