Every weekend, Sammy and I try to reward the boys who have earned good behavior points with a field trip of some kind. Sometimes we go to dinner, or out for ice cream or sometimes to the movies. A week ago though, we took 6 of our boys to a beautiful state park here in Monterrey that is very, very high up into the mountains called Chipinque. Several had never been there and a few, as we quickly found out, are afraid of heights.
First we went to the visitor center to get park maps so we could plan our hike. At this point, the boys were incredibly confused. Many thought that we were at some sort of zoo and kept yelling in frustration about why they hadn't seen any bears or animals yet. The concept of going somewhere in nature just to enjoy it is extremely foreign to most 10, 11 and 12 year old boys - especially ones who grew up in a Mexican orphanage. Eventually, we picked a trail and a destination, grabbed our backpacks and sack lunches and we set off.
We walked and walked. I enjoyed the cooler weather way up high in the mountains.
The boys walked along - several complaining about how long we were walking and continually asked, "are we there yet?" about a million times. Others though - literally ran through the trails. Several of my sweet children have ADHD and getting outside is perfect for them.
When we finally got to our turn around point, we sat down to eat our sack lunches. One of my boys was really confused and yelled, "are you kidding me?!?!?! We walked all the way here ONLY to SIT down and EAT OUR LUNCH?!?!?! We easily could have done that back at the visitor center!!!"
So yes, Sammy and I dragged 6 thug like street kids up to a state park to go on a hike. They were confused. It was a new experience. It was a long drive for them even just to get there. But we had a great time. They got out of the orphanage and away from the TV for a few hours. They witnessed hundreds of other people who live in their city who love these mountains, nature, and exercising for enjoyment.
A lot of times, Sammy and I wonder if some of the things we try to expose them to is even worth it. They protest. They complain. But as I'm sure many parents who have tried to share a love of nature with their kids like mine did with me - taking me from one state park to another and from national park to national park and heard me complain about how "boring" the Grand Canyon was - sorry mom and dad - understand where I'm coming from - at the end of the day or even years later - they remember how cool or beautiful of an experience it was to see God's creation in a different light.
At bedtime, our boys often open up. We pray with each one individually and spend a few minutes talking about their day, worries, concerns, fears, and about the future. At bedtime on this night in particular, our "lost boys" couldn't stop telling us and thanking God in their prayers for how cool of a field trip it was. Eventually the truth comes out. They liked it.
The past few days, I feel like I am doing the same thing with God. God has placed me here in Monterrey for such a time as this. He has given me 2 more children which now brings my bath time, homework, teeth brushing, sandwich making, and bed time tucking in count to 9. Most of the time, especially this week, I just want to complain much like my kids often do. The Bible says that God isn't going to give us believers more than we can handle and that He is going to work all things out for our good. I want to live in the moment and enjoy this "hike" God has me on for the time being. He knows and He'll work all this out for my good.