Thursday, June 30, 2011

How Many More Mr. Rogers?

June 30 - Day 46
FaHoCha Bible Camp (east of New Rockford, ND)
Written By Viking

When I was a young child, before I knew how to tell time, I figured out a way to understand how far we were from a destination on a trip. I was a fan of Mr. Rogers, and I knew approximately how long his show was. So, I would lean forward and ask, "Dad? How many more Mr. Rogers until we get there?" My dad would mentally break the trip down into half-hour segments and give me an estimate. I would be satisfied, as the trip was now manageable in my mind.
Today, I looked at the map as we were riding and saw a stretch until our next stop. I thought to myself, "Oh, that's only three more mouthfuls of sunflower seeds." Or one Mr. Rogers.

Yesterday was a slow morning. It was a blessing to have a home to ourselves to move around in, so we took advantage of that. I think we finally hit the road around 9am, but we traveled 70 miles right away, biting off a significant chunk of our day. We pressed on across Montana. Nothing much to report. We met many more bugs.. and we cleaned them off of our faces at every stop.

Just when we were nearing the 700-mile marker on Montana's Highway 2, we saw a most wondrous sight, North Dakota. If you've never been to North Dakota, sell your shoes, buy a pair of snowshoes, and come visit in June. My father grew up here, and he told me of a time when they played king of the hill on a snowdrift, but they eventually had to stop because the power lines started showing. Right now, North Dakota's weather is anything but cold. Rev and I rode into Williston, ND with temps in the high 90's and a humidity level at an extreme only North Dakota could produce. Williston, ND left such a strong impression that we visited twice, eventually deciding to spend the night there. All campgrounds were full. A great man had offered to buy us a hotel along the way, but all the hotels were booked, as well. There's oil in Williston, and everyone's after it. However, our friend explained what we were doing, and a hotel clerk said she would call her pastor. A short time later the pastor of a Williston church was showing us a plot of grass where we could pitch our tents. What a blessing!

We quickly pitched our tents and securely staked them in before the gnats and mosquitoes flew off with them. We knew we had to find some relief from the heat and bugs, so I suggested the American Legion ball field in Williston. I know you're dying to know how I knew about this field in the first place, so I'll tell you. In 1968 the North Dakota Babe Ruth League state championship was held in Williston. My dad's team won. Yesterday morning I asked my dad if he remembered where it was in town. He didn't for sure, but then said, "Oh, wait! You've been to that stadium before." He said it as if I should remember exactly where it was. Having been somewhere around five years old and definitely still in my Mr. Rogers stage, my way around Williston had faded. However, I asked my dad, "Do you know what else happened that year?" His immediate, matter-of-fact answer was, "I got a haircut." That's exactly what I was thinking of!! My father got a haircut on June 19, 1990! Rev could overhear the conversation, and he immediately realized that my unusual memory is genetic.

Anyway, we DID go to the stadium, we DID watch a Babe Ruth League game, and Rev DID find yet another baseball with the name Babe Ruth on it. We then played some catch, went to a Dairy Queen with no a/c to cool down, and went back to our tents. We lay there in our sweat for a while, but a cold front did come in, and we had a comfortable nights sleep.

This morning was a rapid scramble to pick up our campsite, again before mosquitoes made off with any of our belongings. A few diners and gas stations later, and we found ourselves on the east side of North Dakota. On the way, Brady received his first bee sting while riding a scooter. No tears were shed, and he handled it with much grace. He just showed me his hand and said, "A bee just stung me." At the same moment he was stung we were riding across a road that had been paved up with dirt due to the immense flooding that has been happening in central North Dakota.

I called my father to tell him where we were, as this is the area where he grew up, and he mentioned in passing, "You'll go right past FaHoCha." (When I learn what it means I'll let you know) FaHoCha is a Bible camp that my father spoke at when we lived in North Dakota. The Stockeland name is very highly thought of, so Moped Justice Mission was able to ride that wave into camp and enjoy a meal.

Shortly after arriving I discovered that something was missing from my crate. My baseball glove. I quickly thought of the time that it had likely happened. 98% of the time Rev rides behind me, but there was a stretch of very bumpy dirt road in a town 20 miles back when I was in the back. Bumps make things fall out. A staff member graciously allowed me to save an hour by letting me use her vehicle to go look for it. Based on the way this trip has been going, you would almost expect me to go to that road and find 32 baseball gloves laying on the ground. However, there wasn't a glove. I snooped around a little, but it was gone.

It seems that when something is taken from me or somehow removed from my life, it has been because God has been working to free me from something or to free me up for something. A glove may seem minor, but it represents a lot for me. So anyway, it looks like Rev and I are done playing catch for the summer, but we had a lot of fun. No regrets about bringing them, even if it was lost.

Some open bunk beds were offered to Rev and I at camp, and we have graciously accepted the offer, along with the use of the shower. The evening chapel time was such a blessing. I remarked to Rev that it was great to sing praises at the top of our lungs. He added, "Yeah, and with other people." The challenge by the speaker to make prayer a more critical part of your life did not fall on deaf ears, either.

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Good doesn't mean easy. Good doesn't mean comfortable. Good could require making a wrong turn. Good could require a scooter breaking down. Good could require losing a baseball glove. God is good. All the time.

Thank you for your prayers. Despite the fantastically rural area we are traveling through, God has been opening many opportunities for utterance. I think we've had opportunities at nearly every stop we've made this week. We have been sweetly blessed by so many people. Our cup runneth over, and people are continuing to pour blessings upon us and our ministry. THANK YOU for your prayers, and for striving to finish strong with us.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Mountains are Fading

June 28--Day 44
Malta, MT
Written by Rev

For the past 21 out of 23 years, my birthday has been celebrated at Holland State Park in Michigan. If you have never been there, go sell your....okay, just kidding. It is only sort of cool :)

Well this year it was spent in Glacier National Park with a very good friend. We woke up Monday and headed the 30 some miles to the park and immediately were captivated by the snow capped mountains. It was so very beautiful as we were overlooking the lake with the mountains in the background!

We had planned to hike a trail named, "Avalance Lake." It was an out and back hike that was four miles round trip, ending at a magnificient lake with mountains and waterfalls in the background. It was only 500 feet in elevation, therefore I figured my knee could handle it. We took very minimal supplies: a candy bar and water. As we approached the lake, there was a log jam at one end. Viking and I are very adventurous, so we just had to go out on the floating logs. We managed to stay dry and even capture some pretty amazing photographs.

We ventured down the shoreline and found a nice bench to sit on and eat our candy bars. I then made the decision to drink all of my water. Bad decision. Just kidding. It wasn't a bad decision, since this hike was pretty much like walking on flat ground. Anyway, after some more scenic photos, we headed back on the trail and back to our bikes. We zoomed back to the first lake, enjoying the reflection of the mountains on the water--so cool!

Since the famous "Going-to-the-sun-road" was closed, we took highway 2 all the way to what is called "West Glacier". But on the way we were told that there were mountain goats under the bridge. So, being adventurous once again, we found about 10 mountain goats. The white, shaggy looking ones. I had never seen them before, so they were very interesting to view and look at. Viking actually became very nervous since he spooked some and then wondered if they were offensive animals. They weren't, they were just hanging out in the shade, minding their own business.

At West Glacier, we ate dinner at a really small town restaurant named Lunas. We ate are fill and then were given free dessert because of my birthday and yes, they even sang to me. I must admit that it was pretty awesome. Then, they advised us to take a road that took us 12 miles out of the way, but they promised that they view would be worth it. So we took their advice and I believe that those 12 extra miles were definitely worth seeing!

As we headed further east along highway too, there was some mixed emotions running through my mind. I kept thinking, "I am getting close to home, but this is the last time I will see these amazing Rocky Mountains on this trip--maybe for the rest of my life!" But we ended up being able to see them even this morning, 75 miles later. So beautiful!

We had our best campsite ever on the trip so far. I cannot even describe it, but I will do my best. It was pretty much in a rock formation that blocked the wind completely. We were worried about our stakes going into the ground, but no worries, they slid in like a knife cutting through butter!

It was pretty chilly when we woke up, so we headed out decently early, but the sun promised us a warm day. The day heated up nicely, but we also destroyed so many mosquitos. I bet it was at least 5 every 30 seconds. We are staying at a house that a couple from Kalispell is letting us use tonight. So very thankful! We were told that the mosquito population was crazy throughout here, but didn't think it would be that bad, so we are thankful for a place to stay inside!

But backing up to our breakfast. We were sitting down when a group of bikers came in. One man asked us, "Are you the guys on mopeds?" We replied happily, "Of course!" We shared information and he was actually from Traverse City, MI and his parents live in Grand Rapids, MI! So crazy! We were very blessed by this man, such a great group of fellow bikers!

Then, when we were getting gas a man approached us inquiring about what Moped Justice Mission was. We explained what we were doing and he told us that he was a pastor. He then bought us gas and prayed with us, right there in the gas station. He thanked the Lord for us and asked for protection for us--God is good!

Well, it was great way to spend a birthday and thank you all for the birthday wishes! It meant so much to me! Also, thank you from the both of us for the prayers, encouragement and support! God is good!

To God Be The Glory!

Monday, June 27, 2011

God's Heart for Justice and the Oppressed (Part 2)

This is the second in a series of five blogs. (They will be interspersed among the others) If you don't read any others, please read these. This is the heart and soul of our summer.

In Part 1 we looked at the problem of Human Trafficking in the world today. We know it is a problem, we know that the Bible is not silent about this evil, and we will now see that God is not silent in showing us his love for justice. In this second part we will simply examine the heart of God through the blessing of scripture and see his revealed plan for injustice.

We read the first part of Psalm 10 when looking at the problem. Take a moment to reflect on the magnitude and horror of the problem.

Now, read Psalm 10:12-18
"Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, "You will not call to account"? But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none. The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more."

Psalm 11:5-7
"The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face."

Isaiah 59:15-16
"The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him."

We have enjoyed speaking with several youth groups at churches this summer. When Brady asks someone to read one of these verses and then asks what it means, they pause for a second and questioningly say, "God.. loves.. justice?" "God... hates evil?" Yes! Absolutely! I so appreciate Isaiah 61:8 because it blatantly shows us God's heart.

Isaiah 61:8
"for I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong."

That's as clear as a glacier stream. (really clear)

For me, this is pretty encouraging. I have to smile and wriggle around when reading these verses, because I am assured that God is passionately opposed to evil and oppression. Beyond that, he hears the cries of the oppressed, he hears the cries of those calling to him on behalf of the oppressed, and he is active. He is breaking the arm of the evildoer and calling them to account. He is lifting up his hand against evil. Is that not an awesome, empowering image? God is delivering them their fiery portion. God's actions against evildoers will become even more significant in the next part of this 5 part series.

All the passages we have looked at are in the Old Testament, written before the coming of Jesus Christ, God's son. In Luke we have the account of Jesus reading from the book of Isaiah. We will look at this passage more in the final part of the series, but as it further reveals God's heart toward the oppressed, I think this is a fitting place for it.

Luke 4:16-21
"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

God is not silent about the problem of human trafficking or modern-day slavery. I feel that his concern for the oppressed and his aggressive fury toward evil is clearly seen. More than anything, be encouraged. Pray for God to continue to strengthen and uphold the oppressed, and to raise us his supremely powerful hand against the evildoers.

God loves justice and hates evil. So what is his plan? How is God intending to bring about justice and freedom for the oppressed? What is the role of believers in his plan? Fortunately for us, the scriptures provide us with those answers, as well, and that is what we will look at in the next part.

Jeremiah 9:23-24
"Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sooo.. Highway 2 is Pretty Long.

June 26 - Day 42
Kalispell, MT
Written By Viking

I inherited from my father a healthy appreciation for the philosophical thinking of John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes. Well, Calvin and Hobbes, to be more exact. In one of my favorite strips Calvin is looking at the starry night sky and, looking up, screams, "I'M SIGNIFICANT!" He then looks forward and mutters, "..said the tiny little speck."

Driving through the landscape of the past few days, it can definitely create that feeling in you. Especially if you're on a scooter. However, despite our minute, ever-so temporary existence on earth, God is still mindful of us. And he loves us. Whether you've received him as your savior or not, God loves you.
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31

God continues to provide for us. I try to think of all the ways he is providing for us that I take for granted. The northern states have been saturated in rain. We haven't had rain since Alabama. We have scooters that run. We have been exposed to a myriad of unique bacteria across our journey, yet we remain healthy. I was briefly threatened with tonsillitis but a Grand Canyon hike sweat that out of me very effectively. His provision has served to strengthen and deepen our faith and trust in him, and to be even more bold in our ideas and plans and endeavors for the future. Hold on to your seat, mom, the Marine Corps barely scratched the surface of God's adventures for my life.

On Friday afternoon we rolled into a Honda dealer called Spokane Motorsports. It's in Spokane. We have two spare belts for our scooters, and we were thinking it may be about time for them to be replaced. We've lost some top speed over the weeks, so we were hoping it may bring that back up. The labor costs would have made the belt replacement $40 each, and we didn't think that was wise stewardship of our funds. We could do it ourselves, but we don't carry an impact wrench in our back pocket. We lingered around the dealer, debating some other purchases. In a little bit a salesman approached me and told me that he saw that what we were doing was from God, and he would be paying for our belt replacements. God is constantly humbling us and making us in awe of his clear provision for our daily bread. Even the needs of our scooters. We were also given replacement bolts that had rattled out of our fender. Small, but still very thoughtful and encouraging. We also ended up buying warmer gloves and rain gear, and we were given a discount on that, as well. Thank you for your support, Spokane Motorsports. We were blessed by your kindness, and help, even though we made some of you stay late.

Just as we were leaving the Honda dealer, we discovered that Harriet was unpleased with the new belt, and seemed to be an incompatible host. She refused to go above 30mph. We had planned to go another 40 miles that day, but we decided to grab a bite to eat and pray about what our options were. We decided to stay in Spokane, return to the dealer Saturday morning, and if it was a bigger problem, we would maybe split up to make sure that our church opportunity in Montana was not lost. We made our way to a state park that we discovered to be full. However.. a funny thing happened on the way. Slowly, Harriet began to regain her strength. At one point she was very near 40mph. We found an rv park 10 miles up the road and decided to check it out. We arrived to find it far mor expensive than we thought was justified just to put some stakes in grass.

So, with Harriet seemingly close to her old reliable self, we donned our new warming layers and continued on into the night. Mothers, our new rain gear has reflective gear built in to it, so we were very, very visible. We were also very comfortable, and very pleased with our purchases. It was a thrill to enthusiastically hurl our ragged old rain suits into the trash, as well.

A brief aside... When Harriet was running poorly, I was ready for Brady to snap. I thought he was going to be furious, and it would have been a natural reaction for most people. However, with the God-send of having our belt replacement paid for, we knew this was from God, and I was encouraged and uplifted by Brady's example of having a great attitude about it. Actually, I would say that our spirits were at their highest of the day when Harriet gave us trouble. Praise the Lord for trials. "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4

We stayed at a nice little family-owned campground right on a lake south of Newport, WA on Friday night. The weather dipped down to a balmy 40 degrees, so we discovered that you can still curl up into a very tight fetal position in a sleeping bag.

With our new warming layers we bravely faced the cold winds in the morning, heading out before 7am. We had our first dual-state day since the four corners as we passed from Washington through the Idaho panhandle and into Montana. It's hard to explain, but Montana's sky really does seem to be bigger. It also has bald eagles that majestically soar through the big sky.

Kalispell, MT was our destination, as my father again heroically contacted a church, and they were graciously willing to allow us to share our ministry with them. As we rolled into Kalispell, I realized that this town has the most beautiful view of any town we've seen on the trip. The Rocky Mountains are literally out the back door.

We arrived here Saturday afternoon. We have had some much needed time of rest. This morning we were able to share briefly in services, as well as speaking with the youth group. It was a warm and welcoming church who were very interested in our minstry. I'm not sure who's more blessed at these churches, as they express gratitude for our visit, but we are thrilled to fellowship with believers and overjoyed to gain a listening ear to share God's heart for the oppressed. It's a nice give-and-take.

We toyed with the idea of continuing on this afternoon, but I fell asleep a few seconds after laying down this afternoon, so we will be setting out tomorrow morning with the goal of Fargo, ND by next Sunday. We have some exciting plans for the beginning of the week, and then we will be fighting mind-numbing boredom as we will be on the same road for 5 days. Good ol' highway 2.

Incidentally, Rev's birthday is tomorrow. I'm not sure how you can reach him aside from our Facebook or email, but as he's away from family and loved ones and stuck with me, he could probably use some encouragement. We plan to celebrate by glorying in God's creation, eating two meals, and riding scooters. We pull out all the stops in our birthday celebrations. Happy birthday to anyone else who may have a birthday tomorrow, as well!

"O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." Psalm 104:24
Read all of Psalm 104 when you have opportunity. God is an all-sufficient, ever-providing God.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Loooooooovvvvveeee it!!!!!!!!!

June 23--Day 39
Leavenworth, WA
Written by Rev

I was eating a hamburger one night with my girlfriend, she took the first bite and said in as low of voice as she could go, "I LOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEE MEAT!" That is exactly how I felt this morning and all day, except that it wasn't meat that I loved; it was this mission that we are on. I love it.

After a long, cold ride yesterday, we made it safely to campground in Montesano, WA. It was a beautiful drive in as we witnessed the wreckage of hurricane winds to a forest back in 2007. We had to cross a four mile bridge over the Columbia River to get to Washington. I loved it.

As we were arranging our campsite with the Park Service, we decided that a campfire would be great to have. We did not regret that decision. It was awesome to sit at a fire, just the two of us and discuss how the trip has been going as well as ways to improve. I loved it.

I had a pretty sore neck and back from my accident, but Viking let me sleep in, which was awesome. We left around 8 AM to head to Bremerton to catch a ferry across Puget Sound to Seattle, WA. It was a beautiful boat ride, at least I think it was--I slept most of the way. But once again Viking woke me up just in time to enjoy the view of approaching the city. We then made our way to the original Starbucks to get a cup of coffee. I loved it. Oh, did I mention that it was sunny today? The first time in four days that we have seen the sun!

We spent a few hours there wandering around the city and enjoying it. We have decided not to head into Canada because that would make our destination for Sunday in Montana a long way off. We decided that we would only travel about 100 more miles today, especially because we were headed through the Cascade Mountains. I didn't think it would be that bad because we had to go up to Steven's Pass at 4,000 feet of elevation and then back down. Well it was bad. Freezing cold, but amazing views. We actually went above some clouds and had snow capped mountains as well! The road was wet, which made it interesting, but the views made up for it. I kept saying over and over again, "I love it!"

We hobbled into a local diner because we were so cold, but then we decided that since they claimed to have 'the best milk shakes in the world' that we had to decide for ourselves if they were. I agree, they were excellent. Once again, I muttered, "I love it!"

The next 16 miles to our campsite were beautiful as we followed a thunderous river to our destination tonight. We are at another campground and are enjoying playing catch and sitting by a campfire once again. We have decided to do campgrounds because they are a great way to talk to more people about our ministry and what we are doing. It has been great talking with so many people.

This trip has been awesome thus far. It has been amazing to see God's creation as well as talking with so many people about this terrible injustice in the world today. We cannot thank you enough for all your prayers and support! It has been amazing for the both of us to realize the power of prayer as well as the reliance on God that we need in our day-to-day life.

Oh and did I mention that we are on the home stretch. We made a right hand turn in Seattle onto highway 2 and this is the road that will take us to the Mackinac Bridge. We will be home soon. I cannot wait.

God is good. I love it!

To God Be the Glory.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Long and Winding Road

June 21 - Day 37
North Bend, OR
Written By Viking

The long and winding road I am writing about is not the road that leads, as the Beatles claim, to your door. Unless your door is at the north end of the Pacific coast. In that event, we need a place to do laundry. The road I refer to is the classic Pacific Coast highway, or highway 1. Where we are now it has become highway 101, but its' coastal proximity remains unchanged.

These past two days have been pretty typical days, as far as this summer goes. Many miles covered, many awesome sights, many great people met, and many valuable life lessons learned. Pretty typical day for the summer. I am so happy.

We quietly left Santa Rosa on Monday morning, winding our way through the numerous vineyards in Sonoma County on our way out to the coast. The northern California coastline is not warm. It's usually very windy and mostly overcast. The past two days have been full warming layers for us, minus the dirty socks on our hands. The wind, cold, hills, and curves manage to stretch out our days quite a bit. It took us just over 11 hours yesterday, stops included, to cover about 200 miles. We ended the day on a very positive note, though, as we had some great conversations with some other travelers at our campground. I always display deference to bicyclists when I see them on the road, so it was great to chat with one who is riding from Los Angeles to Seattle and back. A bicycle trip was my original desire, but the scooter was available, and therefore cheaper. I just made Rev buy one.

We set out this morning in a thick fog. Very thick. It quickly accumulated on our scooters, goggles, and pants. There was no wind, though, so we were in good enough spirits. Pretty early on we passed through Redwood National Forest. We missed the Sequoia's in the south, so this was an adequate consolation prize. They were huge and impressive. We could fit both of our scooters inside a burned-out trunk.

There was that whole Pacific Ocean place, as well. Many times it couldn't be seen due to the fog, but when we could see it, it was pretty impressive. Very impressive. I was especially awed when I couldn't see it, but I could still hear it.

We crossed into Oregon in the early afternoon. A short time later we pulled onto a gravel turnout to... look at some shrubbery. I saw the monstrous pothole between the pavement and gravel in time to swerve around it. Rev did not. In my sideview mirror I watched Rev and Harriet go their separate ways and quickly went over to see if Harriet was okay. Kidding. I checked on Rev first, but he was already standing. Harriet was scratched up pretty bad on her right side, but she started as soon as Rev got her upright. We re-tightened all of the gear, and then Brady realized that he somehow didn't have a scratch on him. We've talked about it several times since then.. I thought I saw him in the air, and then on his back in the gravel, but he had no dirt on him and not even a bump. As Rev said, "It's as if Harriet landed on gravel and I landed on a mattress." So that was good, I guess. (understatement) I told Rev it would have been awful if I had to call an ambulance because Harriet was hurt. Kidding again. Praise the Lord for his protection, and thank you for your prayers. Even prayers for safety, I suppose.

What other news to report.. I had a swollen lip for the past two days. I'm not really sure why. I wish I could say it was a bite from some rare spider in a remote mission field, but yeah.. it's not. It's probably from a sunburn or something. I look mostly normal again, though, and can talk correctly.

I suppose I'll wrap this up with an explanation as to my naming of Sojourner. There are a few rules for naming a scooter you should be aware of. One, it should generally be a woman's name. (Unless it's named Wilberforce, because he was a great man.) Two, you cannot personally know anyone with the name that you choose. That's really the only two rules. You can add and remove rules as you see fit.
My first scooter was originally named Thelma, but was re-christened Wilberforce in lieu of the summer trip. My first thought was to rename this scooter Thelma, especially since I moved the battery case from Thelma to this one. However, in the same way that you can't give the same name to two pets, I couldn't call another scooter Thelma. Besides, their personalities are way too different. Is this weird yet?? Thelma was slow but steady, while this scooter has a penchant for 'speed', yet really struggles up hills. I prefer the first disposition, but after this scooter managed to cross the Sierra Nevada's, I knew she had earned a name. I toyed with one other name, but I then remembered that my elementary school secretary in 4th-6th grade had that name, so I had to disqualify it. Rules are rules, even if I made them.
As soon as I thought of Sojourner, though, I knew it was a match. We are even able to maintain the abolitionist theme with the reference to Sojourner Truth, the well-known American abolitionist born in the late eighteenth century.
A little while ago Rev and I listened to a sermon online about observing the Sabbath, and in Deuteronomy 5:13 it commanded even the sojourners within the city gates to observe the Sabbath. I suppose based on my reflecting on that message the name was in my thoughts. Sojourners were also listed in the groups of people who were threatened with oppression. In First Peter 2 Peter refers to the scattered Christians as sojourners and exiles. In verses 11-12 he offers this command, "Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation."
This has become a prayer for many of my little God-given adventures, so I thought Sojourner was a great name, serving as a reminder to our call for honorable conduct throughout this summer, as well as, Lord-willing, our days and years to follow.

Our bodies are beginning to wear down a bit. Our knees are recovering very slowly from some minor injuries, and a lot of little aches and pains are becoming more consistent. This obviously can affect our attitudes and patience with each other, so we continue to covet your prayers for us as we strive to finish the race and keep the faith ever at the forefront o our actions. Fortunately people continue to encourage us with their exuberant reactions to our trip, and we continue to be given opportunities of utterance. I like that word.

Time for bed. I don't have any possessions to suggest selling, but worry not, more will be coming.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 19--Day 35
Santa Rosa, CA
Written by Rev

We are currently in Viking's old stomping grounds, as well as in a house. God is good. We were able to see Viking's old homestead in Santa Rosa, but before that, some really cool things happened.

We were able to stay with an amazing woman this weekend. We heard many amazing stories and memories from this woman's life and we were so very thankful to have heard her testimony and love for the Lord. She is amazing and she also cooked so extremely well. God is good.

She lent us her vehicle to take into San Francisco instead of our mopeds. We spent the day in the city walking around, trying not to act like a tourist. After a couple of hours, we were extremely exhausted from all the people so we decided to sit at a Starbucks working on things. I was able to get some things done for church work and Viking loaded pictures on Facebook.

Then, this is one of the amazing things that have happened on the trip. Remember the two men that we met hiking the Grand Canyon, named Bert and John? Well they are from Oakland and we received an email from them asking us to stop in their place if we needed anything when we were in the area. Pause.

We also were hoping to watch a Major League Baseball game on this trip. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to attend one as we were in the area of two stadiums of the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants. We checked the schedule and those two teams actually were playing each other, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. We were pumped.

So now we had an amazing opportunity to go to a baseball game as well as hang out with Bert and John. So we called them and asked if they wanted to go to the game. They agreed and we met them there. It was great to share a baseball game and great fellowship with two other men that we met in the Grand Canyon! God is good.

The Oakland Athletics actually won against the Giants--sorry Giants fans.

Happy Fathers day to all you Fathers who are reading this. It is a bummmer that we have to be away from our fathers on this special day, but the love and support that we both have received from our fathers in this ministry and our lives is amazing. Praise the Lord.

We were privileged to speak at San Jose Christian Reformed Church this Sunday morning and it was amazing. Pastor Brad gave us this opportunity to speak on a last minute notice and we appreciated it very much. The congregation welcomed us greatly and it was absolutely amazing to share God's heart for justice. God is good.

On the way home from church, we stayed in a group of vehicles for some time. This couple was looking at us and smiling, so Viking reached into his pocket and pulled out a prayer card and handed it to them. At the next stop light, the girl got out and gave us a twenty dollar bill. God is good.

We decided to leave this afternoon in order to get out of the city and to see Viking's old stomping grounds and to see an old family friend. But getting there we were able to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Yes, the big one in California. So cool, especially on a moped. I literally laughed out loud when I was riding across it. God is good :)

Thank you so much for your prayers and support! We will be heading up highway 1 all the way to Seattle and we have been told oodles of times that this is a beautiful highway. We cannot wait.

Some encouraging words from Psalm 121:

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

How Great Thou Art

June 18 - Day 34
San Jose, CA
Written By Viking

Rev and I decided to split up the blogging duties for this post, considering that fitting 5 days into a single blog could be difficult. So if you haven't read the previous blog yet (Desert), you may wish to.

In the last blog Rev left us in Tonopah, NV on Tuesday evening. Just as we were setting off on the day's travels we saw some snow-capped mountains in the distance. I am usually pretty calm with the camera, but I was snapping a lot of pictures because I thought they were great, and I didn't know when I would see snow-capped mountains again. Yeah.

Our destination for the day was Yoesmite National Park. At the Grand Canyon I was told of a beautiful hike there that Rev and I wanted to experience. We also saw that parks were ideal places to share our ministry, as the patrons of these parks are generally in a more casual, laid back, talkative mood. So that was the plan. At our first stop for gas and a bite to eat, we were informed that the east gate to Yosemite (Tioga Pass, for you Yosemite veterans) was still under 15 feet of snow. In June. I was disappointed that I hadn't thought to call ahead like I have with many other potential problems, but there we were. In looking at the map we saw that the next quickest route would essentially add a day to our travel time. Rev and I figured out that we still had time to make it to the park, and we both knew it would put us in closer proximity to reachable people than anything else in the area.

The detour was disappointing, but I think we were handling it well, knowing we would still be at a church on Sunday. On roads with lots of elevation changes Rev is always faster on the uphill parts, and I can always pull far ahead on the downhills. I think that most of this difference is related to our difference in body weight. Needless to say, there was a bit of elevation change on this road.

In Bridgeport, CA we turned west on highway 108. If you've never been on highway 108, sell your computer and go visit it. It is, without hesitation, the most beautiful, breathtaking, awe-inspiring road I have ever been on. I believe Rev resonates those feelings. We climbed to an elevation of over 9,600 feet. Remember those snow-capped mountains I was so excited about? At one point the road was so steep I had to get off and push my scooter, and I was pushing it next to a wall of snow three times taller than I am. What beauty! AAhhhhhh!!!
At the peak of our climb our roles changed, as I was now screaming down the hill at the breakneck speed of 45mph. I felt bad for going so fast. You could walk this road and still miss so much of God's beautiful handiwork. There was a mountain 'stream' alongside the road that was pounding down the mountain with intimidating force. There were many, many times when I would see a part of the mountain, and I would have loved to just stop and climb all over the untrodden landscape. Next time. There was a song that was stuck in my head throughout this entire day, and as we would go on I would just sing it louder and louder.

I could write a whole book chapter (hmm...) about this road, so I will stop. We made it within 40 miles of Yosemite before stopping to sleep.

Thursday. (Sorry this is long, but I'm enjoying recalling the week's events.) Thursday was our climb into Yosemite. We arrived just before noon. As we entered into the Yosemite Valley, speakable words left our lips. Rev and I would see something and just grab our helmet and scream and point. We were both giddy with excitement and joy at the magnificence that was before us. I was nearly in tears as we would pass by waterfalls that were cascading for thousands of feet. That same song continued its constant repeat in my head. My lips were speechless, though.

We confirmed that our desired hike was not buried in snow and grabbed a bite to eat. Our goal was a hike to the top of Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America, and the fifth tallest in the world. As we set off, Brady realized that his knee was hurting too much to climb very far, but he graciously let me continue on. As he hobbled around the valley floor to explore (he was legitimately in pain, so there is no grief being given on my part) I was climbing to the top. It was beautiful. If you haven't been there, sell your dishwasher and go visit it. Just like the Grand Canyon, though, my greatest joy came in the climb up and down more than the view. Nevertheless, the song in my head continued.

Soaked in salt and sweat, I met back up with Brady and we packed up to head out of the Park. So we spent maybe 7 hours in the park, but we got our money's worth.

We camped in a National forest that evening and continued west in the morning. It was fun to get to cities that were becoming familiar to me, as I lived north of the bay area for three years. One last story, and I'll be done.

If you take 130 from Modesto to San Jose, prepare to lose your lunch. The road was at least 60 miles, and.. using a very conservative estimate.. I would say there were at least 735 curves in that stretch. 5-10 curves is good. 30-40 is intense. Hundreds of curves is just plain awful. We weren't getting sick, but we were exhausted after it was over. Our already aching tailbones are driven even harder into the seat in the curve, and every pebble you see could be the pebble that causes your wheel to slide our from under you. However, the risk was well worth the reward, which is a beautiful home to stay in, wonderful fellowship, and a queen-size bed to type this blog from!

As we enter a densely populated stretch of travel, please pray for an influx in opportunities to speak with people about what God has laid on our hearts. Pray for unity between Rev and I. Pray that God's light will shine through us.. through our words and our actions with each other and with others.

My scooter has earned a name. Sojourner. I will explain my decision in a later blog, if I remember.

Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy Power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, My savior, God, to thee!
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, My savior, God, to thee!
How great thou art! How great thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel he gentle breeze;

And when I think that God his son not sparing,
Sent him to die - I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home- what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great thou art!

I could spend my whole life searching, but no mountain pass our National Park can compare to the all surpassing joy of knowing Christ as my Savior.

Friday, June 17, 2011


June 17--Day 33
San Jose, California
Written by Rev(Brady)

So, it has been a while. Sorry to keep some of you coming back to this page and reading the same blog posting over and over again. We apologize, but that is due to a number of reasons, but mainly because we were in the Mojave Desert hanging out with the Joshua Trees. Look them up, they are pretty awesome. We are currently in San Jose, CA. Wow. We made it all the way across the country with 49cc engines. Crazy. Rewind to last Sunday.

We stayed in Flagstaff, AZ on Saturday night and was planning on speaking at a night service on Sunday night. We decided to attend Flagstaff Indian Bible Church, where we were supposed to speak the weekend before, to worship with them. Pastor Mike was gracious enough to give us some microphone time as we spoke to the congregation. What an amazing group of people. They were very welcoming to us and also were interested in our ministry. It was an amazing to worship with them as we even sang a song in Navajo, which was awesome to just sit and listen to another language being lifted up in praise to our Heavenly Father. It was simply awesome.

At night we were privileged to speak at Calvary Bible Church in Flagstaff, AZ as well. This was a great experience as people even wanted to tell their kids about what we were doing! God is good!

We left very early Monday morning, but not as early as we had planned. It was a blessing in disguise though because it was cold. The wind chill and temperatures easily were lower than 10 degrees. Therefore, we literally had almost every article of clothing on. For example, two pairs of pants, shirts, scarfs, gloves and then two pairs of socks on each hand for extra warmth, which helped only a little bit. But it soon warmed up and we could take off our ridiculous looking outfits.

The unnamed moped, Viking's that is, was running very well through the desert mountains. It was such a joy to be in the desert heat driving through the hills on up to Las Vegas. I was getting excited as we approached the Hoover Dam. Viking said it was big, but I didn't know just how big a dam could be. It was big, really big.

We arrived in Las Vegas, at the Wunderink home as we had planned. We played in the pool some awesome game of catch with a football, as well as Rev throwing the ball for Viking to go find at the bottom of the pool. Some might call this 'fetch'.

Viking went to visit a family friend who lived there and Rev visited with Mrs. Wunderink. I was able to experience parts of Vegas, see where their church was and learn a lot about their ministry in Vegas. It was a great and relaxing afternoon and night for the both of us.

In the late morning, we set out for Tonopah, NV. It was a great day, some would say. It took us about two hours to get out of Vegas. We met a very nice man who gave us his cell phone number in case we broke down in the desert. God is good.

We didn't break down, but we did give the bikes a rest and we even stopped for a picture with the Joshua trees. I learned that they are native only to the Mojave Desert.

As we have continued to press on in this mission, God has completely opened up so many opportunities to talk with people by use of the mopeds. As we pull into gas stations, people give us a funny look and ask, "Are you really from Michigan?" "Why of course!" we answer. Then we begin to explain why. God is doing a great work and we continue thank you for the emails and texts of encouragement as well as the prayers. God is so good and we cannot thank Him enough.

To Him Be the Glory and Honor. Amen.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Problem (Part 1)

This is the first in a series of five blogs. (They will be interspersed among the others) If you don't read any others, please read these. This is the heart and soul of our summer.

Psalm 10:1-11

There are some key phrases to look at in that passage. "Greedy for gain" in verse 3, "deceit and oppression" in verse 7, "sits in ambush... eyes stealthily watch for the helpless" in verse 8, "siezes the poor" in verse 9.
This Psalm was written by David over 2,000 years ago about the evil and oppression in the world, but these verses and these phrases that we are focusing in on apply to a problem that is still in the world today. This problem is human trafficking, or modern-day slavery.

A definition of human trafficking would be when a person is recruited or transferred through some form of coercion or deception and exploited, primarily for forced labor or sexual exploitation.
There are many different manifestations of human trafficking. Two of the most prominent are forced or bonded labor and sex trafficking. Bonded labor is when a person is trapped in a debt to a person that they cannot escape. They're generally given a small loan and required to work it off, but the interest, minimal wages, and maximum cost of living trap the debtor in a labor situation that they cannot escape. This type of slavery can even carry over to several generations of bonded labor.
Sex trafficking is something that should be self-explanatory, and due to its' deplorable nature will not be expanded upon in this blog.

Deception in forced labor has already been explained somewhat. Deception occurs in other forms of trafficking. Traffickers will visit poor villages and poor families and promise the family a good job for their child if they come with them to a city, where they can send money back to support the family. Or there may be a promise of a modeling or fashion career to a young girl. Of course, once the child is separated from the family, they are never heard from again.
Coercion is another common method of exploitation. This occurs primarily through blackmail, threats, weapons, and physical force. The individuals who implement these forms of coercion are at the bottom of the chain of command, however. There are always powers behind the force, which always includes individuals who make a claim to lawful authority. They are corrupt authority figures who make a profit by turning a blind eye to the evil in their jurisdiction, or even work to promote the illegal activity. Ecclesiastes 5:8 tells us not to be surprised by this corruption.

Human trafficking is a 31 billion dollar industry.
According to our resources, it is the third largest and fastest growing crime in the world, behind drugs and weapons sales.
There are approximately 27 million slaves in the world today. That is more slaves than there were during the entire 300 year Atlantic slave trade period.
Of those 27 million, 2 million are children exploited in the global sex trade, the youngest girl rescued from sexual slavery being 4 years old.
During the Atlantic slave trade slaves were valued at $40,000, according to today's dollar.
Today, for $100 a trafficker can buy a child.

Humans have become disposable.

Please read these verses that further speak of the evil that the world is plagued with both then and now.
Isaiah 59:7-9
Lamentations 5:11-13
Ezekiel 22:29
Ecclesiastes 4:1

All along this trip people try to predict where trafficking is happening. "This is probably a huge problem in Africa or Saudi Arabia, right?" "Oh man, China has so many problems with this, it's just awful." "So I bet Mexico is the worst place for this, isn't it?"

To answer that last question, two-thirds of the world's slaves are in the country of India. However, although there are areas and regions of the world where slavery is more prominent, there is not a single country that doesn't have some level of slavery or trafficking taking place. There are about 150,000 slaves in the United States today, with 20,000 people being trafficked across our borders every year. These slaves are not just international people either. 100,000 of these slaves are girls between the ages of 9 and 19. Nine and nineteen.

In the right column of this webpage are several resources that can give you a multitude of examples and gut-wrenching accounts of slavery in our world, even in suburban America. Due to the fact that we aren't aware of our reading audience, we will let you research that yourself.

Trafficking isn't just a problem for third-world or developing countries. It isn't just a problem for bad neighborhoods or children with bad parents. It has permeated the world. But even if just one girl on the other side of the planet was enslaved, God still has a command and call to believers for action. But first, we will examine the heart of God through the blessing of scripture and see his revealed plan for injustice.

This is my comfort after writing and thinking about this problem:
"For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Daniel 4:3

"How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation."

(An account of the Grand Canyon from the perspective of a 'first-timer')

The Grand Canyon stop was one of the few pre-planned events of this summer trip. On the long road up to the Grand Canyon I joked with rev that my excitement level was around 1.3 and dropping with every hill. I did confess to him, however, that I was very excited to see the Grand Canyon for myself, and even more thrilled to descend into it.

As we entered into the National Park we pulled off at Desert View (for those who have been there) to get our first glimpse of the canyon. Good thing. I would have almost certainly crashed if I saw the canyon for the first time from the road. I don't care what size television you have with whatever kind of resolution.. you need to sell it and take a trip to the Grand Canyon. No image can do it justice. As I saw the expanse I exhaled sharply. It took my breath away. My excitement quickly rose to 22. Out of 10.

Fast forward to the hike. I thought it was great that within a couple hours of seeing the canyon for the first time I was stepping over the edge. Fortunately, I had a friend who has hiked the trails quite a few times. The trip down was magnificent. The sun set a little over halfway through our descent which provided for some beautiful hiking. I enjoyed the night hike down the inner gorge, and I especially enjoyed watching bats run into Brady. He didn't seem to enjoy that part so much.

I thought the canyon was really windy at one point, but then realized that although we were thousands of feet up, I could already hear the roar of the Colorado River's rapids. What a powerful display. We eventually reached the bottom of the canyon in relatively good shape. The impact of the descending steps for 7 miles was rough but easily tolerable. After finding a place to lay down on the canyon floor we soaked our feet in the Bright Angel Creek. Before this Brady lost the nipple to his Camelbak when it caught on a bridge railing. It was washed downstream before we even knew what happened. So Rev didn't drink any more water. Kidding.. he plugged the hose with a pen.

Anyway, we slept, we arose, and we set off for our ascent. The first 7 miles of the climb up the North Side were bearably flat, so we kept a decent pace. I was enjoying the rushing creek that we followed, as well as watching the sun creep down the canyon walls, closer and closer to the inner gorge. At our second rest break I realized that I may have a rough day ahead of me. My right trapezius was in significant discomfort, and my legs had begun cramping with nearly every step. I had a sodium-enriched meal and laid down for a bit before we began the actual ascent. I was frustrated that my muscles were wearing out so quickly. Discomfort is one thing, but a cramp is hard to work through.

The short breaks became more frequent, and we were able to bite off the ascent one chunk at a time. I noted on our hike that I really liked the camaraderie that was displayed among hikers. With almost every group that was headed in the other direction we would stop to see where they were going or where they were from. I also carried some of our prayer cards and we would tell them what we were doing with our summer. I really liked that sort of community within the canyon.

I was a little disappointed in Rev, though. He's been packing my Banagrams game this whole trip but somehow didn't consider it to be essential gear for our hike. I can't imagine many people can claim to have played speed scrabble in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and now we can't either. Someday. He did forget a bottle of Arizona sand in a pocket of his pack, though, so he did carry that through the canyon.

Moving on, we continued our slow climb. With 1.2 miles left we still had almost 1,500 feet to climb in elevation. I may have been a tiny bit irritable at this point, but I'm sure it was solely due to the flies. Still, one step at a time found us at a lookout rock a half mile from the trail head. In a few minutes we rounded our final curve and saw our path open onto the canyon rim.

So that was fun. Seeing the canyon was something, but experiencing the canyon was something else. I realized that in the hike. As I was hiking, I wasn't enjoying it because of the beautiful views or the wonderful sights. Those were great, but the primary reason I was enjoying it was because of the experience and the challenge. It was great because we weren't on the outside, looking in. As we stood on the North Rim I repeatedly told Rev, "Hey, remember that time when we were on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and then we ended up on the North Rim?" One step at a time.

How can that challenge my faith? James 1:22 says, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." It goes on to talk about the man who looks intently in the mirror, and then walks away, forgetting what he looks like. I could have stared really hard at the canyon, but it wasn't until I hiked the 22 miles through the canyon that I realized the magnitude of this handiwork, and truly appreciated and enjoyed its beauty. No amount of looking could have done that for me. To be a follower of Christ is a call to action. Not observation. Oh mercy.. it's not a life of misery, either. It's the unexpected adventure! So great.. Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech once called "The Man in the Arena" that hangs on my wall. I would suggest reading it. Interestingly, he is the man who declared the Grand Canyon to be a national monument in 1908.

"O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." Psalm 104:24

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Grandest Canyon

June 11-Day 27
Flagstaff, AZ
Written by Rev

The Grand Canyon. If you have ever been there and not hiked it, you need to go back and hike it. I am not even kidding. There is only a small percentage of people, less that 5%, that take the challenge to go over the edge into one of the seven wonders of the world. And in case your wondering, this was not carved out by a river like most people say it is. I believe that my God made this with His own two hands because He can and He wanted His people to enjoy His creativity.

We arrived at the canyon Wednesday night and made our way to the Retail Distribution Center where I worked for four months two years ago. Most of the people that I worked with are still there and it was great to see them again. They were even gracious enough to let us leave our mopeds in the warehouse!

We went right into the canyon down the South Kaibab trail with the plans to hike down to the bottom, sleep there, hike up and down the North Kaibab the next day, sleep at the bottom again and then hike up the Bright Angel trail on the South Rim. This would put us around 50 miles of hiking; which is an extreme amount for anyone to hike, but are spirits were high as we took our first couple of steps into the canyon.

For me, it was so great to be in the canyon again. It was glorious. We even saw a Grand Canyon sunset from the Tonto Platform which is an absolutely phenomenal place to watch God paint the sky in various brush strokes and colors.

At the bottom around 11:30 PM we found a campsite and I told Viking that we needed to head to Bright Angel Creek to place our feet in the cold water. It was pretty much a tradition that I would do this when I would hike and I had to continue it. This is one of the best feelings in the world; eating beef jerky, drinking a Gatorade with your feet in Bright Angel Creek at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. God is good. As Viking took off his socks, we were both astonished to see huge blood blisters the size of a half dollar on each of his big toes. Not cool. We refreshed our feet in the water and popped the blisters hoping for them to dry out over the night.

Sleeping on the hard ground reminded us that we were so very grateful for air mattresses and beds. But no animals decided to come by us, so we rested and woke around 5:00 AM to get started. My shins hurt terribly bad, but pain soon went away as we were racing along the first seven miles of our trip which was flat until the last seven miles.

As we passed two men older than us, we were going strong. Then they passed us. Then we passed them. Then they passed us. So we decided to chat with them for a bit. Bert and Jon were their names and they were 70 years old hiking the Grand Canyon! So, if you say you can't, think again! We only made it to the top about an hour before them as we were cramping and sore and just plain didn't want to move a muscle, but we kept moving as we reached the top with great delight.

The plan was to head back down to the river, another 14 miles, but we decided to stay on top of the North Rim and take the shuttle back. So we went to the lodge area and viewed one of the seven wonders of the world from the north side. God is good.

We then walked to the campground at a very leisurely and painful pace, looking for a campsite. We received one of the best camping sites one could ever imagine; we were about 50 feet from the edge of the canyon watching the sunset as it went down. Absolutely amazing. The air was getting cooler and we were warned that the temperature was predicted to be 31 degrees that night. Wow. We were scared. So we took our sleeping bags out, and crawled in them putting on the long sleeve button up, two pairs of socks and our shorts was all that we had for warming layers. We zipped our sleeping bags up and pulled the draw string around our head tightly so we only had about an inch of breathing and seeing area. I stayed decently warm, but Viking kept saying he was cold. We even thought about going to the laundromat at 2:30 AM when we both woke up talking to each other, but we didn't. Good thing we didn't because we learned the next morning that they closed at 7 PM and opened at 7 AM.

As we were waiting for the shuttle at 7 AM we were sitting on the porch of the General Store in our sleeping bags on chairs eating our cold pizza from the night before. It was such a sight. Poor man who had to drive us to the South Rim because we smelled awful. We couldn't even stand it ourselves.

We got our bikes from the Warehouse and traveled around the South Rim exploring the different hotels and sites as I showed Viking around my stomping grounds two years ago. We even shared a jar of pickles under a pine tree on a picnic table waiting for the $3.00 shower for 8 minutes to re-open. We realized later that eating all those pickles wasn't such a good idea. Before we paid for a shower, we received a phone call from Bob in Flagstaff, so we headed to Flagstaff which is about 80 miles away. Not too far at all. So we are now in Flagstaff hoping to speak to two churches tomorrow.

If this trip takes us 8,000 miles exactly, then we have just passed the half way point at 4,000 miles. But no matter if it is half way or not, God has been blessing this trip and us with many opportunities to share about trafficking as well as the love of Christ with others.

We also want to thank you all for your prayers and support. It is so encouraging to receive emails, blog comments, texts, and/or phone calls knowing that people are praying us through as we continue on this mission of fighting injustice. We cannot do it without your support and help and may God continue to bless you all as you have been such a blessing to us.

God is good.

To God Be The Glory.

Back in the Saddle Again

June 8 - Day 24
Tuba City, AZ
Written By Viking

(This is a delayed blog entry, having been written this Wednesday. Our day became very rushed and the posting was abandoned for a few days. Lord willing there will be a small deluge of posts in the coming days.)

So. New Mexico was intended to be a one day trip. We spent 6 days there instead, but made our departure yesterday afternoon. This altitude, the wind, and our weight has slowed down our travel quite a bit, though. We covered over 360 miles yesterday, but it took us nearly 18 hours, stops included.

We left Albuquerque bright and early Tuesday morning with Harriet and the as of yet unnamed new scooter. I have a name picked out, but she has to prove herself before she earns it. Rev and I both really enjoyed our time in Albuquerque with Doug and Lavonne. All of the blessings surrounding the scooter were great, but at night I would think about how crazy it is that we are spending three nights in the home of a family we just met. That is a special blessing in and of itself.

We made our way north, climbing to an altitude of 7,000 feet. Gas stations are few and far between, and it wasn't until yesterday that one of us ran out gas. Fortunately, as Harriet died we were pulling into a gas station, so Rev only needed to push her about 30 feet. I like that.

God also protected Rev and I from several other potentially bad situations such as avoiding several bad accidents. We also had a nice gentleman throw a beer bottle at us from his car (yes, from his car) but the bottle bounced in front of my tire and harmlessly into the ditch. Not sure what his motive was, but praise the Lord for uncharacteristically sturdy glass.

Last night we spent the night at a free campsite near the Navajo National Monument. The soil was very soft, and the tent stakes went into the ground like a hot knife through butter. We have sometimes needed to use rocks to hammer them in, so this blessing did not go unnoticed.

The next morning we walked a little ways to see some Anasazi Indian ruins. This was a cliff-dwelling set back in a canyon wall. We didn't have time to go up close, but it was very interesting to see. As a big fan of history it was neat to see buildings that were utilized almost 1,000 years ago.

At lunch time I decided to sculpt my taco salad into a surprisingly accurate replica of the Indian ruins. We cannot load pictures onto our blog from our ipad, otherwise I would definitely share with you one of my finest artistic achievements. I must thank Rev for the resources needed to replicate the buildings and greenery (french fries and garnish). If you follow our Facebook page, you can look forward to that, I suppose..

The next few days should be consumed by exploring the Grand Canyon, which I am very-much looking forward to. I have never seen the Grand Canyon before, and I am thrilled to experience it with Rev, who has hiked over 300 miles in the canyon.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Time to 'Relax'

June 8 - Day 24
Grand Canyon, AZ

This is just a courtesy post to the handful of you who are faithful readers. Within an hour we will be stepping off in our rim-to-rim-to-rim hike of the Grand Canyon. We won't be setting any time records, so we will probably be away from the blog until Saturday. We will wait to reflect on the beauty of this magnificent place until then.

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Monday, June 6, 2011


June 6--Day 22
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Written By Rev

The last couple of days have been filled with many heart breaking, exciting, frustrating, patient and impatient times. But God is good.

This time that we have had has been filled with rest; a gift from God. God has provided six days of labor and one day of rest. What a brilliant God we have. For Viking and I, we have rested since Friday. God knew that we needed this and Viking and I cannot be ever more grateful for this rest.

This rest has consisted of so many good things: great fellowship, great church, great food, great company, great sleep and great time of relaxing and reading.

We had been traveling at a very quick pace on the east coast and until Arkansas when we enjoyed great rest as well, but God provided us with a breakdown and blessed us with so many things during this time of rest.

We want to thank you for your prayers and encouragement during this discouraging time where we have waited to seek God's will. I will admit, that I was getting impatient, but Viking kept reminding me that God is going to do something great in this time. He has done just that.

During this time, one thing has stuck out to me the most: God's family. We have encountered and have been blessed by so many people, as well as members of God's family. People have provided meals, hospitality, rides, the use of their vehicle, the use of their home, money and so many other things.

It has been awesome to know that even though we are both far away from our families, the family of God is everywhere taking care of one another. God is good. It has been amazing to be blessed by so many people and we cannot thank them enough for all that they have done because without them, this trip wouldn't be possible.

Praise the Lord for the family of God.
Praise God for rest for His people.
God is Good.

To God be the Glory.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Something Amazing

June 5 - Day 21
Albuquerque, NM
Written By Viking

"Something amazing is going to happen through this, and God will be glorified. His church will be encouraged, their faith strengthened, and our scooter trip will continue on."

That was written in the last blog entry on Friday evening.

Saturday morning Brady and I woke up from a great night of rest to a delicious breakfast of biscuits and gravy. After relaxing for a little bit and making a game-plan, we were given the keys to a Toyota Solara, and I was able to fulfill my childhood goal of driving in a convertible on route 66 with a good friend. We spent a good chunk of the day searching for a new or used Ruckus to purchase. We cannot afford one with the funds we have, but many generous people have offered to support our ministry and help to meet our need for a new scooter. It has been a humbling experience to be at the mercy of others for the continuation of our trip. It has also been a sweet blessing.

After searching every Honda motorsports dealer in New Mexico, it was discovered by Brady and I that the only Ruckus with a warranty was a used Ruckus in Albuquerque. Our options seemed pretty limited. However, I felt most comfortable with waiting until Monday to make a decision. The willingness of people to help us purchase the scooter was a tremendous blessing, but we were going to stay for the weekend anyway, and I wasn't totally convinced that God didn't have something amazing in store.

After seeking some counsel, it was decided that we would put some earnest money down on the used Ruckus to ensure that it wasn't sold before we moved forward on Monday. I have a Wells Fargo account, and we've moved into Wells Fargo banking territory, so I decided to draw a little cash out of my account to put down on the Ruckus. I knew my account was dangerously low, so I jumped online to confirm that I did have enough money for a small down-payment.

My account information appeared and I stared at it for a bit. I then began shaking. I called Brady's name and went downstairs. Basically, some backpay from some military benefits finally decided to show up in my checking account, and I will be able to purchase a new scooter without any financial pressure. I invite you to sit back and offer a prayer of praise to God right now. This timing was no coincidence. The stress of having to buy a new scooter was weighing heavy, and the lesson in humility to accept and request other people's help had already carried its course. I had packed away this bank account, knowing that I wasn't going to touch it for the rest of the trip.

This was NOT what I expected, either. Neither of us did. I trusted that God was capable of something amazing, but if you had given me 100 guesses, this would not have made the list.

So, tomorrow (Monday) Brady and I will be going to the dealer. I will have a painful goodbye to Wilberforce as we trade her in for a minimal return, and Lord-willing the dealers will have their hearts stirred to partner with us in our ministry and offer us a remarkably good deal. It would be foolish not to trust that God is capable of such things. Please pray that God's love radiates through the actions of Brady and I as we interact in the often frustrating world of vehicle sales.

Albuquerque wasn't even a planned stop on our trip. It was where we assumed there would be a Honda dealer, but we didn't know that it would be the only dealer in New Mexico with a Ruckus. Before this weekend we didn't know anybody in Albuquerque, and now we've met so many people who have completely adjusted their routines to help us and support us in our ministry. Our time of worship with the family at Desert Springs was a delight, as has been our indoctrination into authentic southwestern cuisine.

The rest has also been a tremendous blessing. This is obviously the longest we have been off our scooters, but we've been having restful nights of sleep, relaxing days, and great times of fellowship and reflection.

We have a big day tomorrow, perhaps even resuming our westward travel, so I will wrap this up. I wanted to close with a few lyrics from some songs we sang to God today.

"We will stand as children of the promise
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward
Till the race is finished and the work is done
We'll walk by faith and not by sight"

"Did we in our own strength confide
Our striving would be losing"

That is our prayer, our praise, and our confidence to boldly carry on.

"Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act." Psalm 37:5

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Retirement of Wilberforce

June 3 - Day 18, I think
Albuquerque, NM
Written By Viking

I have some tremendous, breaking news! I have decided to shave. We've had so much sun this week that the sun has been bleaching my facial hair as fast as it's been growing! I think it would be really weird and unique to have a completely bleached beard, but for the sake of personal hygiene and professionalism, I will continue to shave it.

Other than that, what else has happened??

My cousin was fantastic and put together a little promo video for Rev and I to use for the duration of our trip. It was fun to do, and we hope that it will continue to generate interest and action. It can be viewed on youtube at

There's a cat sitting next to me on a bed that really seems to want to crawl onto my lap where the keyboard is sitting. She was there a minute ago but I told her I had a blog to write. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's back up, at least to this morning.

We woke up. I grabbed my cellphone and told Brady I was going to go for a run and maybe even find some phone signal. The run was invigorating, and the service was briefly found. We got our things together, discussed a passage of I Peter together, and waited for our ride.

If you read the prievious blog you are aware that we were the grateful recipients of a tremendous blessing today. A pastor of a church here in Albuquerque took his day to drive a truck 100 miles to pick us up and bring us to a Honda dealer in his city. This isn't small stuff. We've never met him before today. God has children all over the world, though, and by noon we were at a Honda dealer.

I warned the dealer of my coming. I tried to explain what we were doing, but most people think they just misunderstood us when we said we are riding scooters around the country. This gentleman thought we were in an rv or something and were just stopping to get our little toy fixed. Nope. As we were walking out he said, "So it's leaking a little oil, huh?" I warned him that it was probably much worse than he envisioned. Hemorrhaging oil out its' pores would be a more apt description of the problem. He soon realized that we were really riding the scooters on our trip, not some rv. He listened to Wilberforce run for a few seconds and went to get the service manager. He came out and I explained my entire history with Wilberforce to him, and then started her up. Within two seconds he sharply said to shut it off. With pain in his voice that a could only come from a man who's worked on Hondas for 40 years, he said, "Your engine's shot."

It would obviously need to be dismantled to diagnose the problem accurately, but it's a good bet that the crankshaft is gone, the seals are all broken, and any number of residual problems could exist. His off-the-cuff estimate for repair costs was $2000-$3000. You can buy a new Honda Ruckus for $2,500.

I bought my scooter a year ago. In that time I have ridden her nearly 8,000 miles, bringing her within 15 miles of 8,500 on her odometer. June 2nd was her last day. I will admit that I was nearly crying when she wouldn't move another inch on the road yesterday. She carried me to the airport as I learned to fly last summer, she took me all over Fargo, ND, she carried me 1,600 miles to Michigan last summer so I could be in a wedding of a great couple. She helped me to get my bearings in Minneapolis, and then endured most of the harsh winter months as I subjected her to roads and temperatures that no small engine should ever have to experience. It was a thrill to share the joy that she brought me with the select few people who I entrusted the controls to. I even gave a ride to a Canadian trucker once. Long story. More than anything, though, is the opportunities that God gave me to be a light for Him as I rode her.

From the dealer we were taken to Desert Springs Church and given the conference room to pray, think, formulate a plan, and patiently discern what God's will is. So here we stand:
- Wilberforce is finished. There would be no logic in fixing her when a new one can be purchased for the same price. Rev and I agreed going in that $1,000 would be our limit for repair costs.
- Splitting up is an option, but it's a bad one. Our new pastor friend reminded us that Paul didn't travel alone, and that seems to be a good missions format to follow.
- There are scooters here at dealerships that can be purchased with a warranty to alleviate any risk of a costly breakdown again.
- There are some scooters for sale online here in this town that I don't feel like spelling over and over. We will be looking at at least one of them tomorrow, but the lack of a warranty has me very wary right now.

A secretary at the church and her husband graciously opened up their home to us for the weekend, and they even have a convertible they said I could drive on Route 66 for a while, if I wanted to! :) So Brady and I have a very comfortable home for the weekend. This last day has been replete with abundant blessings. Too many to count. We are so helpless, but this church and their family here has been supporting us in every way. It is humbling, but God is being glorified.

Brady and I will be staying here until at least Monday morning. We are patiently waiting to see what doors God may open and what people he will direct across our paths this weekend. The only discouraging thing about this breakdown experience is that we had to cancel speaking opportunities at three different churches in the Flagstaff, AZ area this Sunday. We are seeking opportunities here in Albuquerque so that we won't lose an opportunity to share with God's people the burden on our hearts. We are ahead of schedule, so this brief delay won't set us back at all in that respect.

Something amazing is going to happen through this, and God will be glorified. His church will be encouraged, their faith strengthened, and our scooter trip will continue on. Our prayer is that even unbelievers will turn to and glorify God through our testimony of his provision.

God is capable of so much. What we once would have considered to be an incredible blessing is becoming commonplace in this trip. Does that mean we don't appreciate the blessings much? We pray that isn't the case. But do you know what I mean? We are holding God, the Holy Spirit, we're holding him back. With our pride, with our carefulness, and with our... lack of trust. You know what? Read 'Forgotten God' by Francis Chan. He's a much better communicator than I am. We aren't claiming to be the all-trusting superhero's of the Christian faith. This experience is showing me anew just how much pride and a desire for self-sufficiency is still present in my heart. It's also forcing us to be, as I said before, helpless. God is insisting that we stretch our faith and trust in him even more. We're okay with that.

Time for bed. Be encouraged, even by this unfinished story of God's abundant provision. It will have a God-glorifying ending. Brady and I are both in great spirits. We aren't discouraged by this, but look forward to what God will do. There is some stress involved in the decisions to be made, but please pray that Satan doesn't cause a wedge to come into our summer ministry through this. God is so good.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Thursday, June 2, 2011

At a Crossroads in our Trip

June 2--Day 18
Vaughn, NM (the crossroads of New Mexico)
Written by Rev

Leaving at 8:45 from Clovis, NM I kept thinking that this could be a really tough day with wind and sun or it could be a good day with overcast skies. Well, God is good.

It started off as an overcast day, which we both praised God for after two long, grueling days in the heat. It wasn't very windy either, which we both praised God for again. We rode roughly 60 miles until we grabbed lunch in Fort Sumner. Pressing on into the overcast sky once again we realized that we loved seeing cacti, different colored bushes, cattle, fencing and trains. The highlight of our day before an unexpected occurrence was counting train cars. The record long train that we counted was 138 cars! The other cool object that kept us entertained was the cattle had a tunnel under the road so that they could get to the other side without crossing the road. Very impressive.

But the big occurrence that was expected and unexpected was that of Wilberforce. He died today. As he slowly went from a powerful 40 mph to 30 mph we knew he was pushing every last bit of steam out of him. I told Viking to pull over because there was oil dripping from where the belt goes around. I am no mechanic, but I know that this wasn't a good sign. We felt very depressed as he slowly came to a halt.

We were roughly 12 miles from a city called Vaughn, but as we looked around there was nothing besides cacti, fencing, cattle and a road. Absolutely nothing. Peaceful and realaxing it was, but yet ever so frustrating and depressing. Now what? What were we going to do?

After praying we made a plan. The plan was for me to drive to Vaughn and try to catch a truck who would help us out and Viking was going to push Wilberforce. So I took off and he pushed. After a moment, I looked back and Viking and Wilberforce were a mere dot in my mirror. I will admit, I laughed. Not at Viking and Wilberforce, but because I knew God was going to teach us something through all this and I couldn't wait to see what it was.

I came into Vaughn and found a truck stop right on the corner, so I pulled in and put some gas into Harriet because she was thirsty. I asked the gas station attendant if there was a towing service, she directed me to some man's house saying, "Go down to the park and hang a right and head to the orange house on the left."

I walked out of the gas station and saw two truckers, so I walked up to them and asked if they were headed north. They were both headed south. Bummer. So I took Harriet on an adventure to the park and made a right and headed to the orange house on the left. No one home besides a dog barking wildly. Bummer. I headed back into town and stopped at a tire store. A man who spoke little English said he was too busy. Bummer. I was getting discouraged. After speaking to four other men with trucks, I was really discouraged with their answer of "No, I can't help you." So I went to the City Hall. They called a towing service for me because I had absolutely no cell phone service. Another bummer. A man showed up with a trailer to go pick up the bike. As we got onto the highway, I saw a speck on a hill. The man asked me if that was Viking. I said there is no way. But sure enough, Viking pushed Wilberforce for a good 6 miles. I was impressed. We towed her back into town at a very expensive rate.

We really needed to get to Albuquerque because that was where the nearest Honda dealer was. But we were sitting on the sidewalk of the City Hall left with only a phone number for the Catholic Church who might put us in a hotel for tonight.

So I drove to the Baptist Church and knocked. No one around. Bummer. So I drove to the Catholic Church and knocked. No one answered. Bummer. But there was a sign that said, "If you are a traveler and need assistance, please call this number or go and talk to the City Hall." So I called the number, but couldn't get through due to lack of service. So I headed back to the City Hall and talked with the ladies there. I drove to the edge of town to get a little bit of service to confirm it with the priest that we would be put up for free in a hotel along with a food voucher. Wow. God is good.

So I drove back to the City Hall and received both the vouchers. Viking pushed Wilberforce to the hotel and we both just smiled and laughed a little. But knowing deep down inside, we both had no idea how we were going to get to Albuquerque to get to the Honda dealer. But God is good. Viking went to get cell phone service and I just prayed. I was so discouraged, but knew that God had a plan.

Viking came back and said this to me, "In the blog yesterday I said that we had both stopped laughing hysterically at God's provision, but instead we are in awe of how he works." Then he started laughing. So did I. Not knowing why, though.

Viking's dad pulled some strings and we have a ride to Albuquerque tomorrow thanks to a pastor there. God is good.

It is amazing that when things are going so smoothly it is easy to praise and thank God, but when something bad happens, it is so easy to become discouraged. Well I became discouraged today, but God proved to me once again that I shouldn't worry. Rather, I should trust in Him and let Him provide for me. God is good.

Now we have played some catch with Babe Ruth (the baseball I found) and our gloves, showered and got some journaling done. Now we are ready for bed.

We still have no idea what is wrong with Wilberforce and how this will get fixed, so please continue to pray that God will show us what to do. Please pray for wisdom in our decision making in the next few days and hours.

But remember that no matter what, God is so good. Each time we have been blessed on this trip we just smile and laugh. We laugh and smile not because we don't think that God could do it, but because we are in amazement at what God does and how He works in such abundance. He works in such mysterious ways. In ways that I could never imagine He has been constantly working and we praise and thank Him for that.

Now we have one queen bed to share. Praise the Lord. God is good.

Great is Thy Faithfulness. To God Be the Glory.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Get Your Kicks on Route 66

June 1 - Day 17
Clovis, NM
Written By Viking

This entry will be brief. It has been a long day. We began our around 7:45am. Well, our travel, anyway. We played some catch for the second morning in a row, which is just fine with us.

The day began overcast in the 70's, but didn't stay that way for long. The clouds burned off and the sun moved overhead as we made our way to Amarillo. And there was wind. STRONG headwinds. For most of our travel today we were struggling to drive over 25 mph because the wind was battering us so badly. You may think we're crazy for going 37mph around the country, but I'm okay with that. It's when we get down to speeds that you can maintain on a bicycle that I begin to grow a little frustrated.

Lunch was in Amarillo. Brady and I haven't paid for a meal with our own money since South Carolina. The rest has been paid for through people we've met on the trip offering financial support. At lunch today our cash dropped below what we needed to buy our next meal, and God brought across our paths more financial support from people we didn't even know five minutes earlier. Brady and I have sort of moved beyond the hysterical laughing when God provides for us. Not because the joy has worn off, but because his provision has been so constant that it's awe-inspiring. and a little scary. It's been serving as a motivation to continue on, even in this somewhat grueling stretch of the trip.

The next several days will take us through some mountains as high as 12,000 feet. Pray for the scooters. Every little thing makes my heart skip. Today I was putting on some gloves to keep the sun off my hands and my scooter suddenly died. I thought, "Well, this is it. Wilberforce is done." We pulled off the road and Brady said, "You hit your kill switch." Sure enough, that's exactly what I did. I bumped it while trying to put on gloves while riding. Oops.

Another fun moment was when we missed an exit of sorts on a road. I quickly realized that we could still get to where we needed to go if we just dove through a median, skipped across a busy road, and hopped onto a road that wrapped us around to our destination. So we did that, and it was fun. With all these flat fields I was contstantly tempted to just ride across the plains, but we were already going slow enough.

And then there's the blog title. As we rode through Amarillo we were riding on a stretch of the historic route 66. For those who don't know what that road is, it is the first road that connected Chicago and Los Angeles. It has a lot of history, and a lot of character. Well, when I was in grade school I had a cd of Nat King Cole songs. One of them was a song about this Route 66. I liked it. Around this same time I had a poster of a 1960 Chevy Corvette convertible. So when I was in grade school still, this dream began.. I wanted to drive a convertible the entire length of historic route 66 and back in a convertible with a group of friends. On this trip I am with a close friend, I am riding the ultimate convertible, and our trip only touches parts of route 66, but our route and purpose far exceeds anything I could have imagined. God is very good.

I'm tired. We are in Clovis, New Mexico. Tomorrow we will go west. We have no idea where we will stay, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Thank you for your prayers. Thank you also for your encouragement via Facebook, email, or blog postings. They are all read and enjoyed very much!

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen