Friday, October 5, 2007

A Wedding, Tornado & 2 Pistols (-5days)

Hello from Kit Carson in Colorado! Sorry for missing last weeks entry; it was simply a matter of not being able to find internet. In the past 2 weeks I've crossed out of Texas into Oklahoma & then into Colorado. I'm now 7days into the Colorado plains & on target to arrive in Denver before the end of next week. A very big thank you to all the people of Texas who made my 1month crossing such a memorable one. It has to be one of the friendliest places on the planet! A big hello to the Sunray youth group who walked with me fora afew miles - I hope you found your car again. I crossed the Pan Handle of Oklahoma in around 24hrs but it was a 24hr stint that knocked me around somewhat. At the end of a 60km day I was walking into Boise City under the cover of night & watching an electrical storm roll past the northern side of the town. In the darkness I hadn't noticed a second front curling in behind me & with very little warning the wind picked up to around 80km/hr, the rain came thundering down (actually it was more 'across' than down) & the most spectacular lightning I've ever seen lit the sky up about every 1 to 2 seconds. Some lighting went down, some went up, & some sparked its way across the under belly of the clouds in a mesmorising stream of purple. And no matter how much I tried not to, I always instinctivly ducked every time it flashed above my head (apparently I'm taller in my mind than in real life). The wind was so strong at times that my back pack would act like a rudder & force me into a sudden rotation. My water proof cover was ripped off the bag at one point but because of the intense noise of the storm I had no idea that it was gone until I happened to spot a fluro yellow water proof cover clinging to a bush on the other side of the freeway... "Hey! It's just like mine!" The show stopping moment though was when a flash of lightning flashed in just the right spot to show up a tornado, spiriling down out of the clouds. It was a long way off but I still stopped where I was & peered into the darkness waiting for another flash in just the right place. A few seconds later it was lit up once more & I started hatching a plan for if it struck the ground & came in my direction. The only thing around was a storm water drain every 200m under the nearby railway line so I walked on with one eye on the tornado & one on the distance to the next storm water drain. The tornado headed in a different direction though & as far as I could tell, didn't hit the ground. At 11pm, with a hair style to rival Albert Einstein's, I arrived in Boise City. And smiled. It was a big week to be away from home as well. My youngest sister, Alexandra, was married on last Saturday to the fabulous Chris Hardinge & I was the only family member for about 7 generations not to attend. It was a somber night as I headed off to bed in a small country town in the USA knowing that the wedding was just about to get underway. I'm told it was a great day & evening. Congratulations Alex & Chris!That day was also the Australian Football League grand final & my team, the Geelong Cats, won their first premiership since 1963! I was born in 1979, so that means that I still haven't ever seen them win... Anyone tape it? I've met many fantastic people in the past week & have been shown some super hospitality, which has made the frantic pace I'm rolling along at a little more bearable. In a town called Springfield in south eastern Colorado I was walking to a hotel when I spotted a small church with a matching house next door. I stopped & had a moment of, "I should go & say hello & invite them to pray for unity but... I'm tired & want that hotel room." I felt the Lord gently encourage me to just do my job so I plodded over & met the pastor from the Quaker Church. We had a long chat & then as I was leaving a gentleman from across the road waved for me to come over. He & his wife were Pentecostal Preachers & wanted me to have dinner with them & to stay in their spare appartment. The meal was great & the conversation went far too long into the night, but was well worth the lethargy. Thank you Lord! My most unexpected evening however came when I walked from Springfield to Lamar over 2days. I was planning to camp out in my hammock for the night during the crossing but I had a small problem - no trees anywhere! I spotted a farm house in the distance with trees surrounding it so I made tracks for it & knocked on the door. Big Greg, the owner of a 30,000 acre ranch, answered the door in his shorts & had no problem with me tying my hammock up in his front yard. In fact, he had so little problem that he then fixed me a hot dinner & kept my glass full. His wife arrived home soon after & we spent a few hours talking at the kitchen table with a world globe in front of us as we exchanged stories. Now, the normal thing would be to then say goodnight & go to bed, however, that isn't how the night ended. At around 10:30pm, in the freezing cold of the Colorado evening, Greg & I made our way outside... & had target practise with his two pistols. I think I'm half deaf now in my left ear from all the shooting. The funny thing was that he set up a tin can in front of some logs & I sat a maple leaf a foot above it on the log. I had first shot & lined up his tin can... BANG! And the leaf went flying... It was a good thing it was dark & Greg couldn't see my confused expression. He had know idea that I was shooting for the tin can & so was mightily impressed that I'd just nailed a leaf from 20m. The pressure was on though for the second shot. This time there was no faking it. If I missed I couldn't claim to have been aiming for the log. I aimed a foot in front of the can & bam! Over it went. I felt like twirling the thing 'round & blowing across the barrell but felt that under the circumstances it was perhaps best just to hand it back to him & stay quiet. Last night I met a lapsed Christian called John who invited me back to his girlfriends place for dinner. We didn't 'have a shot' after the meal but we did talk about unity for a short while & then about the love of God. His father was once an Evangelical preacher & John had socked it up in his youth but had drifted from the church in his adult years. Once he got started though, it all came flooding back & it was as though he was falling in love with Christ all over again. At the end of the night I asked him to pray for me as I continued on & he replied, "I already have." Winter is on the way here in Colorado. The 1st snow fall is expected tomorrow night so it's time to sell the hammock I think. God bless & please keep praying! Sam
"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." 1John4:16
ps: I've had more x-rays done on my hip & it has shown up very clearly as a badly rotated pelvis. In the process of having it put back in place. She'll be right mate :-)


dave said...

Sam, once again I am envious. Given half the chance, I would be walking the rest of the way with you.

If anyone want to have a look at that news article from the Amarillo Globe, go to:

Nicole said...

Hi Sam, it's Nicole here from Perth YMT. I've never met you but i just spent my entire working day reading all you blogs (cause i had no work) and i am truely inspired!!! Your joy in trials and trials and trials is Saintly and now have been convinced to really pray for Unity. I truely feel uplifted by your passion and commitment.
God Bless

Robyne said...

You're awesome Sam and you are doing an amazing job for God! I love the story about the drifted away christian guy who the Lord brought back to Him through your conversation with him and just by what you were doing, I'm sure you wouldn't have had to even use any words anyway. I continue to pray for your mission and your protection every day at 4.01.

Love and blessings

p.s Thank you and God bless you Nikki for your contribution to the mission.....Who else feels the Lord is calling them to join Sam?? :0)

Martin, Lisa, Olivia, Emily & Julian Pannell said...

Hi bud, Great to read your updates again..GO THE CATS... I didn't watch it or tape it (no TV) but read about their win on your blog :) he he.. You continue to inspire many mate... great to see your post Nicole. Dave & Rob you are wonderful supporters. Sam we love you mate & miss you & pray both for & with you everyday at the right time :) MP & fam

tanner said...

where ya at...