Thursday, December 26, 2013
Friday, November 29, 2013
Idaho Springs to Denver
Let me update where I'm at in my story... I had left Idaho Springs, CO. Trying to make it as close to Denver as I could get. I knew I was going to have to eventually get on to I70 for a few miles. On my way out of town, I was able to get on a bike path past the tunnels. It was sweet, it ran next to the river the for about 4 miles. It twisted and turned between two high peeks, with jagged rocks jetting up at the top. As I walk, I always keep an eye out for some of Leroy's favorite things to eat. Its a habit now. Even when he's not with me, I walk over to a bush and stare at it, waiting for LeeRoy to pop his head out from behind me and and start eating what ever bush is in front of me...
In fact, just the other day, as I walking I saw a patch of clovers and walked up them and just starred waiting for LeeRoy to notice them too...The thing was. LeeRoy wasn't with me. He was at a host home and I was going out to eat with the host family. I laughed and then ran to catch up with the family as they walked into the restraunt hoping they didn't notice I had just stood staring at a patch of clovers for a good 10 seconds with a very confused look on my face. It's almost become an involuntary thing; when I see a bush LeeRoy would love, my body seems to be magnetically drawn...I have to keep reminding my self that LeeRoy is not with me ...
Ok back to the story...
I had been walking through some beautiful territories, and I was loving it. My heart was at peace. I was feeling good. I was feeling strong. About 10 am I started getting so excited. Denver was just around the corner and I wanted to have a successful time. The last big city was Salt Lake, and that didn't go over well, so I was preparing my heart and mind. Also, one thing I have learned is people either love this whole project or hate it--no one is really in the middle. So I have to be prepared for anything. Ya know, looking back now, I remember thinking I was overwhelmed with people and opportunities so often during this journey. The funny thing is that was nothing compared to now. I must say I love it. But I don't think I'm the best with my time.
So I'm walking on the old 40 highway. The section I'm walking along at the time happens to be a very dangrous part. The road has lots of twists and turns and that translates in to a lot of blind corners; and I hate, hate, hate that. There was no shoulder to the road so LeeRoy and I take up about 1/4 of the lane. I had made a plan to jump on I-70 because the side roads were just too dangerous. People kind of freak out when I do that, but just for the record, the safest roads for us are the interstates. They always have really wide shoulders and the rumble strips that not only warn the driver that they have crossed over the line, and it's so loud that it warns me too. So say what you want, but LeeRoy and I have always felt the safest there.
I always walk facing the traffic... In fact, it's kind of turned in to this OCD kind of thing. I'm walking up the off ramp, onto I-70. This always makes me so nervous. I know I'm not supposed to do this. We are full on walking into traffic. About 1 mile into it, I start to calm down. It is fun to watch the faces of everyone driving by on this 4 lane interstate. Some smile or laugh, some looked shocked, but my favorite are the confused looks. I love to see that look of complete confusion, like "what is that guy doing?", "is that a goat?"-- it's hilarious. Just as I'm settling in and feeling confident in my decision, a police car pulls up in front of me. Before they get out of the car I do 3 things: get my ID out, start taking pictures with my phone, immediately get an attitude.
In hindsight, I know the last one is a bad thing. During that time, I had just had a lot of bad experiences so I feel like I lost respect for police officers. I don't do that so much anymore. I find you catch more flies with honey than vinegar when it comes to police, and even more than that, I know I can only control myself, not them.
The officer gets out of the car, and I don't really look at him until he gets right next to me. I was staring at my phone with my hand out holding my id. when he comes up to me and says,
Police man: howdy. What do you got going on here
Me: not much just walking with a goat. I said as I looked up with an annoyed look on my face.
Police man: ya I can see that, and you can't do it on the interstate.
Before he even finished his sentence I started arguing with him.
Me: I'm walking across America. We started in Seattle and have walked safely to here, and at times we have been on the interstate.
Police man: Well, you can't do it here. You have to get off the interstate. You're going to have to take the back roads.
Me: I'm telling you it's so much worse on the back roads. There's no shoulders to the road has lots of blind corners.
Police man: Yeah, but there's not near as much traffic.
Me: Yeah, well it only takes one...and we are dead.
Police man: You have to get off the interstates.
Me: Yeah, Yeah, ok. I'll get off at the next exit.
Police man: No, man. You have to go back to that exit, and I will escort you there, He tells me with his hand raised pointing behind me.
Me: What?! Come on. The next exit is about 2 miles away I'll be there in 30 mins.(That's a lie. It would have taken me more time than that.)
Police man: Nope, sorry. I can't let you do that. You have to go back.
I drop my shoulders and throw them back as I say "Yeah, okay...".
To be continued.....
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
I am a hype guy. A hype man in hip hop is a back-up rapper. The whole role of a hype guy is to back-up the main rapper. He yells and runs around on the stage to help get the audienceexcited.
Music writer Mickey Hess expands the term as follows: "a hype man is a figure who plays a central but supporting role within a group, making his own interventions, generally aimed at hyping up the crowd while also drawing attention to the words of the MC".
That so me. This is all about uzimaoutreach.org and my best friend ST. I know it sounds crazy,but this is really all about y'all seeing what's he's doing over there. Getting you in the know and involved with what's going on over there...
Wikapedia says, “The quintessential hype man, for many fans and musicians of the era, was Public Enemy's hype man Flavor Flav, whose exuberant approach to the art in the group's recordings and videos made him, arguably, the first household-name hype man, a figure more famous than many MCs. He established many of the conventions of the craft, such as an outlandish sense of style (epitomized by his wearing of large clocks around his neck) and a vocal style that contrasted dramatically with that of the MC (his falsetto was a counterpoint to Chuck D's baritone)”.
ST is Chuck D and I'm Flavor Flav.
I don’t have a big clock around my neck, but I do have a goat. You know it’s so funny, originallyLeeRoy was just supposed to help share the weight. He wasn’t supposed to be a gimmick in any way, shape, or form. I’m a city kid. Not only did I not have any experiences with goats, but I assumed that a guy walking on the side of a freeway with goat would scare people away. I didn’t think people would want to talk to me. I mean, if I saw a guy with a goat, I aint talking to him. Nonetheless, LeeRoy is the main attraction. People come up to me and say, “Hey nice goat.” In turn I tell them, “Yep let me tell you about Africa. Let me tell you about ST.” Which leads me into my story. I need to finish where I left off in Idaho Springs.
After I had that strange conversation with that girl on her knees, I continued meeting people and talking to people late into the night. Darren, Dawn’s husband. I remembered his name, I REMEMBERED HIS NAME! Haha. We went back to his house. He invited the people from thetable I was sitting at to his place to meet the goat and keep talking. We drove back to his house and met the woman, the guy, and the guy’s girlfriend. I’m sorry, I can’t remember names. Darren opened up the garage door and turned on the lights. We hung out in the garage for a little bit and I went in the backyard to get LeeRoy. We walked back into the garage; LeeRoy just stood in the middle of the circle. He stretched, arching his back really high, yawns, looks at each individual, and stood there with his front hooves together. Back straight and with his head up, standing at attention, as if he knew it was time to “show goat.” Everybody asked me the typical questions…”Does it hurt his hooves? What does he eat? How much weight does he carry? Does he sleep in your tent?” He just stared at us. After a little bit, LeeRoy turns his head and looks at me as if to say, “Can I go now? I want to go back to bed.” It is so funny that we havethis secret language, me and him. We talk in silent code with just looks and subtle mannerisms. I know what he is thinking. I can tell when he is about to give someone the horns. He gets a look. I know when he wants to lay down. He does this thing where he slightly transfers his weight from right to left on his front hooves; not really picking them up off the ground. Anyways, he wanted to go back to bed so I took him out to the backyard again so he could sleep.
After that we sat on the floor in the garage. The guy and his girlfriend were cuddling up. Darren stood the whole time. We started talking about Africa. I talked about how I met ST. Talked about the ups and downs of our friendship. I don’t know if I will ever tell these stories, but our friendship has almost been destroyed multiple times. Could you guess it, 3 different girls were involved, but it all happened just in the few years prior to this project. I’ve got to say thatforgiveness, grace and mercy have been huge, huge hallmarks of our relationship. We talked about Africa. I told them about how ST was called to Africa, how him and Fred started the whole thing and my eventual involvement and partnering up with them. I told them about poor living conditions, what we are trying to do, the goal. It got real. It got really deep, emotional, and intense. The three of them started crying. Darren was just staring blankly. I was taken aback by the moment. The guy was telling me that he was inspired, but the very next thing he said was, “I could never do anything like that.”
I don’t know how to reconcile those two ideas. You are inspired to do something, it gives you drive, but not to do anything after that inspiration…What is it, what stops a person from trying? What stops an inspiration from turning into action? I didn’t know what to say to him then. I struggled. I wanted to invest in him, to encourage him. And I did. I could tell, I could see it. He didn’t want it.
Sometimes when I talk to people I feel like it is just entertainment to them. I feel like it’s just touching stories. When I see the tears and see the response I think, clearly something is going to happen. This is a moment. This is a moment of change in that person’s life. However, thatdoesn’t always happen. The story wasn’t a catalyst to change for them. The story was touching and brought out emotion, but never really created movement. Obviously this doesn’t happen all the time, but I will say this: I can tell when a family really wants me to come to their house because they want to support what I am doing and help and provide for me. I can also tell when a family brings me to their house for entertainment. To be able to tell stories to their friends that the goat guy was at their house. To be able to brag that they had a goat in their car, they had agoat in their backyard. I don’t care because it gets the story out there. The people that truly want to help tend to ask more questions about the orphanage and the people who want to be entertained only talk about the goat. We were out until about 4:30 that night sitting in the garage. Eventually everybody left and I went to bed.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Let me back up. I’m sure your first question is how did I get here. Well, like these stories often do, it started with a Facebook message. I was just outside Idaho Springs, CO when I got a message on Facebook from a lady named Dawn. She invited me to stay with her and her family for a few days if I needed to. What's her husband’s name? Anyways, we had been messaging and I agreed. Her husband worked at a mine in the mountains. On his way home from work, he stopped by to meet me. I could tell he was a little sketched out for me to go to his house. He wasn’t sure if I was stranger danger or not. He had two little kids and I think he was worried about that. He kept asking me if I had any weapons. He ended up going home to pick up his truck and to talk to his wife. I kept walking because I wasn’t quite to town yet.
He picked me up and asked me again if I had any weapons. I assured him that I didn’t. We went to his house. It was a good time. We BBQ later that night and the husband (why can’t I remember his name?) and I went out to meet some friends of his at a pub downtown. It was a brewery, and they had this thing that they called spent grain. Basically, when they are distilling the beer, it is the grain that is left over minus the bad things for goats. It’s this natural oats and water mixture. They gave me a bag of it, this big ice bag to take to the goat. I haveto tell you, that stuff was awesome! LeeRoy loved it. LOVED IT! It kept him hydrated because it had a lot of water in it and gave him all kinds of crazy energy.
The next day we made plans to go up to the top of Mt. Evans which wasn’t too far. Maybe a half-hour to 45 minute drive away. We drove to the top of Mt. Evens where we could see 100 miles in each direction. It was crazy! I looked over towards Bertha Pass, I could see all the mountain passes I had crossed, I could see all of the miles I had walked. It was just kind of a moment where I realized I had walked a really long way. Haha. You know, when I’m walking I think of it as 10/15 miles a day. It just makes it easier if I think of it in those bite sized chunks. But thinking back that I’ve walked over 2,000 miles makes it kind of outrageous. Like, wow! I still get so much on the day to day walk; I forget how many miles I’ve actually walked. Being on that mountaintop, and being able to see back so many miles, was just like, kind of breathtaking.
As we drove down the mountain I kept looking back towards Bertha Pass, just soaking it up. Soaking it all in. Speechless. We stayed in that night. Just hung around and watched the kids play.
We got up early the next morning and drove out to the place where Dawn’s husband picked me up from and I walked into town. Nothing special, it was pretty dang hot though. That night, Dawn and I drove one of the routes to Denver and realized it wasn’t going to work. We drove back and went to meet some friends at the pub.
The fourth day I got up early and went to Starbucks and was there until about 11. There was supposed to be a big storm so I took the day off. That night Dawn’s husband and I went out to a different pub. That is where this story begins. That is where I meet this girl.
My goal for that night was to sing karaoke. I was ready to sing the classics! Ace of Base, All that she wants is another baby…Shaggy’s bombastic, and Tag Team Whoomp There It Is. You know, the classy jams. So I was waiting for my song to come up and I sat down at this table and was introduced to a bunch of people. I was sitting there talking, telling the story about needle2square and everything. This girl comes over and kneels down and is talking to the lady next to me. They introduce me to her. I just give her the shpeal of what I’m doing. She gets super engaged. She starts talking about corporate greed and pollution. She starts talking about how she wants to be involved, be something. This is where she starts crying. She says she doesn’t know where to get started, “I’m scared, I don’t know how to do it”. Then she starts crying more and I get a little nervous. In the back of my head I’m thinking someone is going to think that I hit this girl. I look her square in the eye and I say, ”Listen, revolution always starts with just one person… Don’t start with corporate greed, don’t start with trying to feed the hungry all over the world. Start with your community here. Start here”. She brought up how she wanted to start a coat drive. People need coats during the winter here. She said that communities around here could be very poor. They don’t have money for electricity or heat. I told her that’s the perfect place to start a coat drive, start a blanket drive. She said, “I’m just one person.” She went on to tell me that it’s hard to get people involved. It is hard to get others in the community involved in what she is trying to do. I said, “Then you are the one person, the only person in this community that cares, then you take responsibility for this community. You may not be able to help everybody, but you can start with one family, one city block, or one apartment building and help those people. Do something.” She gets up from her knees, hugs me, and walks off to the bar. That was the end of the conversation.
However, that moment was the start of a pattern of the next couple of weeks. Anybody who spent any time with me seemed to start crying. I never did get to sing those songs, and I’ve got to say I’m thoroughly disappointed.
I will continue this story in the next blog, but I want to take this time to talk to you specifically. If you feel like that girl did on her knees, talking to me. If you see things in your community or the world that break your heart, I want to encourage you to do something. Don’t stand on the sidelines. Ya know, I tell people this all the time. I may not be smart like C.S. Lewis, I’m not going to be a great theologian of our time, I’m not a great teacher, but maybe I can be a little like Martin Luther King Jr., be on the frontlines of the fight. That could be you too. You can be in the frontlines making a difference. You don’t have to start an orphanage in Kenya, you don’t have to solve our energy crisis. You can do foster care. You can do a canned food drive with you and your friends. Start small, but do something.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Yep, it is. It is ok to die.
I have to say, as I walk across America, I have noticed that people are scared. Or weak even.The fear of failing .... Won't risk anything for fear of losing there life's ...
Powerful,courageous and fearless is not how I would describe people.
Risk is a part our lives. We can't avoid it. Here is an example of how fear controls people. How people try to protect themselves from any kind of danger or risk. They are trying to live as long as they can I guess. They made a TV show out of it. It’s called Doomsday Preppers. Their whole life-goal is literally to protect themselves from any danger whatsoever. Economic collapse of our nation, zombie attack, world war breaking out. They build a bunker in the ground, pack it full of food and other supplies and put a bomb-proof door on the front of it. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, STUPID. Number 1, who wants to live like that? Number 2, let’s say they make it through the apocalypse, you want to live in the bunker for the rest of your life, you want to die in a bunker? Number 3, kill me off... Heaven is way cooler than a hole!!!
Security is a myth, a mirage; it's sucking all of us in to fake reality. Lets say you are in that bunker and you have a heart attack, you have a stroke. You’re gone. You dead. No bomb-proof door can protect you from that. Security doesn’t exist. Every way you turn there are unknowns and risks. Think about it. We never really know where the next shot will come from. In the one and only episode of “Doomsday Preppers” that I watched, the guy shot his own hand. He shot one of his little fingers. I mean, come on. The thing about it was, he was preparing for the apocalypse and talking about gun safety. The very things that were there to protect him could have killed him. In fact, he was teaching his son where to shoot for kill shots and about gun safety. The irony of it is your own stupidity could be the very thing that kills you in the end.HAha. Bunkers don’t protect against stupid.
In fact, not to risk and to hide and try and protect yourself from every little thing is awaste of your life. Please understand I'm not saying don’t wear your seatbelt (but I never wear my seatbelt. I hate seatbelts. Hate hate HATE them.). I’m not saying to not wear a helmet when you’re riding your bike. I'm not saying don’t lock your doors at night or never wash your hands.. Haha but what I am saying is self preservation is not the goal of Christian life. In fact, it is the exact opposite. It is costly love; it puts us at risk.
You’ve heard the risks in foster care. We still need to do it... There are about 400,000 children in foster care. And about 224,457,000 "Christians" in America ... There are so many more professed Christians than there are foster kids. As believers, shouldn’t this be something we can take care of? No kids in foster care!
Or how about the 20,000 people a year that need bone marrow transplants. 224, 457, 000 Christians in the USA ... BAM! We got this! LET’S DO HARD THINGS!!
We have 2 choices. We can waste our lives on trying to create security for ourselves. Again, that is fake, it’s not real. Or do hard things; risking it all. Sadly, I think most everyone will choose to waste their lives. The reality is that a Christian life is a call to put it all on the line. Gamble with your life! Check out this verse:
“You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death” — Matthew 21:16
Some of you will be put to death!
Yep, it's in the cards for some of us. And it's ok. It's clear we are not to be sure whether we will live or die. Not all of us will die, but it's clear that not all of us will live. Here in America, it's hard to find ways to risk our lives for Jesus. We won't be killed for what we believe; we won't be martyrs that lose our lives. We may lose our jobs or lose respect, be marginalized or even mocked and rejected, but that's about it... It seems so silly to be afraid of those things when we will clearly will be alive afterward. The pain of being tortured is not there (I’m so afraid to be tortured).
The imagery that I think of is the movie 300. You don’t see any weak or scared men in Sparta. You know what I’m say, they are all badasses. Not afraid to die. Not afraid to risk it, to put it all on the line for what they believe in.
Ya know, to me, I feel like churches are more like the shire with happy hobbits sitting around and less like 300 with warriors going into battle. I think it's cause we are so afraid to die. Self preservation is the name of the game.
I read this book. The heavenly man. It’s about a guy who was in jail form 1983-2001. He was tortured, starved, and should’ve died multiple times. Never once did he deny Christ, and he always risked being tortured to proclaim the gospel. He led many people to Jesus and it always cost him something. It brought him closer to God and he was able to experience God in new and incredible ways. After I finished that book, I started another book by Mark Driscoll, called“Who Do You Think You Are?: How to Find Your Identity in Christ”. I couldn’t even get 2chapters into it. It was crazy that with all the incredible needs in America and around the world, one of the biggest pastors in America was having a spiritual therapy session on our identity in Christ. It’s a struggle for me to not want to like slap the people who are reading this book. It’s also a struggle to not want to be passive and say only good things to my brothers in Christ. I don’t want to put down the book, however, if you are struggling with your faith, grab your Bible and go serve. Got problems in your marriage? Grab your Bible together, and go serve, together. What I’m not saying is you should go lead a bunch of people to Christ and go preach. I’m saying put that down, and go serve; not at a church. I’m not saying serving will fix it, I’m saying Hard Things +Jesus=Finding your identity.
Ok I'm getting off topic a bit. Here's my point. I will make it as clear as I can.
SELF PRESERVATION kills your faith.
It's ok to die.
Or another way
The goal of fear is to kill your faith.
Monday, October 7, 2013
I have two rules. The first rule is I have to walk every mile. This is nonnegotiable. Now, I know you’ve seen pictures of LeeRoy in a car here and there, and we do end up driving around with people all the time. Those are always people taking us to their houses; we call it host homes. They let us stay there for the night, but in the morning they have to take me right back to where they picked me up. I am walking every single mile. There have been a few times, especially when I get picked up at night, that in the morning I have a hard time finding the exact location of where I stopped walking. There is no real mile marker so I oftentimes have walked an extra mile or two just to be sure. I backtrack and have them drop me off at the last thing that I remember. There is at least a good extra 30 miles that I have walked in the course of the last year and a half.
My second rule has kind of developed on the road. People have gone out of their way so many times to help me. People drive out to the middle of nowhere to give me water and bags of goat feed that are way too heavy for us to carry. I feel that it is disrespectful to ever say no to them. I think of it like this, out of the hundreds of people that pass me each day and just stare, they are the few that have made extra effort to make this trip a little easier for LeeRoy and I. There is no way I would ever want to not accept their generosity in any way. If we have to carry a little extra weight, we’ll do it. There have been a couple of times that people have brought me some pretty strange food. I ate it, no questions asked. And here is an even more questionable one—“Here take these pills. They will help your joints. They will help your back”. Okay, done deal. Pop them in my mouth, swallow them down and pray to God that it isn’t something that will kill me. That’s the truth. I can’t even tell you how many times people have just handed me a strange pill. Oh man, I need to rethink this..HAHA. So, my second rule is that I always say yes. Would you like some water? Yes. Would you like to stay at my house tonight? Yes. Will you come to my house so my kids can meet you? Yes. Will you come to the senior center so the seniors can meet you? Yes. Would you go fishing? Yes. Would you be in our parade? Yes. There have been some other strange requests. I say yes to those too. I’m trying to think of some of the weird ones…
In any case, if at all possible, I try to always say yes. I want to be accommodating to everybody in any way I can. That does make my trip go a lot slower, but it is worth it. I think we miss out on so many opportunities when we say no. I have made a handful of life-long friend because of saying yes. Darren in Puyallup Washington, Tracy in Portland, Mitch and Lacey in Glenns Ferry, Idaho, Lacey in Salt Lake, Farmer James in Price, Utah, Andrea and Shaun in Vernal, Utah, Channing in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Maloney in Steamboat Springs, I could keep going. The point is, all of these people still keep in touch and they know the behind-the-scenes of needle2square because I said yes.
I’m going to let you guys in on some inside trading information (Martha Stewart style). As I meet and talk with people everyday they’ll say, “Can we donate online? Where can we give online? How can we get involved?” They get me excited by their enthusiasm. They are really committed to investing into what we’re trying to do, or so they make it seem. I think to myself often, if everybody who I have met that said they are going to donate online actually truly did donate, we would’ve raised $500,000 already. But in reality, maybe, 1 out of 100 will even donate online. I never want my heart to get jaded. I am truly grateful for everyone who has donated and I want to always keep that the focus. I know that I am supposed to be faithful to walk. I have faith that the Lord is going to raise this money, but that little bit of information is like a splinter in my mind. That one little statistic. I want to move past that thought and focus on just a few examples of some really cool things that people have done for me along the way.
When I was in Winter Park, CO a lady who worked at one of the major resorts had gotten LeeRoy and I a free room. They used barricades to block off a huge part of the front area where LeeRoy could hang out. They had the maintenance people check on LeeRoy. The window to my room was right where LeeRoy was at. I could literally open my window to pet him and feed him and stuff. It was awesome. Eventually, there was a huge storm. They allowed me to bring LeeRoy into my room. I even brought in some hay, which can be really messy. That kind of stuff is awesome.
I’ll give you another example of some really cool stuff that happened while I was there. I had spent a few days in Winter Park. During that time LeeRoy had gotten some pretty bad…he’d gotten a little sick. So, here is the cool thing. When I was at Kate’s BBQ one of the couples there wanted to meet the next day for breakfast. During that time, they offered me their van to drive in town and run errands. Go to the bank, go to the grocery store, go to the post office, things like that while I waited for LeeRoy to get better.
Here’s the thing, my parents would barley let me drive their cars. In fact, I never drove my Dad’s car and I only drove my Mom’s car like 2 times. The faith and trust they had in a complete stranger is pretty awesome. I want to be like that. I want to live like that. The risk they took, the value of what it would cost them if something did happen makes that simple act of them being vulnerable to the possibility of getting screwed over by a stranger so much more valuable to me (Crazy, long, run-on sentence—read it again to make sure you got it all. Haha). It is so crazy, the risk they took. They give me a stick of gum, “Hey thanks.” They give me a car to drive around, “Whoa!” I don’t know, it just meant a lot to me. I left there with the sense that people trust me. They believe in me. They believe in what I am doing. They respect me. And I’ve understood that, but I think the full weight hasn’t hit me until now.
I walked over Bertha pass. As I was coming off Bertha Pass I was thinking about putting myself in the shoes of other people that are seeing this homeless, smelly guy walking a goat around. The idea of them investing, the people who have invested, the people who have invited me into their homes, their homes with young children, me being around their young children. I don’t know if before this project if I had my own family and I saw a similar sight on the side of the road, I’m not so sure I would’ve been that person to invite them into my home, especially if I had kids. If I had taken the time to meet that person, it would be different. But before this I was so focused on myself, the day to day life that I had before starting this project that I would not have stopped to find out what was going on. I probably would’ve been that guy that posted a picture of it on my Facebook and Instagram and made absolute fun of it; not taking a moment to talk to the person and find out what their story was. It says some amazing things about the character of those people that do stop and find out, and take me in.
When I finally got to the bottom of Bertha Pass, another amazing time happened. I can’t remember this lady’s name. Ma’am, please know that I am sorry I can’t remember your name, but I will never forget you. Her part in this story spanned a like good 3 weeks of my walking. I had met her previously and we had chatted a bit. When I got to the bottom of Bertha Pass I stopped at a little restaurant; kind of out of the way. My goat was tied up on the side; you couldn’t see him from the street. I was inside starting to eat.
I turn around and I’m trying to plug my cell phone into the wall and when I turn back around this woman is sitting there. Kind of scared me. It was out of nowhere. She brought some fruit for LeeRoy and I. She brought a donation for the kids. She had glasses. Shorter, thin woman. Very soft spoken. I couldn’t tell if she was just painfully shy or super nervous. She may have been her in mid-40’s. She had the kind of hands that didn’t have very much muscle and meat on them. It was skin over bones with really small wrists. I think her hair was probably pretty naturally curly. We chatted and I watched her mannerisms. How she talked. How she moved. There is something very interesting about her. Something in the nervousness. We went outside and she pet LeeRoy. We said our goodbyes. We had exchanged numbers and would text during the week, Facebook during the week.
Fast forward about a week later. It was actually more like a week and a half probably. I’m sitting with LeeRoy at a McDonald’s on the edge of the parking lot in the grass by a tree. And there she is. She just shows up with more wonderful gifts. She feeds LeeRoy some carrots and apples. She loves animals, you can definitely tell that. Seeing her care for LeeRoy, I could tell she probably felt safer with animals than with people. She felt more secure and confident around them. I don’t know how she knew I was such a being fan of cigars, but she brought me one. It was a fairly nice cigar. It definitely put a smile on my face. We talked for a little bit and I tried to get to know her. She would answer questions in a way that makes you think she is short of breath. She was struggling to get it out. She didn’t make much eye contact. We mainly just stared at the goat. Her eyes start welling up and by the end she was completely in tears. “You have changed my life. What you are doing, who you are. You have inspired me, and it is clear that you are inspiring so many other people”. That was the first time she had talked somewhat smoothly. I was so taken back by her words, the sincerity in her voice and the look in her eye that I started to tear up. It was a very touching moment.
The weight of her words has not left my heart. My main goal has been to change these kids’ lives. I didn’t see or understand that it would be so inspirational to so many other people. And now I completely take that into consideration. It is absolutely important to invest in the people that I meet and is now something that I look forward to on a day to day basis; not just raising money for the kids.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Do you ever question your salvation? Like, if you’re truly a Christian. If you’re going to go to heaven? I know I do. In fact, if there is anything that makes me doubt my salvation, (I’msure other people that know me think this too) it’s this: If I love Jesus Christ.
If I truly am following Him. If the Holy Spirit truly lives in me. Then why is my heart so prone to wander? Why is it so easy for me to willing run right to a sin? I mean, if I am truly alive in Christ and dead to sin when does the dead to sin thing happen? Why is my life transformation moving so slowly? Why am I not conformed to the image of the Son like the Bible tells me I would be?
These are rhetorical thoughts, as the Bible answers these questions in several ways.
1) "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."-- Philippines 1:6
This comforts me. I know I am a weak man and incapable of fixing myself. I just mow over the weeds in my life. In time they come back stronger. Only the Lord can pull them out by the roots.
2) "The LORD will vindicate me; your love, LORD, endures forever-- do not abandon the works of your hands."-- Palms 138:8
This is the cry of my heart. All the time. "Jesus please don't give up on me," especially when I blow it big time.
3) "He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." -- 1 Corinthians 1:8
It's clear that our struggles are life-long. We are not" finished" until we get to heaven.
The notion that HE will keep me firm to the end is so powerful to me. I am such a weak-willed man. I need Him to sustain me to the end. In fact, if there is anything that makes me want to go home to Jesus, it is the promise that I won't have the ability to sin in heaven. I am so tired of failing! I am so tired of hurting other people! But more than anything, I HATE the feeling that I am letting Jesus down!
Jesus, I'm ready to come home.
Check out these quotes, they give a deeper look at this issue:
“...when we love God, we naturally run to Him-frequently and zealously. Jesus didn't command that we have a regular time with Him each day. Rather, He tells us to 'love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' He called this the 'first and greatest commandment' (Matt. 22:37-38). The results are intimate prayer and study of His Word. Our motivation changes from guilt to love.”
― Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
“If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”
― John Piper, A Hunger For God
I look at these and think my problem is that I don't love God enough.
Here is my takeaway: In reality, I am strong-willed. I’m independent. I don’t always feel like I’m THAT bad. I mean, I’m trying to save babies in Africa. Even though I’m walking across the country with a goat, the reality is I live a comfortable life. So often I don’t feel that desperate NEED FOR GOD. These quotes point out how half-hearted my love for Him truly is and how blind I am to the complete wickedness of my own heart. I’m more like a Judas than a John. But thank God that He is always calling us through opportunities to trust and need Him. Something that I have seen in myself and people that I have met along the way is the emptiness of the "American Dream". Success, cars, clothes, money, power, facebook friends. Boredom is the tragedy we face, and the emptiness of a “secure life”. Let me try and explain what I mean about security being a hindrance and not a helper.
Imagine you’re a ship. And you are on the coastline and your anchor is down Thepurpose of an anchor is for security. To keep you safe, to hold you in place. I’ll say it again, to hold you in place. If you never pick up your anchor, you will never sail. You will never have an adventure. My point is this, the security can be a bad thing. You are meant to sail the high seas. You are meant to leave the safety of the shore. You are meant to go explore the ocean. If youalways live under the banner of security, you will never be free. You will live in the “security” of the prison you willingly created for yourself.
One more thought I’d like to add is this. We convince ourselves that alone we can fix allof our problems. The reality is that God uses our problems for refining and teaching us to seek Him and need Him in ALL situations. The Lord gives us these opportunities to becomedependent on Him. I will even dare to say, we need to look for the difficult things and we need to do them. Foster care, working with the homeless, sharing your faith, apologizing to your mom when you are wrong. “Sorry Mom.” Do hard things. Difficult Things + Jesus = True Joy.
I’ll leave you with this poem and I love it…
When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man,
And skill a man
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!
How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!
How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,
And which every purpose fuses him;
By every act induces him
To try His splendor out-
God knows what He's about.