Ten weeks and 16,ooo miles later, we have returned to Anchorage.
This trip was a common exercise for missionaries on “faith support.” From time to time we must leave the field and visit those churches and individuals who make our ministries possible. Kim and I spent time with some folks we hadn’t seen for ten or twelve years, so getting reacquainted was a good thing. We also made some new friends, spent time with family and even goofed off a couple of days (The Comfort Inn at Nag’s Head in North Carolina is a very inexpensive beach front motel. We’d never before stayed in a room overlooking the ocean and it was…special).
We are trusting the Lord to bring in the remaining monthly support needed for us to focus entirely on the ministry. Please join us in praying for this.
Some of the moments and observations that stand out from the road trip are:
-the corn crop in the mid-west looked really bed, due to lack of rain. I wonder how this will impact future food prices since corn finds its way into so many processed foods, not to mention feed for beef, pork, poultry, fish and I don’t know what else.
-this is a very BIG country with a whole lot of people in it.
-there are some amazingly bad drivers out there. I think they should make it more difficult to get/keep a drivers license. I would estimate 20% of the drivers are totally oblivious to their surroundings.
-more traffic cops would be good thing.
-the Amish could cook dirt and make it taste good. They single-handedly killed months of progress I had made on Weight Watchers.
-Lebanon bologna, sweet. I’ll say no more. Well, how about a photo?
-the south is a friendly place, but man does it get hot down there. Wow! And we were there in the fall; July must be blistering.
-California is unbelievably crowded. Driving, or attempting to, is very frustrating. Most of my time spent in a vehicle consisted of two activities; fighting for position, or waiting. Didn’t matter if I was on a freeway, a highway, a street or in a parking lot, it was always the same– maneuver for position…or wait.
-Yuma has exploded, so has El Paso, and a lot of other towns in the desert southwest. Where are all the people coming from? And why? And where do they get water?
-the Sonoma coast is beautiful. Kim and I had our favorite little beach all to ourselves.
-Razor clams. Mmmmm.
-a whole lot of people seem totally captivated by the moment. I wonder how many of them eagerly await the return of the Lord? Maybe a lot of them do, but I didn’t really get that vibe.
-God is at work…everywhere, and that’s a cool thing.
-Canadians really like their big ol’ trucks, which leads me to the next one…
-gas is E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E, especially in Illinois, California and Canada.
-Starbucks! I love Starbucks! Kept me going, mile after mile.
-most restaurants serve food that is mediocre or worse, a few serve good stuff, and price is no indication of quality.
In Idaho good food looks like this…
…in Georgia it looks like this…
…in Oregon it looks like this…
…and in Alaska it looks like this…
…though Martin needed to do a little work before dinner was ready.
-my final observation, which is not really a good one, so take this as a word of encouragement. Believers, every one of us, are running a race. From the time of our conversion until we leave this world, we are living by faith in a way the New Testament compares to an athletic event (among other things). It is a marathon-type race, not a sprint. We are to run in such a way as to win the prize. We are to be focused, living intently and anticipating our time to appear before the judgement seat of Christ.
But not everyone seems to be doing that.
As visiting missionaries, we get a “snapshot” view of people that may only come every 5, 10 or 15 years, so changes are noticeable to us. Our perception isn’t diluted by the gradual passage of time; we view a slide show more than a movie.
Now, with that in mind, I have to say not everyone appears to be running their race to win. Some are, and they have encouraged us. Others have gone on to be with the Lord, and they are missed. But too many seemed to have lost focus. They aren’t running to win; they are distracted by their surroundings or they have lost motivation. They are jogging half-heartedly or merely walking around the track. Others appear to have stopped. A few have even left the course entirely. Sad, but true.
So, if I may, let me exhort you. There are many faithful believers who have run their race before us. The writer of Hebrews points to some of them as our example, calling them a “cloud of witnesses,” saints whose lives are testimonies bearing witness to faith. With that in view, we should “…lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”
There’s a lot of good stuff there, so read the whole passage. But run. Run! RUN!!! Run the race to win.
Time is short. Before you know it your time will be done. So keep on running.