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How Far Out Are You?

by: Rev. Doug Douma
SOLA – Appalachian Christian Retreat in Unionville, NY
the Missions Banner, May 2023:  Online Edition

In our ever-changing world, hikers now chart their course not with a paper guidebook but with a digital app on their phone. I first heard of this back in 2016 when I used a GPS-based hiking app on the Pacific Crest Trail. For reasons unknown to me the app had the name “GutHook.” Perhaps this was the “trail name” of the hiker who invented it. Well, in just the last year, this app changed its name to FarOut, and it is now the most commonly used guide for hikers. We even have a free listing for Sola on the FarOut app.

In ye olden days, hikers might call a hostel in advance to see if there is room. And the hostel might say something like “We have one space left if you can get here first; how far out are you?” A time of arrival estimate then can be made with the standard hiking speed of 2 mph uphill, 3 mph downhill. These days they are more likely to text, and with GPS they know exactly how many tenths of a mile away they are.

One definition of “Far out” is “strikingly unconventional.” Perhaps that is an accurate description of the ministry here. But, we pray, that through this work the Lord brings near to Him many who are far out.

In slang, “Far out” can also mean something like “cool” or “strange and unusual.” No doubt we have hiker guests matching both descriptions! But, they are all welcome. That is a great joy in our ministry, welcoming in everyone. And with the help of the FarOut app, it is likely we’ll have the opportunity to minister to more hikers than ever this year.

 

pictured above:  These Hikers Found Us on the FarOut App. 
“Gypsy 1”, “Gypsy 2”, and “Space Cowboy” at Church with Pastor Doug.

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