A thousand stars hotel

Deep night; a forest in Western Germany, near the border with Luxemburg; month of October and it is cold, near to 0°C. huge rocks everywhere around us scattered through the woods, carved into different shapes. Caves, shelters, canyons. Ancient crosses carved by who knows what monk, a believer. Between rocks stand huge ancient firs and beeches.
Six of us sit around camp fire; 3 Germans, a Slovenian, an American (living in Croatia) and me. The Balkan-Schwab Lynxes Family (since this a training for scout leaders we use the names as children would). My family of Rangers (Royal Rangers, I wrote a lot about them already). I know Jerry and Samuel for some time (as Rangers we have been in several adventures together), and I’ve met Germans few evenings ago. We are together on this training, camp and hike. Our feet hiked many miles through the woods of Luxemburg and that part of Germany. My family of Rangers, my brothers!                

We talk about our experience of coming to Christ, how He has changed us, how we came to become Rangers and why we still are Rangers. Ralf, youngest, the wise one in our team, always ready to apply his knowledge (my smart brother), an engineer who also teaches Bible books at DTS. Michael, same age as I, an ex addict like me, similar broken story and similar deliverance from alcoholism, an expert in orientation. Jeti (Jedidja), always ready to help, to see a need and answer to it, came to Rangers as child, and after few months his entire class became members of Rangers squad. Samuel, Slovenian, a dear brother, the master of mountains, the man credited for development of Rangers in Slovenia and entire Balkans. Jeremy, an ex marine, now a theologian, running half marathons, leading Rangers in Croatia. Strong stories, deep experiences, like a feast.

In one moment, during our conversation, Jedidja looked at me and says – Bera, do you understand that God took you to a thousand star hotel? – God’s Hilton Hotel. Our first evening, when I first met them, I shared something that happened to me just before the training – in a conversation before my trip a person told me that I am weird, instead going to a conference in a many-stars hotel, I am going to Germany to sleep in some wood. In that moment, surrounded by magnificent nature, while sharing life stories and prayed for each other, I really felt like being in a thousand-stars hotel.     

It is my experience. For someone it is just a forest, for another a hotel, we are not all the same. I’ve learned that long time ago. Someone will come closer to God, and someone will remain indifferent by the same experience. For me this experience of being in a thousand-stars hotel with people who likes the same, is an experience that fills me, encourages me and renews me. I am not even sure if I have, by this writing, filled anyone’s need but mine, but while I’m writing in my home, while my children are doing their homework and my wife cooks dinner, and while we all chat, the experience of this evening around the camp fire is strong in my mind. It makes me happy and filled.          

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