As we looked back over the last five thousand miles, God has definitely answered your prayers for safety! Pondering that, we realized that here in a land where most of our basic necessities can be filled by a quick trip to Wal-Mart, it is not always obvious that God is responsible for even the everyday and mundane, for in [Jesus] all things hold together (Col 1:17). So praise Him with us for the abundant way He has answered your prayer:

In state #2 of the ten we’ve traversed since leaving Idaho in March, an angel was flying fast! At some point as we drove down out of the Colorado Rockies, the bearing on the trailer’s left axel came apart spewing grease all over the rim of the tire and the road. Miraculously the wheel stayed put over steep, twisty Berthoud Pass (11,000 + feet) and down twenty more miles of mountainous interstate. We didn’t notice it until we bedded down for the night…“coincidentally” less than a mile from a repair shop! Thank you, friends, for the prayer cover!

As we return to Idaho for Donna’s flying training, please join us in asking Him for continued emotional, mental and spiritual preparation for our August departure, as well as sanity for all while Zoe’s Mommy and Daddy play reverse rolls for the next month ( 🙂 )!

Where are we now? View the map.

In the last ten states and six weeks, God has raised up 25 more prayer partner families. While not everything has gone exactly according to our plans, His amazing abundance has led us to double our original goal of three prayer partners per day – and we’re only a handful away from reaching that, too! Yet again, we’ve experienced that in his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps (Prov 16:9). Certainly He is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think (Eph 3:20)!

Zoe ponders Red Rocks just west of Las Vegas

A gal approached us after church on Easter Sunday and commented on how much she enjoyed seeing the love we share – watching me hold Zoe and Sandi rest his hand on my back. What a compliment!

Her friend over heard me telling someone our plans for Africa and commented that she had some money in her wallet that she was waiting to give to someone, but so far it had never “felt right”. Until now. Just sitting there in the meeting area of this little Baptist church, she hands me another huge confirmation of God’s call on us to go. And both she and her friend joined our prayer team. Praise God for yet more confirmation!

At the end of that week, Slick traveled to Florida to teach at the fifth evangelism training seminar held by Fellowship of Christian Athletes – Endurance. I drove the trailer down the big hill to Denver to meet him when he returned. As I approached the trailer to park it in our spot at the camp ground, I had a flashback to Wichita Falls, TX – the same tire had the same grease slung out from its center. Rather than call Slick, I just sent him a wordless picture text from my phone. I felt as if the angels had again transported our rolling home, preventing what could have been a very ugly accident.

The delay caused by fixing the trailer allowed both Slick and Zoe to get medical help for their colds, which had now stretched on for several weeks. But nevertheless, the end of the day found us just outside of Cisco, UT, (temptingly near Moab) where ceaseless winds unhindered by the flat, barren terrain rocked us to sleep. We had successfully made it out of Colorado, despite powerful potential excuses to stay.

Prayers for traveling mercies have been answered with a resounding “yes!” as we’ve rolled smoothly through Utah and a corner of Arizona into Las Vegas. High, snowy mountains gave way to cacti and Joshua trees as we continued south to Phoenix after visiting several friends in Nevada. In a few days, we’ll wind our way up into the desert mountains of southern New Mexico to spend some time with a supporting church and many friends from our first home together just east of White Sands National Monument.

As we sped down some interstate, I looked over to see Zoe holding up a fist at me. I was thrilled! Had anyone else done that, I’ve been threatened, but Zoe was asking me for milk – she could only manage half the sign, but it was a beautiful effort with which I gladly complied. After all those miles, it’s still the little things that turn living into life!

Slick & Zoe snowshoe up the face of Vail Mountain

19 Feb 10: The gym below the “auditorium” at the Vancouver Barracks definitely wins the award for most character. Having no funds to fix it up because of the coming closure of the entire post, it is a mishmash of well-used old equipment…with no supervision or rules. Perfect for us! We have thoroughly enjoyed it – both using the few operable machines, the tired mats, and the cob-web-ridden shower area. The low-hanging pipes and patterned ceiling add all the atmosphere anyone could possibly enjoy!

Another treasure of combining support-raising with flying training is the opportunity to visit with friends from all over. It was wonderful to see Sarah and Matt again (to meet them for the first time, in Sandi’s case) and to meet their 13-month-old daughter, Mari. What a beautiful, contented child she is! It’s so obvious how much her parents love and care for her. What a treasure to witness that, and to bask in the company of fellow believers, dedicated to serving Jesus and loving others.

And again yesterday we practiced more cross country navigation, divert and lost procedures en route to a lunch date with still other friends who had a baby we met for the first time. Jenni & Jason drove all the way out from Spokane to Davenport for lunch when the weather did not clear as expected in Spokane. Their 9-month-old Kathryn spoke at length with our 6-month-old Zoe as all of us adults enjoyed the wonderful company of old-time brothers and sisters in Christ, catching up on the twists and turns through which God has been guiding each of us over the last two years.

the gym (below the auditoriom) at the Vancouver Army Nat'l Guard Barracks

27 Jan 10: As we entered the highway under the last glimmers of evening light, Slick glanced in the side view mirror to look for cars before he merged into the right lane. The movement of something round bouncing away from the trailer caught his eye. He conveyed what he saw to me and we both immediately thought about the waste cap – round and on the left side, and can easily come loose from the jarring of the highway. Being far more conservative than I tend to be, he pulled off at the next exit less than a quarter mile away.

I sat in the truck as he investigated, half wondering why he was being so cautious.

“We’re done for the night,” he announced as he returned to the cab. “What?” I replied in my standard helpful way.

Slick had seen not the waste cap, but part of a bearing depart from the trailer. Now the axle, sans bearing, stuck through the center of the tire at a funky angle. We limped across the street to a gas station where we left the trailer while Slick settled Zoe and I into billeting at Sheppard AFB, which happened to be only 15 minutes away. He was up most of the night getting the trailer to a reputable repairman in thriving Iowa Park, TX.

Thankfully the delay of almost exactly 24 hours allowed us to check the weather and re-route ourselves to avoid a large winter storm in the Rocky Mountains. Amy Grant’s song about the angels that watch over us: “Reckless car ran out of gas before it ran my way…Near misses all around me, accidents unknown. I never see with human eyes the hands that lead me home. But I know they’re all around me, all day and through the night…” As I ponder why He may have given us this delay, I’m finding it easier to rest in His change of our plan. He knows best.

20 January 2010: We’re finally on the road…we’re on the road already. Time seems to toy with us. It took forever to extricate ourselves from our house in South Carolina, yet it seems like just a few weeks ago that we moved in, began seminary and searched for local races.

Now we move on, looking back at the highlights: the people we know from the South Carolina triathlon series, FCA Endurance, Officer Christian Fellowship and other places; the unparalleled learning and growing in seminary classes; the joy of having our own plane – and of selling it; the fulfillment of triathlon ministry so far above and beyond that of just racing; the wonder of being used by God to compile and teach evangelism training seminars; the experience of pregnancy and childbirth, and the thrill of hugging a precious little bundle as she responds with a beautiful, toothless laugh. It has been an amazing three years.

But that chapter has closed with finality. And the next one has begun with flair. In a manner we’re beginning to expect of Him, God has already “shown up and shown off” regarding the road before us. We began with the goal of enlisting three prayer partners per day for each day of the month – a total of 93. In His standard perfect timing, we hit that goal on our last evening in South Carolina. Now as we continue meeting with the folks He brings across our path, we watch with humble appreciation as He raises up yet more prayer partners to stand beside us. And we wonder just how abundant He plans to be.

The road we’re traveling toward mission aviation has been long already, beginning far before its formal start at seminary. But our departure from our house and the sale of our beloved Subaru are like the chime of a clock: that hour is done. The next has begun. A page has turned. The next chapter veers far from anything “normal,” but it quivers with adventure and promise.