Sunday, May 22, 2011


The main reason I was in Tacoma at this particular time was so we could place Mom's ashes in her favorite park, in the same part of town where she had been born nearly 91 years ago.

My sisters, some nieces and nephews, and family
iends and acquaintances arrived on Mothers Day. We walked around for a bit and took photos of family and the park.

Right before the ashes were po
ured into the pond, one of my sisters asked if, since I hadn't been there for Mom's service, if I would like to say something or pray. "YES! I'll pray." And, I DID. I rejoiced and I thanked the Lord that Mom was with Him, that He had taken her home to Himself, and that we now how an opportunity to say "goodbye" one last time. [One of my sisters slipped up to me afterwards and said I had done good.]

I left a few minutes later, and began the drive home. The Lord has indicated that it was my last trip out there ... if nothing else as a solo driver. But, without Mom and the need to check in on her and help others who were spending their time with her, there is no more reason to assume a trip out ever year or so.

But it was a wonderful time with my family and friends.

And there's always going to be heaven... that's what I count on!!


A few weeks ago, while planning my trip to the NW, I received a newsletter from one of my Ugandan "guys".

I met Francis in Sep
tember of '99 when Dave and I went over for our Ugandan son Sam's wedding. When we were relaxing after our arrival from the States and one of our girls came to see us and was playing her guitar and singing, a fellow showed up outside the back door. He was in a wheelchair and had one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen. He plopped out of the wheelchair onto the kitchen floor and scootched himself across the floor and grabbed a drum and started playing along with Margaret. Within a short period of time, for one reason or another, he and I were laughing with and at each other. The reason for his inability to walk: polio as a young child. When we met he was about 20. During that couple of weeks that we were in Uganda for the wedding, Francis and I had a few very nice times together and had a great deal of respect.

When I saw him next, it was a few times in November, '03 to February, '04, when I was over there for the mission oriented
to helping folks who were struggling against rebel invasion in Uganda. However, we never really spoke. He was very involved with the orphans at their organization where I stayed during my two-week breaks, and when I saw him, he always had a little child on his lap and was wheeling across the compound rapidly.

My son, Sam, has been one of his dear friends, and as Francis was led to take on another ministry, Sam was usually heavily involved with his choices and helping him become settled

I was mind-blown about 2 years ago when I was notified that he would be marrying a Canadian lady. I would never have imagined that as an option for him.

THEN a newsletter notified that they were expecting a baby. Something else I wouldn't have thought would ever have been part of Francis' life.

He had also begun a ministry involved in wheelchair distribution. And he had come to Canada and the States to make conta
ct with various churches and others who would provide either money or short-term teams. Sam is on his board of directors.

So, the newsletter that arrived in March, as I
was planning for the trip, gave me the dates they would be in Canada. Two days after they arrived, their baby did ... born several weeks early. If she had been born in Uganda, she might not have survived, since it required a long stretch of NICU care. Hannah grew and improved. After several weeks she was released from the hospital... only a week before I could try to get across the border. [They couldn't come to the States side, b/c Hannah didn't have a passport as a newborn.]

So the miracle? I was given permission to cross the border. I didn't have a passport. Mine had expired in November and it didn't seem reasonable to update it. The lady accepted my drivers license and the several questions I answered, and, for some very strange reason, gave me permission. [It must truly have been a gift of God.]

When we connected
a few minutes later, we spent three hours visiting, going to lunch, walking in a park, and talking, talking, talking. Especially Francis and I.

I can't have imagined a more amazing blessing. Three hours up from Tacoma, three hours together, and three hours back. One long day. But seeing and touching and hugging my dear one, meeting a lovely wife, holding a darling baby.

Long 3-hour drive home, battling the built-up traffic through Seattle .... but lots of it covered with one big grin from ear-to-ear as I felt so blessed.

[And the agent on the US side of the border was horrified that I had been let into Canada. He also told me that an expired passport is acceptable while it is only dealing with our border nations. Would never have thought of that! He finally just rolled his eyes and said, "Go." Believe me, I DID.]


When the Lord sends me on a trip, I never know what or who He is going to place in my path. And nearly always an exciting event occurs. Or fun. Or, just occasionally, something controversial. This trip had all three types, some with more than one.

The first one occurred in Nampa, Idaho, when I had to stop at a Target store to try to arrange for a p
rescription to be filled, since I'd left that med home for the very first time in many years. As I walked to the wide-open entry sidewalk, a red SUV pulled up next to me, a woman stepped out, and hit the ground. Her glasses flew off as her face slammed on the concrete. Her purse flew. I saw all this out of the corner of my eye, and was able to rush to her, grab her glasses, hold her while her husband got out of the car and came around. Within a few minutes much had been revealed. She had Parkinsons, had not used her cane as her husband had wanted her to, and had some physical injuries to her upper leg and lower abdomen and her husband was going to take her to an Urgent Care place nearby. A security guard and other Target employees came to help. When I saw her fall, the holler from my mouth, automatically, was "JESUS!!!" [It dawned on me later that some folks might have misinterpreted it and not realized it was a prayer and thought it was a curse, but, oh, well.] So, right place, right time. [And I did receive the prescription.]

next one is probably in the "controversial" category.

I was leaving Baker City, Oregon, the following da
y after the first event. As I was pulling onto the Interstate, I just automatically knew I was to stop and check on a hitchhiker. [The 3rd time this has happened in 27 years.] Before the man got into my car I told him that he was going to hear worship music, the Word of God, and be prayed over. He said that sounded fine. I ended up taking him approximately 175 miles to Pasco, WA. I was needing to head that general direction anyhow, which has never happened before. I shared the Lord with Ron a number of ways, answered some of his confusion and needs, and prayed over him intensely before dropping him off at his location. He was a nice guy, a cowboy, just stuck in a bizarre situation that hindered his usual ability to take care of his needs. And this time he was stuck with a yammery Bible teacher.

After Pasco, I went to visit a "blog" acquaintance.
.. met on here not long ago ... and spent about 5 hours in D.'s house, looking out over the hills and fields, and blessed beyond belief to simply enjoy our time together. She was a real treat, in many ways. I'm planning to stay in touch in any way possible. And she is an amazing photographer, as are so many of you. [I had a "dizzy" attack while at her place, the first of three serious ones on this trip, so it was a good place to have a chance to rest and have some relaxing tea. Half an hour later, I was doing OK. Shortly after, I hit the road again.]

The next day a treat was to spend time with a lady with whom Susie and I had graduated in '63... the three of us had been good friends in high school and Susie and I had lost contact with Linda until very recently, a couple
weeks before I was heading out on this trip. Linda and I met at a restaurant in Vancouver, WA, and spent 4 hours catching up. Three days later, she came to my sister's, nearly 100 miles away in Oregon, and we went to the ocean together, on the Washington side, and we had a photo taken. When I left for home a week later, after being in the Tacoma area with other family, and even taking the day-trip to Canada, I spent the night with her as officially hitting the road. Talk about covering much territory. I never would have thought it would ever be like that. After 46 years of never seeing each other or knowing anything about each other, we have a number of the same interests, the same goals, the same heart-filled desires. Differences? Absolutely. But it was still pretty amazing.

The "Canada" portion will be a post of its own. It is an amazing story and I wouldn't want to shorten it. [Here's a photo "hint"...]

On the way back to Nebraska, nothing happened. Met no one, saw nothing, just kept hitting the road. Drove 1,070 miles in the last 24 hours; 740 the first day and, since I couldn't sleep that night, tired as I was, I hit the road again at 3:30 [staying right behind a semi for nearly 3 hours so I didn't have to rely on my own sight re: deer or other potential problems] and reached home mid-morning, instead of late afternoon, which was the original plan.

Overall, the trip was exactly what it was expected to be. However, there were a few of these "right place, right time" elements that shot it off the charts.

And I'm still in "recovery" and preparing to head out for the Grand Canyon on Memorial Day with my British friend, Jill... her desire after 4 years since her last visit. I think that will have shorter driving days, in general, and fewer people and much more scenery. Let's see what the Lord drops in then, huh? Never know when His surprises will hit.


Actually, I've been home for several days, but in various stages of recovery and activity, mostly connected to Bhutanese needs. Will be posting several differently related bits in the next day or so. Been meaning to do so, but my laptop wasn't working "normally" during the trip, so couldn't post things then and, as I said, since being home there's been one thing after another that has kept me trying to find time to do this.

Now, here we go!! Days for the trip: 17. Miles: 4,410. Main locations: Six states PLUS a very short side trip to Canada. So, this post is photos. [Could have many more, but this will give you an overview!]