United by Our Experience

My time with ACMNP was so very exciting and formative. I learned and experienced so many life-changing things. While leading worship during a beautiful sunset atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, a woman approached us in the middle of a worship song and began telling us that we were offending her and that we had no right to be there conducting the service. She paused for a moment and I thought she had finished her passing comment. Meanwhile, I tried to keep the song going. But then she continued, growing more furious with each passing second of our singing. She was yelling that we needed to leave. A scene was beginning to develop: soon every single bystander watching the sunset atop the mountain was watching what was happening.

Some among the service stopped singing and were stunned, staring at this lady, others glared, and still others simply sang louder.

A fellow ACMNP volunteer quickly and quietly walked up to her while she was yelling as the singing continued. Her verbal assault did not stop. The other ACMNP volunteer stood next to her and simply asked in a calm voice, “What would you like us to do?” She yelled in his face for us to “leave” and proceeded to scream all the reasons as to why.

United by Our Experience

Then, the most amazing thing happened: dozens of people who saw this whole scene unfolding -people who were not even participating in our service initially- started walking up to us and joining us. They stood strong next to us through the verbal persecution. Their presence was the same as angels to us. The woman grew blue in the face from yelling at us and eventually walked away. We finished singing the song and there was a moment of silence where we tried to collect ourselves. We made the decision to go ahead and move. I picked up the cross and we instructed those worshiping with us to come with us a little bit down the mountain; it didn’t feel like we were backing away, but more like we were turning the other cheek.

When we set up a hundred yards away and continued with the service, there was something present among us that was not before. Suddenly, everyone participating in our service felt as close as a sibling; as if we could have all gathered in a circle and shared our darkest secrets with no fear. We were united by our experience and nothing could tear us apart. Bystanders and strangers who explicitly did not profess the same faith as us approached us and apologized for the way we were treated. Some assured us that we had reacted in the most humbling fashion; many of them sat with us, joining us for the rest of the service. It was a visceral moment, a moment of persecution that God used it draw us all closer to Him. That is something that I’ll never forget.

Lee K., Acadia National Park, 2010

Join an experience that will transform your life

The Lord said, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Find Your Park

Attend a worship service in a park
during your next vacation