Salt of the Earth

I’m new to A Christian Ministry in the National Parks, so I’ve never served on a ParkLife team or interacted with teams in the National Parks. I saw the administrative assistant role posted, and I immediately became excited about ACMNP’s mission and knew I had to apply!

Shortly after starting at ACMNP, I was given the opportunity to visit the winter team in Death Valley National Park. While my job mostly involves tasks in the Denver office, I wanted to know firsthand what our teams do in the parks. This visit to Death Valley allowed me to have quality time with the team and their friends.

The first day was spent going on hikes with everyone. One thing was instantly apparent: when the team plans something for the group, anyone, and everyone, is invited. I watched as the team connected with established friendships and new ones. I talked to people who didn’t even personally know someone on the ACMNP team. Their impact is far reaching, going beyond their own personal relationships. The team intentionally used the time we spent walking to ask questions and go deeper with everyone.

Our last hike was on a ridge trail overlooking a canyon at sunset. One of the girls from a hike earlier in the day brought her boyfriend who hadn’t met the team before. It was a smaller group, and we sat along the ridge line to watch the sunset. The colors of the sunset painted the canyon, which created the perfect setting for conversation. As we sat there, that girl’s boyfriend shared with us how they moved from a National Park in Alaska to Death Valley. He was honest about how difficult it was for him to leave home for the first time and how he is still searching for who he is. This gave the ACMNP team member we were with the opportunity to share with him how much God loves him and how God has a purpose for him.

The following day, the team led us to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America and the United States. It is 200 square miles of salt flats. It’s salty— we all tasted it! As we stood there together, I thought of Matthew 5:13-16.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

The team members ACMNP selects to send into the National Parks each year embody this passage. They are sent into the parks to be salt and light. I witnessed this happening. It’s clear everyone is searching for something— purpose, a place to belong, identity. Team members use the glory of God’s creation to share His love and the Gospel, which guides us to better understand our purpose and identity. We all belong under the umbrella of God’s love, and team members are unapologetically sharing this truth.

– Amy Jo Baker, 2022 ACMNP Administrative Assistant

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