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MSM TREK: Backpacks and Baptisms

By Becca Stavert | August 3, 2021

Every summer we go on a trip called Trek where we take a team of incoming 8th grade students to spend time in the wilderness backpacking. There is something truly settling and genuine about going five days without showers, bathrooms or wifi, in the beauty of the Eastern Sierras and with the intention of spending time with your Savior.

The week before we left, we had an 8th grade service trip where students were challenged as leaders and as followers of Jesus. At the end of that trip, one student who was also going to be backpacking on Trek, expressed a desire to be baptized, having grown deeper in his commitment to living for Christ from the service trip and wanting to express that in front of his peers. The Sunday before we left for backpacking also happened to be baptism Sunday for our church. Another student expressed that watching the confession of faith of those being baptized on stage stirred in her a desire to be baptized on the backpacking trip as well.

Once on the trip, the focus of our time was on conversations with God – or prayer. We walked students through different types of conversations you can have in prayer, including journaling, breath prayers, imaginative prayers and more. While sitting around a campfire, we led students in a time of imaginative prayer – picturing in your mind’s eye the truth that Jesus is with you and wants to speak to you. We had the students ask Jesus if there was anything He wanted to say to them during this time of prayer. One student felt Jesus calling her deeper into Him – specifically picturing Him inviting her into the water. She felt certain that this was Jesus’ personal invitation to her to be baptized and so she joined the number! Another student felt God’s constant reminder that He was with her for eternity, shifting her perspective towards heaven and things of heavenly importance. She too felt this was Jesus’ call on her life to turn towards Him forever and to declare that through baptism.

So on Thursday, miles from civilization, against the backdrop of the mountains of the Eastern Sierras and in the crystal blue waters of Gem Lake, six students answered the call and obeyed the commandment to be baptized. Friends baptized friends, students cheered one another on and everyone went swimming and fishing afterward.