Wow!! I probably said that word or a similar word once every 10 minutes for the past week as we made our way to the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. It was absolutely incredible and I'm so thankful we got to do it. I'd love to wait and share details about it in person when I get back, so for now, I'll just share a couple of things. One of the coolest parts about climbing Kili was that all the scenery was so unique and beautiful and it was so diverse. We started out in the very thick, deep green and lush rain forest, then walked through the moorland, where every tree and bush was covered in this lime green moss. Then, we started to get into the alpine desert where it seemed real gloomy and at times we felt like we were in the Lord of the Rings. And if you don't know, Lord of the Rings is both of our favorite movies, so we were freaking out. I was so expecting some orks to pop out from behind the rocks, and I had my ski pole out ready to fight. Also, there were two guys on the trail from Bovaria with voices excactly like Mary and Pippen, making the scene seem even more real. We hiked for four solid days, and then we peaked on the fifth morning. We woke up at midnight to tea and biscuits, and then put on every clothing item we packed because it was absolutely freezing and the wind was screaming. With only our headlamps giving light, we made the pretty steep climb to the peak in a little over 5 hours. At some points the wind would make you stumble back, and it was so crazy not being able to see at all where you were going. You had to completely trust the guide and completely focus directly in front of your feet. It was pretty sad, because we saw a bunch of people give up and start heading back down. I think I quoted every verse I have ever memorized and sang a line from over fifty Christian songs to find strenth and stay encouraged. You only have a few minutes at the very top because the air is so thin, and we kind of tried to stall because the sun was just starting to come up and we really wanted to watch it. It ended up being, without a doubt, the most picturesque and beatiful sight I've ever seen. It was like we were standing on a blanket of clouds, a glacier on one side and steep cliff on the other, and the combination and brightness of the colors of the sunrise was unreal. It was real amazing on the way down because we could see everything, and we could see absolutely nothing on the way up. (Reflection time- Sometimes we have to blindly follow and trust the Lord wherever He leads us, knowing that He knows what's best for us and that future glory lies at the end of the road) We made it down the whole mountain on the same day we peaked. We were hauling down, and by the end, my legs and knees hurt the worst they have ever hurt in my life. So that's even more than I was planning on sharing about the climb, but its so hard to keep it real short. And I still need to share just a few low points of the hike. We both got bad diahrreah one night, which absolutely sucks without a toilet seat and when its really cold. Also, we forgot toilet paper, so we were pocketing our napkins from dinner to use. Also, nights were fairly miserable because we were freezing and did not have great sleeping bags. And because we had to drink so much water in the day, we had to get out of our tents at least twice a night in the freezing cold (0 to 30 degrees) to pee. That was no fun. I think that's it for Kili. It was an amazing adventure and we were defintely blown away by God's glory through His creation. Zach and I also got to have real good conversations, and really share how God is teaching us both so much about His grace. It's so awesome how the first things you hear about when you accept Christ, you continue to be taught and grow in the rest of your life. I'm in awe of the richness of the characteristics of God and so excited knowing I'm no where close to fully realizing the "incredible wealth of His grace and kindness".
I hope you all have a wonderful spring break. If you still don't have anything to do, you are welcome here. We are headed to Zambia on Saturday. Love you all and am praying for a great and relaxing week for you.