Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | November 30, 2015

Band of Fathers Adventure

Earlier this year I started the Band of Fathers, a core group for fathers interested in becoming better dads and champions to their sons. Jonathan, my own son, was my inspiration for starting this group. Ours is a modern day prodigal story with a happy ending. Jonathan and I learned a lot of valuable lessons through the dark years — experiences that brought us closer than either of us could have ever imagined was possible.

Jonathan and Dad
Shared adventure became a key component that strengthened my relationship with Jonathan. Over the years we have participated together in almost a dozen ultra-marathon canoe races and many other outdoor adventures. These adventures have placed us in a context where we have had to work together to overcome physical challenges in order to reach common goals. And, they have given us room to have amazing heart-to-heart conversations.

McKittrick Canyon TeamSo, when my friend Gil Harris challenged me to pray about starting a core group for men, my heart immediately leaned toward meeting with fathers and providing opportunities for them to serve others and to have memorable outdoor adventures with their sons. Over the past year our Band of Fathers has made some special memories by serving others with our sons.

IMG_6908
For the past eight months, we have looked forward to venturing to Guadalupe Mountains National Park for our first shared adventure of the year. We set the weekend after Thanksgiving to hike to the summit of Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. But, that did not stop us from going. Plan B was to hike McKittrick Canyon — a place described as the most beautiful spot in Texas.

James Tent Set-up
When we arrived at the national park late Friday afternoon, temperatures were already starting to drop from the lower 30s into the upper 20s. Watching our fathers and sons work together to set up camp in the freezing rain was inspirational. No one complained about the cold. Everyone pitched in to help. And everyone was thrilled when our meal of hot dogs, chili, and hot chocolate was ready.

Ice on Tent
Saturday morning greeted us with 20-something degree temperatures and a world of ice. Through the night, the freezing rain had turned the plants and trees in the park into beautiful ice sculptures. We all felt privileged to see the park as few others have the opportunity to see it. After a breakfast that consisted of copious amounts of hot chocolate and coffee, we headed to McKittrick Canyon.

McKittrick Hike
McKittrick Canyon has a beauty all its own. It did not take long for us to realize that we were indeed in one of the most beautiful spots in the Lone Star State. We hiked through a striking palette of Fall colors made even more dramatic by the cold, overcast skies. Colorful big-tooth maples, deep-green alligator juniper, bark-shedding manzanita trees, and other native plants each contributed to the beauty of the canyon.

Trail at McKittrick Canyon
After a day of hiking, we drove to Balmorhea State Park for a second night of cold-weather camping. We gathered around the campfire where we enjoyed delicious steaks provided by Taste of Texas along with all of the fixings and a delicious dutch-oven desert before it started to rain. Again, no complaints!

McKittrick Grotto Group
Our objective as a Band of Fathers is to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father and our sons through shared study, shared mission, and shared adventure. We believe that all three of these elements are important in building strong relationships with one another and with our sons.
McKittrick Canyon PicsI am grateful for our cold-weather shared adventure to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. This amazing place of natural beauty was the perfect setting for us to meaningfully connect with our Heavenly Father and with our sons.


Responses

  1. My favorite blog yet, pastor Omar!

    • Thanks, BStone. And thanks for your leadership of our Men’s Ministry. God has certainly used you and Gil to lead our men toward a more meaningful relationship with God.

  2. Omar, you may have to correct me on this one….but, it sounds like to me y’all had church!
    So proud of your Band of Fathers that did not let anything get in the way of this epic adventure.
    I love what you are doing with our “Men of Kingsland”.

    • You are right, Gil. We did indeed have church! And thanks again for prompting me to pray about leading a core group. I appreciate your leadership of our Men of Kingsland ministry. Amazing to see all that God is doing in and through the men of our church.


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