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Friday, September 28, 2012

The testimony of a Backpacker


Dear Traveller:
I have been a backpacker traveler for over fifteen years. My first
international travel adventure began within a few hours
after graduating with a degree in forestry from a university in Canada
in 1985. After five years of studies, I was ready for a
break and had the chance to head overseas, first to the forests in
Sweden for some work experience and then to travel in Europe.
Initially, it was very exciting to travel through different countries,
meeting people from various cultures and seeing things I had never
seen before.

However, I began to learn a few things as a first-time backpacker:
1. I met many people, but really did not get to know them that well.
Even for those I tried to stay in contact with by mail, I soon lost touch with them.
2. Much of the scenery I viewed, such as the Swiss Alps or the forests
of Sweden, was not much different than what one could see
in Canada.
3. When I returned home to Canada, one of my family members made a comment about the
pictures I had taken: “Where are all the
people? There should be a story behind every photo.” And looking
at my photos, many of them were of buildings or of scenery with few
having any people in them and with no story to tell.

So then what was the purpose of my travels? That first six month
journey helped me to begin to realise that there had to be more to life.
Certainly, relationships with people were more important than the
impressive architecture of European buildings, castles and churches.
Returning to Canada, I quickly found a forestry job, but after a few
months got bored and felt there were more important things I could
do with my career and experience. After a quick job search, I was offered a position in forest
research and new and exciting things began. I was on the road, travelling through the beautiful
province of British Columbia and getting paid WELL for it.
But I got bored again and began to ask myself some
serious questions.

So what if I was making good money?
So what if I was able to travel through and work in
some of the most beautiful wilderness areas of the world?
Why was I feeling dissatisfied with career and even with life in
general?  Was I missing out on something in life?

One thing I had to consider was the existence of “God”. I certainly
could appreciate the beauty and ecology of nature because of my training and experience in the
forests. I never assumed that evolution was a fact, just a theory and open to the idea that
perhaps there was a Designer, Creator or Supreme Being that was involved in bringing this
universe and world about.

I grew up with a “Christian” background as a child and
teenager, but in university I was occupied with my studies and had little time to seriously
consider or factor in religion in my life. My focus was in obtaining my degree. Now, just over one
year later, I was asking myself questions.

So, in the midst of travelling, working and earning money, I began my
search for God. It began as an earnest prayer, a desire to read from the
Bible and to try and discover if God was real. Shortly after this search began, a forestry friend
gave me a book to read called: Is That Really You God?

When I read the book, I began to understand for the first time what life could be like as a real,
true Christian or believer in Jesus Christ. I was encouraged to seek God more, to read from the
Bible, to “talk” with him, to know that I could have a relationship with him. As I did this and as I
look back over the years, I have come to believe the truth of these words as written in the
Christian Bible:

“God rewards those who earnestly seek Him...” (The Bible, Book of
Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 6)
There are many religions and ways that try and define “God” or
“gods” and many rules and rituals associated with them, but do they
really provide the answers to the questions one has in life?

I still travel and still work in the forests occasionally, but now God is the focus of my life. I have
come to know that there is a God who
does guide and lead, and that he does have plans and purposes for my life. I have found myself
in impossible situations and
have prayed and seen God answer and discovered how things were “planned in advance”. I
have realised that the goal in life is to love God with all my heart, and soul and mind and to love
others as myself. It took some time for me to realise that my problem initially was that I was just
loving myself, trying to find meaning and purpose in my own life.

Are you tired or bored with travelling or not quite sure that you really
have your life together? Your travels may not have turned out as
exciting as you thought they would be? How many people have you really
made true friends with? And what do you plan to do with your life or do
you really know?

I encourage you to start asking the question: God, are you real? Can
I find meaning and purpose in my life? Is Jesus Christ the answer and
is the Bible true?
If God knows everything, then he must know everything about your life,
wherever you are. You may be a total stranger among the people you are
with and the town or city you are in. Take a step of faith and begin to seek God earnestly and
you will be amazed. If you are really honest with God, you will meet people and things will
happen that will point you to Jesus Christ. Try it. Be
bold! You want a real adventure? This is your opportunity. You have
one life to live. Do you want to make it count, forever?

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