SFC has been working on rolling out a concept that we’re hoping will bring encouragement to many in the shred community and empower every shredder for Jesus with a new tool to make disciples. This is the concept of the T.I.M.E. travel team. It’s an acronym that stands for Talk, Invest, Mentor, and Engage. These are practices that can bring intentionality to a ski/snowboard trip and leave a meaningful impact in its wake.
This January we (International Director, Josh Stock, and me, Randy Schroeder) decided to embark on a trip around the mid-atlantic region of the United States to put the idea into practice. We’ve been traveling together and encouraging local shred missionaries for years, but this was our first trip with the T.I.M.E. travel handbook (a resource that lets us follow up on the relationships we build along the way) in hand.
Day 1 – We flew into Washington, DC and headed to Benny’s pizza shop in Virginia. Benny would be a fellow T.I.M.E. traveler for this trip, and we’ve been hearing about his family pizza shop since the day we met him. Needless to say, the food lived up to the hype. We also grabbed Isaac before heading to Josh’s parents in southwest Pennsylvania for the night.
Day 2 – Today we spent the day riding Blue Knob, Josh’s first home ski hill. Isaac is a photographer and snapped plenty of photos of our crew getting rad with some of the locals that heard we might be coming. Josh’s nostalgia was thick today. We met with the local SFC chapter for dinner and got to learn about the ministry happening in town and hear about some of their challenges.
Day 3 – We got up pretty early, gave hugs to Sue and Pops Stock, and plugged Mountain Creek, New Jersey into the GPS. We stopped for Benny and Isaac’s first perogies before rolling pretty late into the parking lot of Mountain Creek ski resort. It was fun to meet old friends and make new ones while we rode some really fast park laps in the dark as the park crew prepared for the impending rain the next day. The day ended with a chili feast at our hosts, the Rolandos.
Day 4 – Local legend, Sabine, invited us out for a Taylor ham and cheese sandwich for breakfast and later to her women’s bible study for prayer before we took off. Tears were shed as a group of ladies prayed over us for our trip and our ministry. We hit the road again towards Delaware but definitely made time for cheese-steaks near Philly with our good friend, Andrew. This day wrapped up at Meg’s house where we swapped stories, repaired some drywall, and enjoyed a beautiful home-cooked dinner.
Day 5 – Today consisted of nine hours of driving from Delaware to North Carolina with a pit stop for more pizza from Benny’s pizza shop in Virginia. I can’t tell you how much we liked Benny’s pizza. The day wrapped up with yet another amazing home cooked meal and some games with the Cameron family in Boone, NC.
Day 6 – We were able to spend the whole day today in Boone, hanging with the local crew going to church, eating the local grub (Come Back Shack has a solid burger), and –of course– riding with the gang at Appalachian Ski Mountain. There isn’t a warmer bunch of snowboarders/skiers around than those you’ll find in Boone.
Day 7 – We hit the YMCA for some batting cage action and a game of soccer before we said our goodbyes and headed to stay our final night of the trip with the Leeds family in Lynchburg, VA. Our friend, Kevin, came over. His baby girl had been sick, and we were able to spend some time in prayer for them.
Day 8 – Our final day of the trip, we made a last minute decision to snowboard Wintergreen ski resort. The park crew guys were able to get us a deal on tickets and we had a great time encouraging and getting to the know the park crew for a few hours before we had to drop Benny off and head to the airport.
We drove, rode, and ate a lot over the course of the trip, but some of the most valuable times for me was the time in the margins when I got to know the heart of fellow shredders and dig deeper in the heart of God together. These are times that we get to pray for one another, read scripture together, and play silly songs from our childhood for each other. These are what build friendships and lasting ministry relationships. It’s my prayer that every skier and snowboarder can take the time to invite a buddy, go visit someone near or far, and build relationships like these.