News & Updates
Who Comes to SOLA?
by Rev. Doug Douma
SOLA—Appalachian Christian Retreat
(May 2021 Banner, online edition)
Who comes to Sola? Hikers of course! But no two hikers are the same. Just beginning this season we’ve had two near-retired men from North Carolina out on section hikes, a PCA deacon from South Carolina, and a nineteen-year-old man who is hoping to become a Navy seal. Some of our more memorable guests have been families of five or six hiking together; one from Arkansas, another from Georgia. We’ve had middle-aged women from England and Uruguay and a young couple of friends that had just graduated from a Quaker boarding school. There was an Old-Order Amish man and another who was a step away from being a Greek Orthodox priest. I’ve helped two hikers get to the train station, one a US Marshall and another a man who needed to get home after suddenly finding out that his step-father had passed away. Some of our visitors are YouTubers, filming their adventure for public consumption. Lots of visitors are college-age and many others are retired. Other notable groups include school teachers with summers off and ex-military or ex-postal workers with pensions.
Volunteers come to Sola as well, and we have been greatly blessed by them. Some of them have come from our area churches and have provided help with carpentry and electrical work. Others have flown in from across the country. This summer, one volunteer from Canada plans to help out here for a week in the midst of her thru-hike of the trail.
Regardless of who our visitors are, they are all our welcome guests. We hope that they are each blessed by their visits to our ministry and built up through prayer and conversation about the Lord in whom alone (Latin: Sola) we trust.
We pray that when hikers leave Sola they remember our conversations, take a Bible with them, and learn to trust in God, who alone forgives sins.