Did you ever find yourself looking up and suddenly discovering that you were in the wrong place, heading in wrong direction, with little sense about how to get out of the mess you got yourself into? Well, just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip.
It was a beautiful afternoon in the Peruvian village of Huayacundo Arma, we had just finished sharing Christ with a classroom of teenagers in the local public school. We had a couple of hours to kill so five of our group of eight decided to take off on an adventurous hike up to an ascendable peak overlooking the small village. Upon our arrival and after our recovery from the scant amounts of oxygen available to us, we beheld a view that left us awestruck. We shared together in a time of prayer, we talked about how awesome God was, we participated in some unfortunate moments of juvenile horseplay, and we had a blast.
Upon further investigation of our surroundings, there were other equally grand sights available for our exploration and so we literally frolicked around the tops of these mountains, stopping only to take a few deep breaths and then continue on being boys and worshipfully appreciating our surroundings. Along the way we picked up two more travelers for our journey, a dog named Bronco, and a Peruvian teenager named Antony. Memories were made, pictures were taken, and at that point we realized it was time to return to the village. We asked Antony how to get home. A conversation ensued of our broken Spanish and his broken English and we translated that Antony knew the quickest way to get us back to the village. We turned away from a trail that we could see to follow Antony where there was eventually no trail. “Vaye, Vaye” Antony cried out, which we understood to mean “Let’s go gringos, what is taking you so long!” Soon Antony led us over a sheer cliff, to a tiny ledge where we had to make a leap to continue.
Yes, that is right; we had to jump from the tiny ledge onto a landing spot about as big as a home plate. This was the point of no return. Soon after we all made “the leap” we realized that Antony had no idea how to get down. We were now on the backside of the mountain, out of sight of the village; our surroundings had changed from lush mountain fields to steep grades of briars and cactus. The sun began to let us know that daylight was waning, our shadows began to grow long, we had no idea where we were in relation to the village. At this point resolve set in, we were getting back to the village, lean back into the mountain, slide on your rear as much as necessary, if you slip grab what you can even if it is a cactus. The road leading back to the village grew closer. An aqueduct carrying water to the village interrupted our descent and became our path home. Honestly, when my feet landed on the solid, level footing of the aqueduct I almost cried. As we rounded the mountain our restless, waiting friends came into sight. Antony scampered off into the dusty streets of the village without saying a word. Jeff and I were met by Terry Gresham, the third member of our team in Peru. I remember Terry saying, “What were you thinking?” over and over. I had no explanation except that I probably was not thinking at all. The next hour was full of more explanations and stories and tears and apologies and forgiveness and man-hugs. We were safe, and our mission in Peru went on with great success.
Maybe you find yourself in a similar jam. My advice to you is get back home as a fast as you can. Resolve to yourself to come home, face the music for your actions, apologize, seek forgiveness, find what God is doing and get involved in that. There is a way home, it may be difficult, but it is the place where God is waiting for you with loving rebuke and restoration. He is not finished with you, you can still play a part in His wonderful purpose. Come home.