Recently, my classmates and I backpacked near the town of Pisgah, Alabama for four days. From the moment we strapped on our bags— which were three times our size, we realized there would be many challenges we would have to confront.

For myself, the challenge manifested itself on our third day when the wonderful David Blanchard announced we would be left for five hours in the woods (two hours in the dark) in order to practice the discipline of solitude. I quickly realized my fear of loneliness as we prepared for our night. I honestly didn’t know what to expect as I was dropped off by a stack of dead trees and leaves; however, in the silence that ensued, I began to sense God’s presence filling the wilderness around me.

Underneath that beautiful canopy of greenery, I found rest as I meditated on the book of James and Romans 18.  Soon my heart was speaking with the Lord, and as the darkness enveloped every living thing, He lit up the forest around me, showering my heart with peace. From loneliness, I entered into the serenity of solitude. Confronting my fear of loneliness was difficult, yet with the Lord on my side, I won.

Overall, our challenges bonded us closer, and together, we know God is preparing us for His future mission.

-Daniel Poeana
IMPACT 360 class 2011