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  • Writer's pictureSeth King

Picture Perfect

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

When you grow up on the east coast, much like the settlers of our nation, heading west sounds like a dream. Massive mountains, roaring rivers, and wildlife of all kinds paint the picture that resides in the dream I often held. A month before the above picture was taken, I had a friend challenge me to make some of my dreams, regarding adventures, a reality. Truth be told, my high school and college years were filled with trips and traveling along side good friends. From midnight bike rides to the Lincoln Memorial, delivering bags of rice to tribes in the bush of Uganda, and ridiculous motorcycle rides leading to getting lost and Mexico, I have always been one who lives for the story to tell! Once I moved to Alabama to begin my vocation in local church ministry, all of my attention was given to my new life in my new home... All the while, I knew one day I'd find myself leaving to depart for an adventure of my dreams.

Blake (my mentor, friend, and pastor) and I were headed to Huntsville one Friday morning to buy new flies at Orvis when the finger was placed on the trigger. It all started with, "what if..." and next thing you know, we were on the phone with one of our close friends, Jeff, trying to convince him to join us on our minimalistic adventure out west. After taking our wonderful wives to dinner to patiently and kindly convince them of this idea, we were supported to pursue this dream and the trigger was pulled. Within a matter of 48 hours, flights were booked, our temporary home was rented, and our gear list was created.

Three friends with one mission- all we wanted to do was go off the grid, chase trout, talk ministry and life, all while being in the beautiful scenery of the Rocky Mountains. I walked away with many lessons learned. The God of the universe is a creative. The mountains of Colorado attest to the greatest of our King. He was seen in the flowing rivers, the exotic colors of the fish, the vastness of the snow capped mountains, and the conversations held along the way. I wish pictures captured the moments... Here is a fair attempt.

You can't live in a van for a week with just anyone. Luckily, these two guys were amazing. I went in to this trip thinking about the massive fish we would catch, the amazing trails we would hike, and the phenomenal pictures I would take that makes others wrestle with jealousy. I left with a greater understanding of something we all could use- a break from normality and time spent in unity.

Both Blake and Jeff are some of the most disciplined, intentional men I have ever met. Conversations were always purposeful. They seem to always be looking to encourage, to challenge, to push, and to celebrate. I found myself regularly thinking, "I want what they have!" Turns out, I have it. In fact, those of us who follow Jesus have the very thing that enables us to live a purposeful life, one filled with friendship and adventure... It is the commonality of Jesus! It is His name that allows us to experience true community, true friendship, and a fulfilling identity.

This trip inspired me beyond explanation. To express what I am trying to promote, let me paint a picture for you...

It is 7am. The first snow of the season is coming down hard. We had just pulled up to South Platte river, a widely recognized river on many bucket lists for trout chasers. Jeff just cooked a bomb breakfast in the van. After layering down and gearing up, we stepped into the freezing waterbed with our guide (who is a top rated guide in the entire state of Colorado I might add) to begin becoming familiar with our setup. It was simple: indicators and midge patterns- an enticing meal for big daddy trout. (or lunkers, according to the Canadian we met in the middle of nowhere!) As I am talking with our guide, I explicitly made the decision to ask pointed questions with the hope to begin a gospel conversation. Thankfully, the Lord opened a door and I begin sharing my story. Come to find out, our guide was a believer, his son was a leader in his FCA, and the are devout followers of Jesus!

Now wait for this.

As the guide worked his way down the river, he eventually got to Jeff. As he begins instructing Jeff on technique, I hear Jeff say something similar to this... "Alright, I have to ask this question. I am a big Jesus guy. I love Him. Where are you with that? Do you know Jesus?" As I heard him across the way, I began to smile obnoxiously big. Our guide began to fill him in on everything he shared with me. Jeff celebrated his walk and let me tell you, that conversation was the start of a heck of a day.

Now what purpose does this picture serve?

As we go is a lifestyle. As we fish, work, eat, play, we seek to make much of the gospel. There are many blessings and provisions God has given us to be able to accomplish our purpose here on earth. Although it is hard and challenging, there are many gifts to enjoy along the way. Notice the initiative isn't "as I go," however it says "we."

We are created to be connected. Friendship is a gift from God. Community mirrors the character of our Father in heaven. There was no greater feeling than doing what we loved, enjoying each other's company, all the while keeping the main thing the main thing. After all, we weren't created without an identity and purpose. Let's fulfill the one our Creator defined as ours- to go and make disciples of all of the nations.... as we go.

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