Mountains climbing is such easier in theory than actually doing the work necessary to get to the top. I mean it is easy to get excited and be happy that you are going to be at the top of the mountain in just a little bit! That is, until you take the first step, have to maneuver around the first rock, or pull out the first brier out of your arm… It is then that you realize that teleportation has not been invented (yet) and that the quick jog up the mountain will actually be a long journey that tests every facet of one’s being and will-power to want to take the next step for the glory of the highest point.
Keens are made for mountain climbing. Carl, on the other hand, is not so much made for mountain climbing. What Carl is made for tho is encouraging the fellowship of a group of guys and following this leading wherever it takes me. The second Saturday of every month they have off from their college studies. Normally they will either go home or go to the market and waste the day away. Going home is sometimes difficult tho because they often live a couple hours away in another village. With all this in mind and from having to walk to the base of a mountain every morning and evening, I decided today was as good a day as any to put our hiking shoes on and head up to the top. By shoes, for them, I do mean flip flops (most are in terrible condition as well). I was at a disadvantage from the beginning because of my height. The “trail” that was sorta made, was made for short Indians. We needed to climb a good bit up to get to a road that circles the mountain. This was not the easiest task in the world because of briers. With a backpack on it was not so easy to bend low enough not to get caught by any of the 10 branches that were sticking out. Needless to say, I might have been more like a bulldozer in situation failing to care about the quality of my clothing.
We made it to the road tho and had to walk a good ways on it to get to a bridge. Along the way I saw more road signs that had funny quotes on them to help warn drivers to drive carefully. Of course no one paid attention to them. These people are just as crazy on a mountain as they are on flat road! We saw quite a few monkeys along the way. We even fed them! I learned, however, that you feed a wild monkey while walking away from them. Otherwise they will want to come too close and attack you… Along this road and from another time we were able to get a glimpse of what the view would be once we got to the top. Standing out on a rock or on the side of the bridge gave us picturesque views of the terrain down below. Everything is so beautiful. Especially since they have received rain. So everything was green.
At the bridge we started up our next trail… This one was travelled more often and easier to climb. Still, tho, it was up a mountain and not the easiest thing to do. Plus the whole looking over the side of things and seeing nothing but air will put a chill in your spine like nothing you have ever experienced before (unless of course you have driven in India). We made our way up and landed at what is called, “Elephant’s tooth.” I’m sure it sounds more appealing in their own language. Regardless, it is a huge white rock that sits very near to the top of this mountain. We did not climb to the absolute top, but each of us were alright with that. I cannot describe to you the exhaustion I felt. Everything was worth it for me when we got there and enjoyed interaction between each other. Sure the view was gorgeous, but I did not come just for a view. We enjoyed good conversation, took tons of pictures, and ate lunch while there. We spent probably a good hour sitting on the rock and just hanging out. One thing that I noticed and it is something that I have always noticed, God is an amazing creator. This was not the highest mountain in the world. Probably only 2,000 feet at the most. Yet, we saw so many views and critters, and trees that are just works of art. Quite simply, it astonished me knowing that I am as beautiful a creation as all of this. From person to person we tend to downplay this fact, but we as humans are God’s jewel in creation. The cream of the crop so to speak. God humbles my heart daily…
The climb down was not as simple as I thought it was going to be. It surprised me at how fast things moved along, but not always in a good way. Several times I barely caught myself. Altogether we were gone three and a half hours. When I got back to the hostel a big sigh of relief came over me. I was soaked in sweat, my feet hurt, and I desperately needed water. We drank all of the rest of the water at the top of the mountain. All three conditions were taken care of and I even was able to make it back to the other American group to see them off. If I haven’t said it before it was a joy to get to know these humble servants of Christ.
I have one more full week of work here. I preach tomorrow in another village. Fortunately, the first message I will not have to have a translator. This is exciting! I look forward to my time tomorrow and this next week as I get to share my walk with Christ a little bit longer with the wonderful people here at IGL.