OLDS Recap – Swift Water Rescue + River Training Edition

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“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man” –Heraclitus of Ephesus. Now, I don’t personally know Heraclitus or what he was thinking when he first uttered these words, but put into the context of an OLDSchool River Training Section there is some truth to this statement.

The Outdoor Leadership & Discipleship School tribe has just finished their River Training Section. As they continue to be immersed in Christ-centered community our students have now received training as Level IV Swift Water Rescue Technicians and Whitewater Class III River Guides on the Nantahala River. Nantahala is a Cherokee word meaning “Land of the Noonday Sun”, where the dam released water stays so cold because the depth of the gorge only allows the water to see sun at midday. Everyday our crew was on the river for the noonday sun learning and practicing their skills on the whitewater.

In Swift Water Rescue class the students learn the power of whitewater, how it moves and creates features for us to respect and enjoy. Because of the power of moving water no river one day is ever the exact same as the day before. Rocks move, trees get in the way, water level fluctuates, etc. Not to mention the power of flood waters that can bring disaster and devastation to entire cities. A day on the river is spent marveling at the power of God’s creation. That same power is put on display in the lives of these OLDSchool students. The redeeming power of Jesus to wash away all of sin and death from their hearts. Through the power of the Holy Spirit they are being sanctified, each one of them a different person from the day before, becoming more like Christ.

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In River Guide Training the students learn to navigate the river by reading the water and applying the appropriate stroke to set a course for most fun and safest ride. Along the way there are rocks, obstacles, other paddlers, and sometimes you may even get off-course. But you keep paddling downstream, and at the end of the float we always hit the falls, eddy out, and head home. The students are learning that the course of life as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ may not always be the most fun, comfortable, or safest way. However, we keep straining forward to what lies ahead knowing God prepared the way beforehand and that one day He will call us home to glorify him forever.

This was a busy but wonderful section. The OLDSchool students and proctors are saturated in gospel-centered community and are exceptionally learning, teaching, honing and applying their outdoor leadership skills. Pray for us as we continue to strive to be more like Christ in his creation.

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