Sunday, July 29, 2007

From Wichita to Sioux City, and from Fargo to Omaha

Wow, I just got back from a little over a week in the Northern Plains that was intended to be a bit of a work related vacation. I have to take those types of vacations for all kinds of reasons, mainly financial. For the last couple of years I have been in the Northern Plains around Fargo North Dakota. While this year’s trip started out with some anticipated hopes, it turned out to be a little disappointing. The disappointment was centered around three speaking engagements falling through and a disappointing wrestling tournament with my son at the Fargo Nationals.

First the speaking engagements; I make the bulk of my income from donations and income that comes from speaking. It really hurts when churches or groups book me in to speak and then backs out of it. There are always those that loudly announce and let me know, “if ever in the area we want you to share”, but inevitably back out. This shouldn’t surprise me as I have found Christian organizations over the years aren’t a whole lot different now than they were back in the day I was exclusively working the Christian market. I guess some things never change. I would ask churches to open up some, be a little more honest, and communicate. Ministries like mine may not be a ministry like Billy Graham or some other “big” named preacher, but what we do is real ministry, and a dollar here goes a lot longer than with some of those ministries because we don’t have the expenditures they do. That doesn’t change the fact though that what little we have, and anticipate are needed. Because of this particular trip, and the churches backing out on their requests, we are out about $900, about a months worth of income. I assure you a big deal that could have easily been avoided.

The wrestling trip also was somewhat of a let down. My son has been an All-American every year, and every style he has wrestled in Fargo, a USA National High School Event. A lot has gone on with our son this year which I won’t go into, if interested it has certainly been covered in past articles. He came in 5th this year in Greco, he came in 1st last year, and last year after a 3rd place finish in a very controversial overtime loss to the eventual runner up (who by the way took 1st this year) my son did not place in Free-Style. This was the case despite him having recently beating several of the kids who did All-American this year in both styles. I don’t know what all of the details were, but I do know there is a lot of work and refocus to take place. Working on something like this with your son is a difficult task for any father with a son in their later teen years.

I could focus on all of those “bad” things this year but will instead leave this trip with a focus on some of the good things. The truth is I had the honor of speaking to several individuals about The Virtual Pew and the ministry we carry out. From our host, a wonderful lady who has opened up her home to us in Fargo to numerous individuals at the wrestling tournament itself, I came into contact individuals who had a definite interest in this ministry and what we do. Some of those people where Christians, and others who were “not religious” according to their own definitions. Each of these people had unique gifts, some using them, others exploring the use of their gifts. It was a reminder to the journeys that people are on, and our need as followers of Christ to remind people of their uniqueness and giftedness. There were ongoing reminders to the need of this ministry.

The reminders as to the need of this ministry came in several ways. I was without computer services and was reminded upon my return by the large number of emails dealing with needs in specific areas. From counseling to helping with particular church related issues, individuals had emailed me their requests. I was also reminded by the tragic loss of the grandfather of the friend who was sitting my house. Virgil was a wonderful man who had had a tremendous impact on his grandson. Over the last few years of his life he had been down quite a bit due to his health. It really was difficult being in Fargo when the family requested me to do the funeral. I finally was able to make plans to get back in time, but only to find out the family had found someone else to do the funeral and ended up doing it a day earlier than anticipated. While it was difficult knowing several people I cared about was having a tough time at home with the loss of a loved one, it was an honor to know they thought of me in their time of difficulty. Things like this can hardly be described.

There were other great things that happened, from touching base with an old acquaintance from the past that had ministered to me with the radio job they once had, to getting home to hear some other good news items which I will be announcing and talking about tomorrow. Truth is, while I used to look at and for God’s blessings, even during bad times, I just don’t have to look that much anymore. I just kind of have to keep my eyes open and they appear. I am reminded of a line in an old Larry Norman song, “You Can’t See Nothing When You Close Your Eyes,” how true that statement is, we have to keep our eyes open and on the look out for the things where God chooses to bless us. Of course that doesn’t imply that we never have to look, sometimes we do, but if we just keep our eyes open we may be surprised at the times God is already there.

More will be coming up this week, including a dispute with YouTube and their banning of my account there (for who knows what) to my appearance on an internet radio program this Friday Night that individuals will be able to listen to, to plans for speaking in the upcoming Fall and Winter season., we will also be conducting an interview this week with a principal from the new upcoming movie Underdog. I am actually excited about this as I get to spend some time with the animal trainer of this and many other movies the owner of Boones Animal Farm. The Virtual Pew continues on, ministering to those who need it, and at the dismay of those who don’t like it, The Virtual Pew continues to find ways to do what God wants. That says a whole lot more about God, than it does those who would distract from this ministry.

Until next time, God bless and talk later.

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P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

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