Using the Wilderness to Bring Men Together

BANG! Thunder clapped and lightning flashed. It seemed only centimeters away from the gum trees surrounding our campsite. We had just finished setup for our men’s fall break camping trip. Our campsite was overlooking the bountiful rolling hills of Pennsylvania. Suddenly it started to pour down rain. As tents toppled over, the thunder clapped, the lighting flashed again. Three SPO Missionaries and four students began their search for refuge across a 300 acre farm, holding all of the supplies under an old civil war hide tent. Suddenly amongst the torrential downpour, a fellow camper remembered a hay barn just a few miles. We load up the truck and make the trek to the shelter of the hay barn. Once there, a feeling of brotherhood permeates the room. In silence everyone looks around, and in that moment the bond of all of the men on this trip was born. 

That night, a fire was built and with lemonade in everyone’s hands and food in everyone’s stomach. The story’s of laughter and joy and heartbreak and growth were shared. Then to bed we went, for the weekend had just begun. 

In the days to come we had hearty meals made over the same fire that had heard all our stories and from our gracious hosts.  One meal in particular had been hunted by one of our students at Seton Hall University. A wild pheasant was taken down brought back to our new home of hay and prepared for that nights supper, along with a squirrel shot right out of a looming gum tree.

This trip brought a group of 7 men together. Living life together that weekend made a special bond that continually pointed upwards. 

Since getting back to campus, the bond has only grown. Attending church together, diving back into those fireside conversations, and helping the other brothers when they are in need. There is something primal about being in the wilderness with other men on a trip like this. As it brought all of us together it also brought us closer to our father in Heaven. Through watching the beauty of a sunrise all together looming over the rolling hills, to understanding how he provides even through a pheasant that fed us. So many memories born, and all can be taken back to the Love of our Father, and that is truly how we became brothers on this trip. And we can only Praise God for it. 

Aaron Sowell, SPO Missionary at Seton Hall University