by Myung Thongdee (High School Senior, Jr. LTF 2nd Stage Member)

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Jr. LTF challengers assemble heavy cement bags to carry together while hiking

My internal goal for this challenge hike was to always have a good perspective and not think about myself during the hike. I made this goal because the morning of the hike I saw what we had to carry up and down the mountain and I already doubted myself saying that I could not do it because it was too heavy. Later, I thought to myself that I cannot have that kind of attitude, especially right before we leave to go do the activity.

Because I was a team leader, I really needed to check my attitude and motivation to do the hike in order for the rest of my team members to have a good attitude and perspective to also participate in the hike. This is why I made the internal goal of having a good perspective and thinking that I am not doing this for myself but I am doing this in order to build a stronger relationship with God. Whenever I reach an obstacle during this hike or any time in my life I cannot think about myself but instead think about what God would do or how God would feel. My external goal of the hike was to make it all the way up to the waterfall with my whole team and both of the cement bags.

From the moment we left the community center, I was reflecting on the hike and I felt this frustration that I cannot describe with words. By doing this hike I realized that if the team members are not able to do something, the team leader has to pick up the slack or make up for it. Although the team members do not want to do a certain task, the team leader has to do it and make a good example for the team.

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Jr. LTF teams carry heavy cement packs up the mountain

I was praying and reflecting during the hike and once I got to the waterfalls, I realized that this is what God must feel like looking at all of humankind. God has a path and task laid out for human beings but it is up to us whether we will follow the path or not. In this way I was able to feel a glimpse of how frustrated God must feel towards human beings.

Something I also learned is that no matter what the situation is, even if you want to yell at someone to put them in line, the best way to deal with it is to continue to give that person love even if it is really difficult. I also related this to our relationship with God. No matter what we do, even if we disappoint God, God will always unconditionally love us. I am so glad and thankful I was able to join this challenge and be able to feel a glimpse of what Heavenly Father feels. This challenge allowed me to make a bigger determination to God to do better and create a stronger relationship with Him and be a better example for my siblings and people around me.

I am really thankful for my team because I was able to learn a lot and grow from these experiences. I am grateful for my teammates because although it was very difficult, they tried their hardest!

Thank you!