Entertaining Angels While Tubing Down the Guadalupe River

This past Friday, Caedmon and I left the apartment at 4:30 AM.  Yes, in the morning. Yes, it was intentional. We met up with 30 something other people from Greenwood Baptist Church and headed for the Guadalupe RV Park in Spring Branch, TX.  We had one goal in mind: get on the water as soon as possible.

After a long trip, lots of karaoke, and several fuel stops, we made it. Camp was a buzz of activity as tents popped up every where, the food station was set up, and everyone donned their bathing suits.  By 3 PM, we hit the water at the Guadalupe State Park. For the next 6 miles we would float along the river, brave the rocky rapids and propel ourselves forward through the deep dead waters through absolute will power.

At one point, I volunteered to take over the food and water barge. I knew my height would serve the team better, because I could walk through the deeper parts. The party spread out with the faster swimmers well ahead at the front and those with smaller kids (read: troopers), understandably lagged behind.  After a while, I swam upstream to those who were behind and passed out waters. Then I took advantage of the current where I could to eventually make it to the front of the line.

Several hours into the trip, I was done. I hit a rapid pretty hard, causing both my tube and glasses to take flight. As I rolled, the top of my wrist caught a rock which caused a small gouge. Thankfully, I caught my glasses in the fray and several minutes later had made it down stream to a more still part, where I could climb safely on my tube. Afterwards, I was tired, my legs were sore, and I just wanted to be back at camp. So, I swam ahead.

A group of about 5 of us made it to camp well ahead of the other crews.  I thought about how I would feel in the last stretch if I had someone from camp telling me that I had just a little further to go. So, I walked along the side of the river as far I could go and waited for the teams to start arriving. When they came into sight, I cheered them on.

At one point, I guided them to the tree where steps had been carved out of the side of the hill. For those who wanted to climb out at that point, I would grab their tubes and help them out of the water. Others would continue to float down to camp.

And this is where I entertained angels unaware. While assisting the teams out by the tree, a family of strangers also needed help getting out. I treated them as one of our own, taking their floats, holding their hands and encouraging them.

The next day something unexpected happened. I walked a ways up the river and plopped down on my tube. It was about a 30 minute float back to camp. While passing by, I heard a little boy yell to his sister, “Hey, it’s Kevin!”  He then proceeded to wave to me.

I was stunned a little. Had no clue who this kid was, so I waved back  and yelled from my tube, “Hey bud. How do you know my name?”

He replied, “You helped my family get out of the water yesterday and your friends called you Kevin.”

To me, it was just helping several people out of the water. To that little boy, it made an impression. The author of Hebrews reminds us:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. – Hebrews 13:2

It was such a sweet blessing to a long day! I wish that we would see the fruit of our works more often, but perhaps that would take away the faith that often accompanies perseverance. However, when an opportunity does present itself, be encouraged that by doing good you glorify our Father.


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