Tag Archives: Austria

Bats in the Belfry

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (KJV Romans 8:28)

Over the years, I’ve stayed in a variety of places. These ranged from storage rooms in the back of broadcast complexes, to private homes, hotels, castles and palaces. Yes, I’ve stayed in a palace or two. The first palace I stayed the night in was with my wife and sons on our trip west toward castle Neuschwanstein. While it was considered a “hunting” lodge at one point it eventually was renovated to the status of palace. By the time we arrived it was a retreat center but still spectacular. We stayed in the queen’s room. Yep, the room we occupied was the room normally reserved when the queen came to visit. It was large, luxurious and just the intricate wood designs in the walls and on the ceilings impressed us as we brought in our plastic suitcases and two energetic boys.

Fortunately, it was updated with modern plumbing and heating. We enjoyed the thought of being temporary royalty as we strolled around the room and the grounds. We were traveling with friends who enjoyed the cushy comfort of their own royal chamber.

The second palace we enjoyed a few years later was also converted into a retreat center. In this case it was operated by a Christian group running retreats and summer camps for Christian youth and the occasional adult group. Considering the massive number of steps, we had to climb just to reach our room I can understand why it was more youth oriented than “older” adult oriented.

2008_06_BobPhotos_310Beth and I enjoyed the tallest tower on the south wing. Our room covered two floors within the round tower with a spectacular view of the surrounding valley. We were above most of the rest of the palace with a spire on top of our nice room. The bath and toilet were by the entrance. A few steps up from there was the kitchen and dining area. From there we climbed steep steps (aka a ladder) into the living area. To reach the beds we crawled through a triangular door (like the Krell construction on Altair in the sci-fi classic, “The Forbidden Planet”) where two single sleeping mats were laid head to head. The ceiling over the beds was the roof of the adjoining building giving just enough room to slide in for the night. In truth, I couldn’t sit up without hitting my head on the ceiling. Ah, the comforts of palace living.

Snuggled in for the night, a hot night at that, we eventually fell asleep. I’m not a big fan of sleeping on futon beds but that was what we had. I like a little more padding. Part way through the night we were awakened by a noise in the living area. Since a youth retreat was in progress we thought maybe someone had wandered in thinking the room was vacant. Beth and I crawled on our elbows like the two legged Krell and looked out the portal.

There, flitting back and forth in the living room, were a couple bats enjoying the darkness of night. Apparently, they were doing us a service by gulping down the little critters who were flying around the room looking to feast on us for dinner. The bats, although spooky to watch, were keeping us off the menu for the night. Thank you bats!

I’ve heard the phrase “bats in the belfry” many times in life. That night it took on a whole different meaning. Granted, this wasn’t a bell tower but it was close enough. When we arose we carefully peaked out the Krell doorway and assured ourselves they departed during the morning hours.

I wonder about what God allows to cross the path of my life. Sometimes I get annoyed or distracted as things can flitter this way and that disrupting what I think needs to be accomplished. I want to shoo the distractions out of the way and get on with things. Now I’m inclined to think these ‘distractions’ are at times little helpers to clear away other obstacles from my walk with Him. The have their unseen benefits, like eating insects we couldn’t see in the night, and protect us from hidden obstacles. Next time I’m in a castle with bats I think I’ll just watch them for a while and think of God’s protection.

Leave a comment

Filed under Missions

Lost in the Czech Republic

It happened after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them, and asking them questions. Luke 2:46 WEB) 


Prague is a beautiful city full of history both good and bad. For those who read mystery novels the act of defenestration has its origin in the infamous Czech courts of Prague. While visiting this famous hall of judgment in the castle we looked out the window only after insuring no one was behind us. All I could think of was “ouch” when I considered the quick stop at the bottom of the castle wall. 

Aside from this unique form of punishment, we enjoyed touring Prague several times. Once, we enjoyed a beautiful and new guesthouse just below the castle. That wasn’t planned but much better than the Internet advertised place I originally located. That’s another story altogether. On our second visit we stayed in an old seminary located at the outskirts of town. 

Our family combined with our visitors couldn’t all fit in our little van. So we decided the older boys could take the train and meet us there. We drove up to Vienna and dropped our son with our friend’s son at the train station. They had the right tickets and so we left them there and drove onto the autobahn and headed north. 

Prague, Czech Republic

It’s a beautiful drive through the Czech countryside. The villages and castles along the way provide for that perfect holiday photo. We arrived on time and made our way through town. We found the seminary, checked in and took a bus back to town for a little sight-seeing. It was a blast. From the grave of Good King Wenceslas to the home of reformer John Huss we tromped through the streets of history.  

As the afternoon waned we waited to hear from our sons that they arrived safe. We waited, and waited, and waited. Then my phone rang. They missed the train station in Prague not fully understanding the name of the station and were headed north into the countryside towards Germany. Needless to say, I was a bit worried as it was late in the afternoon, we didn’t know where they were, and we didn’t know how to get them back. 

For the next hour or two we exchanged phone calls until his phone ran out of money. Then we were in the dark wondering if our sons were going to have to sleep in a train station. As evening approached we headed to the Seminary hoping they would find their way back and the right bus. We went to the bus stop every time a bus came. There we waited for the last bus of the evening expecting no one to exit. 

But we were surprised when the two young men stepped off the bus with a young lady. It seems they met her on the train and she was on a backpack trip through Europe. They explained that when they missed Prague they left the train after a few stops and a kind gentleman who understood German showed them which train to get back to the city. Praise the Lord they have just enough money for the ticket and the bus to the seminary. The young lady didn’t have a place to stay so they said she could stay with us. Our friends had room in their apartment with their daughter so it worked out just right.  

I’d like to say I was calm and collected throughout the day but that wouldn’t be true. I was definitely upset that our sons were lost in a foreign land, without communications and I had no way to know where they were to retrieve them. I wonder if Joseph and Mary felt the same way when they looked around and Jesus was missing from their caravan. No phones, no trains, no van, no way to know where to find their son. I can just imagine Joseph going from door to door, from shop to shop, retracing their steps to find Jesus.  

And there he was, sitting in the temple calmly conversing with the elders. Amazing! From what I could learn our sons were calmly enjoying their trip through the countryside until they could get off the train and find their way back. Joseph and Mary were relieved to find Jesus. We were relived to find our son. I think God was telling me to calm down and just wait on Him. He knew were our sons were and how to get them back. He knows where we are and how to get us where we need to be. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Missions

Pruned

“Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2b WEB)

There were a lot of trees on the property of my childhood home. I remember my Dad tossing a rope over a high branch then attaching a tire so we could enjoy a good swing in the shade. I’ve always enjoyed the shade of a good tree but sometimes a branch starts to die and needs to be pruned from the trunk. The stub is then tarred over to keep it from growing back and sapping (any pun you’d like to apply) the tree of vitality. That’s what I remembered about pruning.

01pdorf12Then I spent a number of years in “wine” country with grapevines almost everywhere you turned. I learned there’s more than one purpose for pruning. As a child I learned you pruned to get rid of the dead wood. As an adult I learned you could also prune to increase the fruitfulness of the vine. Not only grapevines but also a number of shrubs, flowering plants and other beautiful vegetation can be improved by careful pruning.

Sometimes I thought it looked brutal when trees were pruned down to just a stump. Grapevines are pruned of almost every branch until they look like naked stalks. But that’s one of the secrets. When a branch first bears fruit it might not be the best. The art of pruning back the branch so it regrows actually improves the harvest of fruit.

I’m reminded of Jesus’ sermon about the vines. One verse comes to mind: “Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2b WEB) It’s interesting Jesus tells us that bearing fruit is like an invitation to be pruned. It’s not a bad thing but for our benefit. The art of pruning in our lives allows us to bear more fruit. We don’t always understand this when God suddenly moves us from what was a fruitful ministry into a new place. Beth and I experienced this several times in our lives.

We were involved with our church in the USA and bearing fruit in music and teaching when the Lord called us to be missionaries. We were pruned from that ministry to head overseas. Next God allowed us to bear fruit on Guam in youth work, music, leadership, teaching, and training and then we were pruned from the Guam ministry. God then allowed us to bear more fruit in Austria in music, preaching, leadership, training, pastoral work and teaching.

Next, we were pruned once more from a fruitful ministry in Austria. We then looked forward to what God had in store. We grew in a new land but were connected to the same vine. Each time God applies his pruning shears we learn more about ourselves as we watch God work in us, and the lives of those around us.

Our fruitfulness in local church ministry also impacts our global fruit as we bring the message of God’s grace and hope to the world via media as missionaries with TWR. The two ministries build upon one another and help us to grow as God’s servants. It would be easy to be sad and wonder why God would remove us from a fruitful ministry to start over. But it becomes an encouragement when we consider Jesus’ teaching about the vine and the branches.

It’s not bad to be pruned. It’s not trimming of the bad branches. It’s trimming our branches so we have the chance to grow back and produce even more fruit. God prunes in wisdom. The vine-dresser knows what he’s doing and does it for our own good and the growth of the Kingdom. When we’re pruned we need to look forward to a new harvest of fruit for eternity.

Leave a comment

Filed under Missions

Groceries in the Hall

If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. (1 Timothy 6:8)

 
When we moved to Europe we changed from living in a concrete house to a concrete apartment building. It was a great place in the foothills of the Alps overlooking the plain and city of Vienna. At the end of the road past our building sat the Vienna Woods with all the beauty, trails and history. Many times we’d walk up to the woods and then hike along the ridge before descending to the little town of Perchtoldsdorf. There we’d refresh ourselves with Italian Ice Cream and then take a bus back up the hill to our apartment. 


While the apartment was nice, including a wonderful fireplace and spectacular views, it was in a town without a grocery store and lacking most other shops. With three boys still at home it was important to constantly acquire a large stock of food for the larder. To keep the kitchen filled with important items such as peanut butter, cookies, snacks, chips, drinks and various other non-healthy essentials, Beth was required to purchase quantities too large for her to carry up the stairs. Did I mention we were on the fourth floor and there was no elevator?  

To compensate for the lack of a lift Beth would stash her grocery bags at the bottom of the stairs. Then, when the boys or I came home we’d gather what we could and lug it upstairs. This worked pretty good and was the same approach others used in our stairwell. The only problem was when we weren’t sure which bags were our groceries and which belonged to our neighbors. They apparently had the same identification problem. 

One day Beth went shopping and left several bags inside the entrance waiting for one of us to come home. I arrived first buzzed and the apartment. She told me to bring up the bags. When I stepped inside and looked around there were no bags to gather. I thought maybe the boys picked up everything so I climbed the 49 steps to our apartment.  

I came through the door and Beth asked about the groceries. I told her there weren’t any bags in the stairwell and the mystery began. Where were our groceries? Theft, at lest of groceries, was not a problem in our complex. We figured someone else must have picked them up by mistake. Sure enough there was a knock on our door. 

.
We opened the door to find G holding our bag of groceries. He looked sad and said, “I thought M left our groceries downstairs so I picked them up. Once I opened the bag I knew it couldn’t be our groceries. Inside were fun things to eat like cookies and snacks and chips. I don’t get to eat those things.” He bowed his sad looking head and handed us the bag. We thanked him. He left. We closed the door. We chuckled. Later we shared some of our cookies with him.  

I like cookies so I can sympathize with G’s downcast appearance. I also like finding special little treats in my life. Sometimes they’re for me and sometimes I just pick up something meant for someone else. Then I need to remind myself what’s really important and that’s really hard. Where do I find contentment? Is it with cookies and snacks or with the fun little extra things in life? According to Timothy it’s not the snacks but the essentials of clothing and food. I can live with that. I can be content with that. 

I’m not claiming to hold some higher plain of spiritual existence or that I’m always content with food and clothing. Some days I am, other days I’m impatient for that little extra goodie. It’s good to remind myself when I look in the cookie bag and find someone else’s name inside that I can still be content with God’s care and grace, even without a fattening cookie. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Missions

Emergency Baptism

. . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism, . . .  (Ephesians 4:5 NET)

One year I was able to experience a first in my ministry. I performed my first Bathtub baptism. Normally baptisms for our church in Vienna were held at the Old Danube river. We even had one scheduled that summer with a number of people on the list to publicly declare their faith in Christ. So you might wonder why baptize someone in a bathtub when we had one scheduled at the river.  (I’m tempted to start singing Shall We Gather at The River.)

Baptism in the Alte Donau

A new believer declaring their faith in Christ.

This what we call an “Emergency Baptism.” I know, that sounds weird. You might wonder if the person was about to die of some dread disease? No. But time was limited. This person came to us through the son of their best friend who happened to be in Austria. The young man put them in contact with our church through one of our ministry folks.

The candidate was in town for only few days and wanted to be baptized. They would be headed back to their home country in only three days. Theo, one of our other elders, and I talked and decided we could use the bathtub of one of the ministry folks. The bonus would be that they could also provide translation from the candidate’s native language into either German or English. It was into German :-).

We arranged to meet the candidate at this gentleman’s home and talk. If things went well, if we were assured of the candidate’s faith, we would proceed. Fortunately for me, the candidate spoke a modicum on English making things a little easier. We listened to the story of living in a country and a culture inundated and controlled by another religion. As a child the candidate heard about Christianity from some family and friends who were Christians. But, there was no gathering where they could learn more.

You see, such a gathering, when the candidate was young, and still today, was and is forbidden. There are believers in the country but unless their spouse, or close friend, is also a believer they live as an island in a dangerous land. This is learning to lean on God and God alone. After growing up and a failed marriage the candidate realized their cultural religion didn’t work. There were too many things which seemed contrary to living and there was no hope. The candidate remembered what they heard as a child and started seeking this Christian God.

To make a long story short the candidate came to salvation several years before. They met and married someone who is also a believer. The candidate’s visit to Austria was short and they wanted to be baptized before returning. Gathering as believers for church, worship, bible study was and is forbidden in her homeland. Baptism was and is also forbidden. The candidate wanted to make a declaration among witnesses of their faith in Christ and their desire to live faithfully for him. This was their one big chance.

We listened to the story, with many more details and knew the candidate was part of God’s family. The tub was filled with warm water (a definite improvement over the cold Danube). We gathered in the bathroom, those of us who could fit. Imagine six people with a bathtub in a room the size of a coat closet.

The candidate sat in the tub scrunched to one end. We asked a few questions and they made a declaration of their faith in front of the witnesses. Then back the candidate went, under the water. With praise in our hearts and on our lips, a new family member rose out of the water declaring to the world, to their homeland, to their past culture and religion, they are now and forever will be a child of God. They were saved by God’s grace through Christ’s blood. We’re talking big smiles and excitement.

This was a testimony to God’s work even in the face of cultural and national adversity. (I think this is the first baptism where I didn’t get soaked :-). I’m thrilled to provide them the opportunity to declare before witnesses their faith. I hope one day we’ll have the chance to baptize their spouse as well.

As I wrote this this new family member was back in their homeland, living in a land diametrically opposed to their faith but assured of God’s grace and strength. Pray for their walk with God, strength when opposition comes, and assurance of God’s constant presence.

God is amazing. We sometimes just need to be reminded through the testimony of others.

Leave a comment

Filed under Missions

Mission Mama and the Ten Little Cakes

What if you lived in a land with no cakes?

NO cakes you say???? IMPOSSIBLE!!!

This is the story of the Missionary Mama who lived in a land where there were no cakes.

There were no cakes like we have in America like she had when she was growing up.

There were no cakes like we have for our birthdays.

Most of the time the Missionary Mama and her missionary kiddies didn’t miss the birthday cakes because the land they lived in had lots of really, really good food. The only times they thought about birthday cakes were . . . well . . . at birthdays. Then the Missionary Mama and Papa did what they could to get happy birthday cakes from America for their missionary kiddies. Sometimes it wasn’t easy but they always found one.

As the years past the Missionary Mama learned how to make all kinds of wonderful things in the land where they were living and didn’t even always make birthday cakes for birthdays. But one day some people from America were going to visit the Missionary Mama and Papa and they said, “What can we bring from America in our Suitcase for you?” Well they thought and thought and said, “A birthday cake please?”

A BIRTHDAY CAKE THEY THOUGHT????? DON’T THEY HAVE BIRTHDAYS? OH NO! WE SHOULD BRING THEM A BIRTHDAY CAKE. SO, THEY PACKED THEIR CLOTHES . . . TWO BLUE SHIRTS AND TWO PINK SHIRTS AND TWO PURPLE SHIRTS AND TWO RED GREEN SHIRTS (ONE FOR THE MR AND ONE FOR THE MRS.) AND THEN THEY PACKED A BIRTHDAY CAKE. . . AND THOUGHT . . . THERE IS MORE ROOM SO WE CAN BRING TWO BIRTHDAY CAKES. AND THERE WAS STILL MORE ROOM AND THEY PUT IN TWO MORE AND THEN TWO MORE. THERE WERE TWO CHOCOLATE AND TWO YELLOW CAKES AND TWO PINK CAKES . . . YOU SEE THE MR. AND THE MRS. LIKED THINGS IN TWOS . . . AND THEY ENDED UP WITH 10 CAKES IN THEIR SUITCASES.

2008_06_teresaphotos_0003Can you imagine 10 little cakes all ready to go to a foreign land and take birthdays to the Missionary Mama. Well they filled up the suitcase so much the Mr. and Mrs. had to take out some clothes and the cakes were starting to get heavy so they got friends to bring their clothes and their friend’s daughter to help carry the cakes. Then they all got on a big airplane with their suitcases and their clothes and the 10 little cakes. Oh, I almost forgot, they also brought a rabbit to make the airport people look at him so they wouldn’t look at the 10 little cakes and say, “NO cakes in this land!!!!!”

When they came to the foreign land the Missionary Mama and Papa picked them up at the airport with a borrowed car and you know what? It wasn’t big enough for so many people and 10 little cakes and a rabbit!!!! There were people and suitcases and cakes and rabbits everywhere. Wowie. They had a great visit and went to all the nice places in the land and ate lots of really good food and the rabbit met lots of nice people and then Mr. and Mrs. and their friends and their friend’s daughter took their empty suitcases home and with the rabbit had plenty of room.

Then the Missionary Mama thought . . . 10 little cakes what will I do with 10 little cakes????? We don’t have 10 little cabinets and we don’t have 10 birthdays. I know, I’ll share the cakes with people who miss Happy Birthday cakes like we do. Or maybe, I’ll share them with people who have never had a Happy Birthday cake. This is going to be fun.

The first little cake was made and it was a yellow cake with chocolate frosting and the Missionary Mama and Papa and Annamarie ate it just to make sure they were OK to share with others. I mean they needed to know that it still tasted good, right?

The second cake was made for a family from Switzerland and Canada and they had five children so the confetti cake was the best.

The third little cake was chocolate with chocolate icing and it was for a Missionary Mama and Papa party with Americans so they could practice their English and tell funny stories in English. There were some American missionaries and Canadian missionaries who hadn’t had a birthday cake for a long time.

The fourth little cake was a yummy spice cake with cream cheese frosting and Missionary Mama made it for the team that meets to plan all the work. Those poor people are in long meetings all day and they need a treat sometimes. Some of them liked the cake, and some thought it was too sweet, and some thought it was too fat, and some thought it was just right. There was a big Russian man and a happy Swiss man and a quiet German lady, a really, really tall man (I think he ate two pieces) and a strong Serbian man who tells funny stories and likes cake too.

The fifth cake was pink I mean really very pink and the Missionary Mama made it for the baptism in the Danube River. I don’t know why she made the pink one but the people from Africa and the people from the Philippines and the people from Iran and the people from Austria all ate pink cupcakes and said yummy, yummy, yummy. Let’s go to the river and get Baptized.

The sixth little cake was pink too and the Missionary Mama gave it to a little missionary girl who likes muffins with cream that are pink (that is what they call cupcakes there!!!!!) for her birthday.

The seventh little cake was chocolate and the Missionary Mama made it for a Happy Birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas. Her little missionary son ate it for dinner and lunch and breakfast. He also shared it with our friends from Hungary, and Canada, and Cameroon. (But I don’t think he wanted to.)

The eighth little cake was Carrot and the Missionary Mama made it for a missionary kid Christmas party and it had cream cheese frosting, yuummmmm. But one little boy said” Yuck,” and Naomi said “we forgot to pray,” and then she and the Missionary Papa prayed and she said “I like the cream!!!!!!!” There were children from all around Europe at the party and they liked to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and then eat the cake.

The ninth little cake was for a ladies’ prayer group and it was lemon and very yellow and pretty. I hope it made the ladies strong so they could really pray for the families and the children.

The tenth little cake doesn’t have a place to go yet. What shall we do????? Maybe you can think of a place to take the yellow cake with chocolate frosting on it??????? It sounds Yummy but the Missionary Mama is all out of places to take it right now. So please help me to think, and think, and think of the best place for the little cake because it is sad to be all alone in the cabinet and needs a nice party to go to.

Leave a comment

Filed under Missions

Driving

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5 NET.)

I’ve always liked cars. I should say I’ve almost always enjoyed riding in cars. I say almost because some drivers qualify as design artists for the house of horrors. I’ve left my fingernails in the dashboard of more than one perspective demolition derby hopeful car. Hair raising experiences aside, I enjoy a nice road trip. It doesn’t really matter where I’m going. If I’m the driver it’s even better.

It should be noted I’m not a car fanatic. I can’t distinguish one make, model, or year from another unless I surreptitiously sneak a peak at the emblem on the fender. I don’t drool over sleek sports models or dream of a car more expensive than a thirty room mansion. I’m just as happy to drive an old “bug” as a modern Lamborghini. I once saw a Lamborghini parked on the street as I walked to the office. Nice, smooth design and I’m sure it costs more to start than I make in a month. I’ve learned to use the right phrases and even point out a cool car driving by so I don’t appear too dorky. But, my real love is driving.

It probably began with Sunday afternoon drives through the countryside. This was just when Interstate highways were starting. Most Sunday afternoons we, my brothers and I, would fight for window seats in the back of our big Chevy. Window seats are important since there’s no air-conditioning. The roar of the wind and cool hurricane force gale through our hair made for some interesting struggles as we climbed in the car. Since seat belts weren’t required or in vogue the seating sequence would change from time to time throughout the trip.

Dad would point the car out of town on some long forgotten highway and he’d drive. He enjoyed it. Where were we going? Nobody knew, not even Dad. When we arrived at our destination we’d turn around and drive home. Highway markers were only useful if we got lost coming home. No need to ask directions, just point your nose home and let it lead.

We’d enjoy the scenery scrolling by on a lazy Sunday afternoon drive. No better experience than feeling the smooth roll of the wheels and swaying of the car on corners. If we spotted a dip in the road we’d chime up for Dad to go faster and provide a short lived, by exciting, weightless moment in history. It was great!

When I left home for college and then married my sweetheart I continued to find Sunday afternoons and other opportunities to just cruise the highways and byways. Then we answered God’s call to missionary work and moved to Guam. We’d pile our children into the car and enjoy the swing and sway of the island’s roads. Thirty minutes later we found ourselves back at our door. The island wasn’t that big and didn’t have that many roads.

02bath63Later we moved to Europe. Wide open highways, and autobahns provided a chance to drive for more than thirty minutes and not end up at home. It’s like Heaven on asphalt. We’ve driven across the continent several times. One day our family was on the highway in Germany when the boys asked how fast the car would go. I decided to find out. On a straight stretch, flat, sunny, dry day I shouted, “Here we go boys!” I floored the accelerator and waited. We hit the 192 kph mark! (120 mph) The first and last time I floored it to the max. The boys were thrilled. After my nerves calmed down we resumed our 100 mph journey.

It may be obvious that speed is not what enthralls me about driving. Its the event. The control as I conquer the corners and hills to see another beautiful vista prepared by God’s meticulous hand. With rare exception I’m always ready to take the wheel when it’s offered. Apparently my driving isn’t too bad either. Most of my European travel is confined to the continent. Thus, I drive a lot. On most trips I’m asked to drive by my colleagues on a regular basis. I’d like to think it’s because they trust me and feel safe in my hands. As I get older I’m not as sure as they are but I still love to drive.

One thing I don’t appreciate is a backseat driver. I prefer to make my own mistakes without nervous prompting over my shoulder. Once on a trip, a couple people were both telling me to go this way and that. Finally, in desperation and confusion I pulled the car into a side street and stopped. Since I needed some direction in this new town I said, “One of you can talk. The other one be quiet!” Things settled down and we arrived at our destination with fewer side trips.

I think my children have caught sight of my driving infatuation. At least they’ve joined my colleagues when it comes to a designated driver. My lovely bride and I were recently in the USA visiting our children. Fortunately for us most of them live in the same small town. Our fourth is in the Army but took a couple weeks off to see their “missionary” parents while in the country. It was a great family reunion complete with food, fun, playing with our grandson, car troubles, normal family stuff and housing changes.

It’s the housing changes that tugged at my driving enthusiasm. My youngest son needed to move from out in the country to a more citified location. His assumption was Dad knew how to drive anything including a moving truck. I became the designated truck driver. I do have experience moving across the USA in the capable cab of a U-haul truck. Then again, that was thirty years ago. Not wanting to squelch my son’s trust in my abilities I agreed and we picked up the truck.

Honestly, it was great! It took a few moments, a little careful evaluation of the size and protrusions on the truck to figure things out. I backed into country driveways, navigated city streets and came out with any new scratches. Forty foot moving trucks are interesting beasts to drive on narrow country roads but it was fun! When we returned the truck I was relaxed and my driving itch had been scratched another day with a new experience.

The problem with itches is that they often come back unexpectedly and demand to be scratched. Five days later our daughter and her husband moved about four blocks to a bigger apartment. Dad was still in town so my skills were once again called to the front. Interestingly when we picked up the forty foot rental it was the same truck I used early that week for our son. In and out, up and down, back and forth we went until their worldly goods were transplanted from a college oriented apartment complex to a more family slanted venue. Ah, it’s great to scratch an itch now and again.

I’m glad my family and my co-workers trust my driving skills. Thanks to that trust I have more chances to get behind the wheel and spool off more mileage of satisfying driving. My wondrous bride and I more than once headed out on Sunday afternoons for a drive through the winding roads of the Alpine foothills near our home. We didn’t know where we were going but always enjoyed the destination when it was reached.

We no longer have a car. They’re just a bit too expensive to maintain where we live. Thankfully the area has great public transport. For the most part I have to put my trust in someone else to get me from place to place. My driving is limited to furlough or mission related trips. I still enjoy each adventure and others still trust me to drive. It’s nice to be trusted. For something so easily lost it’s also easy to maintain. Someone who breaks our trust often must work hard to regain it.

I’m glad God hasn’t lost my trust. I know it’ll never happen. He told me to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5 NET.) When others trust my driving, without backseat interjections, things go well. When I trust God in everything, without my sanctified backseat prompting, things go well. I can look out the window, enjoy the scenery slipping by and know I’ll reach His destination, wherever that may be, and love it when I get there.

Leave a comment

Filed under Missions