In 2008 we had most of our Sundays already scheduled before we left home. This time it is different. We actually started this journey without a single speaking engagement on the calendar. I wanted our calendar and our route free to go where God leads. That sounds highly spiritual when spoken from a pulpit or written in a blog. But I have to be honest with you; in practice it can create doubt and insecurity.
Along the way we have had personal encounters that have resulted in the spreading of hope and courage. I am used to rolling in front of a group and speakingÂ but after three weeks on the journey we had no formal meetings. . Â This is where doubt and insecurity creeps in. To be clear, it is my doubt and my insecurity I am talking about. Câ€™mon, God, where are You leading us?
We made it to Tucson, Arizona. We have friends in Tucson. Fred and Nancy Conklin. Fred has worked for the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association for the last ten years primarily as Luisâ€™ personal assistant. We have known Fred and Nancy that whole time. I called and asked if he might inquire about some opportunities for us to share the message of Hope and Courage. He said he would be glad to ask around and they invited us over for a bar-b-que. We made camp in an RV park on the outskirts of town. It is actually a â€˜snowbirdâ€™ community that is heavily populated with the 55+ crowd most of the year. There are still hundreds of residents staying in permanent homes and RVs now. This is their down season, so they were gracious enough to let us camp here with our teenagers.
Fred heard back from a school superintendent willing to put me in an elementary school. Not bad considering the short notice at the end of the school year. OK God, itâ€™s a group. A very young group but I am not complaining.
I asked the school to split the kids into two sessions; kindergarten through second grade in one group and third through fifth grade in the second group. I didnâ€™t separate them so I could speak to more â€˜groupsâ€™. The cognitive skills of a first grader and a fifth grader are so different, it is best to tailor a message for each. After the two sessions I got a call from a mother that was hearing my life story from her kids in the car on the way home from school. She was an associate pastor and wondered if I was available on Sunday to come and speak two services at Childrenâ€™s Church. She also would introduce me in the main service during worship. During the first main service intro, the pastor heard my brief story and invited me to be a bigger part of the second service. In the meantime, I spoke to the children and had a great time sharing hope in Christ and courage to do what He asks. Then we were invited back to speak to the Celebrate Recovery group later in the week.
We visited the church at our RV park (they had 100 attending) and were invited to do a special service on Thursday. Also, we got a call from the chaplain at Ft. Sill Army Base in Oklahoma wanting us to come for a week to minister to the troops starting on Fathers Day. And I got calls from Ohio to minister with the Mennonites and the Amish in August.Â Câ€™mon, God, where are You leading us?