What a better way to take a break from finals week than to read our blog series on the spring break experience to Holden Village! All jokes aside, many parts of Holden are infused into our communal life together, including regularly singing Holden Evening Prayer and Mountain Vespers in worship, and continually using The Prayer of Good Courage during our senior sending. Hear from students who went on the spring break trip and what their takeaways from this unique community are.
By Amanda Charles
Few words can describe my experience from the LCM spring break trip to Holden Village. With astonishing views and wonderful community, our adventure took us through many firsts. It was the first time I had ever taken a train for 36 hours. It was the first time I had traveled a long distance without a relative. It was the first time I had ever jumped right into a week of unknowns. It was a week without the comfort of familiarity, a week in an environment I had never experienced and a week without connection to the world outside of that little village nestled in the mountains.
When I reflect on that week, the words of the Prayer of Good Courage resonate with me as images of evening vespers worship, sledding down the side of the mountain and hiking through the evergreens to watch the sun rise among the mountaintops play through my mind.
O God, you have called us
To ventures where we cannot see the end
By paths never yet taken
Through perils unknown
Give us good courage
Not knowing where we go
To know that your hand is leading us
Wherever we might go
One of my favorite memories of Holden Village was star gazing in the middle of a snow-covered field between the mountains and the woods. We took a path to the field around 10pm that night, and on our walk, we were surrounded by pure darkness that extended into the dense woods around us. We could not see the end of the path, but in this pack of new friends bonded through the community of Holden, I knew that God’s love was all around us, leading us, just as it had been this entire week. I remember the feeling of the icy snow on my arms and back as I sat next to a few of my fellow LCMers. As we stared at the immense universe above us, we giggled about memories from the week and exchanged words of amazement of the beauty we were witnessing. I remember saying out loud that I had never felt so small before in my life. I had never seen so many stars, and as they danced through the sky and on the tips of the mountains, I was reminded in an epic way of God’s hand in this universe. I’ve been fortunate in my life to have seen God’s hand in creation around the world, but the night sky at Holden was something not even pictures can describe. The beauty God created both in the nature around us and the friendship among us deserves to be celebrated and praised.
Spring break was a series of unknowns for me. As the prayer says, God gave me good courage through the community brought together in LCM and Holden Village. God led us through countless paths, whether it be the (seemingly never-ending) train ride or that dark path to the star-gazing field, and I felt God’s hand with us through love and beauty. Holden serves as a reminder to me that life brings paths that are winding and unplanned, but God brings us community and love that leads through this beautiful adventure.