The team made it across the first mountain! We crossed Colle di Bellino, the highest point on the GTA trail. It was steep and challenging just like last year, but with an additional obstacle of snow. This year the Piemonte region has had a lot of late spring snow. Several portions of the trail near the top were covered with snow. We had a few difficult places where the team really had to work together to safely cross. They were excited to see what they could accomplish.
Both Luke Neilsons, Zachary Taylor, and several others helped carry the packs of others in some of the steeper portions of the trail. Everyone was quite stiff and sore and some had new blisters as we arrived in the campground in Pontechianale. Everyone was glad for a couple of days off the trail.
Ryland McGaha slipped in some snow and hurt his knee. That injury caused us to spend an extra night on the mountain. He was able to walk fine the next day. As we got towards the bottom of the mountain the next day, workers informed us they had just finished replacing the foot bridge across the river. If we had come down the night before there would have been no way to cross at that point and we would have needed to go back up several miles just to find a place to camp. The whole team saw how God was in control even in Ryland’s injury. They were all quoting Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God to them who are the called according to His purpose”
We were given a warm welcome in the campground where last years team had left a good testimony. Some of the people wanted to make a meal for the team and everyone commented on how well behaved they are. We were invited to sing and share at the special Catholic mass that was being held at the campground. This was a very rare privilege for an evangelical group. Shalen Gillis shared a great testimony. The team also shared up in the town with the many people who came for the Festival weekend here. Today we have been catching up on classes and laundry so that we are prepared for our next hike towards Bobbio Pellice.
We had a great prayer time this morning as many team members decided they wanted to be free from certain issues they have been dealing with. We have one individual who has admitted they do not know the Lord and are not interested at this time. Please join us in praying that God will soften his heart in these next few weeks.
We have had some rain for the first time today. It doesn’t help with getting our laundry done and being ready to get on the trail tomorrow. We appreciate all the prayers, especially as we look towards another big hike. Also pray for the many seeds that have been planted and that we might see some more fruit as well.
God has taught me a lot through this team. When we were hiking a few days back and I felt the most exhausted I ever have in my life, God taught me to push on. Though we were in pain we were not carrying a cross on beaten, bleeding backs, just our backpacks. It reminded me not to complain and that He is the reason I’m doing this. I was reminded that there are many people in Italy still needing to hear who God is and the friendship that He wants with each of us. My God is amazing!
Hiking through the Alps is difficult at times. You are really forced to rely on the strength of God. Continually you have to reflect on what it says in the Bible. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things in Christ which strengtheneth me.”