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Journal 2

October 6, 2006

This journal entry corresponds to the group's trip to the Tauferhoule cave where the Anabaptists hid to avoid persecution.

Passing through a forest that could have been conjoured from a fairy tale. The sun splitting through a canopy of both evergreen and deciduous giants. Steeply side-hilling along one of the countless ridges in Switzerland. Searching for a cave, which represented freedom and a connection with the creator.

What conviction the Anabaptists must have had.

Miles from any town, etched out of a hillside they met at Tauferhoule to worship in peace. Speaking, praying, and of course singing. How admirable this cause was ... is.

Being able to walk the same arduous steps that the Anabaptists walked to enjoy what I consider to be simple freedoms was more than humbling. As we stepped off the road and into the woods onto a single track trail, I hung to the back of the group. It seemed as though I could see the very stumps and rocks and ledges where my ancestors must have carefully hid and crept through the woods to their place of meeting.

The beauty of the day instilled in me a feeling of peace as I let the voices of our group trail away ahead of me. I began to wonder how I would act or not act in an age of religious corruption and persecution. Would I have courage to stand against an institution that had dominated religious thought to serve my Lord?

What would it be like to meet someone as dedicated as these early Anabaptists? Someone who searched for a cave miles into the hills in order to worship in a way that they believed was right an true. Someone who would unwaveringly continue to trek, without the aid of timely Swiss public transportation, day after day, week after week, to meet with fellow so-called rebels.

What would such a person be like?

My visit to Tauferhoule, the cave where many early Anabaptists congregated to worship without persecution in the hills 30 miles southeast of Zurich, was, to say the least, deeply humbling. I found myself hanging back and contemplating over and over again as we walked through the forest, "I am actually walking a path that was walked centuries ago to pave the way for my religious beliefs."

How can I describe the feeling justly? I truly can't, except to say that it was an experience that added immensely to the way that I will view my faith from now on. Such history has now been made very real to me.

To be able to worship and sing in the cave as they must have done hundreds of years ago will always remain in my heart and mind as part of my faith. As part of my story.

-by Kyle Mast