Psalm 121:1 … I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence cometh my help.

Mountain tops are nice, but deceiving. Everyday I walk my l little girl to school. She makes me wait with her until the bell rings, so I just sit there with her and look at the mountains. I remember a late friend of mine, Vernon Mayhill. He was a spry older gentleman, who led Outward Bound groups of troubled teenagers into the mountains. We would go mountain climbing on the weekends (And Vernon would ritually read Psalm 121 before we took off.) We were walking up this rugged path. Vernon said, ´Look, there is a little knoll off the path with the summit just on the other side. Let´s just HOP over it´. Well an hour later, we were still clinging to the side of this little knoll for dear life.. (I still smile when I remember Vernon´s face, he was trembling with exhaustion, and very concerned).. He is now on that eternal mountain top, with the Lord, where he will never be concerned again.) We made it to the summit that day, but I don´t look at knolls in the same light any more. Once you struggle to get up to the top, however, it is all worth while. You can orientate yourself. It´s easier to see where you are. There is also nice scenery and clean air. You kind of feel like you are closer to God, although God is omnipresent.

Overall, mountain tops give you a ´warm and fuzzy´. When you first get there you think that you will never want to come back down again. 15 minutes later (if you are like me) you´re descending because you´re bored. Mountain tops are generally intolerable for any reasonable amount of time. At best, they are uninhabitable. Nothing can grow up there. From a distance you can see the treeline where even the vegetation stops. It’s dry and cold. It is nothing but nice scenery and a goal achieved.

The valley is where there is growth. Spiritually speaking, we tend to say that valleys are bad and mountain tops are good. It´s wrong thinking though. Mountain tops are a high ambition. We live in the valley day by day. There is growth there. Loneliness, transportation problems, sickness, financial difficulties are all a price of getting a chance to live on mission fields, grow, help others and to become more like Jesus. It’s bearable (with the right attitude) and amiable for habitation. People by nature try desperately to climb out of valleys, sometimes to their own demise. We strive to get to that spiritual high place, only to be seriously disappointed upon arrival. Life is lived in the valley. We have to teach out children to grow where they are planted (valleys). It´s not fun all of the time. It is usually extremely difficult and uncomfortable. But there is life, deal with it. It has to do with facts, not feelings. It comes down to just doing the right thing, the right way, so that God can bless you. We look to the Rock that is higher than us to sustain us, to help us and to encourage us. Anthropology is the study of man. Literally, the study of the creature that looks upwards. People are the only ones who look up for help. We look up to the heavens, to God, kids look up to us to teach them.

Reading for the first time is a mountain top experience. Learning vowels is a step out of the valley of illiteracy. Here´s a video of Winnie teaching vowels to the kids at our prek.

video of vowel class at our children’s prek

Dean Peters

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