Mountain Biking in the Sierras

Bishop Travel Blog

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Sunrise in the Sierras

Dear friends and family,

             I write this letter to you on a prominent hill in the Sierra Nevada’s of California.  The starry sky is quiet, the trees around me are still, the ground is moist from the melting snow that fell last night, and the air is frigid and frosty, as my headlamp follows the flowing of my pencil across my notebook.

            For those of you who have not been updated recently, I graduated from high school earlier this spring, and am officially eighteen now living on my own, facing new challenges and life changing decisions.  I came close to settling for a lifestyle as a ski bum, but through the strength of Christ, have chosen to follow God’s plan for my life.  I have committed to Him for my entire life, and His plan begins with me being a part of Youth With A Mission or YWAM, an international, non-denominational, missionary organization.

            I am now attending one of the many Discipleship Training Schools (DTS) across the world, mine being in the surrounding Sierra mountains of Bishop, California.

Backpacking across the Sierras
  This specific DTS is one of a kind in that everything we students do is located in the wilderness whether it be backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, mountaineering, caving, fishing, or canyoneering.  This Wild Discipleship Training School (WDTS) is so much more than just an outdoor expedition.  The primary goal of the school is to know God intimately and make Him known.

            My three-month mission trip will be in the remote and frigid mountains of Kyrgyzstan ministering to the locals there, showing them God’s love, and giving them new hope as believers.  God has told me that He has great plans for my life, greater than you or I could ever imagine.  This trip to Kyrgyzstan is just the beginning of what God is going to do through me.  I have chosen to follow His Great Commission, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.”  Mark 16:15.  

            I am currently learning in the “lecture phase” of this DTS, I need to be right with God before I can obey the Great Commission and accomplish great things for Him.

Caught the lake trout with my carved stick in my right hand.
  God is stretching me dramatically, molding me into what He’s created me to be.  Up till now, I have been a very shy person and have stayed away from social life as much as a cat stays away from water.  God has pushed me way outside of my comfort zone by putting me in this DTS with ten others whom I am with twenty-four seven for six months.  I am challenged to be more intimate with my team so we can encourage and sharpen each other spiritually and thus be more effective in our outreach in Kyrgyzstan.  I am learning very quickly I need to be more outwardly focused to live a life of relationship. 

            The magnificence of the outdoors makes becoming more intimate with each other and God easier and that much more enjoyable.  I am having an amazing time backpacking in the astounding beauty of God’s creation.  I have peaked several mountains with my DTS “family,” the highest of which being 13,501 feet above sea level!  God has poured blessing after blessing over me and the smile on my face has become a permanent mark.

The essentials
  My body rejoices every time we worship, my soul overflows during our half-day Bible studies and discussions, and my heart becomes closer to the King of kings every time I converse with Him.

            I know I am where God wants me, in a state of continually learning about Him and spiritually growing so I can serve and evangelize.  God is putting me through a time where I need to have complete faith in Him, including trusting Him for the finances needed to pay for the outreach phase and plane ticket to Kyrgyzstan.  I am on fire for the Lord and am ready to do great things to expand His Kingdom; I just don’t want the simple lack of finances to stop me.

            I am writing this letter to you to ask you to join me in prayer for the Lord to provide the additional $2000 I need within the next two weeks.  I too ask for your support in the beginning of my lifelong desire to do anything God asks me to do.  After living in Romania with my family, I already feel a calling to be an international missionary.

The week God prevented me from biking. read blog.
  God has also given me a great desire for the outdoors and the challenges that come with it, and I believe He has told me to use that desire to reach people who are secluded by nature’s boundaries.  I envision myself bushwhacking and climbing over mountains to natives with everything I need in my backpack carrying God’s Word and His promise to His unreached people.

            I feel this is my calling, and if you feel God is impressing on your heart to give, I ask you would support my trip to Naryn, a remote village in the snow-covered mountains of Kyrgyzstan where forty below zero is not uncommon.  More importantly, however, I ask you would keep me in your prayers as God is stretching and molding me and pushing me out of my comfort zone.  Pray I would have a willing heart to do anything and everything God asks of me and that I would be as effective as I possibly can in every task the Lord assigns me.  It sounds crazy, but I know this is what God wants me to do, and well…I am crazy…and willing to do whatever God calls me to do.

            In an ever-deepening relationship with Christ,

Zach Hooley


Zach Hooley - backpacking for Jesus

Please pray for:

·        Continued willing heart to serve God in any area

·        Relationships I will build in Kyrgyzstan

·        Safety, Naryn is nominally Muslim and there

      are some who will not appreciate our presence

·        The stability of the Kyrgyz government as a revolution is rising right now

·        Higher Ground Learning Center in Naryn which is under Communist and KGB interrogation

·        Financial support



Phone: 208-315-4707

Website:  (a simple website where I load a few pictures I take during our trips in the back country.  The earliest pictures start at the bottom and work their way to the top as the last posted pictures.  Scroll down first, then up to see the events in chronological order)

Also:  (Lots of stuff)

Tax-deductible gifts of financial support can be made out and sent to:

Mountain Life Church
PO Box 1929
McCall, ID  83638


Thank you and God Bless
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Sunrise in the Sierras
Sunrise in the Sierras
Backpacking across the Sierras
Backpacking across the Sierras
Caught the lake trout with my carv…
Caught the lake trout with my car…
The essentials
The essentials
The week God prevented me from bik…
The week God prevented me from bi…
photo by: FrankMcD