Saturday, January 15, 2011

1 Week and 900 Miles Later

Land border between PNG and West Papua
900 miles.

Papua New Guinea’s land border with Indonesia is only 509 miles long.

Instead of driving 900 miles and remaining in Minnesota (like I did…), I could have driven from PNG’s north coast to the south and nearly back again. Of course, there would need to be a road, but that’s just a technicality.

900 miles. 5 meetings. (For those of you who are wondering about the 6th meeting mentioned in a previous post, that’s occurring tomorrow morning). It was a great trip—thank you so much for joining me! Even though most of you didn’t ride in the car or come to an event, you were present through your prayers and your encouragement, and I am so grateful! Let me show you a bit of where you went:

Sunday: Glencoe
I was blessed to visit a church where I have spent many years and have gathered many stories, especially from my time in the youth group. Like the Night of the Bats which will forever be chronicled in youth group lore. Or when I played a rather hippie shepherd for VBS. Or when I nearly got trapped in the elevator. Ah yes, good times.

Those steeples are elegant...and they hold many stories!
 But even better was seeing the thriving and God-honoring youth group who ran the service for this morning. I was honored to be speaking alongside them! Everything went smoothly this day, except for one thing. You guessed it: the PowerPoint. Despite testing and preparing beforehand, when time came for me to speak, it refused to work, and there was nothing the skilled (and somewhat frantic) tech guys could do. But the audience was gracious, and it turned into an object lesson for us all, after all, if you don’t have a Bible in your language, you certainly won’t have a PowerPoint!

On Sunday night, when I attended a comedy event held at Northwestern College, the Lord gave me an unexpected gift that provided fuel for the rest of the grueling week: the first half hour was a beautiful and high-energy time of corporate worship!

Monday: Rochester
In case you ever travel to Rochester and you need to get to the Pannekoeken Restaurant, you are forewarned: there are two Pannekoekens. And GoogleMaps only tells you about one of them. However, if you do happen to scramble into the wrong restaurant after conspicuously wandering the downtown streets near the Mayo Clinic loaded with bags like a Himalayan Sherpa, the servers are very kind, and after a few minutes of standing there befuddled, will guide you to the other location.

Despite that little escapade, I did manage to get to the correct restaurant on time and was eventually joined by several farmers from southern MN and Iowa. It was here that I finally met the STEER representative, Bruce, with whom I’d been corresponding for months in order to make this trip a reality. I soon discovered that this godly, humble man has a deep passion for the Lord, and it was such a joy to share time with him this week!

Tuesday: Arlington

It's hard to take photos when I'm the one presenting...
 Bruce and I walked into the Arlington meeting not knowing whether there would be an audience or if we would have to eat all the chocolate fudge ourselves. As it turned out, the Lord sent a large group that even filled our overflow tables! It was here that we focused on sharing how STEER can easily work in conjunction with 4-H, allowing youth the opportunity to directly impact the world. As an avid 4-H alumni myself, I was eager to tell about this possibility.

In fact, I am eager to tell anyone about STEER. If you’re curious by this point, you should check out their video (here: or email me with questions. It’s a win-win situation for both farmers and missions, so I encourage you to spread the word!

Wednesday: Wyoming
Wyoming?! No wonder I put on so many miles! Actually, I live in Wyoming. It’s a small town north of Forest Lake. You thought it was the state, didn’t you? :-) This was my much-needed “day of rest,” where I recovered from the previous days’ insanity and tried to get everything ready for the next trip.

Thursday: Lake Benton
Throughout my week of driving I saw signs for Duluth, for Iowa, and as a result of Lake Benton, for South Dakota. Thankfully, I was entertained by listening to a book on tape, and once that finished, determining the smallest town on the route (population: 61). One thing that stands out to me from this meeting was hearing the testimonies of farmers/ranchers who have been a part of STEER for many years. I was blessed to stand among these pillars of the missions movement and hear their stories of God’s faithfulness and goodness through their obedience. Praise the Lord!

Friday: Gaylord
On my drive back from Lake Benton, I was delighted to meet for lunch in Gaylord with an old friend, and share a bit about life and what God had been doing this past week. It was a treasure! Why do I make special note of this occasion? Because Jesus didn’t distinguish between crowds of people and a single individual. Both have import. Both have impact. And I will never know when talking with that one person will mean the world.

And now it is Saturday night. My bags are packed for tomorrow, I have the PowerPoint prepared, and I’m ready to put more miles on the car. Are you ready to join me? Who knows what the Lord has in store!