We woke up at 7:00am, packed everything, ate breakfast (some of our group ran to a store and bought some breakfast items – yogurt, nuts, fruit, donuts, muffins, and orange juice) and drove for 5 minutes to the Ark Encounter! I had been really excited about visiting it earlier this week and was not disappointed. I was wishing that I had longer to explore!
As soon as we got our tickets, we broke into groups and got onto buses. We could explore with whomever we wished, and our only criteria was that we had to be back at the vans by 11:30. In order to get to the Ark from the ticket area, you need to board buses, and they drop you off at the Answers Center. Our group (Elie, the rest of the Barrington sophomore girls, one of the Leaders from Arlington, a couple of guys from Arlington and myself) walked to the Ark (which is HUGE), and explored. When you enter the Ark, they immediately take a group picture (which you don’t have to buy), and then you can explore!
Man, if I tried to describe everything in the Ark, this post would be so long you would tire before it was half over, so I’m only going to say a couple of things about it.
They used some creative license, obviously. The Bible doesn’t explain in detail everything about the Ark, and there are only two chapters about the story. So some of the things about the animals, Noah, and his son’s wives names, etc, are made up, and they tell you that. They did, however, put a lot of work into researching ways it could have been.
There are a couple movie theaters that show movies about Noah, a lot of animal cages with extremely realistic looking animals, a lot of museum/education-type displays, a couple displays that show what their living quarters would look like with wax figures, and a graphic-novel-type display about why it’s important to really search for the truth about God.
Our group ended splitting up into boys and girls practically as soon as we got into the building, then Elie and I ended up splitting away from our group to do a little exploring on our own while they were watching the movie. The Ark has a really neat Bible museum with a bunch of old Bibles. That was my favorite part. In order to make it back to the vans at 11:30, Elie and I went to the ground level of the Ark, which was a gift shop and explored. She bought a cool hat and I bought a really nice journal made of buffalo leather.
After the gift store, we hurried back to the Answers Center, then got on the bus. Elie and I made it back to the van at exactly 11:30. We were pretty pleased with ourselves. 🙂
When everyone had arrived back at the vans, we took off and drove to an area with a couple of fast food places, a gas station, and restaurants, and everyone got lunch and bought things at the gas station. Then, We got back into the car and kept driving. A couple of hours later we stopped at a gas station to use the restroom and refill the cars. After that, we drove home!
I had asked a couple people to write something about what God showed them (I posted Maggie’s yesterday) and decided to add the second one to the finale post. It is from one of our wonderful leaders, Aubrey.
“On this trip, God pushed me to endure in service—to be continually joyful in working, even when it wasn’t fun or I was tired. God, Himself, is longsuffering and perseveres in His work with us, so I was reminded that it is a privilege to persevere in difficult work.”
Thank you so much for praying for us and following our missions trip! If you have any questions, you can comment below. The website for the Orchard is https://theorchardefc.org. If you are searching for a new church, or just passing through on a Sunday morning, and are close to any of our campuses (or even not close!), we would love to have you join us!