Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 33 - Springfield to Lebanon, MO

Day 33 - Springfield to Lebanon, MO (35 miles)

As we mentioned in the last blog, David & Cammie live way south and east of Springfield.  So, this morning we loaded the bikes in the back of David's truck and headed toward I-44.  First, we stopped at David's favorite breakfast restaurant!  We didn't know exactly how far it was to Lebanon; we only knew that we were east of Springfield.  As it turns out, we were only 35 miles away from Lebanon.  This was good news, since the last three days have been longer than we'd like to average.

We arrived in Lebanon and went straight to Walmart to pick up a few essentials.  While there, Terry, the preacher at Southern Heights Christian Church, called me.  "Do you have plans for lunch?" he asked.  We rode about a mile, and joined their Prime Time group for a fish fry and coconut creme pie, in a park, by a pond!  It was a beautiful setting and great group of senior citizens!  Just another example of how God is opening doors for us!

Tomorrow we head to Rolla, and the opportunity to speak to a Chinese Fellowship group at Greentree Christian Church.

Missouri is full of hills, but they are more of the long and steady climb variety, rather than the short and steep variety.  Going down a hill, for sometimes several minutes at a time, is a wonderful thing.  I'm not pedaling, but I'm flying along as gravity does its thing!  Sometimes, a tail-breeze will push us along in a similar fashion.  I mention this because when we think about the daunting task of reaching 7,126 UPG's it would be easy to become overwhelmed and feel powerless.  We may think that WE are doing all the work!  Not so!  Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty." (Zech 4:6)  Jesus reminded us to pray, "For thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory; forever and ever.  Amen."  No.  The harvest belongs to the Lord!  He will provide all we need to accomplish the task!  As for us, what must we do!  Get in the saddle, and set out in faith!

Thanks for praying!
Dave, Luey and Andy

Day 32 - Joplin to Springfield, MO

Day 32 - Joplin to Springfield, MO (73 miles / 1750 + miles)

We officially went over half-way today!  We estimate Gloritrek to be 3500 miles, so it's all downhill from here!  Okay, not really, but it sounds good!

Thank you, MO, they allow bicycles on the interstate, and so we rode along I-44, plus 1 Gloritrek teammate:  Ted Skiles!  Ted rode halfway with us, so round-trip ended up going as far as we did!  We are relieved to say he arrived back in Joplin safely -- as Ted and Bev will soon celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary!  As long as Ted was with us we didn't have any flat tires.  After he left us we all had flats -- 4 in all!

As we rode closer to Springfield I was thinking, "Oops, I didn't map out how to get to Parkview Christian Church."  Then, in the distance I saw several riders in neon green shirts -- a welcoming party from PCC -- waiting to escort us to the church!  What a blessing!

PCC, a great example of a small church doing big things around the world!  They have people all over the place!  That evening, a great crowd showed up to spit watermelon seed at the missionary!  :-)  It was a beautiful evening outdoors, and a great group of folks!  Here is a small church doing it's part to reach UPG's!  And, they can ride bikes too!  And, spit seeds!

We were hosted by David & Cammie, who live on a ranch way south and east of Springfield.  Cammie is Rene Malaise's sister (Rene has been our web guy for 15 years).  Marjorie, Cammie and Rene's mother is celebrating her 91st birthday, and when I walked in to greet her, she said, "I know your mother!"  Cammie thought Marjorie was loosing it, until we remembered that Marjorie had volunteered at Pleasant Meadows, in Chrisman.  Yes, she does know Elaine, my mother-in-law.  We had a great time talking about my mother-in-law!

Speaking of family, how cool it is to be a part of the family of God!  What a blessing!  We are daily blown away by how God is providing for us and how our message is being received!

Thank you for praying!
Dave, Luey and Andy

Day 31 - June 18 - Vinita, OK to Joplin, MO

Day 31 - June 18 - Vinita, OK to Joplin, MO (65 miles)

Today we left our 5th state, our 6th state and entered our 7th state!  We took about a week to cross Oklahoma, and about an hour to cut through the corner of Kansas and now we're in Missouri!  We were on state highways all morning, and despite several flat tires, arrived in Joplin in the early afternoon.

We were nearly run off the road in Joplin by an old guy in a pick-up truck, leaning out the window and speaking to us in Chinese!  It was Ted Skiles (missionary in Lotung, Taiwan)!

We went to College Heights and then to the campus of Ozark Christian College.  Our hosts were Coach Chris and Dawn Lahm.  How generous and thoughtful they were to us!  I hope to see them again in Taiwan -- maybe at our Sports and English Camp!  :-)

College Heights had me for supper and to speak to their 9:38 group -- missionaries in training -- what a wonderful group!  And, then, they hosted a gathering in their chapel for anyone to attend!  I wish we could clone CHCC, and what they are doing around the world with UPG's!  They have partnered with Team Expansion in several projects!  If there were 7,126 churches like CHCC, there wouldn't be any UPG's left!

Several familiar faces came to the evening program at CHCC:  my Uncle Donald Atkin (hadn't seen him in 20 years), old golf buddies -- Boyd and Blaine Cornwell, Phoebe Reese (from grad school days at LCS), Craig and Emma Thompson (past co-workers from Taiwan) and Ted and Bev Skiles (serving in Lotung at the Home of God's Love orphanage).  What a great crowd!  What a blessing!

Please, please, if you want to adopt a UPG, go spend a few days with College Heights and then go talk to Team Expansion!  You'll not regret doing any of the above -- all for God's glory among the nations!

Thank you for praying!
Dave, Luey and Andy

PS - I know what you might be thinking!  You may say, "CHCC is a mega church, they have a Bible College in their backyard, of course they can do more in the area of missions!"  I don't believe that's the reason for their success!  I believe it comes down to two things:  vision and passion!  CHCC has both, and Jesus said, "I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given!"