I'm going to break my account of last week's events into several posts because telling the whole story all at once would take more time than I have to write (or you have to read!).
I left home at 5:50 AM last Tuesday. An hour's drive brought me to Dick and Lu's home in Flagstaff. Lu has been a VOM representative for over a year and a half now. Kathy, a VOM rep in training, had arrived at their house the night before. We pulled out about 7:30 AM in the Dick and Lu's red 2007 Chevy Impala.
Dick and Lu drove us all the way to Amarillo, TX the first day. The first part of the trip was the rather sad Indian reservation areas, where the only signs of prosperity are from the casinos. May God bless the faithful few Christian workers who labor to spread the love of Jesus among the Native Americans.
I had never been in a car with XM (satellite) radio before. I have to agree it's very nice to have a radio that is advertisement-free (and even tells the name of the song being played on the console) but I'm not sure I'd be willing to pay $12 a month for it. (Must be some Scotch in me.)
On the drive, I skimmed pieces of a Christian History and Biography magazine Dick had about China. One part about John Sung really struck me. When John Sung got on fire for Jesus, his seminary authorities thought he had gone insane and had him committed to an asylum. During the 193 days he was in the asylum, he read through the Bible 40 times. Wow. It's no wonder God was able to use him so powerfully. I'd like to read more about him, I don't know much.
Although flat, I found the grasslands of north Texas quite beautiful this time of the year.
We had dinner at a Cracker Barrel in Amarillo. I have to confess, I'm not sure if I've ever eaten in a Cracker Barrel before. If I did, it was a long time ago. They've done a nice job of creating a country "atmosphere" in their store/restaurant combos. I don't know if this was something about the culture of Amarillo or the culture of Country Barrels, but I noticed that most of the patrons were dressed conservatively. Not elegantly, but there were few T-shirts and a lot of collars. I do happen to be partial to collars myself so I felt very at home in Country Barrel. :)
Oddly, it seemed to me there were also a greater than average number of signs for strip bars across that region of the country.
We had a good night at the Quality Inn, then left about 8:30 AM.
About 40 miles east of Amarillo is the little town of Groom, Texas, where the largest cross in the western hemisphere is located. It's 190 feet tall.
You can see my own pictures of the cross (and the surrounding "stations of the cross", Calvary, empty tomb, abortion memorial, and gift shop) on my photo album at http://picasaweb.google.com/CharacterComputing/TheCrossInGroomTexas
There is also a much more professional set of pictures on the official Cross web site.
I got to drive across most of Oklahoma. To a guy from the desert, Oklahoma looked gorgeous, and it only got better the further east we went. I felt like I was driving through the pages of Country magazine. God has really blessed our country with some beautiful territory. You know, we could have all been born in Chad and stared at sand and mud for most of our lives. We're also really blessed, I realized, with great roadways. Anyone who's traveled to a third world country can tell you, our road system (and the general compliance of drivers with traffic laws) are a tremendous privilege.
We pulled into Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Oklahoma around 4:30 PM.
And that's where things really started getting interesting. But you'll have to wait for my next post to find out.