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Cuts and Bruises are a Sign of Victory

When fathers and sons hiked a mountain in Mexico, they saw God in both the adventure and the victory.

Last week, some friends from the States came to visit over their spring break. 

On Friday afternoon the ladies hung out with the orphanage girls while us men and boys undertook the enormous task of installing two more box gardens at the back of the orphanage property. Being the Super-Efficient-Alpha-Males that we are, we finished the box gardens in about 20 minutes. And then wondered, now what do we do?

Someone, I don’t remember who, suggested we take 2 hours and climb the mountain behind the orphanage.

Someone else, I don’t remember who, thought that was a good idea. So, off we went, accompanied by our 15 year old guide, Erick, who lives at the orphanage. 

Erick assured us we could be up and down the mountain within 2 hours, which was perfect as the ladies would be finishing their meetings about that same time.  


The red circle is the peak of the mountain we sought to climb. For some reason I imagined a nice dirt path leading all the way from the bottom of the mountain to the top. 


Here we are about to start our journey. We are happy. Our arms and legs do not have scratches or bruises. We are hydrated. We are smiling. We are still under the impression this is a good idea. To my surprise I quickly discovered there was no dirt path leading up the mountain. Instead we had to climb over thorns, bushes, rocks, dirt, weeds, and even a croc! 

About 1/3 of the way up, all of a sudden my son and I realized how much time and effort and pain and suffering this journey was going to take. One of us broke into tears, thinking he was too young for this and the challenge was too big. Fear gripped and paralyzed him and he thought he could not go on.

But then my 9-year-old son gave me a pep talk and I felt much better, at least well enough to keep trying. The mountain was so steep we decided to leave our water bottles behind so our hands would be free to cling to rocks as we ascended. 


After 3 hours, we made it to the peak. By the time we arrived our legs were slashed, cut, bruised, and bleeding. But as Liam said over and over again, “Dad, cuts and bruises are a sign of victory!” 

It then occurred to us we had to figure a way DOWN the mountain, and the solution came as going down on our bums. By the time we reached the bottom, my shorts had holes in the rear from scooting, sliding, and falling down the slope. 

Four hours after we began our trek, we arrived home. Sweaty, torn up, exhausted – and victorious.

Our spontaneous hike was harder, steeper, rougher, and much, much more dangerous than we expected, but it actually fit very nicely into a theme my friend, Jeff, and I are instilling into our boys: God has equipped us to do hard things. 

I think we’ll remember this day the rest of our lives. And sometime in the future when we want to quit, give up, or when we realize we’re in a situation way over our heads and the only two options are flight or fight, maybe we’ll think back to this day and remember that sometimes the best thing is to keep going, one inch at a time, bit by bit, as best as we can. Eventually we’ll climb the mountain. 

How has adventure and discipleship played a role in your spiritual life? Do you feel called to live a life of victory overseas? Click here to find out more about long-term missions.