It’s no secret our family loves to travel and experience new things, but the one thing that stays constant no matter where we are: finding a place to worship God. I mean, without Him, we wouldn’t even be in this new place doing these cool things. It’s so important to our family that we take time to continue that each week.
I would like to go ahead here and just admit that we aren’t perfect *GASP* and have missed an opportunity to worship because we chose to do our driving and/or flying on Sunday. But, it’s something we try to incorporate everywhere we go – no matter where we are or what our circumstances are.
“Isn’t this supposed to be a vacation, though? Won’t God understand if you take a Sunday off?” Well, yeah, it is a vacation, but the thing is, it’s not about what God would or wouldn’t understand. It’s about my husband, Granger, and me. We are the broken ones that need dedicated time to reflect on God and commune with Him. If we need that time during our everyday lives, what makes a vacation different? Absolutely nothing.
See, as much as we try to forget what we’re leaving behind while on vacation – work, stress, chores, etc. – we are still bringing ourselves on our own trip. We need Jesus in our everyday lives, and we need Him when we’re on the beach, in the mountains, in the city, or wherever, too.
On top of feeling the need to worship, it’s just plain cool to meet other Christians in different communities. I mean, these people are just living their normal, everyday lives as tourists come and go through the seasons. It’s a really amazing thing when you hear their stories, what they’re going through, and how they’re overcoming obstacles in their own homes.
When we were in Gatlinburg, TN earlier this year, we went to this small church a few miles from our hotel. They were worshiping in a cramped brick building, tucked away off of a side street. We happened to be there on Easter Sunday this past year, so there were a pretty good number of us in the crowd. It was also the beginning of the busy season in Gatlinburg, so there were about to be a ton of visitors over the course of the next few months.
As we were listening to the various people speak, we came to find out that their building had actually been burned down in the Gatlinburg fires at the end of 2016. They were in this transition period where they were just trying to find a place while their new building was being built. They were ecstatic to show off the building plans and the way God had touched their community after such a tragedy.
That little church is a place I’ll never forget. The people were so welcoming and kind. There were no evil eyes when Granger started freaking out mid-way through the service because he was hungry. If you really want to know about a community and what it’s like to live there, visit a church and fellowship with some of the locals. Even if we’ve not had the best attitude while walking into the building, we’re always happy when we leave, knowing that our hearts have been touched in a way they couldn’t have been if we would’ve stayed in our hotel rooms.
“But, what if there aren’t any churches there?” First of all, this has only happened to us while we were on a mountaintop. Secondly, the times I’ve felt closest to God were the moments sitting outside our tent overlooking His creation. I mean, seriously, can you get a better “worship center” or “auditorium?” It’s literally what he created. And you’re talking to him. So, do I need to really go on?
Probably not, but I will.
Mine and TJ’s first backpacking trip was in the Wenatchee National Park in Washington State. It was our one-year anniversary weekend, and we wanted to spend it alone in the mountains. We hiked up about 10 miles that Saturday to a gorgeous waterfall where we decided to set up camp and just hang out.
Y’all, the next morning was perfect. As the sun rose over the mountains, we set up our camping stools, drank coffee, ate breakfast and just talked about all.the.things. Then we split up – TJ going down the mountain a little ways and me staying closer to our camp – both looking at the same waterfall we could hear while we slept.
And then something cool happened. We were quiet for a few minutes. WHAT? I know. It was wonderful. We just did our own thing. We both prayed individually, contemplated our lives, took communion, and were just still. We then came back together, prayed together and just started about our day. The whole process took like 10-15 minutes max. It didn’t hinder our hiking time or make us start late on the trail.
It was awesome, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in the most populated area or the most secluded, the least we can do is make time for the One who got us where we are.
Comment below with the ways you’ve worshiped while traveling!