Hello! My name is Moriah Moss, and I am a rising sophomore at Virginia Tech. I’m a Fisheries Management major, Forestry minor, and outreach leader for Red Fam (one of the Bible studies at BCM).
What have you been up to this summer?
This summer, I worked on a trail crew for the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. Through this program, young adults camp, hike to work, and perform trail maintenance all over Colorado and in parts of Utah and Wyoming. Some crews climb giant mountains every day and others work in the desert.
I felt drawn to this job–though I wasn’t quite sure why. I have only camped once in my entire life and have never backpacked. Nevertheless, in early June, my family drove me out to Colorado, and I joined a team of 9, which included my crew leader and assistant crew leader.
Our first week was spent at orientation with the other ~10 crews. We learned about tools used for trail work and how to complete various tasks. We also swam in a very cold lake, used pit toilets, and heard mountain lion screeches one night. It was definitely an adjustment to learn how to cook for 9 people on a 2-burner propane stove and to be constantly outside in the wind, heat, and cold.
After orientation, my team headed to our first project assignment at Little Hills State Wildlife Area–AKA the desert. It was incredibly dry, we saw sandy hills for miles, and there was sagebrush everywhere.
The first weekend was incredibly difficult. All of my crew members used very foul language, and their conversation topics weighed heavily on me. I couldn’t tell when was a good time to speak up or whether it was better to stay quiet. By the time we arrived in a little town called Meeker for “town time,” I was ready to quit. It was a Sunday morning, and I was searching for a church. All I wanted was to sing praises, hear truth, and have someone pray over me. No one on my crew was a Christian, and I desperately needed community.
Unfortunately, all the services had started by the time I arrived. I was heartbroken and at a complete loss. So worn out. So desperate. I started crying really hard, just bawling as I walked down the street. I asked God why He would lead me out here and then leave me.
For the first time in my life, I asked God where He was.
I felt incredibly abandoned. I had no one to turn to, and I couldn’t call anyone because even the gas station phone could only reach the next town over. God had placed me in a position where my dependence on Him was taken to a whole new level.
When I finally got quiet enough to listen for God, He told me to walk down the street to the nearest church. I stood outside for a minute and then sat down to wait for them to finish their service. I pulled out my Bible and read Psalm 34, one of my all-time favorites, and sang a few hymns softly to myself. I’m sure I looked absolutely ridiculous and likely a little crazy.
The service ended, and I moved towards the doors. I asked where the pastor was and a lady directed me inside. I stood around awkwardly not sure what to do. Finally, a little girl came over and asked if I needed something. I asked to see the pastor and she went to get him. When I finally met him, I started crying all over again. I told him I was a believer in a tough situation and that I just really needed some prayer. Without hesitation, he prayed peace and strength over me. I remember feeling like I could finally breathe. God answered his prayer and imbued me with the courage to thank the pastor and head back to my crew.
I realized why God led me to this job as we approached the second week of work. Once my crew mates discovered I was a Christian, they started asking me a great deal of questions. We had long, intense discussions about theology, God’s sovereignty, judgement, punishment, Hell, the Church, Jesus, and Christian beliefs. I was amazed at how bold their questions became and how eager they were to hear my thoughts.
It was challenging to field so many questions; in answering one question, I would spark a new one and be interrupted. I was exhausted from trying to keep my answers clear, concise, and true to the Bible. I was, again, forced to rely on God on a whole new level.
One night, a girl on my crew told me she really admired my faith and how I held to it. Then she asked if it bothered me that other members made fun of me for being a Christian. I told her I knew they were rejecting Christ instead of me–a statement I’d heard in church and read in Scripture but never really known to be true until that moment. I really did see, through the Spirit’s perspective, that when my crew members avoided me, they were avoiding confronting Christ and hard truths. From that perspective, God helped me extend grace to them.
Eventually, my crew headed to the mountains of Colorado, where the rest of my team is still working (I unfortunately had to cut my time short due to dietary restrictions). In the mountains, we hauled massive wood beams down a perpetually wet and slippery trail, dug up and hauled rocks, and debarked several felled trees. It was exhausting labor, and I really struggled during the hauling process. I was also battling stomach problems exacerbated by the stress of dealing with them in the woods.
However, I learned more about being a living testimony in those few weeks than I ever thought possible. God gave me compassion for my team. I deeply care about each of them. The only reason I did not leave Colorado sooner than I did was because I wanted to speak truth to my crew and be an ambassador of the Gospel and show them God’s unconditional love by loving them without expecting anything in return.
I remember the exact moment I was completely certain I was just where God wanted me. I had to quit work after half a day and was sitting at camp alone. Another crew member had contracted altitude sickness and was being taken down the mountain to the hospital. I didn’t really think but just asked her point blank if I could pray for her (This was the same crew member who had asked me earlier if the teasing bothered me). She said sure,and I knelt to do just that. It felt so good to cry out to God out loud. Later, she told me that she really appreciated me doing that for her, and I was so grateful that the Spirit gave me the courage to do it.
I experienced so, so much during my time with RMYC, and I’m excited to see how God will continue to work the rest of this summer. If you want to hear more about my trip and God’s work along the way, I’d love to talk with you!
What are you looking forward to in the fall?
This fall, I am most excited for more in person events, especially larger BCM gatherings. One of the things I love most about BCM is the community and accountability (I know, everyone says that, but it’s true!). I have definitely missed diving into the Word there and can’t wait to do that soon! I have also missed Blacksburg–I really enjoy walking around campus and downtown. I highly recommend walking through Stadium Woods (behind the Washington Street tennis courts).
What advice would you like to share with incoming freshmen?
Two more notes for incoming freshmen. One, everyone’s college experience is different, so accept tips and pointers, but don’t become so attached to one thing or another that your expectations limit your enjoyment. Two, it is soooo important to get plugged into ministry, so please make it a priority. Investing in your faith is investing in your eternity and the eternity of those you witness to.
Thanks for reading about my experiences; I pray God can use them to encourage you!