There’s already a tale to tell, 10 minutes into the trip. First of all, I forgot my shoes. The ones I had been wearing. I don’t wear them when I drive, and assumed I had left them in the car when I went into my parents’ house. I was a couple of minutes down the road when I realized they weren’t in the car at my feet, and I had to go back for them. Then, I was on my way again, when suddenly I remembered that I had a bumper sticker from Kenya I had meant to put on my car before I left. I knew I had left it in a suitcase that I decided not to bring. But that triggered my memory to remember that I had not checked all the zipper compartments in that suitcase. So I called my mother and ask her to check, and she said it didn’t feel like anything was in there but she would check. She opened it up and found my Kindle charger, which I might or might not have gone back for. Then in the other pocket, she discovered my passport!
I always keep my passport in my car, because I never know when I might want to driving to Canada or Mexico, you know. But I never took it out of my suitcase when I went to Kenya. This was such a close call, because I probably wouldn’t have discovered it for a week until at some point it occurred to me to check. It likely would’ve been before the border, but easily could’ve been 1000 miles down the road.
I decided to get a head start on my trip tomorrow by heading to Fayetteville today. I suddenly realized this was an option as I was talking to Cameron at breakfast before we all left the gathering. “Oh I could…hmm…are you guys going home today?” “Yes.” “I guess there’s another question I should ask but I know I don’t have to.” So I’m leaving now, staying at their house tonight, doing some errands around Fayetteville tomorrow (including going to see a guy who sells mini Australian shepherds), and then heading to Longton, KS, in the afternoon.
I can’t get my Facebook album link to post, so I’ll figure that out later.
The only gathering where I don’t have to work up the nerve to get out of my car and encounter other humans. 😂
It turns out there are some rather fascinating differences in the way you should react to a bear, depending on whether it’s attacking because it’s scared or because it’s thirsty for your blood (this is probably an important distinction to remember when dealing with people too). I think I’ve got it memorized, but I imagine the hard part would be keeping calm enough to make that determination while a bear is running toward you.
As you might’ve gathered from the title – since my readers are no dummies – today was my last day at the Urbana Bible Education Center. It was a great month. I can sum up the things that made it great in two sentences. But I won’t. Cuz that wouldn’t be a very long blog. Okay, here they are. One thing that was great was getting to know those who help with the running of the BEC better. The other thing was seeing the way “touch and teach” works in this setting. I have a lot of African BEC experience. Many aspects are similar – you’re trying to teach people about God while helping meet (or find resources to meet) other needs they may have. But it looked a little different. They aren’t usually dealing with extreme poverty. But there are plenty of needs to be met, and the BEC has given a lot of people a soft place to land in the chaos of this world. I hope to come back soon, and I hope to take what I’ve seen here – love, compassion, optimism, respect, and patience, among other qualities – and apply it in my interactions with others as I go forward.
Today I went to Barnes and Noble (I had a gift card that was 1.5 years old but luckily hadn’t expired) and bought a journal for my trip. I’ve never done a trip journal before, but Dana inspired me. I’m gonna give it a go.
If you’d told me a month ago I’d be spending my last night in Illinois hanging out with people I didn’t know from New Zealand, I would’ve…well, I probably would’ve believed you actually. It’s been a great month and was a great last night eating “tea” (dinner), having dessert (or maybe pudding), drinking hot chocolate (which could’ve possibly been “supper”; who can say really?), and playing Wise and Otherwise. (I’ve made converts all over the world. My favorite one tonight was, “There’s an old Italian saying, ‘The best kind of trees are….'” I went with the first thing that popped in my head and then dissolved in a fit of giggles. “Pas-TRIES.”)
Tomorrow morning bright and early, I leave for the Good Hope gathering in Arkansas. I have a few more supplies to collect (bear spray, extra camera card, spare phone charger), and then I’m off Tuesday on an adventure I’m getting super excited about!
What if you could only have peace when things were going perfectly? What if peace was contingent on understanding why people do the things they do, why God does the things He does, why you yourself do the things you do? Would that really be peace at all?
Jesus said he gives peace not as the world gives. How does the world give peace? Maybe it means that the world’s idea of peace is an absence of conflict. But a godly peace is about internal calm in the midst of conflict. That seems to be the kind of peace Jesus himself had, and the kind he offers others. The peace of knowing our eternal destiny is secure if we follow God’s ways. That’s what our peace is based on. All the rest is irrelevant. If you want peace, make peace. Be peace.
The peace that passes (is better, higher, more supreme than) understanding will guard our hearts and minds. I love the word “guard.” It reminds me of God telling Abraham that He would be his shield. God’s peace will guard us, keep us, and shield us, if we let it. We (usually) have to hold up a shield for it to work. We have to practice this peace. Sometimes it’s hard, but it gets easier with practice. I also love that the peace guards our hearts and our minds. There’s a difference. They need guarded in very different ways – our hearts may need protection from others sometimes; but our minds often need protection from ourselves. God’s peace can do both.
In less than a week, Lord willing, I’ll be leaving on a 32-day, 10,000+ mile trip. I think I’ve more or less got my itinerary set, with a lot of wiggle room since I have no idea how long it will take to explore northern Canada. Here’s the latest iteration.
Google Maps would only let me put about ten destinations, so not everything has a marker – but I tried to at least drag the route through the areas I couldn’t highlight. (Notice that it’s roughly the shape of a deer. Or a moose.)
This is just part one. I think I’ve figured out my rough plan for July, which includes a few days in Ontario, then a giant loop through Quebec, Labrador, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and eventually to New York for another Bible school.
Which brings me to the next point. I may be losing my nerve. In theory, I love the idea of being totally off the grid for several days – likely no internet or cell service for the majority of the Yukon and Northwest Territories. But in actuality, I kinda like the grid. The grid is especially helpful if your car breaks down or you’re trapped in a tree with a bear waiting patiently below (Can bears climb trees? Don’t tell me.). I’m pretty sure I’m gonna do it. But I’m gonna turn on that thing that lets people track you, so that if I die they can find me beneath several layers of ice (just kidding, it’s summer up there too).
In all seriousness, I’m looking forward to this adventure, but I am a bit apprehensive. My life is in a state of transition, and I’m looking forward to reflecting on where I’ve been and where I’m going. I just hope I have internet access where I’m going.