Baptism in Emerald Lake

Sunrise Hike to Emerald Lake for Saul's Baptism


As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” (Acts 8:36)


Greetings from Colorado! We’re quickly coming to the end of our summer with the Estes Park Leadership Training (LT) program. Still, we’re so grateful for the time we’ve had in Colorado over the past seven weeks. I love hiking the trails of the Rocky Mountain National Park (and blazing some of my own trails, too!). I love worshiping the Lord in the midst of such awe-inspiring mountains, valleys, rivers, and lakes. And I love the sorts of conversations that happen while experiencing the natural “call to worship” of these things with others.

For example, this past month, I got to go on two hikes with students that felt remarkably similar, or at least parallel, to one another — within two weeks of each other. In both cases, we parked at Bear Lake, turned on our head lamps, and started hiking up the dark forest trails of Tyndall Gorge. In both cases, we gasped when we came to clearings that revealed a dramatically brightening sky. And in both cases, the conversation seemed to naturally shift towards baptism at a certain point. The first time, there were three of us: Saul, Marcel, and me. The second time, however, there were about twenty of us, instead of three. And we were all there to help celebrate Saul’s newfound faith, proclaimed through baptism in Emerald Lake.

Sunrise Hike to Emerald Lake for Saul's Baptism

It felt special to be hiking with Saul on these trails for both hikes. The first hike, in the middle of June, we branched off toward Lake Haiyaha when we got to Dream Lake. And somewhere on that trail, as we walked beside the bubbling mountain brooks, Marcel told us about how he had decided to be baptized just two weeks before that in a (different) cold, clear mountain stream. So conversation naturally drifted to reveal that Saul was also thinking about getting baptized. Our three-person hike to Lake Haiyaha provided an extended opportunity to talk about things and process the possibility together. But the second time around, in the first week of July, we branched off toward Emerald Lake: where Saul had decided he was ready to go public with his love for Jesus.

Sunrise Hike to Emerald Lake for Saul's Baptism

Upon reaching Emerald Lake, we all sat and swatted away mosquitos while Saul shared his story. Since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Saul had been struggling with depression, to the point that it caused him to drop out of his studies at Purdue University. But something supernatural seemed to be calling him to Colorado for the summer. When some of his co-workers started talking to Saul about the LT program that had brought them to the Rocky Mountains, Saul felt like he was being led to join the program on the spot. He’s embraced the opportunity to follow Jesus in the weeks since, and Saul eventually decided that he wanted to get baptized here in the Rocky Mountains, among his LT friends.

So, on that second hike (just last week), we made it to Emerald Lake right around the time that the sun was rising. Hallett Peak turned pink in the dawn light, then orange, and then yellow. After his baptism in Emerald Lake, Saul came back to the shore for hugs, pictures, and prayer. His face was lit up, just like Hallett Peak, basking in the glow of what God has done in his life this summer.

Sunrise Hike to Emerald Lake for Saul's Baptism

We concluded our time at Emerald Lake with a worship song, in which we repeatedly sang the words, ”My fear doesn’t stand a chance when I stand in your love.” And indeed, that is my prayer for Saul. There will be other challenges to come. But we pray that his baptism in Emerald Lake will be an indelible memory of his faith in Jesus. And that faith can carry him through the rest of his life, as he keeps standing in God’s love.

Please pray with me for Saul — and for all of the people who have been impacted by God this summer in Colorado. I wish I had more time to tell you the stories of Marcel… and Miranda… and Raymond… and Maddy… and Micah… We feel so privileged to be a part of so many stories that God is writing in so many individual lives out here. You are a critical part of this ongoing work, through your prayer and financial support. We’ll be in touch…

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