Road Closed

Since I’ve been in Big Sur, I have thought many times about how our summer with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks probably looks quite different than other ACMNP-ers.

First of all, Pfeiffer Big Sur is a State Park, not a National Park. (ACMNP is in a few State Parks as well as National Parks and Big Sur is such an iconic place)

Second of all, the road is closed. About half a mile down Highway 1 from us are giant road barriers and a forced turn around. The lodge Kristin (my ACMNP teammate) and I work at is the very end of the road. If you were wondering about us after seeing the story on the news about the recent landslide, I want to let you know that the road is open and completely fine from the north until after our lodge.

I’ve learned a few things since I’ve arrived in Big Sur.
1. Apparently there is a difference between a landslide and a mudslide and things simply “washing out” (even though I’m still not sure what it is)
2. Half of my job as a barista is telling people A. Where the bathroom is  or B. Information about Highway 1 and the sort of closed State Park and hiking trails.

Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve been here in Big Sur for 3 weeks now and I know nothing actually actual about any of this. All I know is rumors. I heard there was a news story saying there was another landslide occurred last week. I heard the bridge will open in September (although, some think it will end up being much later). I heard I could “walk across” and see things on the “other side”. I heard there were fires and other such things: recently or a long time ago, I’m not sure.

Apparently the potential guests at the lodge heard these rumors as well, because not many people venture down. It’s incredibly slow going, business wise. Many people who do visit our lodge are confused that the road is closed, despite the many signs along the road saying “Road closed, no detour”.

Here’s a picture I got from google of Highway 1 and the most recent landslide. I don’t have a conclusion to this blog post, I just wanted to share some of what it’s like here working at Big Sur.





Worth It

One time a guy came up to Jesus and asked him what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. I think this guy thought he already had it in the bag; he was a pretty moral, rule following dude. Yet, Jesus said, (and this is my paraphrase) “I know you are moral and that’s good. But can you pack light enough to come with me on my journey? Can you give up all your stuff to come with me?”

As I looked around the room two weeks ago at the Christian Ministry in the National Parks training conference I saw 250 people who had said “yes” to the question Jesus had asked. Each of us in that room were giving something up to serve in these 40 different National Parks for the summer.

We are giving up many modern conveniences- being minutes away from shopping centers and our favorite restaurants. Some of us are giving up phone signals and internet connection. We are giving up our friends and our families for these months, many of us won’t see those who know us best until September. Many of us are giving up better, higher paying jobs for positions like maid service and food prep. We are giving up our personal space and will be living in close quarters with people we don’t yet know. We are giving up our free time to care for and minister to the needs of others. We are giving up control as we are walking into an unknown place and situation.

Christians are this ragtag group of people who say, “Okay!” and leave behind so much to follow Jesus.

What I saw when I looked around that room during the ACMNP training conference were followers. I saw those who are willing to take a leap into the unknown. I saw the humble, a group of individuals becoming less and less so that Christ can become more or more.

Some would ask, “Is it worth it?” Is it worth it to give up all those things?

When this summer is through, I bet if you asked any of us, we will say that it was more difficult than we thought it would be (the narrow path usually is) but it was so so worth it.