I served in Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1996. I lead the teaching and for my job I worked as a “Roaming Rover” meaning I did everything from cook prep to retail cashier at what used to be the Hamilton’s General Store at Fishing Bridge. To say that the summer made an impact on my life is an understatement. That summer was a major highlight in my life and my Christian walk. I had never been so close to God and His creation, even people. The beauty of the park was only the icing on the cake.
It was like God Himself had brought the people I met, both tourists and coworkers, together for a purpose that summer.
I became friends with an older gentleman who invited me to tour the park with him. He had an old-style video recorder and asked me to help him record the wildlife and the falls. At one point I had the video camera hanging over a canyon wall trying to get shots of some eagles and the falls. When I was done we were walking back to his truck and he said “now Steeley don’t drop that camera” then he shared with me why he was at Yellowstone that summer.
He shared with me that he had just lost his wife to cancer and this was supposed to be their retirement trip together. He told me that they had made big plans and even bought that video camera for the trip. I froze and gripped that camera tight with tears welling up in my eyes as he told me the story. He and I stayed friends that summer and he even taped my preaching in the park. I have that on video as well as six hours of wildlife shots and us goofing off.
Steeley U., Yellowstone National Park, 1996
The Lord said, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”