Seeing Real Mountains

Author: Michael Babienco

November 2023

See real mountains on the trip of a lifetime! Two slips of cardstock touted the phrase with a background image of a snow-capped Canadian mountain at Lake Louise. These cards were part of my marriage proposal to Caitlyn, including an engagement goat (an original painting, anyway; see January 2023 Adventist Frontiers) and several other items. This portion of the proposal was a promise to take Caitlyn to see some real mountains.

What are real mountains? Well, in my definition, they are taller than you might first imagine, rugged, snow-capped in winter, and are easier to find on the western side of North America rather than the eastern side where Caitlyn and I grew up. Since traveling on a band trip to Alberta, Canada, in 2007, I had been enthralled with their mountains, and I wanted Caitlyn to have the opportunity to see the Canadian Rockies.

To avoid burnout from the rush of moving, summer training, and now preparing to move overseas, Caitlyn and I had decided that the perfect time for a break was after summer training. So we hopped on the plane and flew off for a weeklong trip to Calgary. We enjoyed the sights of real mountains and connected with two former AFM short-term missionaries to Cambodia and my old high school band teacher, whom I had not seen since 2007. It was a wonderful opportunity to rest, rejuvenate, and mentally prepare for the stress of our upcoming move to Japan.

As missionaries, it will be so easy to get immersed in ministry and never take time to rest. Resting not only provides a practical break from work but also helps us minister more effectively and with increased energy. Rest may not always mean a faraway trip. It can be as simple as stepping aside for a few minutes to read a book, paint a picture, or even say no to new activities or requests.

Regardless of what kind of rest may have come to your mind while reading, I invite you to give yourselves better rest than any distant trip could bring: rest in Christ. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).