I am currently 7 miles outside of Madras, camping atop another bluff my favorite spot so far. Around me I can see 7 snow covered mountain peeks and I have to admit its pretty amazing. To the east is high desert plain lands with a cell tower blinking in the distance. I'm starting to hear coyotes howling and its making me nervous for the night ahead. I'm posted up right along highway 26, which doesn't look as busy as I thought it would be.
Last Saturday I got a ride from Madras to Redmond where I got to stay with my old Youth Pastor (Brad) and his family. They had just moved the week before from Iowa to take on a local Pastoring position. It was so good to see him again, 15+ years later. We didn't get to sit and chit chat the whole time, we had a very busy weekend. I got to share at their church on Sunday (which went well until LeeRoy pooped on stage). I was well received at both services however felt like I articulated my thoughts better second service. After church I had another interview with the local news and then headed out to Brad's new house that they were moving into later that week. The previous owners left it in disarray so I helped by cleaning the fridge and other things around the house.
Monday I got a chance to hang out by myself a little bit while LeeRoy relaxed at a barn owned by one of the church members. I decided to go see a movie ( Men in Black 3), hung out at Starbucks and just had a normal day. It was so weird to not be walking or have a goat with me, to just be another face in the crowd. No one was coming up to me or asking questions, it felt like an ordinary day... which was kind of nice. Tuesday was moving day and we spent most of the day unloading the uhaul into the house. That night I got picked up by a lady named Lynn whom had spotted me on the side of the road a few days earlier. She invited me over for dinner and to hear of my journey. She happened to work for the local Boys and Girls club and invited some of them over as well. It was instant chaos as soon as I got there! Everyone was so excited and enthusiastic, firing tons of questions at me. We had a great time talking and goofing off the rest of the night.
Wednesday I spoke at Brad's brother in law (Dave's) youth group. We arranged to have LeeRoy and I come out and speak to the group earlier that week. One thing I've learned is you have to take a different angle when sharing with the youth. What I try to do is be extremely funny and then hit them up with the Gospel, that way you keep their attention. The talk was interview style with Dave on stage with me. I had a good 40 minutes of sharing, being open and honest about my life, the walk and what God is doing in Uzima. This wasn't about raising funds or taking money from the kids, it was about inspiring them and showing them that God can redeem anyone and use anything for His Will and purpose... including a goat.
I was so struck by the response of these young people and their generous sacrafice. I know this sounds ridiculous but several Senior students were handing me hundred dollar bills in support of Needle2Square. A girl who must have been in the 6th or 7th grade handed me a white envelope with all of her savings in it, wanting to give everything she had for these kids in Africa she didn't even know. I was so touched by everyone's giving but especially this girl who gave all she had. Seeing them has inspired me to go further and push harder, to give more. I can tell you that when this walk is over and I have a job, I want to give and have a life marked by generosity because of what I've seen and the financial sacrifices others have made. If I end this walk and live a life not marked by giving then I have learned nothing and lost an opportunity of growth on a personal level.