Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mountain Goats and Buffalo and One Week to Go

The countdown to our adventure has hit the last stages.  Last night I preached for the last time in America until after our trip.  It’s been cool here lately but a wonderful warm up is approaching and will arrive tomorrow.  I’m glad since it will be much warming in Ghana.  I want us to be able for it and with it being as cool as it has been I have been concerned that it would be miserable.  I’m so grateful for all the prayers and well wishes.  If could express my thanks in words I would do it but what I feel goes far beyond words.  I so much appreciate it!  Thank you my dear friends!  I remain unsure how I will post from Africa but may put a few words when I can.  I figure the pictures and/or video likely won’t be posted until after we get home.  We return to a very busy time with our music group going out and Thanksgiving and makes me tired just thinking about it.  I want to share the last of the pictures from our trip now because I feel it’s a good way to leave thing off. 


I love buffalo!  They are such unlikely looking creatures.  Their sheer bulk is astounding.  It’s a small wonder they they’ve hurt and killed as many people as they have.  People just don’t understand the power of these animals They had many little ones with them in the herds we saw which surprised me Winter comes early in these parts and Yellowstone in particular has been known to rival Alaska for cold at certain points of the winter season.  They day we saw these animals they seemed to have not a single care in the world They were living large and the weather was beautiful so what could be better then a nice dust bath ?  I can’t help but smile every time I see them roll like this!  They are so huge and when they get down and roll it’s a comical scene!  I love witnessing their life drama as it unfolds.  Seeing this adult and calf made me smile because it seemed like a tender moment.  We watched as the buffalo lined up and took turns rolling in this dusty patch in the prairie before moving on Go ahead and smile...I sure did!  Moving alone we went through the beautiful Beartooth Pass It is a very high pass indeed...above the tree line in fact.  I love the view from up there Mountains and plains are my favorite It was unusually warm up there as we passed through but still there was snow in places .  It was a beautiful contrast to have the warmth yet the snow right there in plain view It feels like you’re on the top of the world up here !  It’s a bleak place where I’ve seldom seen more than a marmot or two They love to frequent the rocks and feel protected here I’m sure you can imagine my unbridled joy at seeing a herd of mountain goats cross the road in front of us !  It brought me back to an experience I had as a small boy years ago in Glacier National Park years ago.  I had a deep experience with God where the beauty of the place overcame me.  I was just thanking God for the wonder of it all and He told me He’d show me more...we came around a corner and came upon some mountain goats!  Here I was with my family that had never witnessed such things and they even had young!  I knew it was a moment that God was sharing with me all over again !  This time my whole family was with me and we stood overwhelmed at the power of this moment.  The young goats leapt and played while the older ones ate and were back dropped by the actual beartooth peak which the pass is named for  .  How can I explain what I felt?  I felt such unbridled joy!  These are the largest mammals that live above the tree line.  They don’t complain at the lot they’ve been delivered in life at all but thrive.  The females have been known to force big horns to submit to them and fight even bears that come after their young but for now they stood in peace and allowed us to be a part of their moment .  I love them and I so much love God for showing my family and I something like this!  I will post the video of this moment on Face Book.  God bless you all and thank you so much for the blessing you’ve been in my life!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Full Circle

Two weeks from today we will be in Ghana.  That’s a big deal on more levels than I could ever blog.  Twenty years since I’ve been there last.  Asia has been our focus for many years now yet here we are about to go back where our overseas ministry started in the first place.  I still remember how it was…like it was just yesterday.  The excitement of it all.  What it felt like to set my feet on the African continent.  It was there I found my watershed and could never look back or settle for my little life here in the place I’d known all my life.  Now I make this circle complete not just alone but brining my family with me.  My dear Joseph said one day I would return with my “Precious” and just as he said so prophetically here I am about to return there with Lovely.  Will it open the eyes of my children as it did me?  I believe so.  The word I’ve had from childhood is that my ministry would be greater than my parents but that must be passed on to my children now…they will surpass me and I’d have it no other way. 


There have been some nasty flu symptoms we’ve now fought through this week.  I am just glad it didn’t come up right before we got on the plane.  I’ve traveled overseas while deathly ill and I have no desire to do that ever again.  There are also some visa issues with the people who are coming with us from Canada that need to be ironed out…prayer…oh how I value the power of prayer!  I feel that my heart is already in Africa, things here seem less real then they did even a day ago…I know this will change our lives forever.


Still we're not gone yet so I must keep my head together.  I have some pictures left to share of our Yellowstone trip still so let’s get to that.  We stayed in a cabin not far from a burned out forest it was hard to tell how far this fire had burned until we drove to check it out.  I was shocked at the destruction and again the theme of life refusing to give up I saw very little life at first of the animal persuasion .  there was actually a solemn feeling here .  I could feel that it was hallowed ground somehow.  The further we followed the road up the mountain we could see that whole mountainsides had been devastated in this fire.  My lens seemed drawn to the contrast of green grass and blackened tree trunks Life and death was everywhere but as we went up higher and higher the life seemed to become stronger .  Here the elk Thistle was everywhere unlike the Stillwater where we were before were it was not as common.  Higher still we went and then I spotted one of my favorites!  Indian Paintbrush .  It felt like seeing an old familiar friend…okay more than one old friend perhaps .  Fact is there were many friends all standing defiantly where death hand reigned not that long ago…life refused to give up !  The barren peaks stood as silent witness to the circle of life Scarred trucks stood as a silent army…holding their breath in hope Maybe this silent dead army was wondering if it would live again too I believe it will live again though death’s obsidian armor be strong and though the scars run deep…life will break through again like the blue sky finally exalting in it’s freedom from the grey dawn .  With this testimony we began to descend once again.  Realizing that death’s roar would be drowned out in the triumph of life .  somehow the dark sadness couldn’t hold it’s sway as it did on the way up the mountain though it was more perspective that had changed than anything else .  This hope began to change to a nervous excitement.  We noticed many birds now and suddenly there was a large muledeer doe in the forest who sprinted off quickly.  Then lopping down the road came a large black bear!  Defying the reports of low berry count and many unhealthy specimens.  This bear was fat and healthy.  He or she looked at me curiously as I called to it.  The bear was running but stopped and looked at who was calling out .  The bear continued up the hill some but turned again as I spoke .  I have never been more thrilled in my life!  It’s not just the bear…we saw more this year than ever before however this was God.  I knew it, I’ve heard the still small voice before.  This whole trip was a lesson and this was the black bear cherry on top!  We watched as the bear departed.  the bear may depart…but God and this lesson will not. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stay Frosty

Fortunately despite my title it has not stayed frosty though it has certainly frosted here much to my displeasure.  We felt that some when we were at the cabin when we had a hard frost up in the mountains…we know it’s on it’s way in the lower elevations then…it’s just a matter of time you know.  For those of you that are praying about our coming trip to Africa let me make a few things clear:  we haven’t yet gone.  We leave the 30th of this month and will be gone until the first of November.  Our entire family is going with a team of people…about seventeen of us.  We have Canadians and even someone from Nigeria that we met in Ireland.  The pastor in Ireland that we ministered with is already in Ghana now…he’s a Ghanaian as well though he has a church in Ireland.  Joseph Baisie is the name of the pastor who is our contact in Ghana…we’ve known him since we started ministering in Africa in 1988.  I call him my brother because he is in every sense of the word except the biological one.  We already have our tickets and are waiting on our visas which should be here any day now.  All but one of our team already received the immunizations that are required.  We will begin our medication for milaria one day before we leave.  Please keep Gabby in mind when you pray..she’s only four years old and these medicines are very strong.  Thank you all who pray for us…your prayer is more than well wishes…it’s pure gold and I’m very thankful for it!

I have some pictures from our trip to Mill Creek today that are a bit closer to the cabin we stayed in.  I have an effection for thistles…can’t say why.  They can be quite beautiful but something about them says don’t tread on me and I like that   I also particularly like the symmetry involved in these plants because it has a mathematical precision that shows the Master’s plan in a special way The bank of Mill Creek was rather steep by the cabin so it wasn’t always easy to get near the bank but on occasion a spectacular wildflower would find a way to get its share of the sun…again I admire the tanacity in what on the surface appears delicate Our cabin was unique in that it had both a front and a back porch.  The back porch was a wonderful place to relax with a cup of camp coffee and enjoy the sound of the streamOut the front door we were always greeted by this mountain which looked different depending on the sunlight at given times of the day The cabin is really very old but they had brought electricity to it which was really nice.  As you can see it’s high but it was never dry…plenty of rain while we were there The primitive charm of these kinds of places always grabs me deep down inside Here’s a side view of the cabin I could spend many happy hours looking at the sights to see within easy walking distance of the cabin .  Some people can’t sit still and enjoy what’s right in front of them…I’m not one of those people.  I don’t always have to be on the move.  These delightful flowers are called “fleabane” I guess though I’m not sure why since I found many little bugs frequent them…perhaps just not fleas!  The thistles were not able to keep numerous small butterflies away who drank deep of the nectar from dawn till dusk The kids and I enjoyed exploring the forest and we found a wonderful treat as we did:  Raspberries!  They looked and tasted heavenly Some things looked good but I wouldn’t want to eat them Seeing these made me think of Carole…these are for you Carole Walking deeper in the forest let me ever looking back at the mounting so nicely framed by the pine trees The fence around the cabin was a living thing and had plenty of growth on it to show.  Sporting a moss beard One more shot of the white berries For a while we kept our canned drinks in the river here but it stayed cool enough that we moved them to a more convenient spot near the cabin I' love backgrounds in photos in fact at times this is the making of the shot other times it’s not that but the complexity of the subject itself that makes it special but I don’t frankly care too much about the ins and outs of the photo.  It’s being there, experiencing the moment and just loving how God put it all together that matters above all I see the personality of God here and His wonderful design speaks volumes without saying a word