Saturday, July 28, 2012

Earlier on last week...

*I wrote this a while ago and am just now posting it*

What can be said about a best friend?  How valuable they are... How much influence they have in your life. There is a quote I heard and I don't know who said it but it goes like this " show me your friends and I will show you your future." The thought is if your friends are God fearing world travelers then your life will look something like that....or on the flip side,  if your friends are drug addict criminals, your going to live a life similar to that. For the most part I have been fortunate to have friends of noble character that love God truly. Steve Turner is a prime example of this. In so many ways I wish I was more like him. He is the real deal.  A real Christian who honestly wants to do whatever the Lord asks of him.

We understand each other and I'm grateful for that. I have a really hard time being up front with the sins and struggles in my life. St knows that all to well, he knows my dirt. So he will point blank ask me how this or that thing is going. He is always giving me opportunities to confess. Well this is one of those times. Let me paint the picture. We are in a small small small town called Unity, in an old motel taking the day off. I was scheduled to do a phone interview later on that day so we started talking and as things got more and more open he straight up asked me some very difficult questions. 
Specifically on the topic of girls and relationships.... Ok here's my dirt... I have struggled with integrity a lot in my life and St just seems to have it. Every little bit I do have, I have to fight like hell to keep. I have cheated on just about every girlfriend I have ever had. Often times have had 3 - 4 girlfriends at a time. I share this with you for two reasons. One, to testify to the power of redemption and grace found in Jesus. That even though there is no reason for the Lord to allow me to be apart of what He is doing, He still chose me to do this. Secondly, that even though I feel strong and think that I would never be that person again there are fears that I could go back. St really impressed upon me the importance of what I'm doing and how failure or lack of integrity in this area of my life can damage what we are trying to do. That if I walk in that life style again, it would discredit me and I would be seen as a fake. We were then interrupted by a phone call I had to take for the radio interview and after I was off the phone, St and I prayed. I of course wept like a baby asking God for strength and begging for protection from the enemy for my self. My fear is failing at this and letting everyone down. And most of all, letting the children of Uzima down.

The next day we  got back on the road and left Unity. Whenever St and I are together we just always seem to fall into the swing of things. We work so well together.  Between the 2 of us, we are usually able to handle whatever comes our way. St is not one for being in the spotlight, he has a harder time than I do connecting with large groups of people. However he is so good at the one on one conversations and articulating the specific needs of Uzima .
So this is how it works. I start out hamming it up... telling jokes and funny stories. Then  I move in to what we are doing.  Most of the time the people that don't really care ask a few questions and then move along. Sometimes we come across people who are really interested and want to know more. That's where St shines! He takes over the conversation, showing them pictures of the kids and sharing more of the specifics of what God is doing in Africa and how this walk helps. This part is very specific. He gives pictures to the people who are truly interested and committed to (at the very least) praying for an individual child. He commits to sending them updates and any news about the child and what not.

This is a perfect example of what we do. Today is Wednesday and we are at Brogan quick stop. In the past week we have walked from John Day to Prairie City, Austin Junction, Unity, Ironside to Brogan. That's about 91 miles in 8 days with about  3 1/2 days off. At the quick stop we met the most amazing woman named Charity. We spent most of the day chatting with her. It starts out as always me telling funny stories and eventually moves in to what we are doing. Right away you could see that she was very interested in what we had to say. St took over the conversation and they talked about all the specifics of Uzima and the needs. He showed her pictures and told stories about the different children, their personalities and things they like to do. Just before we headed out, she picked 2 children that she would committe to pray for. We said our goodbyes and hit the road.  As we walked St and I prayed thanking God for Charity and her commitment to pray for the children. We prayed for some other people we met and stayed with and all the kindness we had received during our stay in Brogan.

This is the cool part! We must have gone just about 3 miles when Charity shows up. She brought cards for each of the children that St will pass on to them when he goes back to Kenya. She also gave to Needle2Square. What I didn't know is that St had privately prayed for a specific amount of money.... Well you guessed it. It was the exact amount she gave... So incredible!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More of John Day

After Connie and Gordon left I spent some time with Brittany, the manager of the Little Pine Inn. We spent most of the the afternoon sitting in lawn chairs out front of my hotel room trading stories and getting to know each other. Around 6 that evening my best friend Steve Turner and his parents Jerry and Beverly showed up. Steve Turner is the co-founder of Uzima (the NGO I'm raising money for!) He recently got back for Kenya and was excited to put in some miles with me. Together we will walk from John Day to Boise. I was so excited to have someone on the road with me, someone to talk to. We headed to a restaurant called the Outpost for dinner and there Jerry and I talked a lot about what has been happening so far on this adventure. He was really excited! I shared with them a few stories that didn't make the blog, I also shared how God provided through Connie and Gordon just that morning. Right before we left the restaurant Jerry shared with me something he had been working on. Now here's the thing, I had almost bought a tent like 3 times since LeeRoy damaged my tent awhile back. I did a quick fix with duct tap, but it wasn't going to last long. I was also looking for a smaller tent before I knew ST was going to walk with me. What I didn't know was God had it covered the whole time! Soooooo, when Jerry found out about my tent he had called REI in Spokane and shared with them the story of Needle2Square and Uzima with the hope that they would be willing to donate a tent, and what do ya know?! They hooked him up with a tent for me! I can't even say how shocked at .... How... EXTRAORDINARILY  blessed I feel. The fact that each blessing has been so specific down to the smallest detail.  For example ....The tent I had was the REI half dome 2, the one they gave me was the half dome 2+. It's a little bigger. I share this detail because now that Steve Turner is with me,  my old tent would have been too small for the both of us to sleep comfortably.  I just laugh thinking about it, how God cares about even the smallest of details in my life. I've got to say it is so comforting to know that God is in this! I want to give a special thanks to everyone at REI and to Jerry, I'm very grateful for their kindness!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The light in the night...

I can not tell you how blessed I am. Gods provision blows my mind. Not only that but He has put people in place around me to ensure that needle2square succeeds . On top of it all he sends these people out to me. Out to the middle of Oregon. The desert, when I need them. Connie and Gordon are two of those people.

As I said in my last blog we had planned to meet for breakfast Monday morning and that's just what we did. We talked a lot  but not about the trip but more about me personally.... what the Lord has been doing in my heart.  They gave me a lot of encouragement and I was so blessed by them. 

Here is the thing. Connie, Gordan and I could not be more different! However there is this unity in Christ that we have. It surpasses all the differences we have and we are able to have deep and meaningful conversations.

After breakefast  we made plans to go see LeeRoy. So we headed to the vet and I introduced them.  I checked in with the receptionist and got a total on the bill. It was not cheap! Before I knew it Connie pulled out cash and payed the whole bill.  I was so so grateful!!!! I never think saying thank you is enough.  We left LeeRoy there for one more night and headed to the store so I could get food and supplies. Driving to the store they put on some worship music and Connie started singing. I started tearing up a little. It was just a perfect time to worship and give thinks for the Lords blessings in my life... Once at the story, they again payed for all my supplies and I was again speacheless.  We went from there to the hotel and and the blessings kept a coming. God is soooo good!

Ok so here is just another God thing! I mentioned in my last blog that I was trying to change LeeRoys diet a bit. I had a conversation with my "goat Guru" about a new feed I should use. Well... When we got back to the hotel, Gordan and Connie started packing up to head out but first they had a few more surprises up their sleeve. They opened a bag and in it was goat feed. THE EXACT FEED I NEEDED! Can you even believe it! God knows what He's doing. I was soooo stunned! 

Just before they left we prayed together. I sat in a chair, Gordan was sitting on the bed and Connie was standing. They each put there hands on my shoulders and started praying for me. I can't tell you what I felt.. I can't write what happened or explain it, but in that room 101 at the Little Pine Inn, the Spirit of the Lord showed up. They prayed blessing and strength over me. I started crying and confessing my doubt in myself and lack of faith that the money would be raised. I also prayed about my pride and ego. That I would die to my self and let the Lords light shine. 

Here's what I know...the Lord is at work in this...and in me.... I have experienced the Lords blessing, provision and grace.... Here's the kicker... it's not the blessings that I'm so grateful for but the opportunity to experience Jesus that has forever changed me....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

John Day...

After a long day of walking in the heat, I was stopped by a couple who were driving by on their way to pick up a truck. We started talking and they offered to have me stay with them for the night. They told me where they lived and said they would meet me there so I ended up walking towards their house which was half a mile back the way I just came. I got to their house and we had a great time talking and joking around before I crashed for the night. 

The next morning I woke up and found that LeeRoy had diarrhea, which is really not a good thing when it comes to goats. I immediately contacted a local vet that could get me in right away to have him examined. I decided that the best thing for him was to stay there and get treated till he was better. They started him on probiotics, electrolytes and a strict diet of grass hay feed. 

I walked into John Day and tried to come up with a plan for the next few days. My goal is always to spend as little money as possible especially while in town but after looking at my options I decided to get a hotel room for the next few days where I could still be close to the vet and check on LeeRoy daily. I posted up at the Little Pine Hotel which I was extremely grateful for knowing that the forecast for the next few days would reach 106. 

I called the vet the next morning to find out about LeeRoy's test results and found out that somewhere between Portland and John Day he had gotten tapeworm. He was given a vaccine to kill any kind of worm he could have picked up and continued to rest and recover. Sunday I got a hold of my goat guru to talk about the changes I wanted to make in LeeRoy's diet. One of the things I've been thinking about was ways to add more fat so he'd have more energy to walk. She gave me a few different options and even offered to pay for them. 

I got off the phone and started going over the logistics for the rest of the month. I worried about my finances and the weight of this new food for LeeRoy that he'd have to carry. Its no secret that this walk is not cheap and I was feeling the pressure. I was in desperate need of a new tent (since LeeRoy broke mine),  I didn't know how I would pay the vet bill plus boarding for the time LeeRoy will stay there and my stay at the hotel. 

That afternoon I received a phone call from Connie and Gordon, the hosts of "Light In the Night" (a talk radio show on KGNW). They said they were driving through Oregon and wanted to surprise me by stopping by. I was surprised! We made plans to meet for breakfast in town the next morning. I stayed up looking at my calendar and route, fearing I'd hit the Rockies in the winter time. The thought of that kept me up late into the night. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mitchell Oregon...

I haven't had the chance to blog in a while, so I'm working backwards. I ended up walking from the summit of the Ochoco Mountain into Mitchell which was 17 miles for the day. It felt pretty good! As usual, I got stopped several times and met some really interesting people. Previously on my Facebook, a girl posted that her dad was a baptist minister in Mitchell. As I approached the city about a mile out, he found me and offered to have me stay in the basement of his church while I was in town. My plan was to get another check up for LeeRoy and take half the day off. When I finally walked into the city I was stopped at The Little Pine cafe where they told me they've been waiting for me, mind you this is a town of 160 people. Before I even got there, everyone already knew who I was and what I was doing. The cafe bought me some food and called Carol ( the minister) to have him come pick me up. LeeRoy jumped into the back of his jeep and we headed up to his house. There I met his family and had a good time talking. They were very confused as to why I didn't have a gun on me for protection. I thought that was kind of funny. Later I was dropped of at the church and had a very comfortable nights rest. I had plans to meet Peggy the Vet down at the Cafe in the morning.

This is where I need to add a little back story so you can get the picture of whats going on. This weekend was the towns 3rd annual music festival that everyone was preparing for. The owner of the Little Pine Cafe was also the Vice President of a Motorcycle club and everyone was heading into town to be a part and camp out.

In the morning I get into town to wait for Peggy with LeeRoy tied out front. We wait most of the day and she didn't show up so I called to make another appointment for the next day. I headed back to the church to sleep and got up the next morning to go wait for her. Again she didn't showed up.  By this time, the group of motorcyclists arrived and are all hanging out with me on the porch. Everything seems to be going fine, LeeRoy is behaving well so I get up to go to the bathroom and by the time I get back, LeeRoy had hooked some lady with his horns. I apologized to her but now the attitude of the group has changed. What used to be cool and welcomed was now not welcomed and unfriendly.

I left and headed back to the church figuring Peggy was a no show. I decided that the next morning I would leave town and continue walking. I got up late, said goodbye to Carol and his family and headed downtown on my way out. As I'm passing the cafe, a lady stops to take a few pictures of LeeRoy, meanwhile a group of the bikers surround me trying to be intimidating and very unfriendly. The husband of the woman that got hurt ( by hurt I mean a little scratch on her side) yesterday was standing in front of me, at least 6ft tall. Staring me down he says, " a little word of advice, if the f***ing goat ever messes with my wife again, then I will slit his f***ing throat!"

Here's the thing, I don't do to well with older men trying to push me around or threaten me like they're abusing their authority. So immediately I got stiff necked. I thought of a couple "choice words" to say to him about how unintelligent his wife is for coming up to a goat she didn't know with horns… but I held me tongue. I looked him in the eyes and apologized  again… its not like I can be a tough guy with all these people surrounding me. They eventually left and I headed out of town. This really put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day.

I know its my responsibility to make sure LeeRoy doesn't mess with anybody but at some point there has to be some kind of personal responsibility to not put yourself in harms way.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


The day after my Birthday I left Prineville and headed to the Ochoco Mountains. I ended up camping at the reservoir for the night just outside of town. I woke up to quite waters and beautiful sunrise… so peaceful. One of the things I like to do in the morning is listen to podcasts of my favorite speakers. It stimulates my mind and gets my thoughts off the walk. It was my goal to do 20 miles that day so we headed out early. Taking lots of breaks, we stopped often to look at the many cool sights around us. It doesn't sound all that great writing it, but when you're there its incredible!

I ended up listening to several podcasts as I walked that day and the one thing that seemed to be a random common theme between all of them was adoption. I spent the rest of the day thinking about what was said and how important it was to have my own children vs just adopting. I came to this one indisputable decision, that I would rather adopt then have my own kids. I'm sure that's going to get me in trouble with my future wife… And not just adopt a healthy baby but one with a physical disability that can't talk or hear or maybe missing a limb.

In my mid 20s I worked as a classified sub in district 81 in Spokane, Wa. I worked with all kinds of kids for 2-3 years. Some were behavioral intervention (I actually liked working with these kids), others were one on one with a child that has a physical disability but was in a normal classroom and the one I found the most challenging was working with the kids that were low functioning with sever disabilities. In those class rooms you would have to change diapers and take care of them much like a baby.  My 2nd year on the job I got a long term sub position with a blind boy in the first grade. I would meet him at the bus stop to get him on and off the bus every day, help him count steps to different locations around school, and assist in finding his hook and cubby so he could put his things away. We were not  only a team but best friends (as much as an adult can be best friends with a kid). We played games and sang songs together. I would catch myself staring at him, watching every move he made and his interaction with other kids. I was so excited everyday to go to work and hang out with him. On the weekends I would miss him and couldn't wait for Monday to come!  I couldn't believe they paid me to be there, to be with him. When I was not at work, I would think about ways to help him be more social and interact with his classmates. Eventually that job ended and I had to move on to another position, but I have to say I still miss him to this day. Some time later I saw him on the front page of our local paper and found out he had been in foster care most of his life. The article was about adoption and mentioned a family that had just adopted him. I was so excited for him but bummed because If I would have known that,  I probably would have tried to adopt him myself.

That experience has made me want to love those who others see as being "defective"… to fight for the underdog. On the flip side of that, I don't know if I can handle a child with a mental disability. Either way, I found myself praying "Lord, if there is a child out there in the world that no one else wants,  prepare me for him or her." I just want to make myself available to the Lord.

I posted up on the side of the road for the night and it was cold. The next morning the weather was terrible! Raining then hailing… cold then sunny.. then back to rain. I pressed on another 10 miles to the top of the summit where I found Ochoco Divide camp ground. I decided to camp there for the night and make a fire to dry off and warm up. After setting up camp, Jim the camp ground host, invited me to his Wennibego for dinner. He was an inspiring character for a 60 some year old man. We traded stories and listened to music over dinner. From Michael Jackson to Guns And Roses, Grateful Dead to some kind of classical music I didn't know. I love to listen to stories of people in their sunset years that don't just retire and wait to die but go out and have an adventure. He made us steak, asparagus and a backed potato which was AMAZING!!! Especially after eating tuna packets and granola bars the last few days. After dinner, I went back to my camp site and crashed for the night.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Snail pace...

Tomorrow is July 2nd, exactly two months from when I started. I thought I would be a lot further along then I am right now and its super frustrating. In the morning I wake up and I just want to walk… go fast and not stop but walking with a goat has proven to be a challenge. I find myself getting frustrated that LeeRoy is unable to walk faster and it wears my patients thin. Don't get me wrong, I'm not MAD at LeeRoy I just get angry because I feel like I'm getting no where at times. In 9 days I'm suppose to be in Boise but I'm not even to John Day yet. 

It seems crazy to get angry in this situation, but I put myself under pressure to be at certain places by certain times. I've never considered myself an angry person and rarely do things get to me but after a while I get physically and emotionally drained, cars getting way too close, the desert heat, constantly camping in uncomfortable situations and then LeeRoy walk at a snail pace… I've found my limit. Where my patience ends and frustration/anger begins.

Today I really wanted to walk 20 miles. I got up super early to beat the days heat and put the miles in. Its so strange, at times LeeRoy wants to run ahead of me and other days he gets stubborn and doesn't want to work at all. Today was one of those "no work" days. We started out well, everything was cool but after the first half mile he just slowed down way below our normal speed. I got so incredibly angry! I knew in my head I don't want to take it out on  him by pulling on his leash or forcing him to walk. So I slowed down a little bit, trying to keep us at 2 miles an hour. 2 miles an hour is nothing for us. Think about it, to get 20 miles in would be 10 hours of walking… not including the many breaks and lunch in between. All of that adds up to a very long day.

Anyway, I got so frustrated… I was clinching my fists and gritting my teeth, trying to talk myself out of this emotion. It seems so trivial… not like anything I would ever get angry about. This doesn't happen often and I never see it coming… I don't know what to think about it. Is it suppressed emotion or feelings from my past??? Do I have an anger issue that I've never notice before? One thing is for sure, this walk is revealing things about myself that I've never known before.