CHELYABINSK – On September 25 to 28, the extreme character challenge weekend took place in Russia for the first time – that was the name of a men’s adventure at “Taganai” national park in Chelyabinsk area.
60 men went to the mountains to challenge their characters, find new friends and meet God. The brothers came from all across Russia: Perm, Moscow, Novokuznetsk, Yekaterinburg and other. An international team from America, Netherlands, Germany and Egypt joined us as well.
The XCC weekend was organized by “The 4th Musketeer” international men’s ministry. They believe that a strong church has strong men. The 4М ministry helps men to climb to a new level in relationships with God. Men become better husbands and fathers and have a new thirst in serving God. “The 4th musketeer” ministry works in 30 countries, more than 30 thousand men went through the program.
“Taganai” is a most beautiful place: mountains, giant trees covered with snow, rivers. I managed to make several amazing shots. I posted them in Instagram and many people loved them. But the pictures only show a part of my adventure, they do not show the challenges and the price that was paid.
During the three days we crossed about 30 miles carrying backpacks weighing 33 pounds. 45 000 steps a day. Wet clothes you cannot change, remote taiga forests and one combat ration for a day. Frost and hunger. The way seemed endless, we just kept walking hoping for a finish to be soon, but it never came. These were probably the hardest days in my life, true challenge for my spirit and body. I felt like giving up and just quit.
As a result I received unforgettable memories and amazing shots loved by everyone, who don’t know the price. The key thought for me is the most beautiful and high-quality things in life cost a lot. Strong church, good family relationships, success in sports or studies – all that don’t just appear from nowhere.
Right now I’m reading a book of Daniel in the Bible. Daniel and his friends were ready to pay the price for their relationships with God. In spite of the law they risked their lives speaking openly about God and their faith. As a result they glorified the name of the Lord and took an honorable place in the society. If we look at the story from the other side, it is easy to begin to think they were just lucky. But if we look deeper into it, we will see the price they had to pay every single day. So if there’s a desire to have something really valuable, we need to be ready to pay the price.
Participant of the retreat, member of “Youth one year for Jesus” team