Day 0 [Key West, FL] 2014 MPT

THURSDAY, November 6, 2014

We are HERE! [Earline’s happy!]

IMG_1720 Earline arrived

Arrived about 9pm tonight, at the upstairs living area above the Keys Presbyterian Church on Coppitt Key, just about 10 miles east of downtown Key West. Specifically, we will be working with Pastor Bill Welzien of Keys Evangelistic Ministries. [Check out their slideshow…it’s GREAT!]

I promised Earline I would NOT go into so much detail as I did yesterday, so suffice it to say we got finished packing this morning around 11am, with all our gear attached to make sure we did not forget anything!

IMG_1700 Packed up trikes

THEN….okay, quick praise report here, and I do not know any other way to express it, because, well, how ELSE can you explain this?

Trying to be good stewards of God’s money, we were going to rent only a small SUV and stuff the trikes, the bags, and our nephew DJ inside. We thought we might have to attach one trike on top.

But this morning, at the car rental place, they asked if we would like to have a larger vehicle at NO EXTRA charge! Great!

So we ended up with a Chrysler Town and Country that BOTH trikes were able to fit inside the vehicle WITHOUT tearing them down, or folding them, with PLENTY of room for our bags, and plenty of room for all three of us to sit.

[Pressed down, shaken together? See Luke 6:38]

God knew what we needed AND SUPPLIED AS MUCH before we even THOUGHT to ask Him.

Just a coincidence? [We seem to have those happen A LOT!]

One old preacher used to say, “When I stop praying, the coincidences STOP HAPPENING!]

HA!

To show how easily everything fit, here is a photo of me taking a photo of Earline….TA-DAH!

IMG_1705 Photo of photo

The trip went nice and smooth….Earline got a little scared driving over the 7-mile bridge [it was dark by the time we went over it], but we sang the FEARLESS SONGS, and we started laughing, and the fear dissipated. [These are the six Scripture songs that I wrote the music for, that are on the CDs we will be passing out throughout our trip.]

Plus, we got the chance to spend a lot of time talking with our nephew DJ. [Wave and say hi to your kids back in Orlando, DJ!]

IMG_1719 DJ waving

[Yes, the phone is permanently attached to his ear!]

DJ graciously agreed to drive the van back to Orlando for us. thanks, DJ!

The trikes are safe and sound in our apartment, which sits on the floor above the sanctuary of Keys Presbyterian Church, who were kind enough to let us stay here.

Tim Warner also stays here in the apartment, and he was kind and detailed with his directions, so that we could arrive safe and sound here in Key West.

IMG_1718 Trikes in room

So, a GREAT start to our 2014 Mission POSSIBLE Tour / “FACING YOUR FEARS”.

AND, time for you and I to get some….some slee….some sleep…..zzzzzzzzz.

Shhhhh.

ONLY through God’s grace,

jon

 

Day -1 [Orlando, FL] 2014 MPT

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2014

Well, everybody is still buzzing about the election returns from last night, but much as I would love to sit and prognosticate, I have trikes to prep!

I’ve got Earline’s trike finished, mostly work that needed to be done on her tires and side bag bar, and now I’m working on mine:

Trikes with panniers

Remember, this is a different trike for me, so I am having to do some modifying as I go. One thing I discovered with the new trike rack from Catrike that they just released a few months ago for this model, is that it doesn’t have the thoughtfulness of design that the ICE Trike rack on Earline’s trike has. Take a look:

Earline’s rack has bars that extend down along the side of the rear wheel, preventing the pannier from getting too close to the wheel.

Earline trike rack

Sadly, my new rack does not have the long descenders:

Notice bottom of side bar

Notice where the bottom of my rack ends, and how the bag is almost touching the wheel. Sigh. I am going to have to take the time to deal with this.

Ended up with this idea/solution: taking some PVC thick pipe, about 16 inches long, and adding it to the existing frame.

Solution

Just one heavy duty 3/4 inch, I think it is, and cut it to the length you need, with the edges filed and rounded so as not to cut:

Pipe end

Then I wrapped the entire pipe with gaffers tape:

Wrapped with tape

Finished wrap

And then attached it to the existing frame:

Attached to rack

Voila! Now it will keep the bottom of the bag from brushing up against the moving tire.

So now to finish prepping my tires.

Jon trike on side

It turns out, I had an ADVENTURE trying to prep the tires on my trike…I WANTED to put some Flat Attack goop in my tires like I put in Earline’s. If you want more info on Flat Attack, you’ll have to go back to our 2010 blog, and read about the instances where Flat Attack SAVED us! Yes! [Love that stuff!]

Flat Attack goop

BUT….when I tried to install it on MY tires like I did Earline’s, I realized that the tool included in with the Flat Attack for removing the valve cores of the tubes so that you can pour the stuff INTO the tube…well, the tool doesn’t work on my PRESTA valves. Grrr.

Presta valve

NOW what do I do?

Well, I TRIED to remove the valve manually myself with a pliers and a vice grip, but that did not seem to work, and I ended up busting the valve of two tubes!

Ack!

So, I called up Orange Cycle which is only a few miles north of where I live, and YES, they have a tool for removing the Presta valve core.

YEA!

BUT THEN…..my goodness, how does it work??!!

Presta vavle tool

So, MORE research online….and I see some photos and some videos, [it seems that the long silver piece is an extender for guys with wide BIKE rims. The actual TOOL is the little black piece.] but I cannot seem to get it to work! I cannot see how the little black tool accomplishes the REMOVING of the valve core….I doesn’t seem to attach in any way, shape, or form to my Presta valve? Hmmmm!

So, MORE research…and I discover that there are Presta valve tubes that do NOT have removable cores. In fact, one guy said that MOST Presta valve tubes do NOT have removable cores. What??!!? Only Continental tubes had them, that he knew of.

ACK!

So all this work and time, and I STILL cannot put any Flat Attack goop in my tires.

Sigh.

[This is one of those, ‘okay….praise God in all situations….yeah, right….hmmm…..okay…..grrrrrr……all right…..praise the Lord…..hmmmm….sigh adventures’]

[Ha!]

[Okay, maybe I don’t even feel like ‘Ha-ing’….bleh!] [See Psalm 77:9-14]

So I put the tire back on the rim….THEN it turns out I noticed that I had put it on backwards. [Yes, normally the tread is only supposed to go one specific direction….I forgot about that. And I had it ALL the way on, so I had to take it ALL the way off, flip it, and then put it back ALL the way on again!]

Whew!

Now, I know, some of you are probably bored silly with this stuff, if you have even got this far in this day’s blog at all. BUT, I wanted to give you at least one detailed experience at what it takes to maintain and fix these trikes, so that they can be reliable and safe vehicles for us to ride. And now I just heard my “Cuckoo Cow Clock” strike 12, and I am STILL not finished packing.

Sometimes I do not know how these Mission Possible Tours POSSIBLY get done!

Gonna catch a few hours a sleep, and then get up and finish packing, and get ready to head to down to Key West.

Lesson in all this? One thing that comes to mind is that there are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many details required at even getting these trikes up and running, and I know that our bodies are INFINITELY more complex and detailed than these trikes, and YET, God enthusiastically promises in Psalm 37 that He: “delights in EVERY detail of the lives of the godly!” Wow!

I don’t know how He does that…but then, He’s GOD, and I am NOT! Ha!

Good night. Thanks, God, for YOUR help and protection.

Because it is ONLY thru YOUR grace that we thrive and persist,

jon

[WOW….just as I entered my name, my computer CRASHED….it has been acting a little squirrelly the last week or so. Really, I thought I lost everything, and that it would take ANOTHER hour and a half to recreate it, but then I just hit “Edit draft” at the top, and it came back. Why, I don’t know, but I AM TRULY grateful. TRULY.

So, the moral of the story, Save, SAVE, SAVE!]

Good night!

Day -2 [Orlando, FL] “Facing Your Fears” – The 2014 Mission POSSIBLE Tour

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2014 [Day -2 for our 2014 Mission POSSIBLE Tour]

Wow! A busy couple weeks.

Getting ready to prep Earline’s trike today, make sure everything’s in working order. We leave on Thursday!

Prepping Earline trike, Day negative 2

I did also want to tell you about a GREAT resource that I knew nothing about, but should be known in the Christian community. We found out about it through All Pro Dad’s, a Family First program that had Tony Dungy, who used to coach football in the NFL, for the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Indianapolis Colts. In fact, with the Colts, he was the first African American coach to win the Super Bowl.

All Pro Dads made the decision to PAY for all of the leaders of All Pro Dad groups across the nation AND their spouses, for our 3-day retreat at this place [which made it even more special, don’t ya know!]. There were approximately 70 to 80 group leaders that decided to take advantage of the retreat week.

There was a lady named Martha Berry, a philanthropist who established a school/working farm for very poor children in Southern Appalachia in the early 1900’s, designed to give them Bible teaching and a place to learn good work ethics. She died in the 40’s, but the school continued, eventually becoming a college named Berry College, the largest acreage college in the world, at over 25,000 acres, almost 50 square miles of land. [That’s like from Orlando, to Cocoa, to Daytona, to Deland, to Orlando…..we are talking a BIG campus!]

In the 80’s, Truett Cathy and the Cathy family of Chick-fil-A fame started the WinShape Foundation, which converted the existing farm buildings into a retreat center for boys and girls camps, foster homes, and marriage retreats. There are over a dozen marriage retreats that take place each year, and organizations like Family Life and 5 Love Languages take part. There is even a retreat for engaged couples, or a retreat for couples who are separated and contemplating divorce. Truly an amazing place, a simply GORGEOUS campus, and a first-class facility.

[And even if you have to pay for it, the prices we found were quite reasonable!]

So a special thanks to the Cathy family for OUR retreat, and for the continued investment you make in kids and marriages….wonderful!

Here are some photos from that retreat:

WinShape sign

WinShape campus

Now we are talking about the Northwest Georgia in October, and the fall foliage was extraordinary.

Colors in north Georgia

There was an obstacle course on campus, for the kids and marriage retreats [yes, I was tempted to climb it…ha!].

Obstacle course

What was REALLY neat, however, were the Scripture signs that were WAAAAAAAAAY at the tops of the trees, I guess that could only be seen when you were using the zip lines up in the trees. One of the signs was this reference from Matthew 14, a right-on-time message for OUR upcoming MPT:

Matthew 14,27 sign

As I mentioned, for about 70 years this was a WORKING dairy farm. In front of the main lodge, there was this statue [Jyl, Cressa – does this look familiar to you?!]:

Statue of girl feeding calf

There were some large photos hanging on the the walls of some of the buildings [I guess they had mostly Jerseys and Guernseys from the photos I saw]:

Cows on the farm

And here are some pictures of the retreat center as it is today:

Normandy Inn on campus

Actual working dairy

Earline and Jon in auditorium

 

These rooms were among the top 3 cleanest rooms that we have EVER stayed in! [The true test is when even Earline does not feel compelled to pull out her can of Lysol, don’t ya know!}

Bedroom in WinShape

And, of course, Earline HAD to do a selfie!

Earline selfie at WinShape

OKAY! Check out the WinShape Retreat Center in Rome / Mount Berry, Georgia.

Now I have to get back to work on the trikes…putting liners in the tires, tightening and lubricating everything that needs it. Clock’s ticking!

ONLY through God’s grace,

jon

Blog Construction FINISHED!

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2014

Blog reconstruction finished! [He says somewhat optimistically!]

I have to laugh, because technically, you NEVER finish “doing” a blog….it is an ongoing work in progress.

Going through the past 4 years, it was fun to review all of the adventures from our past Mission Possible Tours. And, of course, we are only two weeks away in preparation of our NEXT tour, this one called “Facing Your Fears”, as we travel the 500 miles from Key West to Orlando. ALL of our MPTs have had the underlying theme that “With God, ALL Things Are Possible”, and this is especially relevant this year. We are calling this 2014 MPT “Facing Your Fears” because, as you know, Earline is deathly afraid of bridges, and we WILL be going over the SEVEN-MILE Bridge on our way up the Keys.

ACK!

Of course, all of this will also help us to try and raise Deaf awareness, and raise funds for the coming year for God’s Hands Agency. Stay tuned for updated information on the GHA web site so YOU can join us, and help us Cultivate Servant Leaders for Jesus among the Deaf, Youth and Families.

I did just get confirmation that we will be joining up with KEM, Keys Evangelistic Ministries, in Key West and Big Coppitt Key. We’re EXCITED to see what the Lord has in mind for us with Pastor Bill and his ministry.

Our theme verse for this trip will be from Joshua 1:9…“Have I not commanded you be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you, WHEREVER you go!”

These is the first of 6 songs I wrote a few years ago when one of our churches was studying the book “Fearless” by Max Lucado. There were six verses about fear that they asked us to memorize, and I had the idea that they would be easier to memorize if they were put to music. So….

….what kind of music style would help one be fearless?

I figured it had to be either Polka or Caribbean Island Music!

Can you possibly sing a song in either one of these styles and NOT smile??!! HA!

Thinking that Polka might not be familiar enough to enough people [hmmm!]…..I decided to give all the songs an “island” style. We hope to have those songs available for you on CDs before we leave on this year’s tour.

It was also odd to look back, and saw that I had only one blog entry in 2012, and none in 2013. But then I realized we HAVE been pretty busy….after our 2010 MPT, we felt that it would be better if we moved from our house to an “empty-nest” apartment, because that would make it easier for us to take extended trips like these Mission Possible Tours. So we moved to downtown Orlando. And anyone that has moved a whole household knows what a challenge THAT is! Whew! Three years later, I think we are ALMOST totally unpacked!

Earline and I also did a Mission Trip to Israel with Zion’s Hope last year, and I hope to have reflections from that trip up on a blog in the near future. Here we are at the start of the trip in Tel Aviv.

Jon and Earline in Tel Aviv

I DID do a number of day trips all directions from Orlando this past year: North to Sanford and Debary….

Over St. Johns bridge

….West to Clermont and Sugarloaf Mountain, South to Kissimmee, and East to Kennedy Space Center and Cocoa. [THAT was a LONG trip….about 112 miles in one day!] [WHEW!]

Overpass over Highway 1

Trike at the beach

Well, if I am going to get these Fearless CDs done, I have to get busy! PLEASE pray for us, that our efforts be protected and blessed by the Creator, the God of this universe. He IS worthy of our trust!

Only through God’s grace,

jon

Day 11 [St. Augustine and FSDB]

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2014

We spent the morning with the Thompson’s, had a wonderful breakfast, and then got some more rest, washed some clothes, worked on the blog, and prepped for the program that we would be doing in the Music Building at FSDB [Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind] tonight.

I got the trikes ready for the ride over to FSDB [minus the panniers.]

Trikes in Thomas yard

UNLIKE the shoes and clothes of the Israelites those 40 years in the desert, our tires seem to be wearing out rather quickly. I’ll probabably make a run to the Walmart tonight to see if I can find something to get us home with.

The Thompsons treated us to a taco place just walking distance from the house – blackened fish wrapped in a soft and hard shell – good eatin’!

As it was getting dark, and heading over to FSDB, we needed to cross over the [dreaded] Lion’s Bridge.

Lions Bridge at sunset

You can just see the red and white guard bar in a vertical position behind the post with the flashers on it. That’s what came down the when we tried to cross yesterday!

But we were ready this time! Just took off our side bags before attempting the narrow drawbridge walkway.

Narrow draw bridge path

At the school security gate, we were again helped by Ron Stafford. The reflective sign on the wall blew out this picture, but I wanted to include it because Ron was so helpful and pleasant to Earline and me. Thanks, Ron!

Ron Stafford security

There was a Young Life leader’s meeting and prayer time before the program started, with Don Lohr going through the agenda. [Whoops! It likes like someone – girl in the middle of the picture – was up late last night studying!….Many of the leaders are actually students at Flagler College…..Psst: Maybe just remember to cover your mouth when you yawn next time – you never know who might be taking a picture!] [And yes, Caleb, I remembered your name!]

Don Lohr and leaders

I also went ahead and tuned up the guitar for a guitar for a warm-up song I would be doing, with some help from Trevor, a sophomore blind student at FSDB.

Jon tune guitar

After the leaders went and got the kids, they had a fun and goofy mixer to get the kids warmed up – kind of like a cakewalk chairs game. This game had different colored tape on the floor that you had to run to and hope that your shapes’ color wouldn’t be eliminated when the music stopped.

Colored shapes mixer

[And yes, Caleb, I DID remember your name!]

I estimate there were around 120-140 students there….not only those who participate in Young Life, but also from some other Christian groups that serve the students. Here is a small portion of the students that were there.

Some of the students

Earline and I shared about not only last year’s Mission Possible Tour, but this year’s 400 mile trip.

We did [of course!] “Deep and Wide”, sharing how the Mississippi River is not only only as much as 7 miles wide through Lake Winni, but is at times during floods more than 50 feet deep in some sections of the river. And then we talked about God’s love, and how Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3 expresses his desire for us to understand how deep, and wide, and long and high God’s love for us truly is.

After we had seen the vulture on the road past De Leon Springs, we had written a little song about not being afraid: “Birds, dogs, bridges, and bears – I will not be afraid.” And we talked about how perfect love, the type of LOVE that God demonstrates for us, CASTS OUT fear!

You know, road kill will preach. If you aren’t careful spiritually, you can get RUN OVER by the cares of this world. And if you’re DEAD, if you’re not moving and growing spiritually….if you’re not reading His Word and actively using the gifts that God has given YOU….Satan, like a vulture that will only eat dead stuff, will keep nibbling away at you until you are only a dried, dead carcass that one can barely recognize on the road of life…..AMEN!

Afterwards it was DONUT TIME, with many gooey delights to enjoy. We met Q and Kelly.

Q and EEB and Kerry

Q is a senior and actually lives in Orlando, not far from us. He even volunteered to use his young, strong muscles to help us move some things next week….thanks, Q!

Afterwards the Young Life crew went to the Village Inn for free pie night. How do you guys stay thin??!! [Ah, yes. Young, fast metabolism is a wonderful thing.] [And yes, Caleb, I STILL remember your name!]

Pie at Village Inn

Sam and Ann treated us to some pie, as well…..thanks, guys!

Sam and Ann and us at PIE

And thank YOU, Lord God, for allowing us to minister at FSDB….may Your Words have a lasting effect on the lives and thoughts of those who saw and heard what YOU had to say through us.

TGG,

jon

[Yes, Caleb, I STILL remember your name!]

Day 92 UPDATE 3 [Empire, LA]

TUESDAY, AUGUST 31, 2010 UPDATE 3

Only 16 miles to Venice! Only 20 miles to “THE SIGN.” Pray for us – these strong southerly winds IN OUR FACES are testing even our 3-month-tested leg muscles on these trikes. Ooooofta! (As they say in Minnesota!) Thanks!

ONLY TGG,

jon

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Day 89 [Hwy. 70/3125, LA – New Orleans, LA]

SATURDAY, AUGUST 28, 2010

Hmmm!

Well…..it turns out that this Mission Possible Tour, Summer of 2010 is the adventure that just keeps on giving!

I get up around 5:45am, but before we can get out tent torn down we experience this:

WET

With all the rain that we’ve run into this summer, one thing we HAVEN’T had to do is tear down in the rain…..until now. The rain has run under the tent [not good], and both sleeping backs have gotten WET. We have to pack a WET top-tarp, and a WET tent, and we’ll just have to wait until tonight to see if we can get dried out at that point.

Earline does one final check to see if The Advocate picked up our story for today’s paper. Nope…..zip, zilch, nada….hmmmm.

(Hey, Honey, what’s the weather forecast??)

Check the Advocate

Apparently the forecast is for a 10 to 20% chance….

….of sunshine.

Oh, oh.

Hey, Earline….here’s one last look at that bridge we went UNDER last night [we can see it, now!]…..sure you don’t want to go over it….just for fun??!!

Highway 70 bridge

Headed east….played on-again-off-again with the rain coats and rain pants. Too hot to keep on, too wet to stay off.

Had a quick little meal of fried catfish (that Cajun coating is too hot for me) and chocolate milk (mixed in with little gasoline pump smell). Hmmm! Ha!

Quick lunch

We’re bucking a very strong east wind today, and it is slowing us down, even with the more streamlined, recumbent position. We are seeing rumble grooves again, but at least it is also with a wide shoulder so we don’t have to fight busy Highway 61 traffic. We’re following 61 instead of the River Road on the advice of several locals….shorter route, and River Road has no shoulder.

Earline has no more cornfields to visit, so she checks out the local sugar cane field:

Sugar cane fields

We can’t believe all the casinos we’re seeing….sad….

Casino 1

We run across a few more admirers who say we’re getting close to New Orleans!

A few more admirers

As we head over the spillway, we’re praying…..God, you MUST have something very special planned for tomorrow. There MUST be a reason for us having to go through this rain to get to the Deaf church in New Orleans. Use us, Lord, to work YOUR will in someone’s life.

Fighting the elements

God MUST have something special planned

The rain lets up finally, and we stop at Burger King for a quick snack.

Stop at Burger King

We FINALLY get to the start of the levee bike trail…..sweet!

Levee bike path start

We’re still getting rained on off-and-on, but it IS nice not having to fight the traffic.

Levee trail

We see huge grain elevators, with augers and pipelines criss-crossing the levee:

HUGE grain elevator

Augers and piplines

One thing that rainy days DO provide is beautiful clouds and rainbows. During our 20 mile run on the levee, the sun goes down, and forms a colorful backdrop for Earline and the trikes:

Levee sunset

We finally come to our exit, and Google Maps takes us on a suggested path that…..well, I might have not suggested it. Some very rough streets….and a couple road blocks that we had to go around.

But we also understand, that 5 years ago, this was ALL flooded after Hurricane Katrina, and under a LOT of water, 3 to 8 foot high. And much of it is still a mess.

We finally made it to the church about 9:15pm, and the Pastor and his wife Barbara greeted us. Sweet couple, and also a powerful testimony about how God brought THEM together. They’ve been married about 13 years.

We set out our wet and damp clothes on the tables, each of us grabbed a sofa, and after a tough 60-mile ride, we slept soundly….VERY soundly.

Table dryer

Separate beds

Thanks, Lord, for seeing that we arrive safely.

TGG,

jon

Day 85 [Baton Rouge, LA]

TUESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2010

After the LO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-G trip from Natchez to Baton Rouge, we slept wonderful on the floor of the church Monday night. The air mattress seems to be loosing air a little quicker than normal, however, so by morning we were basically on the floor.

They had a box of Cheerios in the refrigerator, so I got to have a breakfast that I had been craving for several weeks….thank you, God.

Earline and I had a chance to work on some paperwork and the blog during the day, and we also prepared for our talks with the elementary kids and high school kids at the Louisiana School for the Deaf just one block west of the school.

We met Walker at the gate, and he escorted us through campus to the dorms.

We follow Walker

Front of Elementary door

We talked first with the elementary kids. They seemed fascinated with the trikes and our story:

 

Elementary talk 1

Earline taught them about the different parts of the trikes, and how we examine them before we start each day. We used the A-B-C-QuickCheck list from the League of American Bicyclists. Watch and listen to Earline teaching about “C” for chains, and how that can be the same idea in life:

Video of: Fixing things in your life

I also had the opportunity to teach the kids how DEEP and WIDE the Mississippi River is, and taught them a song about it!

Deep and Wide (in only 19 seconds!)

Afterwards we gave all the kids an opportunity to sit on the trikes, and many of them paused to check out this web site as well!

Kids try out trikes

And the kids could even pop on the wifi pedalers web site, and look where we had been before we got to them!

Next we went over to the high school dorm, and many youth stopped by to hear our presentation.

Presenting to LSD high school

High school wide shot

Youth back of room

Watch as Earline encourages the high-schoolers to pursue their God-given passions, for truly, “With God, ALL things are possible!!!”

With God, ALL things are possible!

Afterwards we talked with a lot of the kids, and answered their questions about our trip.

6 LSD high schoolers

After making lots of new friends, we headed back to the church. I was able o get some more work done on this blog.

Because of the fast leaking of our air mattress last night, we decided to try putting Betha and Walker’s air mattress UNDER ours to keep us off the floor. Problem was, I think theirs leaked a little, too, so that by morning, we were in a DEEP HOLE with the air mattresses up all around us!! Ack!! Many laughs were shared!

Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to speak into the lives of the students at the Louisiana School for the Deaf. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your purposes for them!!

TGG,

jon

Day 82 [Port Gibson, MS – Natchez State Park, MS]

SATURDAY, AUGUST 21, 2010

In the morning, we had some friends stop by:  4-legged and 2-legged!

4 legged friend

2 legged friends

Our “2-legged friends” had just finished the night shift, but Earline had met them during the night, and they wanted to find out more about learning signing language and the resources that GHA has.

Packed up, said our good-byes…..

Leaving sheriffs car

…..and headed first to a laundromat to do some desperately-needed clothes-washing.

Front of wash and dry

Our trikes drew a lot of attention in this small town, and met several people, including a young man with his family that has a Deaf sister. We tried to encourage him and point them in the direction of some more resources.

We even drew the attention of one of Alvin Taylor’s friends that we had met the other day, a Mr. LaNell Frazier.

LaNell Frazier

On the way out of town, we met Cathy at the Visitor Information Center who was very sweet and helpful.

Cathy at visitor infoc enter

As we headed back to the Trace, we noticed again this unusual foliage covering everything!

Foliage coverage

We got back on the Trace….ooooooo, it is HOT! Let’s sit in the shade for a while…..40 miles to Natchez!

SHADE

My umbrella has gotten so messed up….the slightest wind throws it backwards. So I rigged up some tape, like the wiring I used for the pvc frame I attached earlier this year. Kinda funky looking, but it works!

Funky tape

We saw three more deer dance across the road….still too fast for my camera, but fun to watch.

For the most part, the road is pretty quiet, with only an occasional car.

Natchez trace 2

We did have a group of ladies from Taiwan, Singapore, and several other places who stopped and asked questions about our Mission Tour and took lots of pictures.

Ladies in white car

White car

We also stopped by what is the only remaining way station / boarding house for travelers along the Trace from the early 1800’s. When we got there, the sign said STOP, but I said uh-uh, (I’ve come too far, and I thought it might be a nice insight into the reasoning behind the inns and way stations, for people like ourselves who need places to stay) and walked in to see the cabin and take pictures.

Way station

Bed inside

Tables inside

Here’s the view from the porch of our trikes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay in the distance.

Trikes WAAAAY in bkgd

Earline took the opportunity to rest her legs.

They say stop

By now it was almost getting dark, and we didn’t know where we were going to stay, when we ran across a sign for Natchez State Park. Yea!! We’ll take it! [We were a LITTLE leery of going to another Mississippi State Park after our experience at the last one, but we figured it couldn’t possibly be that bad. It wasn’t.] [Although the hills going up to it were a little rough!…..ooofta!]

Oooo long dark hill

We found CLEAN bathrooms, GREAT showers, AND a nice campsite to set up our tent. (We’ll show that to you tomorrow.)

Grateful AGAIN for God’s provision and timing!

TGG,

jon

Day 62 [Hwy 1203, KY – Columbus, KY]

SUNDAY, AUGUST 1, 2010

(Still no WiFi….sending this from my Blackberry, wherever we find phone service!)

(Here’s the entry, now, with the added pictures.)

Up with the sun, and saw this beautiful sunrise:

Sunrise from Fellowship tree

(By the way, I DID hear a couple wolves howling last night….don’t tell Earline!) And another view:

Sunrise2 from Fellowship tree

We got cleaned up and packed up just after sunrise (in case one of the Deacons came early!).

Tent outside Beech Grove

I was so glad we had camped under the tree. We had heavy overnight dew, but it was much less under the tree, and we were still trying to dry out from the last 2 days.

We learned that the congregation calls this their Fellowship Tree, because when the weather’s cooler (and they don’t have a Fellowship Hall) they’ll pull up a pick-up, put down the tail gate, and have something to eat by their Fellowship Tree. (Note to “I-CAN”….this is where the term “tailgating” comes from!)

The name of the church is Beech Grove Missionary Baptist Church. We learned that it was the OLDEST church congregation in the county (about 150 years old!), and that many years ago, however, some members of the church had been dismissed from the church for whatever reason, weren’t too happy about it, and had burned down the old church building! Thus the newer facility that you see today. [Oh, no!] [A mess!….see www.MessMinistry.com]

Front of Beech Grove

When the folks started arriving for Sunday School, we realized it was a White congregation. There were about 15 people there for Sunday School. It seemed to be a pretty traditional church – they used the King James Bible, and the first song we sang was “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder.”

The teaching came from Galatians 6, and was really good! This pastor knew his Word!

They were going thru Paul’s letter verse by verse, and talked about some teachers at that time who were trying to add a practice, or a ritual, or a tradition to what Jesus did on the cross….and they were doing it for THEIR own benefit. (It reminded me of Mormons trying to add that you must swear allegiance to Joseph Smith, or Roman Catholics who insist that you pledge devotion to Mary….so this is nothing new….it goes back at least 2,000 years!)

The service at 11am had a few more people come. The trio of Gayla, and her mom, and her mom’s sister sang a song about God protecting us from the storms of life.

Trio singing in church

You could tell their voices all came from the same gene pool – they blended so well together! At the end, I applauded….I was the only one. (Oh, well.)

Pastor David Callison preached from Jonah…how Jonah moved when God called…but the WRONG direction. And when the storm was raging, and the hard core sailors were panicking and crying out to their gods, Jonah, who knew the True God, was in the bottom of the boat, fast asleep.

And Pastor made the point…..are we, as God-knowing Christians, sleeping our lives away, sleeping away our opportunities to study, and witness to others about what God has done for you?! Good lesson.

We did learn that one of the young men in the congregation is dating a Black girl, and that the parents are trying to keep it secret. (Of course, interracial dating is never discouraged in the Bible, but a Christian dating someone who isn’t a Christian IS discouraged.) Maybe God had us at this church for that specific family. Pray for them!

Afterwards the Callison’s took us out to eat in Bardwell….I had the roast beef…..excellent! (And FAST!) Here’s a picture of Pastor and his wife, Rhonda, and their daughter, Mitzi:

Pastor Callison family

Mitzi is confined to a wheelchair, but she goes hunting! Please e-mail Mitzi at callison4@windstream.net, and tell her she needs to write a book about her experiences!

After our meal we triked over to visit Gayla right on the MRT, who had offered to let us use her washer and dryer to clean our musty clothes. AND she and her sister Jennifer even stopped and got us some goodies for the road!

Gayla Earline Jennifer

Thank you! You don’t know how much that ministered to us! Thank you!

After we got packed up we continued south on 1203…this has to be one of the prettiest roads we’ve been on the whole trip….gently rolling hills, VERY little traffic [what, maybe 2 cars in 10 miles?…well, it IS a Sunday afternoon], trees almost up to the side of the road. Very nice!!

Prettiest road

After we got off this road, we headed south on Highway 123 towards Columbus, and when we saw another very dry cornfield, I stopped to show Earline how the corn ears were small and stunted.

Mistake.

The roads through here are slanted around the curves like they were south of Balltown, Iowa. Not a problem for 2-wheeled bicycles, but a definite concern for 3-wheelers. I was carrying the bookbag and the extra food we had just picked up on TOP of my panniers, so I was very top heavy.

Above my single back wheel.

And when I got up off the seat by the 2 front wheels….Whoops!….over I went.

Down I went into the ditch, which thankfully was dry, but I was completely upside down! I didn’t think to get a picture, but here’s Earline, holding my trike after we righted it.

Hold my trike upright

The grass behind Earline hides a ditch that is actually about 2-1/2, 3 feet deep and a couple feet wide. No real damage (thank you, God)….just ripped off one of my mirrors from it’s seating, but it’s fixable. (What kinda mess??!!)

Onward!

A little later I saw all these birds having a townhall meeting on the line.

Birds on wire

Just 2 seconds after I took this picture, they all left the line at once. I guess meeting’s adjourned.

We continued on into Columbus, to stay at the State Park there, on the small bluff overlooking the Mississippi River….and as we were setting up our tent, who should stop by but Gayla and her friend Phil, whom I had traded farming thoughts with earlier at Gayla’s house while we were washing our clothes! They just stopped to check on us. What a nice surprise!

During the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, it was proposed that our nation’s capital be moved from Washington, D.C. to Columbus, Kentucky, because it was more centrally located. The proposal failed in the U.S. Senate by 1 vote.

The park was pretty much deserted after the weekend (I think there are just 4 occupied sites), so we got a fire going from firewood the previous site owner had left, and had a peaceful night, thanking God again for his provision.

Sunset from Columbus Belmont SP

Thanks again to those of you who have been contributing to the cause of GHA….we have personally engaged and shared with over 1,000 people…..yes, over ONE THOUSAND people the past 6 weeks that with God, ALL things are possible!

We have given them ABC sign language cards, Deaf culture cards, and handed out all the GHA flyers we had made in St. Paul, Minnesota…and we need to get more made!

We have been diligently keeping our expenses low to better serve the Deaf, and families, and church cultures that God puts us in contact with. But now we need you to assist us in building on the foundation we are laying here. Some of you have been faithful in your monthly pledges, some have not.

We need you to prayerfully consider doubling your efforts for the Mission Possible Tour, and the work of God’s Hands Agency. If you want to see some of the work we did last year, look at the resources on our web site at www.godshandsagency.com

Contributions can easily be made on our web sites, at GHA’s site using a major credit card or Visa debit card. We are hooked up through Paypal, which is an extremely secure financial site, better than most banks!

Remember, GHA is SOLELY supported by the efforts of friends and partners, and is a 501(c)(3) that permits tax deductible contributions. These next few weeks will be especially difficult, because of the extreme heat.

Pray for us – we have finished almost 1,300 miles, been over 38 bridges already, and have a little over 900 miles to go. Thanks again to ALL of you for your continued prayers and financial support.

Through God’s Grace,

jon