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California Ministry Meets God in the Wilderness


“God put me here to be an advocate for the outdoors and to share this love for God’s creation with others,” said Hal Holland, member of The Gathering Christian Reformed Church in Sacramento, Calif.

Hal and his wife, Kelly, both biologists, are co-leaders of a new Adventure ministry that brings together their passion for creation and their love of hiking and backpacking.

“I love to inspire others to explore the edges of their potential and grow beyond their comfort zone,” said Kelly Holland. “When I discovered backpacking, I encountered the transformational power of wilderness. Where I encountered fear, I found comfort in God; where I encountered doubt, I found faith; where I encountered weakness, I found strength; when I became lost, I became found (literally!).”

The Adventure ministry helps individuals and families to put their faith in God as they participate in true outdoor adventures, experience a connection with God in new ways, and leave the “to-do” lists and busyness of life to be in the beautiful simplicity of God’s creation, said Kelly.

The first trip was a one-night backpacking adventure aimed at families. Participants (as young as a one-year-old) hiked and camped in the mountains. Ryan Galindo, 5, said, “I liked that when we found our camping spot we found somewhere to climb.”

Kristine Galindo, member of The Gathering and Ryan’s mother, said, “This is a great inviting opportunity. I can think of several unchurched families that are in the same situation we are. They have young kids, they love the outdoors, but don’t have the equipment or the experience to venture out on their own. This is a non-threatening way to introduce friends to their need for God while giving them an adventure they could not create on their own.”

This new ministry hopes to have six events (three biking, three backpacking) in the next  year, varying in difficulty and duration. The Hollands said, “Our goal is to keep each trip adventurous, but also focus on deepening participants’ individual and group connection with God as we explore new and more challenging activities.”

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