Winter Campout

Master Guides Learn to Survive Winter Conditions

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Texico » For more than 25 years, Derral Reeve, Texico Conference Club Ministries Director, has been taking students, youth, and Master Guides into snow-covered areas to be trained in survival techniques. From January 13-15, a dozen Master Guides and Master Guide candidates joined him in the Jemez Mountains of Northern New Mexico for the weekend. Participants were from Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas, and Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Several of the attendees had participated before, but for about half, it was the first time.

The event has a two-part purpose. One is to learn the mechanics of how to build a shelter and survive in the snow. Several ways were presented to prepare a shelter. These included making an igloo, snow trench, and plastic bag construction. The second is spiritual renewal and preparation for the time of trouble. For this, discussions and presentations were held around the campfire.

After arriving on Friday, each person participated in building the shelter they would stay in during the weekend. Most prepared shelters were made from filling plastic kitchen bags full of snow and piling them up to build walls. Next the top was crisscrossed with poles of dead trees and covered with a tarp. Finally, the top was covered with snow and the bottom filled with pine needles for additional insulation. Mike Thomas, from Rio Rancho, had come earlier in the week and piled snow up in a mound. He hollowed the mound out in an igloo shape for his shelter.

Each participant was given demonstrations and instruction on fire starting without matches. Then everyone had the opportunity to make fire with at least three of these techniques. Some of the methods took quite a bit longer in cold than when they had practiced them in the warm summer.

During the evening and morning devotional times, participants were asked to share parts of their own spiritual journey. On Friday evening, each person told about how they had accepted Jesus and the circumstances around their baptism. Sabbath evening was a time of rejoicing as each person shared a specific experience when they knew Jesus had been with them and led in a specific way. On Sabbath morning, Reeve presented a message about the time of trouble and how the trouble would not be so much physical, like having to survive the elements, but more mental with the anguish of our steadfastness in Jesus and the uncertainness of those days.

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