Sorry for the late entry! I normally have an entry up each Sunday however today is the 1st day since leaving Monterrey that I've found internet. To begin with, as the heading suggests, it is time to say farwell to Nikki Harris who is right now, comfortably sitting at home in Newcastle, Australia! Nikki had made the decision to head home a month ago due to financial reasons (no money) & the desire to further other missionary fields. I haven't said anything until now because Nikki wanted to suprise her family with her return & so we've kept it under wraps until now. It's incredible how fast those few months crossing Mexico went, even though it didn't feel fast at the time. I hope you've settled in well back home & are feeling rested Nik! Thankyou so much for your support, your prayers & for laughing at my jokes. It felt bizzare to walk that first day alone & I have to admit, a few times I did do a shoulder check to see how far back Nikki was... whoops. By the end of the day though I was back into the swing of making my own decisions & walking the beat solo. At the end of the 1st day I met 2 young guys who'd run out of petrol & after a long conversation they gave me a present - a Monterrey soccer shirt with it's major sponser, the local bread printed across the front - BIMBO! Straight to the pool room. I'd been having some back problems for the few days leading up & it wasn't until that night that I realised what the problem was. I checked out the sore part of my back in the mirror & found that my left hip was sticking out of my back by a good 2cm. I thought, "Oh, that's not good" & made plans to return to Monterrey to find a hospital. After 2 hospitals & many specialists they eventually concluded that an injury of this nature could only be caused by a serious accident & thus couldn't have been caused by me jarring my back those 3 or 4 days earlier. I tried to explain that my back as never had a hip bone sticking out of it but they discharged me none the less. That was 7days ago & it's still giving me a lot of pain but I'm walking so... I'll just learn to live with a 'hippy' back. I spent two days resting my hip in Monterrey with a group of young Missionaries before catching the bus to catch up on the lost days. Before I left though, not impressed with my new socer shirt, they gave me 2 more shirts of their favourite teams!! Anyone want to buy an authentic Mexican soccer shirt? I crossed the Mexican/USA border on Thursday but getting through Border Security was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. After a long wait at the counter they asked me to please come through to the back where they walked me into an interrigation room, conducted a body search & then proceeded to ask over an hour's worth of questions with 2 armed soldiers standing over me. At one point the interviewer left the room & waked back in fitting on blue rubber gloves. He gave the final glove a bit of flick on his wrist as he walked in & I didn't mean to, but I very loudly blurted out, "Oh no!" The guy looked at me a little confused & then said, "No, no, I need to search your bags." Wow, I don't know if I've ever been so releaved. In my bag I carry a note book & for those who don't know me, I write film scripts in my spare time & wouldn't you know it, I'd written notes in my notebook on a script I'd headed, "The Shot" & right next to it I'd penned some notes for another script, which involves people such as, let's say, George Bush... Now that took some explaining!! By the way, "The Shot" is a camera shot not a gun shot. Thankfully they believed me & eventually I had my passport stamped & I was free to pass. It was a confusing 90minutes. While getting my passport though something dawned on me that had not entered my often ditracted mind until that point - I have budgeted for 105 days to cross the USA & my visa is only for 90 days. So... the story now is that I have 90 days to cover 105days worth of walking. And I was looking forward to the USA! As a consequence I'm currently sitting 15days behind schedule & will need to rapidly make up those days before it's out of reach. My walk to here, Uvalde, 218km north of the border has been at a frantic pace but very blessed. My first night I walked into the night trying to make up lost time & at 10pm said to the Lord that, if it was ok, I'd walk up to 'that sign' about 1km ahead on a deserted country road & then need to rest. The sign wasn't anything special but at the base of it was a smaller sign with an arrow pointing down into a paddock. It read, "RV Park". I wondered what on earth an RV Park was but upon peering through the trees spotted some caravans & thought, "Oh! An RV Park... of course." (for those not from Australia, we call them caravan parks) So down I went, met the owners as they were locking up & secured some hanging space for my hammock plus the shower facilities. Apart from the howling coyotes during the night & the red ants that made a nest in my backpack for their 100,000 strong community, I was off again the next morning for a huge 55km day to... a picnic area where I once again slept in my hammock to the sound of howling coyotes. I've met some of the most wonderful people here in Texas & I'm really enjoying meeting & praying with them. I have plenty of time for prayer these days with me being alone once more & with the extended length of the days. It has rained the whole time I've been here. In fact they've just finished their wettest summer ever. Due to the constant rain my feet are not looking great. They have turned black from the black tanning agent in my leather boots & the constant water has caused the skin to litterally wear off one of my toes. It doesn't look good at all. Quite disgusting actually. Never-the-less, I walk & I pray & I am blown away each day by the generous hearts who live here. Yesterday was a sad day though. I arrived in a very small town just as they were gathering to remember a 14yr old girl, Marina, who had been accidently shot & killed by her 18yr old brother. It was horriffic for the family & community to deal with & after a memorial service at the school we all gathered in the church to pray. Please keep the family, particularly Marina & her brother, in prayer. That's about it for now - oh, thanks to Tanner (an oil exploration & legalities officer) who shouted me a night in a great hotel & bought me a Texas Long-Horns cap! The cap fits... So, as I was sayign, that's about it for now. Please keep praying for unity - that all those who have faith would be united in truth & in love, & please say one for me as well as I head north, now 15days behind schedule. God bless, Sam.
"Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God." Isiah 50:10