I never knew; I just never knew what I was about to experience.
In 1978, as I made the long drive from Minnesota to Utah, I only knew a few things. I knew that I was going to Zion National Park. I knew that I would be helping to lead campground worship services and Bible studies. And I knew that I was contracted to be a housekeeper at the lodge. But that was about all I knew.
I never knew that the lodge manager would change my contract on the first day and place me as a busboy in the dining room.
I never knew that I would make life-long friends with some of my Mormon co-workers. I never knew that one Sunday morning I would be in the middle of my sermon and discover that I was standing on a very active ant colony. I never knew that I would be involved in assisting in a rescue of a man who had fallen from a cliff on a hike to the “Subway.”
I also never knew that this first summer with ACMNP would lead to five more summer placements, internships at the Grand Canyon and in the ACMNP national office, and later, five years serving as Pastor of the Grand Canyon Community Church. I never knew that God would introduce me to such a strange and wonderful mix of people – from the lovable drunk whose heart began to open to God’s love; to the Navajo boy who stayed in my home so that he could finish high school at the Grand Canyon; to the devoted follower of Christ who we laid to rest in the Grand Canyon cemetery.
I never knew when I began my adventure with ACMNP that this experience would be God’s way of drawing me in and confirming for me His call to ministry. This year I celebrate 30 years as an ordained minister, and over the years one of my great joys has been to introduce youth to the services that ACMNP provides in our National Parks.
I will always be grateful for the ministry of ACMNP, for the opportunities I received with ACMNP, and for all the things that I never knew I would experience through ACMNP. It has been a wonderful adventure.
John D., Zion National Park 1978-1981; Grand Canyon National Park 1981 & 1982, 1991-1996; Lassen Volcanic National Park 1984
The Lord said, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”