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The Comanche Challenge

“You will have to run five miles, build a fire using only two matches to light it, and keep it going for ninety minutes. Then you will memorize five Bible verses, complete three good deeds, and write an essay. But, most importantly, you must not utter a sound while completing these tasks.” I had been waiting for these words since I was a little girl. There have been hundreds of girls that attempted the Comanche Challenge; few have actually completed the challenge. Now, I was one of those girls. I began to feel a plethora of emotions: nervousness, excitement, and disbelief. I could not believe that two weeks ago I had been in school, and now I was here.
When summer finally arrives, most teenagers are thinking about going to the beach, hanging out with their friends, and spending their days sleeping until noon. For me, those events do not start for two more weeks. When the 3:30 bell rings on the last day of school, I am thinking about one particular place: Camp Winshape.

I have spent many summers at the beloved camp. I’ve sang songs around a campfire, gone swimming, climbed rock walls, and camped out. This year was going to be different. I would be camping out for two weeks with fourteen amazing girls. We hiked for miles, went spelunking, swimming in the Tennessee River, and repelling. We spent many nights around the campfire and falling asleep under the stars. As the last week of camp rolled around, several of us began preparing for the Comanche Challenge.

“You are now under a talking ban.” My journey had begun. We climbed into the van to be driven to our starting point. As we arrived at the pavilion in silence and darkness, the four of us were told to begin preparing for the five-mile run because we were about to begin the most difficult leg of the challenge. Even as counselors were calling out words of encouragement and Bible verses, I had to completely depend on God to even take one step. God was my light. He guided me over rocky terrain and through the darkness without a light. As I finally reached the edge of the woods, I began to see a light, I could hear cheering around the corner, and I had a sudden burst of energy. I began to recognize my surroundings. There was the soccer field, where I had played the sport many times during the summer. There was the horse barn, where I rode my first horse. There was the lake, reflecting the light ahead and reminding me where I was running to. Finally, there was Old Stretch Road. If I could reach the end of the road, I would reach my destination. I could hear the sound of cheers and see lights flashing; I had made it to the end of Old Stretch Road! I learned something amazing that night: God would carry me if I asked Him.

After the run, the second part of the challenge was given. I had thirty minutes to collect wood and build a fire that would burn for ninety minutes. So, without a sound, I began to build my fire. Unfortunately, I was not able to complete this part of the challenge. While most people would think that I failed, I actually overcame a huge obstacle. God taught me how to trust in Him and showed me that He would carry me though the difficult times. However, I had to remember that He would only allow me to do what He wanted. That is why my fire did not light; not because I had to build it in a tin barrel due to a fire ban or that some of my wood was not dry. The Comanche Challenge was the most incredible experience of my life. I will never forget what it taught me and what it is still teaching me today.

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clairebear0123 said...
Jul. 1, 2011 at 7:11 pm
i also am a comanche and i just got back from winshape.. my dad told me about your blog because he searched what the challenge was about on google and he told me a bog popped up and i was amazed and how awesome this is!
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