Hello from Billings, Montana! I'm well & resting along with my younger brother, Christopher, who arrived in Billings last night. I was going to get him to write something on the blog today but he's busy talking to our hosts upstairs. So it's just me for the moment. I haven't seen any family for 11months so it's been great to have him here. We stayed up until 1am last night talking & catching up before eventually falling asleep. His trip here took him from Launceston to Sydney, to Hawaii, to Vancouver, to Calgary, to Denver & then to Billings. He did note that it felt like he was descending into a spiralling hole. Well, now he's just going to have to find a way to walk out again. Funnily enough, after a year apart, I didn't recognise him at first, although I've never seen him with a beard either so that kind of threw me. He couldn't even grow one last time I saw him! :-) I forgot to mention last week that as the sun set en-route to Greybull I saw the most fantastic sight - the southern migration of Arctic Geese. There had to have been well over 1000 of the little guys, in flying v's of around 50 each, sprawling across a brilliant sunset. It was awesome. What was unexpected though was that as I watched one particuler flying 'V' I saw 2 geese break off from the formation & head back into the north. I was thinking to myself, "Wrong way guys! You've just come from there," but I soon stood in awe as I watched them fly back to a goose that had fallen behind. The 2 geese circled around & pulled up alongside the straggler & together they formed their own little 3-geese flying 'V' & powered on back to the main group. It was brilliant. Nice one guys, unity in action. From Greybull I said farewell to Fr Michael & trekked the very long journey to Lovell, where Fr Ekley was waiting for me thanks to to a call ahead from the parish prist back in Worland. Fr Ekley spoke a very cultured english & spoke of his love of the opera & how his mother had always wanted him to pursue a career there. I noted that when I sang my mum had always simply asked me to shut up... Hi mum :-) From Lovell I headed to a town called Frannie where there was nothing more than a place to park my tent. It was a very small town. There was a bar though, so I popped in a ordered a meal. Due to the small size of the place I ended up being quiet involved in the bar conversation & felt like I wasw sitting in on an old episode of 'Cheers'. The lady behind the bar attended a nearby church so she was eager to take the website address & invitation to pray for unity there this weekend. Then Terry, the fellow at the end of the bar who had just finished working at the Limstone Quarry, piped up & offered me a space at his house. He had no beds at his place so I took the floor in one room & he & his daughter took the floor in another. It was basic but a lot nicer & warmer than sleeping in the tent out here. The next day I crossed the state border into Montana & with a view of the great Yellowstone National Park mountains in the distance & two bald eagles circling above me I trekked over 50km to Bridger. I arrived late & the motel was unfortunately closed. I grabbed dinner at the local steak house & they offered me the slab of concrete out the back of the restaraunt to put my tent on. It was an uncomfortable sleep so I started walking well before dawn & arrived in Laurel by mid afternoon. My feet weren't doing too well as usual but that's pretty normal these days. I stopped in the Laurel Bible Church & met the very cheerful & youthful Pastor Chris. He was in the middle of preparing his preaching for the weekend service but we ended up chatting for a long time anyway. We kept coming back to one point in particular - what is unity? It was a very uplifting conversation & as we spoke I think we found ourselves abandonning to God more & more. He often meets with all the Church leaders in Laurel to pray & to build the bonds of unity. He said that it wasn't always easy, often challenging but very fruitful. Please keep these men & women in our prayers as they seek truth & love in what can be an uncomfortable setting. Laurel was a big town so I wasn't concerned about finding a bed in a motel. Chris had offered me a place at their Youth Centre but there were no showers (& I was needing one) so I headed off to find a motel room. There were 5 motels in town but incredibly there wasn't a single bed available anywhere. Why? Wouldn't you know it, Ozzie Ozbourne & Rob Zombie (two Heavy Metal rockers) were playing 25km away & everything was booked out for a 40km radius of the stadium. Thanks Ozzie. The girl at the last motel I stopped at was very kind though & invited me to wait in the coffee lounge in case a cacellation came through. I had to wait about 90mins but eventually one did come through & the bedroom & shower was all mine. I enjoy the simple things a lot more now-a-days. Last night I arrived in Billings, met the Harris family at St Patrick's Cathedral & they offerd me a place to stay. Bob Harris ran me up to the airport at 10:20pm last night to pick up my 20yr old brother Chris & we're now planning the pray assult from there converted basement. Hi, Chris here, I'm the handsome one & obviously the funny one as well. Haha. Anyway, at the moment I'm not sure what to expect, I'm a sprinter you see, so in other words, soft. I'm looking forward to it all though & really hoping to experience & learn from the faith on this side of the world & just to do something out of the ordinary. I'll keep in touch through Sam. Cheers, Chris. Sam back here again now... I'll be contact again next week from somehwere near Great Falls. Until then, please pray on spread the invitation - 4:01! God bless & peace be with you, Sam.
"The end of a matter is better than its beginning & patience is better than pride." Eccl 7:8
11th November - Rememberence Day - "Lest we Forget"