May 30 - Day 15
Sand Springs, OK
Written by Viking
..where the wind comes sweeping down the plain.. gusting at 35 knots! But that probably didn't sound good for the song, so they left it out.
This weekend was a delight. I love my family. I love the heart for God that my family has. Sunday we spoke at our first church of the trip. We were blessed to be able to talk with the youth group during Sunday school as well as sharing about our trip and ministry for a few minutes in the main service. I think the Sunday school was a benefit for both the students and the teachers, as God is continually revealing more and more about his heart for justice to Brady and I through questions and discussion. I shouldn't be surprised.
Our time with Luke (cousin) and Anne and their children was great. It was a full house, but they were very gracious hosts, and we enjoyed every second of it. I could go on for a while..
We ended up shoving off from their home around 10:15 this morning, continuing our westward trek. We passed a town today that had two different populations posted on two different signs. Not just a few digits off, either. One was four times higher than the other. We found that amusing. Harriet and Wilberforce are doing well. Harriet still hasn't had any problems. Wilberforce has grown quite a bit louder over the past week, but is still operating normal. She's actually faster than Harriet now due to some new parts last week. I predict another 18,000 miles out of her. If God has other plans, I'm thrilled to see what lessons he has to teach us about trusting his sovereign plan. We are planning to swing south a ways in an attempt to avoid the Rocky Mountains this week. We will have to cross them when we head east again, but we'll at least be further along.
Today was a very windy day with temps in the mid-90's. We've been blessed to avoid all of the severe weather that's been around the country in the past weeks. As Rev has mentioned, though, it has been a good thing, a moving thing for he and I to see the damage all over the south that these tornadoes have caused. It has served to scrape away the willful ignorance he and I both have regarding the trials that people just a day away from us are walking through.
We are just west of Tulsa, OK now at a rather pleasant campsite on a lake. The sun just went below the treeline. We arrived a couple hours ago and played a little catch (baseball) and have been writing and reading. And meeting some new friends of the duck variety. This is up there as one of my favorite evenings of the trip so far.
Just a brief aside, here. People have asked where our nicknames came from, so I shall tell you. Rev is obviously short for reverend. Brady has been pursuing his pasotral call since before I met him, so it just makes sense to call him Rev as a way of encouraging him in his pursuit. Viking was one of my multitude of nicknames in the Marine Corps. The Stockelands are of Norwegian heritage, and I was much larger at one time, so the moniker of Viking made logical sense.
Today is Memorial Day. Memorial Day always makes me think. I always ask myself the question, "Am I living in such a way that I am taking advantage of the freedoms I have been given by those who have gone before me? Am I appreciating the smallest little things in life that some people will never experience?" I challenge myself, and I offer the challenge to others; enjoy life. Take advantage of the freedoms that we have been given. Thomas Gilbert, Jonathan Thornsberry, Jacob Neal, Brett Whitteveen, Kenny VanSlyke, and Andy Kim are six Marines that always enter my thoughts today. They are the Marines that I knew on some level or another who gave their lives in Iraq. For where God has Brady and I in our lives today, the best way we can honor their sacrifice is to spend time with my cousin's family (ESPECIALLY his children), ride our scooters across the open road, play baseball, and share the love of Christ with anyone who will listen. But on a greater scale, how can we use these freedoms and blessings for the everlasting Kingdom, for God's kingdom? There are many, many ways I see, but it's something I'd like people to be mindful of on Memorial Day.
"To whom much was given, much will be required." Luke 12:48
There have been times when the breath in my lungs felt like all the riches in the world being lavished on me. But as Americans (most of us, I am assuming), we have a tremendous blessing, and a tremendous responsibility to use what we've been given.
So, honor and memorialize and remember, but also be asking and praying about ways in which we can use the sacrifices of these men and women to bring glory to God.
Our day is done. Please continue to pray for opportunities to talk with people whose hearts God is preparing and cultivating. This is a relatively sparse area of the country this week, but we still want to be used by God, and appreciate and cherish your prayers to that end. Flagstaff, AZ is the goal for Sunday, if you are curious.
God is good.