Monday, July 10, 2006

Part 3...Mission Destination: Your Own "Back Yard"

Well, back to my story which began two posts ago... I actually had part of it written yesterday, but thanks to a computer glitch...Anyway...:{ We headed off towards Mount Rogers to take Romulus back to his truck. During the 2 hour drive there we had a great time talking. Romulus is a Theology Professor at Berry College in Georgia, a ministry candidate in the Episcopal Church, a husband, and father of two children. He'd been homesick and wanted to get back as quickly as possible- thus the shuttle. He could have ridden back with his hiking partner the next day (at no cost), but felt an urgency to go the end of this post you'll see how God moves even when we're clueless! Anyway, Jed, Romulus, and I had an interesting conversation (we had a lot in common), and of course we got to talk about the Lord and how He works in our lives.

During our conversation Romulus asked me if he could send me a check when he got back to Georgia. He didn't have much cash on him, just plastic. Being as I try always to let the Lord lead in regards to shuttle fees, I said that was fine, as long as he could cover my round trip gas before we dropped him off. (He did that plus $30 cash before we left him.) I gave him my address so he could send a check to me. One thing that I've learned over the years is to trust God, not the people to whom I'm ministering, when it comes to finances. If I have a peace about something, it doesn't matter whether or not it looks in the natural like I'm going to come out on top, I always do! You can't out-give God! Anyway, we got to Romulus' truck, prayed with him, and headed back home. That seemed like the end of that story, but God wasn't done yet.

When I got back home around 11:30pm, Tin-Man and Scarecrow were already camped out in the spare room. In the morning I had an opportunity to cook them a good breakfast before they left and then brought them back to the trail about 7:00am. (I had to be in Lexington by 8:00am) Before I'd dropped them off, I'd gotten their email and blog information, and later that evening I logged on to check out their blog entries for the trip. I'm going to share an excerpt from it and the comment that I was able to make in response. I mostly minister to people by Love in Action, but in this caase I was able to share a little of my heart in words, too. Here's part of Scarecrow's blog entry:

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Trail Magic comes knocking.
There's a little thing called "trail magic" out here, and it comes in many forms. A gallon jug full of water sitting on the trail in a dry stretch, a surprise cooler of sodas and juice, even a fresh pizza delivery straight to a shelter or campsite around dinnertime. You never quite know when it's coming, but we've found there to be an endless source of trail angels out here to provide such welcome surprises. Don't have much time, and I'll hope to give a bit more explanation later, but I'm sitting at the computer of such a trail angel right now, by far the most helpful and generous we've encountered, Mouse's Motor. She lives in Salem, VA, and what started as a half mile lift back to the road ended up as multiple shuttles around the area, a warm and dry place to stay for the night (shower! i got to shower!), and a hot breakfast of sausage and eggs. Might we upgrade this to "trail miracle"? Think so. .... For now, we're happy, healthy, clean and dry, and immensely grateful to Mouse's Motor!!!

I was surprised to find myself (Mouse's Motor) as the topic of her journal entry, but it gave me an opening to minister. Here is part of what I was able to comment in response:

Sandi said...
Hey, Tinman and Scarecrow,I didn't expect to be the topic of your post- I'm only one of MANY people who are blessed by meeting people such as the two of you. My pastor preaches that, as Christians, we are blessed to be a blessing. That's what I strive to be to those around me. It's not saying much if you just do something for someone with expectations of getting something in return. When the experiences of your hike are just a distant memory, I pray that the knowledge of God's love for you will live on strong in your hearts. Anything good that I am or do is all because of Jesus.

Their lives have been touched by the Lord, and I believe that the seed sown into their lives will not return void.

I know I'm running long again, but I've got to get back to "the rest of the story" on Romulus. I went to the mailbox a couple days ago, and there was a letter from Romulus. The following is an excerpt from the letter:
Dear Sandi,
Thanks again for giving me a ride to my truck last Friday night. I was really eager to get home and you made that possible. My cell phone battery was basically dead, but I was able to check one message as I drove & learned from it that a friend of mine had died (not unexpectedly) & that the funeral was Saturday at 11:00. With the help of Coca-Cola, I drove all the way back, arriving about 3:30AM, & could therefore go to his funeral. That made getting back that much more important to me.

There was more to the letter, but that was the gist of it. It's an awesome thing to see how God orchestrates our steps to bring something together for someone when they don't even know they need it done. It was important to Daddy, God, that Romulus make it to his friend's funeral, because it would be important to Romulus. Oh, yeah, he was true to his word about sending me a check. In with the letter, which itself is priceless to me because it represents God's love and caring for his children, was a check for $100, which was a total blessing to Jed and I.

I stand in awe of the one who created each one of us. The one who knows the numbers of the hairs on my head, the one who cares about even the sparrow when it falls. Pastor always says, "We are blessed to be a blessing." And that is true. But it's a circle, because we are also blessed while being a blessing.

There's a story about a little boy who's walking on a beach. The beach is literally covered with starfish that had been washed up on the sand. As a man watches, the little boy picks up one starfish after another and throws each one back into the ocean. Finally, the man walks over and says, "Young man, you know you can't save all these starfish. There are just too many of them." The boy smiles as he reaches down and picks up one and then another. He turns to the man and replies, "No, I may not be able to save all of them, but I can save this one...and this one...and this one."

If we each reach out to "this one...and this one", all of those people whom God places in our paths, together we can impact OUR OWN "BACK YARD" for Christ. My heart for "Back Yard" ministry is in Trail Ministry...Yours might be the Moms at your child's school, the kids who play basketball down the street, or the guys at work. Be prayerful, be sensitive. If God could use a donkey, a raven, a fish, and even ME, I know he can use you, too! Grace and Peace!

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