Archive for the ‘Outdoors’ Category

This post may be a bit late as the less familiar Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games had their closing ceremony almost two weeks ago, but I believe it’s not too late to be inspired by these amazing athletes who did not let anything keep them from doing their best.

It is only the 11th Paralympic Winter Games held for athletes with disabilities under the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The Games featured 72 medal events in five known sports from the Olympics, and is the first Paralympic that held a snowboarding event. Amidst the stark international tension regarding the country’s intervention in Crimea, Ukraine the Paralympic Games went on. Canada stayed in top 3 with a total of 16 medals having 7 of them Gold. The host country had 30 Gold medals from 80 medals in total which kept them in first place. Forty-five National Paralympic Committees joined in Sochi 2014 Paralympic winter games with Brazil, Turkey, and Uzbekistan joining for the first time.

Here are some notable quotes from the athletes who overcame obstacles to reach their goals:

Brian McKeever wins his 10th career gold medal.

“It’s all about my own shape and knowing [that] if I’m going to be half decent or a bag of wet towels: You don’t know that until you start racing and pushing.”
Brian McKeever, Canada’s cross-country skier and biathlete who began skiing at the age of thirteen. He lost his vision at the age of 19 due to Stargardt’s disease. He won gold in men’s 20km visually impaired cross-country skiing race in Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games.


If we all looked the same, it would be a boring world.

Oksana Masters is a Ukranian-born Paralympic rower and cross-country skier from the U.S. Nordic Skiing Team. She was born with several radiation-induced birth defects including different leg length, missing shin bones, webbed fingers with no thumb, and six toes on each foot. She was sadly abandoned by her birth parents at a Ukrainian orphanage until 7 years old. Then she was adopted by Gay Masters, a professor who had no children of her own.


Obviously at the end of the day, it’s not what we came here for, but for the rest of my life, I’m never going to remember [Vancouver Olympics]. I’m going to remember that big hunking medal that we’re going to get on our necks in a couple of hours and what it means to bring a medal home for Canada.
Billy Bridges is a Canadian ice sledge hockey player who has spina bifida, a congenital disorder that causes the spinal cord to remain unfused and open, sometimes protruding through the bones. He and the Canadian team won the ice sledge hockey bronze medal in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games.


You can read other quotes from the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games here.


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Yesterday, I had another opportunity to climb a mountain with MiloR2 APEX Runners. This time, it was Mt.Talamitam – it was a minor climb compared to the other mountains we previously climbed. We jumped off from Kilometer 83, at Sitio Bayabasan.


This climb was timely for me as I was meditating and preparing for my sermon. I also encountered Oswald Chambers’ thoughts regarding ‘mountaintop experiences’ last week in one of my devotions:

“The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. If we only have the power to go up, something is wrong. It is a wonderful thing to be on the mountain with God, but a person only gets there so that he may later go down and lift up the people in the valley.

We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life – those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength.”

Mt.Talamitam at the horizon - we're just the same height!

Mt.Talamitam at the horizon – we’re just the same height!

Mountain climbing is indeed a challenge, no matter what mountain you’re climbing. At first, seeing the mountain still at the horizon, everything would seem and feel fine – the mountain doesn’t look so intimidating. However, every step going towards that large mound of soil, rock, and mud would require much perseverance, endurance, patience, and determination. You’d always hope for clouds to cover the scorching heat of the sun. Approaching the base of the mountain, you’d see how small you are in comparison to that magnificent creation. There’s no turning back at this point. There are times that you’d have to literally crawl yourself up, grabbing hold of the tall grass or protruded rocks to pull yourself up. There are times your foot would slip and make your heart pound fast. From the jump-off, to the base of the mountain, to each rock and mud you’ll encounter going up – you’ll feel that every inch going to the peak just gets harder.

No camera tilt here. The ground is tilted!

No camera tilt here. The ground is tilted!

But once you’re at the top, you won’t be able to explain that feeling of conquering something big and daunting. The mountaintop experience is an experience of proving your strength and stamina, and finishing victoriously. However as Oswald Chambers said, true strength is not just about going up the mountain. Reaching the top feels wonderful, but we’re not made to stay at the peak of the mountain. We need to climb down and go back to the valley.

Yes, someone's selling "ice drops" at the top!

Yes, someone’s selling “ice drops” at the top!

The mountaintop experience renews our sense of awe, victory, and strength. But we who made it closer to where the sun shines brighter ought to go down to the valley and shed light to those who need it.

What’s your mountaintop experience?

It can be a camp that you attended, or a ‘worship night’ where you felt so blessed and ‘victorious.’ Your mountaintop experience can be an answered prayer that took a long time on your knees, and now you become so confident of how God really answers prayer. It can be an achievement at school, or promotion at work, or anything that you’ve worked and prayed hard for. Whatever your mountaintop experience may be, remember that these are only meant to be temporary. We ought not to focus on having mountaintop experiences – they are meant for us to shed light to others and help them reach the top.

Sometimes, we eventually forget about that mountaintop experience – we lose our awe, our sense of victory, our hope. As Christians I think being saved from sin is our highest mountaintop experience, and this should be enough to empower us each day. That is one reason why Jesus asked His disciples to remember His death and resurrection as often as they can (Luke 22:17-20). We know how His grace covers a multitude of sins, and that He accepts us no matter how unworthy we are. And this ‘experience’ should be more than enough for us to know that we are victorious over sin by grace through our faith in Jesus, and that we can face the challenges of each day. We who have been at the peak can show the way to those who are in the valley and shed light to them.

Crawled. Climbed. Conquered.

Crawled. Climbed. Conquered.



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