My time in Yellowstone was one of the best but also most challenging experiences of my life. My family and friends will tell you that if not daily, at least weekly I reference and say “when I was in Yellowstone.” One of the things I loved most about my time in the park was getting to meet a melting pot of people. I made friends with people I would never otherwise have met. The parks have a magical way of connecting all of humanity. It is amazing how the Lord can use unique opportunities for conversations, in order to spread the good news.
I remember working on a hot summer day with a fellow housekeeper and being able to share a little of my testimony with her in the middle of making beds and cleaning bathrooms.
Even though I only spent one summer in Yellowstone with ACMNP, the things I have learned and the ways I have grown are still impacting my everyday life. Growing up I had always heard the phrase “let go and let God”, but I never really knew what that meant. I didn’t know what it meant to fully surrender my heart and mind to the Lord. Fears, doubts, and worries are powerful feelings that can rob us of the true joy and freedom we can have in God. It was ACMNP that taught me I had no choice but to rely on the Lord’s provision. I was scared and anxious going into my summer, but the Holy Spirit was already at work within me. I knew I could not let fear rule my life anymore.
I couldn’t let worldly boundaries cause me to live inside a box that the world had already defined for me. I had to go out and find my newly defined boundaries God had ordained for me. I love the song “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music. This has been an anthem song for me as I face everyday situations. Being in Yellowstone was wonderful but also made me uncomfortable. The Lord pulled me through and caused me to focus on him because he is the greatest ally. This experience made me braver, stronger, and more confident; I have seen my God in action in the workings of my heart, mind, and soul.
I am so glad I did ACMNP! It is an opportunity unlike any other. The people you get to meet and the relationships you get to build are so special. Stereotypes and social clichés go out the window. The National Parks have a way of bringing everyone together. Someone you would have otherwise never met or associate with may become your hiking buddy. It is in those unique opportunities that others get to see your heart for the Lord. It creates a space where some of the best evangelism can take place. Overall, this experience has meant the world to me. Not only did I get to live, work, and play in one of God’s great playgrounds, I got to view others through the eyes of Christ.
-Ellen M., Yellowstone National Park, 2016
The Lord said, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”