Rise Up and Bike!
A teen camper overcomes her fears – and finds healing – on a mountain biking trail, through joy and love.
On Leila’s last day of Youth Camp at the A/U Ranches, as she faced a steep drop on her mountain bike, she found an opportunity to apply all she’d been learning the previous month.
Just prior to camp, she was in Peru on a service trip with her DiscoveryBound National Leadership Council (NLC) class. After a transformative two weeks working with children in an orphanage, she headed straight to Buena Vista, Colorado. “Everything had worked out harmoniously,” Leila says, “and I was sure that just as the past two weeks had been fruitful and so very good, so would these next two weeks.”
Leading up to the mountain biking expedition, Leila felt nervous, despite riding at camp several times. In speaking with a fellow camper who had fallen and injured herself while biking, the idea was shared that she had never really fallen. “It was such a profound thought!” Leila says. The camper also shared how she and the camp practitioner replaced the word “walk” with “bike” in this line from hymn 453:
Rise up and walk! God made you free, born of His liberty.
The next morning before the ride, Leila and the Mosaics group talked about the idea of joy from a jsh-online.com article shared by Molly, the program head. “It really touched me and helped to break the shade of gloom as I thought about the big day ahead,” Leila says. “The article reminded me of my service trip, as joy was a topic we had discussed and I had pondered a lot. It’s an eternal part of your being, a reflection of God, which no one, or thing, can take away.”
Leila started the ride cautiously, but then “I just let go and had fun!” she says. “This time, more so than the other times, I wasn’t letting mortal mind take the wheel, but Christ, Love, Truth, which feels no fear. My thought had changed into one where I could really smile and want to help others do the same.” And, she adds, “I knew that a very important part of camp, and being a Christian Scientist, was to challenge myself. This is where healing and growth comes.”
Right before the end of the trail, there was a steep dip. “I had never been brave enough to do it before, and, putting aside all doubts and fears, I just went for it,” Leila recalls. “I started pedaling and before I knew it, I was tumbling down towards the river.” She came to a stop after a few hard hits against a rock, with her bike on top of her.
Unable to move her arms and legs, Leila called out for her counselors, who removed the bike and brought a care kit. Molly was the counselor who cleaned Leila’s cuts. “Other counselors and I immediately started praying aloud affirming the Truth,” Molly says. “We worked with knowing nothing can take away our joy and how God is in control every second. We talked about previous healings where we had heard a still, small voice and how we know God is ever-present. It was such a peaceful and uplifting atmosphere that there was no room for fear.”
With the camp directors on the way, one of the counselors, Matthew, asked Leila about her brothers and best friend – all of whom were at camp – and her mother. “He kept bringing my attention to people and things that brought me joy,” Leila says. “Soon my thought was uplifted, so far away from the situation, and I was smiling, even laughing at times. He told me how all these people, my family and friends, were loving me right now and I couldn’t be separated from this love. As I looked out at the river by us, thinking about this, I was reminded of my mother, who always wished to live near a river or mountain. If she was by me right now, she surely would not be worried or scared. I was also so sure in that moment that my mom was loving me, and I felt a sudden peace come over me.”
With help, Leila was now able to stand up and climb out onto the trail. Sarah, one of the directors, told her what had first come to thought when she got the call: “Rise up and walk, God made you free” – the same hymn that had helped Leila the day before.
Leila received care and treatment at Highview from a Christian Science nurse and then called her mom. “As I had expected, my mom was neither frightened nor worried, but confident that all was well, despite the still seemingly present complaints from my body,” she says.
After being home for a prayerful few weeks, Leila was fully healed, and realizes that “this experience at camp was no accident.” Rather, “it was the perfect way, perhaps the only way, for me to really ‘reap the fruits’ and put into practice all the wonderful things I had been learning for the past month.”
Program: A/U Ranches camper, DiscoveryBound NLC – Class of 2018M, DB Outreach participant
School year: High school junior
Interests: Reading, listening to music, biking, playing the violin; loves animals – especially her cat, Luna
About the A/U Ranches
The A/U Ranches, located in Buena Vista, Colorado, are a cornerstone of Adventure Unlimited’s programming. The supportive and inspiring atmosphere cultivates confidence and develops moral courage for Christian Science youth, adults and families. Activities are offered year-round, including a secular community outreach program, 100 Elk, which serves diverse schools and groups.
About DiscoveryBound’s National Leadership Council (NLC)
The National Leadership Council is a four-year program for Christian Science high school students, focusing on spiritual growth, leadership skills and cultivating a service approach to life.
About DiscoveryBound Outreach
DiscoveryBound Outreach is a community program that provides local activities for all ages, regional retreats and national teen weekends for Christian Scientists and their friends.
Youth Camp at the A/U Ranches
Our experiences change lives. At the A/U Ranches you’ll find a Christian Science atmosphere with staff dedicated to helping you see the role God plays in your life. Each program and activity is designed to help you break through limitations, reach your goals, and see God in action.