We had a great day at Calvary yesterday. The Lord helped us greatly in both services and I am grateful for His blessings and His presence. He is so faithful to honor His Word and to honor the sacrifice of His Son. Please pray for our church, we have a number of lost folk attending regularly, and I would love to see them saved.
School starts back today at West Lenoir Baptist School of Ministry. I am not ready for my classes, but they are here nonetheless. So, I am going to head on over there and see what happens. I hope we have a good crop of young scholars this year. You just never know.
We arrived home from our whirlwind tour of Wyoming and Idaho last night about 6:00 PM. We had the best kind of travel yesterday: uneventful. I thank the Lord for working through events in ways that I can still not understamd. I am simply grateful that I serve a God of sovereign power and control. We had a great week, filled with amazing sights and wonderful fellowship, but I am glad to be home and I am looking forward to going to church at Calvary tomorrow. Seeing spiritual conditions in the west has made me more appreciatinve of what we have right here in the Bible belt. However, it also makes me ashamed of our weak efforts in evangelism. We have the truth, but as the ancient prophet said, in many cases “the seed is yet in the barn.” (Hag. 2:19) We have the truth, but we don’t share it. We don’t share it with people far off abd we don’t share it with people nearby. May the Lord forgive us for our failure to carry out His Great Commission! May He open doors of evangelism for us and may He enpower us to step through them for His glory!
It’s 4:30 AM in Jackson, WY and we are getting ready to fly home this morning. We need to be at the airport by 6:00 AM to turn in our 10 vans, go through security and make our 8:00 AM flight. We should be back in Charlotte around 4:00 PM eastern time. Pray for a safe trip today. Thank you all for your prayers for our little journey. While somethings did not go as we had planned, they went exactly as the Lord had planned. I would just remind you that He is a sovereign God. Every event in our lives was planned in eternity past; even the events of this past week. None of it caught Him by surprise. That comforts my heart and makes me thankful to be His child.
For the last day and a half, we have been in Driggs, ID. I never knew this town existed, thus I never expected to spend any time here. All in all, our visit here has been a great blessing. Some of our group needed rest and they have had the opportunity to get it while they are here. Some have been out exploring the area. It is beautiful here, with the Tetons Mountains to the east and the Big Hole Mountains to the west. The Teton River and the Snake River are nearby. Wildlife is also abundant in this area. Moose, elk and deer are very common. The weather is amazing. For you folks back in the south, imagine August at 75 degrees with no humidity. It is wonderful! Of course, winters here are a different story. They have several feet of snow, beginning on September and ending in June.
While Driggs is a beautiful, friendly place, my heart is broken for these people. I have discovered that this area is predominately Mormon. About 92% of the people report Mormonism as their religious affiliation. I did not know this, but Idaho ranks second behind Utah in the number of Mormon congregations, and third behind Utah and California in Mormon population. I also discovered that there is not a fundamental Baptist church in this entire county. The nearest on being many miles away. Back home, Baptist churches, good ones, are everywhere. That is another story here. The spiritual situation in this area is extremely sad. In my opinion, it would be difficult to start a fundamental Baptist church in this area. Of course, I am, and will continue to pray, that God will raise up someone to come to this area and work this field for the glory of God.
Today we will leave Driggs, ID and return to Jackson, WY for the night. Tomorrow we fly home. While this trip has not been what we expected it to be, some good has come out of it already. I have seen 55 people become close over this last week. This should translate into a closer fellowship within our church when we return home. Also, my eyes have been opened to the deplorable spiritual condition of the west. These people ned to hear about the Jesus of the Bible and no one is telling them about Him. They are hear a heresy, but they do not hear the truth. What a tragedy!
Please pray for our continued safety as we travel. I am ready for home!
We made the journey from Lander, WY to Driggs, ID yesterday. We checked into the Best Western here around 4:30 local time. The people here have been super nice and accommodating to our group. The hand of the Lord is evident in our trip. I praise Him for His faithfulness to His children. Nothing much is on the agenda for today. Some of our folks are fishing, others are sightseeing and the rest are, well, resting. Tonight, we will have our Wednesday evening service in the hotel conference room. Oh yeah, we moved from the Best Western to the Super 8 this morning. We will move again tomorrow, back to Jackson Hole, WY. Then, we will fly home on Friday. It has been a most unusual trip, to say the least. Of course, God is well aware of our circumstances, and there are no accidents with Him. He is a sovereign God and He works all things according the counsel of His Own will, Eph. 1:11. While this trip has been a comedy of errors, we can praise Him for His grace as we have traveled, for His creation so amazing and beautiful, for His love unfailing, and for bonding the hearts of 55 of our precious people in a way they will never get over. God is always working, even in the ,midst of events that seem to indicate otherwise.
Due to an unforeseen set of events, we are not staying Lander, WY. We are leaving tomorrow for Driggs, ID. I will explain everything to the church when I return. For the rest of you, well, some things are better left unsaid. As a man in our church says, “Less said; less mended”. Anyway, everyone is excited about the change of plans. The Lord has a way of working things out.
So, here are some pictures from the last couple of days. Enjoy!
We drove from Cody to Lander yesterday. On the way, we stopped at Thermopolis State Park. This is the site of the world’s largest hot springs. While we were there, we conducted a worship service and ate lunch. We were there for about 3 hours. The hot springs are worth a visit. We left there and drove through Wind River Canyon. It was absolutely breathtaking! Pictures will follow at a later date. Last night, we attended church at Calvary Baptist Church in Riverton, WY. It was a LONG service, and very different from what we are used to. It must be a cultural thing. Today, we toured a few of the sites found on the Wind River Indian Reservation. We visited the grave of Sacajawea, she was the Shoshone guide who served as a translator for Lewis and Clark in 1805-1806. We also visited the grave of Chief Washakie, who was chief of the Shoshone for 60 years. He was a brave warrior, who always sought the best for his people. We also visited the ceremonial grounds for the Eastern Shoshone people. It has bee na great day thus far. Tonight, we are supposed to go to a service on the Shosone reservation.
Please pray for our trip. We have been blessed with great weather, safe travel and patient people. Some things have not been as advertised, but we are trying to cope. We will see what the next few days hold for us!
We toured the upper loop of Yellowstone yesterday. It was spectacular! The lower loop gets all the hype because of Old Faithful, but it is the upper loop where the most amazing vistas and abundant wildlife are seen. To get there, we traveled north into Montana, through a little town called Cooke City. It looked like something out of the 1800′s, with its dirt street and boardwalks. It snowed while we were there. Imagine that, snow in August! When we made it to Yellowstone, we were privileged to see several different animals. We saw buffalo, grizzly bear, prong horn antelope, white tailed deer, ground squirrels, chipmunks, and mule deer. Besides that, the scenery was amazing! It was a long day, but it was well worth the trip. In my opinion, if I had but one day to spend in Yellowstone, I would skip Old Faithful and head north. We were not disappointed.
Today, we leave Cody to travel south the Thermopolis State Park. We will have worship service and lunch there, then we will head farther south to Lander, where we will stay for the next few days. Please continue to pray for safe travels and good weather. The Lord has blessed us with both and we are grateful.
Yesterday we toured the Grand Teton National Forest and the lower loop of Yellowstone National Park. The Tetons were spectacular, especially when seen from the vantage point of Jackson Lake. The lower loop of Yellowstone was beautiful, but it was not as great as I was expecting. The wildlife did not cooperate with us. I saw a chipmunk, a prairie dog and a few ragged buffalo. The ride from Yellowstone to Cody was the best part of the day. Driving through canyons and cliffs with vast mountain vistas was a breathtaking experience. Our accommodations in Cody are less than desirable; but it’s what we have. Today, it is 54 degrees in Cody, and it looks like it might rain. We are going to tour the upper loop of Yellowstone today; hopefully the wildlife will cooperate. I will try to post some pictures this evening, if time allows.
We are here. We got into town at about 9:00 PM. We rented 10 vans and set out for our hotel. It’s pretty swanky, too bad we were only here for about 10 hours. This morning we are heading to Yellowstone National Park. Lord willing, we will tour the lower loop today and wind up in Cody, WY this evening. All in all, the trip out here went surprisingly well. Outside of a minor glitch changing planes in Atlanta, and a dispute over van rentals with National Car Rental, shepherding 55 people to Wyoming was relatively tame. Please pray for safety as we drive from place to place. Please pray for the Lord to open doors for us to witness to the lost. Please pray that we will remain civil to one another. You know how it is when you travel with people. The old adage proves true: familiarity breeds contempt. More later, and perhaps pictures, if time allows.
Oh yeah, on the flight from Atlanta to Jackson Hole, Luke Brakefield proposed to Katie Hoover over the airplane PA system. She accepted. So, they are getting married July 2, 2010 on Myrtle Beach. It was a great moment!