Canyon Ministries has had the privilege of sharing the Grand Canyon with thousands of people since 1995. Ken Ham, founder and president of Answers in Genesis, joined us on a river trip several years ago. Here is what Ken had to say about the trip:
“A ride on one of Tom’s rafts is not only wonderful because of the adventure of running the rapids, but also because of the solid teaching received in geology and the Bible. The experience greatly helped me better understand how the Grand Canyon is a marvelous testimony to what the Bible teaches about the Flood and its after-effects. Of all my travels, none has been more exciting and educational. Highly recommended.” – Ken Ham
Here is what a few others have said about their experience with Canyon Ministries.
Margie Anderson, 2015 Facebook Testimony contest winner
We went to the canyon in August of 2009. I had made a decision for Christ two years earlier, but I was still struggling with things like evolution and creation because of indoctrination in school. The canyon trip changed my life. Tom Vail used simple illustrations like water flowing on mud to open my eyes to the reality of the Flood.
He showed us things in the canyon that simply could not have happened over millions of years like I had been taught — things like places where the layers of rock were curved and bent in a way that could only have happened while they were wet and pliable. He showed us things that I had never been shown before because they prove the lie of the evolutionists.
It was so liberating and it made me realize intellectually that I could place all my trust in the Word of God. I’m a bit ashamed that I had to see and believe instead of simply trusting, but I’ll be forever grateful to Tom Vail for opening my eyes. And of course, the trip was a blast. Tom had to push me off the cliff because I was too scared to jump, and we made friends on that trip that we still hang out with.
We saw amazing things and I loved the helicopter and plane rides! Church in the canyon was awesome, too– Pastor Randy Southwick came with us and taught on Sunday morning. I am so happy that we went on this trip — it was worth every dime and then some!
Cindy, Burbank, CA
River Rafting with Canyon Ministries last August 2012 turned out to be one of the most profound experiences of my life. It felt as though God called me personally to experience and learn about His magnificence and His great love for mankind and for me. There were many reasons to back out of this trip. Severe health issues made me fearful that I would not be up to the arduous journeying involved. My husband faced a huge financial crisis earlier this year that would have justified asking for our deposit back. However, compelled to push forward, I was not willing to give up.
On April 8, 2012, Easter Sunday, my husband and I dedicated our lives to the Lord with the understanding that we have been living our years without putting God first. We have been making our own decisions and going our own way. We asked God to take the lead and to build a new foundation for us based upon His principals and His will. Little did we know that our prayer would coincide with our adventure with Tom and Paula Vail as we floated down the Colorado River.
Tom Vail showed us evidence after evidence of the Creationist Theory as we hiked to various locations along the way down the river. His teaching made verses in Genesis crystal clear for me. Paula led our group in beautiful worship songs which made possible for me to experience the most exquisite intimacy with the Lord. Here I was at the bottom of the Grand Canyon observing first-hand results of the judgment of God through the flood, yet I was surrounded by indescribable beauty and strength beyond my comprehension. God’ sovereignty was unmistakable to me as I was taught about how the formations of the rocks occurred through the violence of the world-wide flood. My fears fell away as God revealed Himself to me in such a deep and satisfying way. Floating slowly for hours, seemingly without end, I knew I was being nourished and fulfilled for as long as I needed and wanted. It felt as though time stood still.
It was clear that God was listening to our prayers for a new foundation in our lives. Both of us needed to see what a great God we were beginning to know. God cared enough about my husband and me to reveal His sovereignty to us in a way we could not deny nor forget. Our week in the Grand Canyon poured out the groundwork towards that new foundation of faith. The chorus of the song written by the band, Jesus Culture, called, “One Thing Remains”, sums up my canyon experience:
Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me;
And on and on and on and on it goes,
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul,
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains…
Dr. Del Tackett, Designer and Presenter of The Truth Project
The trip down the Grand Canyon was a phenomenal experience for me. The visual evidence of rapid deposition and erosion, coupled with the expert geological teaching “in the field” provided invaluable insights into the local and universal effects of God’s judgment in “destroying the earth by water”. In addition, I am sure that the overwhelming beauty of the canyon itself will forever remain in my memory as a continual source of awe of God’s power and might and grace, even in the midst of judgment. If you have an opportunity to go, don’t miss it. (2008 Christian Leaders Trip)
Eli, age 11, Central Valley, CA
I really enjoyed my trip to the Grand Canyon with Canyon Ministries! One of my favorite parts was when we hiked up to the cave. I loved climbing up the rocks! One important fact I learned while on the trip was about the Great Unconformity. I didn’t know much about it before the trip but I now know that the missing material where basement rock (creation rock) meets with sediment rock isn’t likely to have happened over millions of years because erosion doesn’t make flat land.
Jake Vanada, Twin Cities FCA Director, MN
Jon Albert is a remarkable leader, speaker, teacher, and guide. I have taken multiple trips with high school students with Jon and each and every time the trip was not only incredibly successful, but also very, very impactful for my students. Jon has a gift. He is very good at using this gift to bring others to a place where they can see God in a compelling and often life changing way. I have seen him do this as a speaker for a camp, as a guide in a back country adventure, and as a team leader on an international missions experience. In my 20 years experience as a pastor, leader, and youth communicator, I have not seen someone like Jon who is so talented both with the Word of God, relationships with students, and knowledge of trips/back country adventure. Jon is a dynamic leader who has the favor of the Lord on him.
Dr. John Piper, Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church, MN
This 190-mile trip down the Colorado River on the Grand Canyon was superbly planned and executed. The lectures and discussions were stimulating, the scenery rapturous, the rapids thrilling, the camaraderie rich, and the food delicious. There were surprises along the way, some of which were planned (like body-“surfing” in the Little Colorado) and some not (like 25 huge waterfalls appearing within minutes after a downpour). The spirit of the leaders was humble and helpful. All questions were admissible and serious answers were provided. Christ was always honored. It was a huge privilege to be part of this trip.
Rick Wiles, Pastor, Grand Canyon Baptist Church, AZ
Two things that stood out for me on this trip were leading a mid-week service and seeing the lies of “science.” Tom had asked me before the trip to be prepared to share about something relating to the flood. My focus was on Genesis 8:20 where Noah leaves the ark and builds an altar. God laid on my heart our need to build our own altar. Before the service I asked random individuals to bring a rock that could be stacked to the service. I began to look around at who I had asked and realized what God had done. God directed the choosing of one person from each family represented on our trip. As they stacked each rock the colors reviled where similar to the layers of the canyon. Secondly was seeing the lies of “science.” I was already a young earth believer before the trip, so seeing the evidence only reinforced my position. While in a side canyon, called “Blacktail,” we viewed what science calls “the greatest unconformity”. This was almost more than I could personally handle since Tom had asked me to sing “How Great Thou Art.” To be looking at creation rock spoken into existence by God touching rock laid down by an act of God’s righteous judgment while knowing that He loved me enough to send His Son to pay the price for my sins and spare me from His judgment of sin will be printed forever in my walk. Thank you, Canyon Ministries for providing this experience.
Teri, Embarrass, MN
We survived and loved our trip! It was a totally amazing experience for all of us! Our granddaughter had such a good time and wants to go back. There is nothing quite like being down in and seeing the grandeur, beauty, and power of God’s judgement as it is in the canyon. I just got done reading the passages in Genesis on the flood this morning, and I am so thankful for God’s grace in providing salvation from the consequences of our sin. We were so pleased with every aspect of the trip from the Desert Rose, Bar 10 Ranch, flights – airplane and helicopter, crew on the raft, food, hikes, talks by Russ Miller, and the fellowship with the people who came. This was truly a one of a kind vacation – full of adventure and beauty. Thank you for all the details and planning that made this a stress-free trip where all we had to do mentally was take it all in. It was challenging as well – stretching us to do things we’ve never done before. Wow. Now I can’t wait to ponder and see what the Lord will do with this in our lives. Thanks for having a vision and using this for His glory. To God be the Glory, great things He hath done!
Tom Steller, Dean, Bethlehem College and Seminary, MN
So many evangelical pastors tend to avoid the discussion of origins because they realize it is a complex issue and can be divisive. This unparalleled learning opportunity offered by Canyon Ministries, The Master’s Seminary and Answers in Genesis is a wonderful model of how serious discussion can take place in an atmosphere of respect and genuine seeking after the truth. The participants came from a variety of different persuasions on the issue. The leadership team created an atmosphere where no question was off limits. And of course, the classroom was unlike any classroom I have ever studied in. The mingling together of stimulating lectures, honest dialogue, genuine worship, unforgettable fellowship, high adventure, and spectacular beauty is something I will cherish the rest of my life. (2009 Christian Leaders Trip)
Dr. RC Sproul, Jr., teaching fellow, Ligionier Ministries
The heavens, we are told, declare the glory of God. So too does the Grand Canyon. The canyon manifests the beauty, the glory, even the just wrath of God. Before traveling the canyon with Answers in Genesis, and a group of able scholars I asked friends to pray that I would through the trip better behold the glory of God and more boldly proclaim the Word of God. God heard and answered my prayers through this trip. It stretched me physically, but it fed me powerfully. With godly teachers leading, and godly students alongside, it was a time of profound encouragement. I surely learned a great deal, but better still I was blessed to worship the living God in one of the great earthly monuments to His majesty. I could not commend this trip more eagerly. (2009 Christian Leaders Trip)
Sally, Savsannah, GA
It is hard to describe the effect the trip had on me except to say that it was profoundly positive : ) And it is still hard to think about anything else. I discovered the truths of creation/ dinosaurs/ the flood through the years of doing the AiG VBS curriculum, but to experience it in that beautiful place captured my heart. The return to the Rim World has been hard! All at the same time I miss the group and the canyon, glad to be back with my children, and have a passion to make sure more people know the true story of creation and the flood. The crazy places I am starting are with my own church and [local] Christian school – who both believe the Bible to be true and hold a Christian worldview, but seem a little fuzzy on that first chapter! I truly hope to experience the canyon with you again.
Loved that we opened in prayer. Loved that we went at our Own pace. Loved that our park entrance fee and waters were covered. Comfy van. Our guide Guy Forsythe was Very knowledgable biblically and geologically. We and our two young kids felt very comfortable asking “mr. Guy” questions (even if we had just asked them!). We are very thankful for this experience it was informing and faith building and very well done. We will recommend this tour without reservation to anyone coming to tour the Grand Canyon. Guy was a phenomenal leader.
Our day tour of the Grand Canyon with Bill was excellent. We learned a lot, and had our faith encouraged and strengthened. It was truly exciting for us to spend our first day (ever) at Grand Canyon with a believer who has a lot of to share about the flood related events that created the canyon.
In addition to having a heart for God, and adding a devotional perspective to the day, Bill’s explanations of the relevant Geology were “tailored” to our questions and interests- he adeptly shared his technical knowledge to the extent that we were able to understand it. He is not just an expert on the information, but a also an educator who “reads” his audience and tailors his presentation accordingly.
We were blessed by our day. Your Rim Tours are an excellent resource, and we would encourage you to continue them. Also, the guide book that you provided is excellent- very interesting and full of information and maps/pictures.
My wife and I took the one day tour of the South Rim. It was fantastic because it gave us a perspective of the Grand Canyon which we would have completely missed without the explanations given by our guide, Jon Albert. His description of how the flood formed the layers and the Canyon we were understandable, awe inspiring and exciting. We have a whole new appreciation and understanding of the harmony between the Bible and geology. We highly recommend Canyon Ministries. No one should view the Grand Canyon without this. Thank you so much.
Our group had an awesome experience. We brought both non-Christians and mature Christians and they both greatly enjoyed our tour. I personally have been to the Grand Canyon many times, but this was easily the most enjoyable visit of them all. Previously it was “ooh, look at the big hole in the ground, okay, lets go,” this tour brought a whole new meaning to “the big hole in the ground”. Our tour guide Nate was well versed on all of the most recent Christian research and the most scientifically valid flood theories. The tour was very well balanced between enjoying the Grand Canyon visually and “geeking” out on the science and the geology. Also the book they give you is amazing. It had a ton of useful pictures and again balanced the beauty and science of God’s creation. Thank you Canyon Ministries for an awesome time!