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20223 Rilda Beilgard Scholarship Recipient: Cherie Olchea

Hello! My name is Cherie, I’m from Virginia. I truly believe the outdoors is a way to grow a stronger connection with our heavenly Father and my goal is to provide space and opportunity for that here on the east coast.

I cannot thank the donors enough for my scholarship for this experience. This whole course and trip were such an amazing blessing in my life, I’ve learned so much and it has been life-changing! Thank you so so much!!

Tell us about your journey to joining this SROM course.

I found SROM in a roundabout way through a Randy Clark conference where words of prophecy were spoken to me; one of the quotes was for me to “Be bold and courageous”. I was feeling this call to ministry. I was looking at some online Christian Colleges they were advertising and somehow SROM’s advertisement came up and it literally said “Be Bold and Courageous” and I knew that’s what I should pursue on top of the fact that the Holy Spirit had been leading me to try to find a way to incorporate backpacking into a ministry since it was what I already loved to do and how I was growing my relationship with Him.

How did your course line up with, or exceed your expectations?

The open honest community of the course definitely exceeded my expectations! Also, the topics that were covered in the online portion of the course were unexpected and so incredibly healing and helpful in everyday life as well as in leadership.

What was your favorite new skill you learned in the wilderness?

Orienteering was my favorite new skill I learned on this trip and what a fun and great skill to have! I plan to join some orienteering races now.

What was one of your favorite moments on your course?

One of my favorite moments on the course was the sunset time we had on our first night up on the esplanade. There were storms in the distance all around but light was shining through as the sunset and the walls all around were growing an incredible red color in the golden hour light, it was so beautiful!

How did the community and culture on your course impact you?

The community and culture on the course was very comfortable and joyous! It really made for a wonderful and loving experience!

I was hateful and ungrateful to myself, now with the strength of Jesus I can work towards being gracious, kind and compassionate to myself.

In what ways did you grow as a disciple of Christ?

I have definitely developed some wonderful tools for serving others better as Christ did. Also, He has started in me a heart for community in the body of Christ that I was lacking before this opportunity.

What was one area you saw growth as a leader?

One area I believe I grew as a leader was in co-leading. It’s not something I’ve had to do before, so it definitely stretched me as a person and leader and now I would like to try to find someone to co-lead with me here as I can see all the benefits of it now.

What was the most impactful part of your course and why?

I would have to say one of the most impactful parts of the course for me was learning, based on the neuroscience and attachment style things we covered, that God built imperfection into parenthood. I am 34 and have said my entire life that I would not have children because I would not be a good parent. Over the past year, God has been sort of picking at me to have a child, and this class gave me the confidence I needed to be okay with it. God didn’t wait long to follow through on that and as I’m typing this I am in my first trimester of pregnancy!

What truth did you learn about your identity in Christ?

I was mostly indifferent to working with others, but now I am able to appreciate it, value it and seek it out. I was hateful and ungrateful to myself, now with the strength of Jesus I can work towards being gracious, kind and compassionate to myself.

How are you planning to integrate your growth and experience into your daily life?

Well through working on healing myself within the body of Christ, this has already fostered better immediate relationships around me. For example with my husband, my in-laws and my parents. In the future I plan to incorporate what I’ve learned into some sort of ministry.

What are your top three upgrades?

  • Understanding and enjoying the importance of having a body of Christ community
  • Having grace and compassion for myself
  • Having many tools to use as my forward both individually and into leadership roles.
How will you steward those upgrades?

I am currently fostering and building a local body of Christ community around myself and my husband as it’s been something we both now have a heart for but we’re lacking in our area.
Through, prayers and meditation I plan to continue to work on having grace and compassion for myself. I will do this through one of the meditations from the book Anatomy of the Soul and activities like Immanuel Journaling.
After the WMPC I have many resources I can rely on to help me move forward, as well as more confidence in myself after completing such a challenging course.

Why would you recommend someone joining a SROM course?

I recommend taking a SROM course because it really gives so much perspective on the meaning of being the Body of Christ and models the potential of that community so well, which we really lack here in western culture.

Join SROM on the WMPC or another course for your own transformational wildereness adventure!