When I hear the phrase “Mountain TOP” several words come to mind-words like “community,” “perspective,” and “escape.” This was my second year returning to Mountain Top; the moment our church was heading back to Charlotte in June 2017, I knew that I wanted more than anything to go back, Mountain Top. We weren’t building relationships through texts or social media. We were building relationships through genuine conversations, and these conversations allowed complete strangers to transform into close-knit friends.
Throughout the week, we had the opportunity to build a community with the other churches at Mountain Top and the children we spent our days with. Additionally, worship at Mountain Top is truly where I have felt most connected to God- it was completely a judgement free zone. Every night at worship was filled with tears, hugs, and prayers and also a place where you felt unconditionally accepted and loved by God.
My favorite part about Mountain Top was our interactions with the children. Last year, at Mountain Top, I met an 8-year-old girl named Lydia. This year when the children arrived at the church I noticed almost immediately, but because an entire year had passed I thought it would be unlikely that she would remember me. To my surprise, she instantly ran up to me and said, “You’re Rachel, I remember you from last year!” This year, Lydia was tied to my hip- it was so hard on Friday to give her one last hugs and say goodbye to her.
Grundy County, where Lydia and the other children live, is one of the poorest counties in Tennessee. Unfortunately, a lot of children that live in Grundy County have experienced sexual and physical assault, or have a family member addicted to drugs or alcohol. It amazes me that these kids that have gone through so much and continue to be optimistic and have their trust entirely in God.
My interaction with the children had adjusted my perspective on life and has allowed me to come back to Charlotte as a changed person. It’s hard to summarize such a life changing experience in a few paragraphs but as Jason Rhymer once said “Mountain Top is live a sliver of heaven on Earth.”