If you’ve looked at the Wheels Up Family blog for any length of time you’ve hopefully quickly realized that we love travel and we love Jesus. We are passionate about experiencing different places in the world through travel adventures; we are passionate about experiencing our Savior through worship and sharing His love with others. When we heard about an organization that combines these things … we knew it was a perfect fit. In February 2020 we went on our first Yay God Adventure, and it was everything we imagined it would be and so much more.
Here is a brief snippet from the Yay God Adventure Ministries website:
“Our goal is to travel the world to find beautiful places to hike, boat, bike, kayak, and explore–all while having daily fellowship and worship with fellow believers in Christ. We hope that our travels will allow us to experience adventures yet also find time to be still and find the peace and joy that surpasses all understanding. The small group adventure travel experience will allow us to form bonds and lasting friendships.”
- Beautiful, adventurous, bucket list locations
- Daily worship and devotion time
- Group of fellow believers to encourage and strengthen your Christian walk
Yes, yes, and yes!
We met Chip and Heather Schroeder, leaders of Yay God Adventure Ministries, and learned a little of their story of how this got started as well as how they came up with the name (check out the website here). It all started with their family trips to a Christian dude ranch in Colorado called Wind River Ranch and the amazing impact it had on their family. They wanted to take that same type of experience around the world!
Josh and I had the blessing to be the worship and devotion leaders on the particular trip we went on, and God showed up in so many amazing ways – Not only in the time leading up to the trip preparing the devotionals and practicing worship music together, but also in trusting and following the Spirit every day when worshiping together with the amazing group of people on this adventure.
Our adventure was to Patagonia in Argentina! (Blog post of all the amazingness of Patagonia here!) Our typical day on this trip would be to hike during the day to some of the most magnificent places I’ve ever experienced, taking along a packed lunch in our backpacks. Then when we returned each afternoon we would meet back up and have our worship and devotion/Bible study time, followed by an amazing meal and some more sweet fellowship.
There was something that just felt so right about coming back from these amazing hikes and then giving praise to the One who created it all. Every day we were reminded just how great and awesome our God is, how small we are in this world, and how much God loves us. It is so humbling to think how the God and creator of the universe, of every single mountain, glacier, tree, creature, star, planet … created me too … He knows my name … and knows every single thing about me to the core of my very being and loves me more than I will ever fully understand.
And for the people and relationships built on this adventure …
Okay, first let me explain to you that I am very much an introvert. I enjoy quiet alone time very much. I enjoy being around people too, but it can be draining for me and hard for me to open up to new people. Josh and I didn’t know anyone on this trip beforehand. There were 12 people in our group who were from various parts of the United States, plus an Argentine guide that stayed with us.
Getting to know this group of people, getting to experience these amazing sights and challenges with them, getting to worship and pray with them … it was everything. It was just as amazing as the Patagonia beauty. I did not experience the introvert draining of energy that sometimes comes from being in a group of people. I experienced a strengthening of joy and spirit. I walked away with new friends who felt like family, who I was comfortable being myself around, with whom I had shared in some deep and meaningful conversations. None of that will be easily forgotten, and all glory to the God who unites us all.
We also had opportunities for some really cool conversations with people we met along the way who didn’t believe the same as us but who were open to hearing about the hope we have in Jesus. On one unplanned, impromptu-grab the guitar and take it down by the water-experience, we had a group of people come sit with us and listen to the worship music. On another occasion some of the staff of a place we stayed came and joined in during our worship time.
There are so many unforgettable stories we took with us after this trip. (Here is another story I shared about the Perito Moreno Glacier from this trip). Yes, Patagonia is just stunning. It should be on everyone’s bucket list! I had a blast sharing more about that place in another blogpost, but I very much also wanted to share about what was even more meaningful. Thank you to Chip and Heather Schroeder and Yay God Adventure Ministries for always pointing people to Jesus, no matter where. How fitting this verse they share on their site:
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
— Isaiah 55:12 (NIV)