Rock-N-Water’s 4th Grade California Living History Field Trip – 49er Fun

The theme of our 49er Fun California Gold Rush Field Trips is “God is greater than gold.”  This is something that we reiterate over and over again to the “younguns ((the 4th graders that are on this field trip to learn about the California Gold Rush – Because that’s what those of us that live in the 1800’s like to call kids))”.  The trip starts right off with fun when the group is gathered for lunch.  As the introductions between the school and our time traveling staff from 1854 are proceeding, it is suddenly discovered that some of the time-travelling 49ers have been lost in time.  The group calls out for their missing friends, and when they respond, they come running through time in a crazed state.  They have found gold in the hills, they declare, and they start recruiting the stunned younguns to help them mine for gold.  Their “gold fever” is checked, though, by the reminder that God, the creator of the universe, is more important than gold.

father and daughter inspect their gold pan for gold on a 4th grade field trip

Throughout the trip, depending on which of the one or two night field trips a school has signed up for, a group goes to Gold Bug Mine, Rock-N-Water’s claim along the American River, and sometimes to Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park.  We teach the youngungs and their parents about the Gold Rush and what life was like in 1854 just after the height of the California gold rush.  They get to hike, see historic sights like Sutter’s mill, a couple of real gold mines, pan for gold, make rope, line dance, and most importantly, spend quiet times alone with God in His creation.  In all these activities, through casual conversation and also short devotions, we tell the younguns and the parents about God.  Just as we do on these field trips, Job 28 speaks of wisdom and understanding in reference with gold and mining.

“Surely there is a mine for silver
And a place where they refine gold….
Man puts an end to darkness,
And to the farthest limit he searches out
The rock in gloom and deep shadow….
But where can wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?…
Pure gold can not be given in exchange for it,
Nor can silver be weighed as its price…
Gold or glass cannot equal it,
Nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold….

God understands its way,
And He knows its place….
When He imparted weight to the wind
And meted out the waters by measure,
When He set a limit for the rain
And a course for the thunderbolt,
Then He saw it and declared it;
He established it and also searched it out.
And to the man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
And to depart from evil is understanding.’”

Truly, God, the creator of the universe and the source of wisdom and understanding, is greater than gold.