Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Loo-ten-ant Dan

"Anticipating the best, they had sought God - and He showed up..." 2 Chronicles 15:15

I love movies. I love the narrative that takes me to a place I've never explored. Perhaps that is why Forrest Gump makes my top ten list of favorites.

A person the world looked upon as a simpleton, played an important part in many of the iconic events in history. Remember when he was running and wiped the mud off his face with a t-shirt and came up with the "smiley face?" Have a nice day indeedee!

And while the world may not view any one of us as simpleton's, we ARE playing a historic part in His-story. We are the men and women of faith who are serving, giving, and praying to change lives for eternity. We are the soldiers in the battlefield fighting for the souls of men, women and children who need to know REAL everlasting freedom.

Not one champion of faith every lived without asking the big WHY question of God, about something. Whether it was a personal experience or injustice, or just a plain, "I don't get THIS?" moment of bewilderment. It comes to our humanity naturally. The enemy introduced and seduced with a question, "Did God really tell you that?"

In the movie, Forrest saves his lieutenant from death. He carries him out of the battlefield (along with many others wounded). The officer is convinced this was a mistake, he was supposed to die and not be left a double amputee.

Later on, we see another encounter between the two men. An embittered and drunk Loo-ten-ant Dan, meets the ever positive Forrest. He asks Forrest about his faith, unsure and angry about how God could let this happen.

And then one of my many favorite scenes occurs when Loo-ten-ant Dan comes to be Forrest's First Mate on his shrimp boat. Dan hoists himself up the mast and in an angry display rides out the hurricane, shouting up at the heavens, "Is this all you got?"

In the voice over narrative Forrest says, "And God showed up."

Lieutenant Dan was not anticipating the best from God. In fact, in his post-war experience, he felt as if he had received God's worst.

Many of the soldiers and their families arriving Thursday may be having some of those very same sentiments. At the first Wounded Warrior event in 2008, I will never forget what Chaplain Tony said to the volunteers. "The worst thing that can happen to these families is NOT that their loved one will be killed in action, but that they will be injured. These families are living their worst nightmare."

WE (the volunteers, the staff, and YOU the ammunition suppliers) are coming alongside these soldiers and their families for a few days of their long journey toward recovery. Our prayer is to strengthen the faith of those who believe, and to introduce to faith those who are screaming up at the skies in hurt, anger and pain.

God's Word says, He will show up.

"This is God's war, not yours... watch God's saving work for you to take shape. Don't be afraid, don't waver. March out boldly tomorrow - God is with you." 2 Chronicles 20:17 The Message

With the Saints marching on
With a smile too,
Charlynn


Pray for the families who are preparing for the weekend respite

Pray for the children to have fun and opportunities to reconnect

Pray for the staff of Joni and Friends San Antonio who are coming against a mountain of details, changes, and additional unanticipated costs

Pray for the staff of Tapatio Springs. Ownership has changed hands (again) which presents new challenges with people unfamiliar with the work of the Wounded Warrior Getaway

Pray for George Strait (yes, THE George Strait country superstar) who is one of the new owners of Tapatio Springs. Pray his staff alerts him to the project and he catches the vision - providing a place for the soldiers and their families AT NO COST to the ministry (the soldiers always come free of charge)

Pray for the volunteers who will be challenged with many injured men and women. Pray they see with the eyes of the Father, the hearts that need love and healing.

Pray for opportunities to show the love of our King in extraordinary ways

Pray for the speakers Clebe and Deanna McClary to be a "balm from Gilead"

Pray, and then pray!
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Firefly

"This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the devil and all his angels." Ephesians 6:12 The Message

If you are not familiar with the sci-fi series "Firefly," let me be the first to recommend it. It stars Nathan Fillion (now appearing on the ABC show "Castle") as a 25th Century Robinhood. It's campy, not at all like Star Trek or other series in the genre, and perhaps that is what caused its untimely cancellation. I took it with me on the "Road Warrior for Real Warriors" RV trip as a distraction at the end of a long day's journey. What could be more entertaining than space cowboys fighting evil aliens?

In one of the first episodes, the rag-tag band of celestial thieves happen to acquire something from some really bad Bad Guys. They get into a fight and appear to have the upper hand. They make for a hasty escape with the bad Baddies hot on their space cowboy boot heels.

And as in all good Western thrillers, the good guys run right to the edge of a canyon cliff. Uh oh! They turn to face their certain doom, hands held high and begin to negotiate for...

freedom.

You know it's not going to end well, but wait - it can't end badly because this is just the beginning of the "story." They can't meet their Maker yet! The bad Baddies approach, weapons raised, locked and loaded. "Come on fellows," our negotiating hero begins. A pale look comes over the face of the bad guys. They drop their weapons, turn tale and run for the hills.

The protagonist laughs. "Gee, I really am charming." What he doesn't realize is right behind him their HUGE Firefly spaceship has arrived, just in the nick of time. It wasn't the captain that thwarted the enemy - it was the Carrier.

"Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 2 Kings 6:16

Some of the comments I received after the final report from the road (see Peligroso!) referenced the account in Scripture of the massive army of angels and chariots of fire, that were standing ready to go into battle on behalf of Israel. When I talked with my son about why he thought the "baddies" turned tale and ran - he quickly said he had no idea. Perhaps, as with Elisha's servant, the Lord opened their eyes and they saw the multitude of warriors standing guard ready to make war!

There has traditionally been a sense of pride about being an American and our ability to defend the defenseless and willingness to fight for freedom. I don't think the Founding Fathers based that on who they were as individuals but the Judeo-Christian moral foundation that inspired and formed their Declaration. It was not about "one," but The One, that revolutionized and formed a nation.

On this day after Easter Sunday, I am wrapping up preparations for my eighth Wounded Warrior Getaway (sponsored by Joni and Friends - San Antonio). The day we celebrate the resurrection is a great encouragement and reminder of the freedom bought and paid for "while we were yet sinners." The risen Christ is our "carrier;" showing up not because we deserve it, but because of His nature and promise. "I will be with you always, even to the end of the age."

My prayer for the upcoming week with the soldiers and their families is to be a healing balm of love, laughter and joy. I am honored and humbled by the strength, courage and sacrifice of these brave men and women, their families and children.

"And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and He wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the devil throws your way." Ephesians 6:10 The Message

Still smiling in His service
Preparing for the battle
Charlynn


Pray for the families attending

Pray for the volunteers serving

Pray for the Joni and Friends staff as they make final preparations for the weekend

Pray for the speakers Clebe and Deanna McClary for their message of hope and freedom found in Christ

Pray for the creative Spirit to inspire me today as I create yet another new way to bring smiles and laughter into the weekend

Pray for travel mercies for all (families, volunteers and speakers) to be safe

Pray for yourselves - the enemy always tries to cut off the ammunition supply (intercessory prayer) in a multitude of ways. Be about the Master's business!

We are MORE than conquerors



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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Peligroso!

Danger!

A few days ago, we were all laughing about the return drive from Comitan that had me yelling out the window for the riders in the back of the pickup truck to "Hold on." In the darkness on the back road to Las Margaritas, the speed bumps and other dangerous things were hard to see.

Little did I know, that same day a thousand miles away, on a different back road in Texas my son was encountering a very real and visible danger.

While the two cyclists (Road Warrior for Real Warriors) were outside La Grange on a two lane road, two men drove slowly past them. When they crossed a railroad track the men blasted their horns continuously at them. My son Alec looked back as if to say, "Really, your honking at us out here in the middle of nowhere?"

They called to the RV driver that he needed to turn around (he was about 10 miles ahead). The other cyclist went inside and retrieved the small pistol they had packed for "times such as this." They didn't let the driver know what had happened, they got back on their bikes and rode on.

A few miles down the road, they saw the truck blocking the road. They stopped, and got off their bikes. Lee handed my son the gun and said, "put a bullet in the chamber." Alec did, and then put the weapon in the back pocket of his cycling shirt. They got back on their bikes unsure of what was about to happen, but knowing they were at least protected.

As Alec related to me this morning, they really didn't know if the men saw the gun, or what - but for some reason, they got back in their vehicle and drove away.

As the mother of one of the riders, I praise God for His perfect protection and provision. As the daughter of the King, I know His angels were set as charge over them.

"Evil can't get close to you, harm can't get through the door. He ordered His angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble they'll catch you; their JOB is to keep you from falling. You'll walk (or ride bicycles) unharmed..." Psalm 91:11-13 The Message

Thank you for praying without ceasing! Even if you were not consciously praying on Friday - the Holy Spirit was! Those prayers were heard and answered in more ways than we will ever know this side of heaven. They were answered on a back road in Texas just as they were answered on the back roads in Chiapas.

This "event" spurred the cyclists on to speed up and get the journey over with. Last night when I arrived from Mexico, my youngest son picked us up from the airport and told me they had finished their 1200 mile "adventure" and were on their way back to Dallas, a day ahead of schedule.

They were "a day" ahead of the wildfires that have decimated over 650,000 acres in West Texas. They were right on time in God's plan.

"One more thing friends: Pray for us. Pray that the Master's Word will simply take off and race through the country to a groundswell of response, just as it did among you. And pray that we'll be rescued from these scoundrels who are trying to do us in." 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 The Message

It was quite a journey, and had its share of danger. However, it pales by comparison to what the men and women serving in the armed forces face each and every day on foreign soil to fight, defend, and protect freedom. The purpose of a 1200 mile bike ride across Texas was not to show physical strength, prowess or endurance but to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Joni and Friends event next week, and to honor in a small way those affected by the ongoing conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is still time to show your support of the "Road Warrior for Real Warriors."

Make a donation per mile (1200 miles COMPLETED) or a set gift amount. 100% of the money raised on behalf of Joni and Friends San Antonio Office will be used for the soldiers and their families attending. It will help offset the costs of a family (roughly $2000 per family) or sponsor the trail ride and additional day (approximately $1500) or provide for additional families on the waiting list to attend.

Make checks payable to:
Joni and Friends San Antonio
1370 Pantheon Way
Suite 165
San Antonio, TX 78232
In the Memo write: Road Warrior

Or to make a donation online visit our website:
www.sunshineafterrain.org
In the special note section put: Road Warrior

Knowing He is fighting for me!


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Monday, April 18, 2011

Rich or What?

"You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. ..." 2 Corinthians 9:11

The last night in Las Margaritas, the Pastor stood and gave his thanks for our visit. Since I don't speak Spanish, there were only a few words that I understood during his heart-felt speech. But what needed no interpretation were the tears of gratitude that ran down his cheeks when he shared he had been praying for 5 months for the Lord to send someone to partner with his church to win souls in the region. It was at the end of those 5 months that he met Sergio and Beth Matassa, and the rest - as it is said in English - "is history."

He then began to address Vicki and I about what he saw in the training of the church lay leaders and the outpouring of the Spirit during the last program. "I don't know if they are rich or what," he went on to say. "But they did not ask anything of our church for this training. They just came and gave us this great gift." He asked if they could pray for our work and travels.

The church gathered around us and through tears of thanksgiving they prayed. It just doesn't get much better than that.

As the evening closed, the workers we trained all came up to hug us, shake our hands and express their thanks. One of the youngest said, "Please know that we have no way to repay you for what you have done for us. We all wanted to work with children but we didn't know how. Your labor of love will produce a great harvest!"

Vicki spoke up and said, "we are not rich, it is through the supply of our God and many people that we are able to come and do these things."

That means YOU!

We are able to go, because you have been faithful to send. You helped answer the prayers of a Pastor in a small church in Las Margaritas. Here, near the border of Guatemala, in a country many mission organizations have had to forgo travel to, prayers were heard and answered.

Thank you for helping us reach over 300 children and adults. Thank you for helping train and disciple children's ministry leaders to reach the village children long after we have left.

"Your gifts have resulted in many thanksgivings to God."

On the way again
Charlynn


Pray for our safety returning to the states

Pray for our health as we both will be serving at the Wounded Warrior Getaway

Pray for the luggage as always

Pray for the workers - the Harvest is white but the workers are few. Pastors all over the world are praying for help.


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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Agarence!

It was well past sunset when we returned to Las Margaritas from our afternoon program in Comitan.

"Agarence! Topay!"

I kept shouting from the passenger side window of our '94 Ford to the ten church workers perched precariously in the pickup bed. The person riding shotgun apparently is assigned the job of spotting for the driver.

In case you don't speak Spanish (like a few of us down here in Chiapas), "agarence" means "hold on!" And "topay" is the Mexican equivalent for speed bump.

The hermanos y hermanas (Brothers and Sisters) laughed hysterically at each of my pronunciation attempts. I even began making up words for the speed bumps, "togobogo" (I must have been thinking about buy one get one free shopping). "Telly Savalas" (think bald man in the road). However, I have discovered, any word said with the right accent and enthusiasm is understood.

That is really the message we have been trying to communicate to our "disciples." The love of God uses much more than words. The love of God translates across language barriers, cultural differences, or disabilities.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and angels but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1

The program in Comitan went well, with the church workers handling the games, songs and the craft. They also prayed individually with the children as we closed.

Today, the program will be completely orchestrated by the nationals. They seemed a bit apprehensive about taking over, but we came to train and empower the local body of believers to reach out through children's ministry and advance the Kingdom.

"And now I will show you the most excellent way." 1 Corinthians 12:31

Loving the people of Mexico!

"What a huge harvest! He said to His disciples. "How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!" Matthew 9:38 The Message




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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Outside Marathon

"This is the only race worth running..." 2 Timothy 4:7 The Message

The last day I was the designated driver for the "Road Warrior for Real Warriors" journey of 1200 miles across Texas, we were to meet up with the new driver flying in for the "switch" just outside the city of Marathon.

The winds were blowing hard with gusts up to 35 miles per hour. The awning on the RV once again unfurled and whipped around like a sail in the ocean with a novice captain and crew. Not much fun for driver or riders to be sure.

I pulled over about 10 miles before our destination, unsure if the cyclists could even go the distance - Marathon. By the time they arrived, wind blown and ready for a short break, two cyclists heading West (we were headed East) were coming up the road.

They crossed the highway to greet us and compare notes on the journey behind them and get information on the journey ahead. It turns out the elderly (and by that I mean much older than me) couple were from The Netherlands traveling 10,000 kilometers! Roughly 6,500 miles. Why?

"...I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way..."

There were no people standing on the sidelines cheering them on. They weren't out to share a cause, raise awareness, make a point for or against anything. They were just riding across the continent. They had the time, the resources and the stamina to do so. But really, why would anyone do such a thing?

When I told people I was returning to Mexico, I was met with many questions and downright disbelief? "Really, Mexico? Why? Don't you know how dangerous it is?"

In my years of ministry, believe me I have stopped, just "outside Marathon" many times. I have had to regroup, assess damage and determine to press on. I have had to answer the "why" question over and over again. But, I have also shared blessed encounters with fellow missionaries who "cross the road" and encourage me to go the distance.

"...All that's left is the shouting - God's applause."

Here in Las Margaritas, I am running the race He has set before me. Our team is equipping the local lay leadership. We are sharing the love of Christ with indigenous children and adults. We are giving the message of hope in barrios filled with hopelessness. We will keep the faith. Our final destination is much farther than Marathon, it is the Kingdom to come!

"I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got." 1 Corinthians 9:26 The Message

Tying my running shoes on and thinking of the little girl who did not ask for candy, but for shoes to cover her bare feet.


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For My Sake

"We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?" Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth anyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My sake will receive a hundred times as much..." Matthew 19:27-29

Yesterday, we received some sad news from back home. The passing of a dear friend. Both of our hearts are to be with the family and friends that will be celebrating his home-going this weekend. Yet we find ourselves a thousand miles away in the harvest field.

As we were praying for comfort and peace for our friends' loss I was reminded of this verse. For the sake of His name we have gone into the harvest so there will be an even greater welcoming committee for those who go before us.

Today we will travel out to the village and present a program for the indigenous children. We will be joined by many of the nationals that attended the training session yesterday to watch our presentation. Tomorrow they will do the program and we will assist and then on Saturday they will do the entire presentation

Our goal is to fulfill the Great Commission by raising up disciples to increase the harvest of our King!

Sowing seeds



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Monday, April 11, 2011

Vaya on Dios

"Go with God"

It is the only way to go. Overnight strong storms hit the DFW area. It helped the current severe drought situation, but has yet to quench the wildfires that are blazing across Texas. My last night with the "Road Warrior for Real Warriors" team was spent in Fort Davis. The evening news reported 70 homes have burned there. In my walk around the town, I don't remember even seeing 70 homes.

Things and circumstances can change as quickly as a spring storm coming in or a wildfire out of control. That is why it is critical to know where you stand in relationship with a Holy God. That is why I come and go and go again, to share with as many as I can the salvation knowledge in Christ.

I leave this morning for a week in Chiapas, Mexico. Please pray for safety, for luggage issues (always) for travel mercies, and continue to pray for my son Alec, pedaling across Texas against the wind!

Smiling and flying
In His service


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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Look Up

People seem to consistently ask me if I have trouble with jet-lag. By the grace of God, herbs and pharmaceuticals I can reply that I don't. But the whole daylight saving time throws me every spring and fall.

The Road Warriors were trying to make up some miles today and it was getting late. Alec reminded me it wouldn't get dark until 8:21 so they would have that long to ride. When looking at the map we all noted that the last 18 miles of the day were on the highway. Not a very settling thought when you see 18-wheelers zooming by at 80 mph! I was just 6 miles ahead of them waiting at the last exit before the highway trek began and sent out the call for prayer. While I fully trust ALL to the hands of the Father, face it, guys can make some pretty unwise choices (sorry guys). I wanted them to make the right, safe choice influenced by prayer!

It worked, along with the panic-striken look on my face. They ended the day at 77 miles safe and not sorry.

In response to my plea, one of my friends posted about the beauty of the Texas night sky. As we headed back to the KOA campground, I took in the sunset behind the mountains. I remarked to Alec, I hadn't noticed this area on the drive from Dallas. "This must have been where I was keeping my eye on the "sail.""

Isn't that just like us too many times. The circumstances of our lives obscure the view all around us. Our thoughts are so focused on the problem, the pain or the persistent voice that says "this" will never get better, that we forget to take in the scenery.

I walked outside where the two men sit exchanging stories and was welcomed heartily. "Join us, were just chatting, no bad jokes we promise." I told them I was just out to see the stars my friend had commented on. "Too bad, the clouds just rolled in, not much to see now."

I smiled because I know, "Clouds are the dust of His feet." Nahum 1:3

Tomorrow will be a long ride through the Davis Mountains. Again, pray for safety on the roads, for my driving (I get anxious on mountain roads as many of my friends will attest), and for continued awareness for the Wounded Warrior Getaway and the families that will be attending.

"Thank the miracle-working God,
His love never quits
The God whose skill formed the cosmos,
His love never quits" Psalm 136:4 The Message


Follow us on FACEBOOK -
"Road Warrior for Real Warriors"

Support the cause:
Financial donations (per mile or specific amount) can be made to the Joni and Friends San Antonio office.

In the memo, write:
Road Warrior/Alec Johns
Joni and Friends San Antonio
1370 Pantheon Way #165
San Antonio, TX 78232

To make a donation online by credit card please visit our website:
www.sunshineafterrain.org


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Road Warriors Immediate Update!

"No weapon formed against you shall prosper."

It is the close of Day Two and the cyclists are making their last 38 miles (to bring the total for the day to 88)! The last 18 are on the open Interstate 10.

Pray against any flying debris (including bugs which my son seems to be a magnet for). Pray for safety, the wind and the terrain.

This is no "joy" ride. It is a ride to help raise awareness and finances for the Joni and Friends San Antonio office Wounded Warrior Getaway April 27-May 1. It will bring joy to the families, and minister to their souls. A small way to say thank you and honor our service men and women and their families for the daily WILLING sacrifice they make to keep us free.

Our PAGE only has 13 "likes" come on show the love!

Follow us on FACEBOOK -
"Road Warrior for Real Warriors"

Support the cause:
Financial donations (per mile or specific amount) can be made to the Joni and Friends San Antonio office.

In the memo, write:
Road Warrior/Alec Johns
Joni and Friends San Antonio
1370 Pantheon Way #165
San Antonio, TX 78232

To make a donation online by credit card please visit our website:
www.sunshineafterrain.org



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Googlee-eyed

"Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: "This is the right road." Isaiah 30:21 The Message

I made it!

More importantly the Road Warriors covered 77 miles today without incident or accident, in spite of a later than anticipated start.

If you happened to check your email you might have sensed my state of high-anxiety about driving this monstrous metal machine down the Texas highway. The second biker (Lee) remarked at my composure (or lack thereof) by asking why I didn't drive some of the 650 miles from Dallas. "Wouldn't that have been a good idea? I'm just saying," he wryly added while strapping on his cycle helmet confident his day was about to be a great deal tougher than mine.

"Why, yes - what a fabulous thought IF WE HADN'T BEEN DRIVING THROUGH A HURRICANE FOR THE LAST TWO DAYS." Foot about to be attached to bicycle pedal first went in mouth.

But technology was on my side today. After watching me fumble and sweat on Alec's iPad, he redeemed himself by offering to leave his cell phone Garmin. "His what?" you might be saying as did I. "Look, it will talk to you while you're driving. I'll just punch in the city and the voice of a nice calm lady will tell you which way to turn and just where to exit. If you make a mistake, she will adjust the directions for you. You won't have any problem at all."

He was right. Between God, the Garmin and some "nice lady voice," I didn't.

During our two day drive here, Alec was busy checking camping locations using the latest greatest technological advancement I think since the WHEEL! Schooling me with the modern marvel known as an iPad, he said, "Look mom, all we have to do is touch Maps, then hit the little locator button. Now watch the little blue bean flashing on the screen. That's us driving down the road see it move? Now move your fingers across the screen to zoom in."

It was crazy. I felt like a James Bond girl. Well, at least Mrs. Moneypenny with a fancy spy gadget. With this thing you can actually place a point on the map and zoom down to street level and take a 360• look around. And then zoom back out to see all of Texas or the world for that matter. I am officially "googlee-eyed" by Google by George!

"I look up at Your macro-skies, dark and enormous, Your hand-made sky jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, why do You bother with us? Why take a second look our way? Psalm 8:4 The Message

In the year of our Lord 2011, we were able to watch ourselves move across the road utilizing a satellite that beamed information to an unattached flat screen sitting on my lap. If we can do that - how much more can the Creator of the Universe do?! Count the number of hairs on my head indeed!

We had to drive 50 miles from their stopping point just to reach a camp ground. There is NOTHING out here (Google Map confirms). We will drive back tomorrow morning, I will drive forward for 20 or so miles and try and stop inconspicuously on the service road, wave at the passing Border Patrol vehicles and wait. AND pray.

There is a stretch of the journey where there is no side road for the cyclists and they must use the actual Interstate 10. The legal speed limit is 80 mph making for some dangerous travel time. Pray for safety, discernment and continued strength.

"You who sit down in the High-God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow, say this, "God, You're my refuge. I trust in you and I'm safe!" Psalm 91:1

I'm also smiling
In His service
Charlynn

Follow us on FACEBOOK -
"Road Warrior for Real Warriors"

Support the cause:
Financial donations (per mile or specific amount) can be made to the Joni and Friends San Antonio office.

In the memo, write:
Road Warrior/Alec Johns
Joni and Friends San Antonio
1370 Pantheon Way #165
San Antonio, TX 78232

To make a donation online by credit card please visit our website:
www.sunshineafterrain.org



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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

John Muir and Winds in the Wasteland

"...surely He is the Son of God, even the winds and the waves obey Him."

Sometimes, you just have to know what you know and the rest...

lean in!

Yesterday, we drove against a wind worthy of every stanza of Bob Seger's song. It was wild, woolly, and well... comical. Alec had me looking out the side window keeping an eye on our "sail." After the second time we had to exit (as a man was flagging us down with a frenzy worthy of the America's Cup Sailing Championship), I said, "I need to send out an email and get people praying."

Once the prayers started although the wind didn't die down, Alec's remark was, "It feels like we're in this little God Bubble. I still see the wind but it's not so hard driving the RV. The awning never unfurled again!

We arrived in El Paso in the early afternoon, checked in to the airport hotel and waited for the second bike rider to arrive later in the evening. The first phone call came about the time the plane was scheduled to depart DFW. "There has been a delay, some problem with the plane, 45 minutes at least until take off."

There is a famous story about the naturalist John Muir while he was in Yosemite. In the midst of a blinding storm he went out to the porch of his cabin, grabbed hold of a tree and watched and felt the full force of the wind. He wanted to experience it all!

When the second phone call came, I knew it was going to be a John Muir kind of night.

"After we changed planes, as we taxied out toward the runway a fork lift hit the wing and we had to turn back. I'm not going to take the next flight because it won't get me to El Paso until after 1:00 am. I will take the flight in the morning."

Come on! How many times have you ever heard of a fork lift hitting an airplane?

Alec and I both climbed the theoretical tree of circumstance and leaned in.

Today is the most challenging part of the bike ride. The riders leave from downtown El Paso and head through several outlying towns on regular heavily trafficked roads. They are not the safest roads or neighborhoods. Originally the plan was to leave very early this morning to get "through" those areas before traffic and people could pose a danger. Now, they most likely will be on the bikes by 3:00 and ride during the beginning of rush hour. (El Paso is Mountain Time an hour ahead of Dallas and Central Time Zone)

So it goes.

The wind blows where it wants; while we hang on.

There is no accident (a FORKLIFT hitting the second plane) or circumstance that He is not sovereignly in control over.

Pray for MY first experience driving the RV. The current plan is the guys will drive downtown, get the bikes out and start the journey. I will drive the same road ahead of them, although I would like to just drive at the same speed they are riding (roughly 18 miles per hour) I will be about 30 minutes ahead at any given time.

Pray for the safety of the riders.

Pray for the road and weather conditions.

This delay puts the "schedule" off of course, and while there will be days to make up the mileage the issue here in the West Texas wastelands is there is nothing. No campgrounds, few towns and a great deal of "border" issues.

This IS Texas, and we do all have firearms, but...

It is a perfect plan, and good practice at being flexible. Like our "sailing" experience yesterday, today promises to be one heck of a ride!

This is an adventure to be sure, but it is not without purpose. The goal of my son's physical challenge for himself was to raise awareness and finances for the Wounded Warrior Getaway in San Antonio, sponsored by Joni and Friends.

Alec was deeply moved when he participated with me in the spring of 2009 and again in the fall of 2010. Since that time he has often remarked how grateful he is to the men and women who serve our nation. Tying this "road trip" to help get the word out about the event (April 27-May 1) as well as offer people an opportunity to participate financially to help Warrior families attend the event without cost is the sole purpose of "Road Warrior for Real Warriors." When he discussed it with me, he remarked, "When I am having a hard day on the bike, dog-tired trying to make it up the next hill, or go the extra miles - all I have to do is think about the men and women who are putting their life on the line for ME. They are eating the dust and dirt of Iraq and Afghanistan so I can be free! Their families are missing birthdays and holidays so I can get on a stupid bike in Texas and ride. I can do this - I will do this."

Whatever way the winds of your life are currently blowing, cool across your face after a spring rain or like a hurricane sweeping away every ounce of hope, lean in. It cost a soldier and his/her family dearly for you to do so in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Soldiering on for all the soldiers I deeply cherish and love,
Charlynn

Follow us on FACEBOOK -
"Road Warrior for Real Warriors"

Support the cause:
Financial donations (per mile or specific amount) can be made to the Joni and Friends San Antonio office.

In the memo, write:

Road Warrior/Alec Johns
Joni and Friends San Antonio
1370 Pantheon Way #165
San Antonio, TX 78232

To make a donation online by credit card please visit our website:

www.sunshineafterrain.org


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Monday, April 04, 2011

Wake Up!

The "Road Warrior for Real Warriors" adventure has begun. Alec and I drove south of Dallas to Lee's (the other cyclist) and finished loading up our house on wheels for the next two weeks. I will only be driving the first portion of the journey. As I said, this is the most dangerous. It skirts the Texas-Mexico border and is in wide-open territory. In other words, lots of places for illegal activity.

Today, there are high gusty winds coming across the Texas plains. Alec said it feels like he is driving a bus while the Jolly Green Giant is trying to push us over! It's a fight with the wheel, with the road and with the 18-wheelers that whiz by.

It reminded me of the disciples on the Sea of Galilee in the midst of the storm. They were fighting against the elements. Finally, with Jesus asleep in the bow, they yelled, "Wake up! Don't you care we are about to drown?"

Jesus stood up and held His hands to command the winds, "Peace be still." And the winds and the waves obeyed.

Wake Him up for us. We need these winds to calm down. I sense His presence. Now I want to see His power!

The answer my friends, I'm blowing in the wind.

But you can know I have a smile on my face because I am in His service!
Charlynn

Follow us on FACEBOOK - "Road Warrior for Real Warriors"

Support the cause:

Financial donations (per mile or specific amount) can be made to the Joni and Friends San Antonio office. In the memo, write: Road Warrior/Alec Johns

Joni and Friends San Antonio
1370 Pantheon Way #165
San Antonio, TX 78232"

To make a donation online by credit card please visit our website:
www.sunshineafterrain.org

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Bob Seger and the Dust Bowl Bites!

"...I find myself seeking shelter against the wind, against the wind..."

We have our first injury on the road!

The gusting winds caught the awning, unrolled it, rolled it, unrolled, whipped it like a dessert topping and scared us half to death with the noise.

It was obvious we couldn't make it 347 miles with this instant "RV to Sailboat" conversion happening so we pulled over on the side of the West Texas highway.

Motherly instincts kick in way before 10 mile an hour winds. I watched as Alec climbed the 13 foot monster and thought of my friend who had fallen from the top of one after a camping trip. Lord help us. It was as horrible as comical; the two of us shouting over the winds, squinting to keep the dust from our eyes and trying to muster some form of engineering intelligence to figure out "what are we going to do?"

In the process of the awning taking on a "life of it's own" rolling up and down in the Texas tornado, Alec's hand got caught in the canvas.

"#*$":;/?!!!!%," he said.

"Are you hurt?" "Yes" "Are you bleeding?" "Yes"

*#?:;_+@$?!" I said.

Fortunately it's not too bad. Bandages and boy scout readiness come in handy!

Please pray for the wind to ease up! It is going to be a long hard day of driving against the wind in a vehicle trying to transmogrify into a boat.

Our early morning start will help but nothing could have prepared us for this wind! We're just past Odessa and I see why this part of the Texas plains was known as the Dust Bowl. The visibility is less than ten miles. A fog of dirt and sand is whipping around us like a cowboy at a roping contest.

We will have to stop several times to try and reroll the awning and calm the drivers around us. We just got flagged down by a concerned motorist. We tried to tell him (using hand signals) we do realize we are sailing more than driving.

Ships ahoy!
Pray for the sailors!
Arrgh (she said with a smile),
Charlynn


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