Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nordic/Cross-country Skiing Primer

For our friend Richard:

Here’s the nordic skiing primer. The gear list is not what you need just to swish around the local golf course. Rather, it’s a set of equipment that you could collect over time to ensure that you will be warm (comfortable) and safe on a longer tour, say up near the cabin. Some of it you probably already have, most of the rest of it you can find at a thrift store eventually. Most of the items on the list will make your swishing about on the local groomed track more comfortable.


Optimum Gear List for a full day tour
  • skis
  • ski boots
  • ski poles
  • minimal oh-shit/first aid kit
    • duct tape
    • gauze
    • matches
    • lighter
    • compass
    • shoelace
    • ibuprofin
    • benadril
    • emergency foil bivy
    • sharp knife
    • headlamp with spare batteries
    • moleskin
    • whistle
    • bandana
    • iodine water purification tabs
  • heavy weight wool socks
  • warm gloves
  • thin liner gloves - wool
  • warm mittens
  • warm hat
  • headband
  • balaclava/face gaitor/good scarf
  • wicking baselayer top and bottom
  • fleece - spare layer, not necessary if your never really get cold
  • snow pants-Active layer
  • lightweight shell jacket-Active layer
  • warm puffy coat - sit-on-your-tush layer
  • sunglasses
  • chapstick
  • backpack
  • 2 liters water
  • energy bars/snacks


I wasn’t super happy with the tutorial videos online. This one’s OK:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xlcasj_how-to-cross-country-ski_school

The basic goal of cross country skiing is to glide as far as possible with each kick/pole thrust. Choose a foot to push off with. Press the ball of that foot firmly against the snow (to engage the grippy part of the ski) and push off with it. At the same time, push off with the pole in your opposite hand. As you surge forward (hopefully) pause with the leg you didn’t kick with slightly forward, knee bent, and let both skis glide for a foot or two. Then shuffle the back foot forward and kick with the other leg.

You should always push with the opposite pole from the foot you kick with. Try to use your poles to propel you forward, not simply to keep you upright.

This is a good image of your body position right after you kick
Notice that the rear ski lifted off the ground a bit at the end of the kick, almost like following through with a golf swing. Also notice that the tip of her front pole is in line with her front boot, ready to propel her forward, rather then out in front of her body.

This rhythm of cross-body motor skills takes most people more then five minutes to perfect. Plan on not covering a whole lot of ground your first time and working on getting a kick that sticks every time, a long glide, and a smooth transition to your next kick.

Resources near Fort Collins:

The Mountain Shop in Fort Collins has very reasonable rental prices. I would go there first to find out about where to ski.
http://themountainshop.com/rentals/

Cameron Pass nordic trails near Red Feather
http://www.trails.com/activity.aspx?area=13649
http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=SGR035-019

Free snowshoe day at RNMP with REI
http://www.rei.com/event/33350/session/41859/02252012

Fort Collins REI rents nordic ski gear. Probably an OK place to inquire about where to ski.

Full Moon Ski & Snowshoe
Feb 19, 201105:00 pm - 08:00 pm
Eldora Nordic Center
Join us and enjoy x-country skiing or snowshoeing under the stars in the full moon light. Trails will be lit with moonlight and flashlights!
$5 trail pass for 5pm-8pm; $15 x-country ski rentals; $10 snowshoe rentals; $1 hot chocolate.
Bring a headlamp in case it's cloudy. Call 303-440-8700 ext 267 for further details.
http://eldora.com/mountain.event.php?year=2011&month=02&day=19&action=daily

Have FUN! Call us with questions.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"The eagle has landed"

We made it to Durango! The vouse ran great all the way from MN. We did a tune up on both vehicles and found better tires for them before we left.

We are both very excited to be here. We have been anticipating the sun and scenery of the Colorado mountains for weeks now, and it has been absolutely as invigorating as we had hoped.

Overall, Durango is a pleasant town. Campus isn't exactly easy to access, but the ride up the hill should build character and leg muscles. We visited three churches this Sunday. All three were really quite good. Patrick Crossing being the most interesting of the three. Visiting them was going to the Irish pub at 6 to hear the band play and meeting some of the people that make up its house churches. :-)

We are so thankful to the Lord for his provision. He is filling us with peace and joy and hope in his plan to use us here in Durango to further his kingdom. He has provided us with new friends already. Bob and Yvonna were our only acquaintances in town. In hindsight it totally makes sense, but we had no idea prior to sharing dinner with them that they love the Lord and have a beautiful ministry of hospitality and service here. We are so thankful to have had a bathroom and a kitchen to come back to for the past couple days, and a huge orange cat to purr on our laps.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We want to perceive what the Lord is calling us to here, and our fear is that we might miss the opportunities he will offer us if we are too focused on the concerns of job and house. Pray that we press deep into the Word and are continually in prayer together this next week.

God is too good to us!

John and Laura

Monday, November 28, 2011

Back to school!

It's been a bit since the last post from Chicago. I think I'm going to keep this one shortish.

We spent a lot of time praying this summer for the "next step". About a month ago it looks like we got an answer. I (John) am going back to school. We realized that either we were going to accept a temp. job offer that took us into February, or apply to schools in a hurry. It created a moment of clarity where going to school definitely was the choice that pushed me further towards developing the abilities God has given me, which I hope to use as a blessing to the world around me.

What is very cool is that after deciding to go to school, I told Laura that I didn't think I should apply to a bunch of schools, that we should pray and trust the Lord to show us the right one. The next thing I did was, on a whim, double check the majors offered by Fort Lewis College, a small state school in Durango, CO. What do you know, they have a brand new engineering major that didn't even exist the last time I was researching schools in Colorado. Long story short, I'm in, should be registered for classes soon, and Lord willing will leave in about two weeks to start settling in.

From an e-mail I just sent to a church in Durango, "Please pray that we would have peace throughout the move and especially that the Lord would provide a community of believers for us. We are praying that the Lord would reveal his plan for housing and employment that provides a foundation for everyday ministry in hospitality and dynamic service to the people that come into our lives."

Love,
John and Laura

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chicago

Right now I'm (John) writing from my 80 year old Grandmother's laptop, which is a little incredible in itself.  I wanted to take a moment and share some of my experiences from the last week and a half.  We're currently in suburban Chicago, which I reached by way of 550 miles of pedaling.  My friend Brian invited me to join him in "Cycling With a Purpose" along the Mississippi.  Laura joined us for the first few days, then returned to Minneapolis for a week before taking a bus out to meet me here and visit with my Grandmother.

It has been a real pleasure to be able to simplify life and lifestyle again for a season and focus on serving others and sharing the hope of the gospel.  One of my goals for the trip was to humbly advise Brian on how to better utilize his navigation tools to be able to complete his upcoming solo sections efficiently.  This sounds relatively straightforward, but the reality of life is that we're called to empathy and compassion in everything we do, and there's really very little overlap between the engineering process of optimization, and the Spiritual journey of service.  Although I'd considered this tension before the trip, walking humbly in the Lords descernment of when it was time to "optimize" and when it was time to "empathize" never got easy.  It wasn't easy to switch gears in my head, it wasn't easy for Brian and I, as well as we know each other, to communicate about the transition between the two, it simply wasn't easy.  But, it was absolutely beautiful.  God used the fact that we needed to face practical issues to reveal underlying Spiritual issues.  He solved practical issues with spiritual answers.  Most importantly, through it all he saturated a frail, sin-beset human process with an overflow of Grace in humility, love, patience, and faith.  I want to take these lessons into my marriage, into our ministry, into my "normal" life.

I am so thankful for seasons in my life where everything in my life from the time I wake up till the time I go to sleep serves as a reminder to focus on the Gospel, in my love and in the words that pass through my lips. 
Pulling your nasty bike shorts on in the morning: "I exist to spread the Gospel!"
First stiff, painful pedal strokes of the day: "I exist to spread the Gospel!"
Up the long hill: "I exist to spread the Gospel!"
Looking out at the panorama at the top: "I exist to spread the Gospel!"
Stopping to ask for directions: "I exist to spread the Gospel!"
With other customers at the bar for dinner: "I exist to spread the Gospel!"
As you introduce yourself to the church who's hosting you: "I exist to spread the Gospel!"
I have a hunger to grow in my ability to treat every day this way.  I also have a passion, if the Lord wills to use us for this purpose, to help the Church see every moment and every human relationship of every day this way, to the Glory of the matchless name of Jesus.

What we, or I, have done recently is not very important.  Rather, what the Lord is calling us to do next, for his Glory and the furthering of his Kingdom here on earth, is very important.  Please pray for us that we would have descernment and courage to follow him into what's next, even this coming week.  As we wrote last "Forgetting what lies behind, and straining forward to what lies ahead, [we] press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August

We've come to a point in our journey where we're stationary, wondering what to do next. We made it back to Minneapolis safe and sound, bringing our Tacoma up to join the vouse.

We few out to Denver late July where Laura's parents picked us up and took us to Greeley where we hung out with them for a few days. We went bouldering with the little brother, brewed beer with Dad, made a medieval costume with Mom and went and saw older brother's new apartment and hung out at Horsetooth Reservoir.  

They dropped us off in Colorado Springs where our truck was parked in a friend's parent's driveway. We had a good time talking with Mrs. Parr about faith and life. Encouraged, we set off for Gunnison. It was amazing to pull in to a friend's house and find the community you left still going strong. We pulled in late at night and found a bunch of people hanging out after just sharing a meal. It seems like it was what we were looking for all summer - close fellowship of loving friends who lived around each other.We caught up with friends around town for a couple days and met a girl named Katie who was visiting the little community. More about that later. We then left for Ridgway to attend Laura's college roommate's wedding - Tiffani and Rusty. Beautiful wedding, it's always exciting to see others enter into the covenant of marriage. Tough but worth it! (We just reached our first anniversary on the 14th. (: ) We stayed at John's Aunt and Uncle's house and took a beautiful 4-wheel drive trip up Imogene pass from Ouray to Telluride. Thousands of wildflowers of every color graced the scenery amongst 13,000 feet tall passes. With the cool night air and beautiful mountains - we missed being in Colorado!

We headed back to Gunnison Sunday morning for a church service that will stay in our memories a long time. We got to watch Katie get baptised after coming to the Lord that week. It was wonderful to have interacted with her that week, listen to her life's story and come alongside other brothers and sisters to tell her about the wonderful truth of the gospel through Jesus Christ as opposed to through the mormon church. Anyone who reads this please pray that her faith would be guarded and that other Christians could come alongside her and encourage her. She needs much prayer for her family situation right now as well in Pueblo and South Dakota. We got to drive her back down to Pueblo when we left and talk with her about life and faith. We were filled with such joy to have the chance to encourage her. It seems like most people we invest time and love into we are in the long haul with them - wanting them to experience the full freedom in Christ but seeing slow progress. To see God move so quickly and powerfully in Katie's life was amazing. Praise Him!


We then stayed with Brian in Colorado Springs helping him with the last details of getting ready for his bike trip, then headed out one evening and drove through the night to get us all back to Minneapolis. Brian then left to start his trip and we stayed here, getting anxious about the future. Work potentials were falling through, and our desires and ideas about what would be next were unclear, different, or seemingly unattainable at the present. God has been patient and very faithful to us however, blessing us more than we deserve, and while we don't have a next big goal in mind, we are still learning and growing. We just got back from a couple days hanging out with John's brother Stephen in Duluth, and we leave for a leg of Brian's trip on Saturday and then possibly to visit relatives around the Chicago area. Please pray that we would continue to draw close to the Lord! Sorry for not updating much, please feel free to bother us by phone, facebook, e-mail or leaving a comment!

Philippians 3: 8-15
For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cycling Southbound

Our friend Brian is leaving on his bike trip on Saturday, and is now here in Minneapolis with us. Just wanted to give him a shoutout! John will be biking with him in a week or so from Minneapolis to around De Soto, WI. We've had some cool travels back to Colorado and we'll post about that later!

cyclingsouthbound.blogspot.com


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Godsroots Initiatives

The Vouse has landed in Minneapolis to visit family and friends. It feels strange to not be on the road, and not to be in the vouse. (The heat and humidity here have made us glad not to be in it).

Plans are to fly back to Colorado to visit Laura's folks, to attend a friend's wedding, and to help drive Brian up to Minnesota to start his trip. The past few weeks were spent at a lake cabin with the Naglak relatives and sailing with John's parents, brother and a friend around Duluth for a few days. We're now back in Minneapolis for another week and a half, hoping to catch up with some friends here and tell about our travels and hope to be an encouragement to them. The Lord hasn't given us any bigger picture plans, and it's a struggle to turn to the Lord for every little thing while staying put.

Living in the vouse was something the Lord called us to  - a big learning experience about dependence on Him. He has provided for all our needs, all the bills have been paid, we stayed warm last winter, and were able to have free time to spend on encouraging friends and learning how to relate to Him and each other better. While our "minamalist" lifestyle might be kind of trendy, we didn't do it just cause we thought it would be cool to be hippies living in a van and feel good about ourselves in what we could do without. We hope we haven't come across as judgmental or above anyone for our choices. We try and take Matthew 6: 19-34 seriously - we want Him to be our treasure, for we "cannot serve God and money" or "be anxious about [our] life". We hope to share this idea with other Christians. What can they give up to the Lord? How can they let Him be sufficient enough? To ask Him about the "stuff" in their life. Is is being used to glorify Him or would it be better to give it up or sell it to the poor? We feel God has let us keep our outdoor equipment in order to bless other people by taking them on adventures. This was a big part of our time in Gunnison - taking people xc-skiing, mountain biking, rock and ice climbing.

The frustrating thing is many non-christians seem to be more on board with this communally invested lifestyle than Christians. The green movement has brought up people who want to involve community in helping each other. We've encountered initiatives like community gardens, the hourdollars service exchange, Food Not Bombs, and many other innovative ideas that spark our interest. However, these organizations don't bring people to Christ.  Conversely, Christians don't seem to galvanize worldly people the way these do.
Christians aren't cool in popular culture, partly because Christ doesn't care about being hip to the world's standards, but possibly because Christians seem hesitant to embrace "grassroots" ministry efforts.  We think there a need for more Christians to pursue a diversity of ministry opportunities based on the leading of the Spirit, within the accountability of their local family of believers. Many Christians seem to want to seek out larger existing ministries or organizations. These have a larger budget and an organizational structure. Not to say these ministries aren't effective or good, they are, but we wish many more christians would see the needs around them and just jump in and start meeting them. We as believers don't need authorization from larger groups or to wait around until a budget appears (God will provide for what you need to do, if it's His will) in order to best bring Christ to those around us; we need the leading and the power of the Holy Spirit and the support and accountability of the Word and the Body.

People want something new and innovative to be excited about.  Christianity is viewed as ancient and stuffy.  We have a God who is more creative then anyone has imagined; more exciting then anyone has ever experienced.  How can each of us who believes in him make him REAL in our community?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Catching up with our thoughts...

We embarked on this trip seeking out a better understanding of what the Jesus wants us to focus on in our future.  At this point we have as many questions as ever.



John was daydreaming in church on how to reach climbers. Climbers don't come to church, they are at the crag on Sunday. Bikers, skiers, etc. are all spending their weekends out of town doing the activities that they love and this means that there is almost no way to get them into a church building on Sunday morning to hear the Gospel.  We've been also thinking about the nature of church and how to best present it to people who don't understand it, or even want to understand it. How can we be "Christians" without bringing all the stereotypes and prejudices that people associate with that word? The essentials of the Sunday morning church "event" are worshiping God together, having the Word preached, and praying together. People also need to know that church is happening in order to participate and it has to be culturally accessible to them. What bothers us is that there are a bunch of outdoorsy people who don't show up to church because it conflicts with their priorities, and because they don't feel comfortable there.

The question is - how do we bring church to them, such that they recognize it happening and that it feels accessible to them. The answer seems simple - go to where the outdoorsy people are, when they're gathered there, and hold church in an obvious but unobtrusive way. The mental image is get out the cardboard sign that simply says "Church", and put it up next to us, let people know that they're welcome to join, and then when we're done we're going to go have fun climbing or whatever we're there for. Then do church, even if no body comes. Preach a sermon to the air if we have to. Keep it simple, succinct, deeply heartfelt but un-affected, visible but not obnoxious. Maybe "Church" on Wednesday night at the local trailhead parking lot is a prayer meeting for twenty minutes before the evening ride.  Get the sign out, briefly walk around and personally let people know what's going on, go pray without making a big scene of it, and then go ride. There are all sorts of climbing, riding, whitewater, and skiing festivals and gatherings.  Most of them are held over weekends.  Go bring church to them so that they can see God being worshiped, and hear his word being preached. This seems to be a call that we feel is unmet in the American West.



This is a daydream, a question we have for God about how we might serve because it is something we are saddened by - the lack of Jesus people visibly and actively living their faith amongst the outdoors community.  We would like it if you all would pray for us as we seek out answers and guidance and also that you would give us your feedback here on the blog.  This wouldn't be something that would be wise to pursue as a replacement to participation in "normal" church or outside of supportive christian fellowship. We certainly would rather settle into a single community for a season, either for John to finish school or to simply put down some roots for a while.  The reality for us at this point is that God hasn't pulled us toward any one community or established ministry yet. We certainly have spent time in communities that make us really happy, that we can see ourselves living and investing in.  But as we've interacted with mature believers around the northwest, they have had the opinion that the Lord is using us doing exactly what we're doing and that we should be satisfied, even confident to continue it.

One of our frustrations is that we desperately desire to be more actively sharing the gospel and focusing on seeking out unbelievers and loving them extravagantly for Jesus.  It's from this heart that the trailhead "church" daydream comes.  We need so much prayer from you all that we would confidently take every opportunity to share the gospel specifically with people we meet, instead of copping out and simply talking about "caring" or "investing in others". 

We've  been meeting so many cool people on our trip. Some of the most open, generous people are not christians. Our views seem so parallel, and through our lifestyle we can easily connect. Other van-dwellers for example. People who desire to live simply and help people out. The desire for community, living not for one's self but for others, is a common ground we have with many people. Lots of other people are "spiritual". It's difficult to want to communicate Christ with them, because they claim happiness and love and peace already. We feel they're just missing Something, replacing it with yoga, the universe, or other religious or spiritual beliefs. We believe that the power of God through his Holy Spirit gives christians something essential and irreplaceable.  Obviously, though, few christians live as though they have some awesome power in their life that others should want for themselves.  So we meet many people who wonder why they should believe in Jesus when most of what they see of His followers doesn't do justice to their own ideals. We often feel outdone in generosity by these people. In Christ, we should be able to blow everyone else out of the water with His love, generosity and care through us. So pray for us that in Him our expressions of Love would be inexplicable with out him.

Again, please communicate with us about these things we're sharing with you about ourselves.  You guys are our family, our community, and we value your advice.  Love you all!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Catching up with our travels...

It's been a bit since we got off the boat.  We spent I few nights meandering down Highway 20 through the northern cascades.  Wet.  Pretty.  Thought about climbing Mt. Baker but didn't feel up to it.  Finally rolled into Winthrop, WA in the Methow valley last Wednesday.  We got some good information on climbing and biking in the area and figured we might stay a day or two.  On Thursday morning, we stopped into Methow Boot Repair and met Sid, the owner.  Sid turned out to be awesome: helpful, friendly, generous, and enthusiastic, especially about climbing and mountaineering.  Before long we'd hatched a plan to go up a couloir near the highway that evening.  After going for a quick mountain bike ride we picked Sid up after work and embarked on our first snow climb.  It was classic alpine climbing, with a mixture of moderate angle snow, ice, and rock scrambling.  We got to the top right before dark and did most of the rappels and the hike out by headlamp.  Sid has pictures and we'll post them when he emails them.  Very successful mountaineering adventure!

We've spent quit a bit of time recently thinking and praying about what the Lord is calling us to in the future.  We'll post on that soon.  Suffice to say that we spent a few days in Winthrop camping out and working on that.  On Saturday we went to a BBQ at the Friendship Alliance Church in Winthrop and spent some wonderful, encouraging time fellowshipping with the folks there.  After Sunday service we left and drove to Sandpoint, ID.

We are currently in Sandpoint working on the van and enjoying the warmth, the beach, the Evans Brothers Coffee Roasters' deliciousness, and thinking some more about what the Lord might be dreaming up for us.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

BC

We're back from our sailing adventure in BC! It was a great trip, we both didn't want to get off the boat. We were blessed with great weather, currents (The tides and resulting currents around the islands can create pretty strong currents that you have to time right, or face strong currents against you or whirlpools. :-D). We started out with the destination of Campbell River, but things were going so well the first few days that we agreed to go further. It ended up being the same amount of time to go about twice as far. We met a variety of cool people. We met Shawn, a guy who lives on his gorgeous sailboat. John rowed the dinghy over one day while anchored in the same bay, and they chatted late into the night over homebrewed beer. We met him again at the end of our trip and both went over and chatted late over beer, about our faith  and what it is. Pray that the bible we left him will give him truth.
We spent a couple days at the Salmon Coast Research Station, a place our skipper Ivan goes every year to help out. We hung out with them for a couple days, attended their annual "Pie-Off" competition (ate too much delicious pie), went salmon-berry picking, bravely fought crabs (John has the battle wound to prove it) ate said crabs, and visited with the people there.

We left our skipper Ivan on his birthday at Port McNeill, near the top of vancouver island, on sunday. We had many fun conversations and learned a lot from him. It was fun to be trusted as competent crew and have a pleasant skipper to spend the days with! We went to church there in Port McNeill at the Full Gospel Church, where they were excited to be welcoming a new pastor there the following week. Please pray that that church would be strengthened in it's ministry and spiritual growth with the arrival of a new pastor there! We were then treated to lunch by a family we met, the Jorgensens. They were kind enough to drop us off on the highway to find a ride down the highway to get back to the states. We were picked up by a guy our age named Cody, who ended up dropping us off right at the border after driving down the island and catching a ferry across. We were very blessed to make it back to the states in one day! 

We saw seals, pacific white-sided dolphins, bald eagles, and beautiful scenery.

One of many eagles

Driving the boat on a sunny day up a fjord


what you lookin' at?

at shoal bay


lush vegitation


crabs!


Now we have to still figure out what's next! Currently in Winthrop, Washington, probably going to play a little bit on a mountain bike trail, climb and perhaps ski.

 Please pray for us - Colossians 1:9-14
"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Gone Sailin'

We're now off on a week long sailing adventure up the inside passage of British Colombia's Vancouver Island! We are in a dock in Blaine, WA, prepping the boat to leave early tomorrow morning. Laura got her passport in Seattle while we were visiting John's friend Ingrid and her boyfriend Russ. We spent a fun couple of days with them, including taking a ferry over to Olympic National park and did some hiking. (no pictures, I was being spacy and forgot a memory card...)


Please pray we'll be a blessing to our skipper!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pacific Northwest

Since we left off, we went over to Shoshone falls with Virginia, Haley, Mike and Fernando. They graciously treated us to a burger and fries and we parted ways.


We then headed to Boise, where we headed up (and up and up) Bogus Basin road to an old logging road to camp, finding an overlook of the city. We took a hike and did some talking the next morning.

Heading back into town in the afternoon, we found a gearshop, and learned that Boise is close by to everything outdoorsy. We were pointed to another gear shop downtown and perused the guidebooks, to discover that Idaho has many natural hot springs. We purchased the book of hot springs of the northwest, and after chatting with the sales lady, we picked one to visit the next day. We set off by motorcycle north towards the mountains there. Beautiful country, with high rivers and many trees. A short hike up a hill by some waterfalls and we found Skinnydipper  natural hot springs that users maintain, with adjustable hot and cold pipes. We stayed a few hours and chatted with a couple people, soaked and soaked up the sunshine, too.


Afterwards we were going to head north for a bit more adventure but the north was quickly becoming socked in with rain. We turned back to Boise and went to Ha' Pennys pub to celebrate my (Laura's) birthday a day early.

We drove the next day to Bend, Oregon. It seemed like Boulder had transplanted itself here, trendy and outdoorsy. We met a bartender later that evening who recommended us to a nearby church she thought was pretty cool, so, the next morning we went to Westside Church. We liked the gospel message we heard and chatted with a few people. Daniel, who sat next to us, was looking for a job, so pray for him. We also met someone (whose name I am spacing - sorry!!) that we shared our story with before the service as he welcomed us to the church.  After not really making any connections for later that day, we toured a little of Bend, talked, and read more of the book we've been reading - "God's Smuggler" by Brother Andrew. It's been making us think of what ministry really looks like and how faithful some of God's elect are and how faithful God is.

We're asking for prayer for us, as it is difficult to let the Lord be in control of all the fears in the new circumstances we're in. Talking and loving on all sorts of people, especially new ones, is something the Lord is teaching me I need to work on, to let the benefits and good things that may occur from doing something top my fears and 'what ifs'. We had to decide the next step recently of an opportunity that came up a few weeks ago - and we're on our way towards Seattle to help sail a boat up Vancouver island with the guy we met, Ivan. Pray that we keep following His direction as we head up the coast.

We're currently in Portland, after driving through the impressive Des chutes forest.

stretching our legs in the forest
the vouse and tall trees

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New People and Places

Last Thursday we left the vouse in Kemmerer, WY and took the motorcycle up to Jackson Hole and back overnight.  We camped up in the Bridger-Teton National forest about 30 miles short of the town of Jackson.  Wished we had thought ahead and bought bear spray...  The food safety warning sign on the road we turned off on had a huge griz pawprint as a background.

camp


No one was eaten, so the next morning we drove up through Jackson and then continued up into the national park to get a glimpse of the Grand Teton.




On our return through Jackson we met a lady named Cynthia at the town park.  Cynthia is from Arizona and works hospice there while going to school studying death and dying.  She was beading on the picnic table, which she says is her escape when her job gets to be too much.  Before too long, she told us that she was in Jackson because she was running.  Work had become too difficult to handle and it had become obvious she needed to leave.  After talking for a while, we shared that a moment by moment relationship with Christ is what helps us not only cope, but continue to live outwardly in love, when life gets tough.  We left her with a Bible and asked her if we could put her picture up here.  Please pray that Cynthia would find an in-exhaustible well of peace, joy, hope, and love from constant communion with Christ as she contemplates what's next for her.



After leaving Jackson, we looped around the mountains to the west, through the Star Valley.  After the desolate drive through southern Wyoming, the lush agricultural setting of the Star Valley was absolutely divine.  We stopped in a few small towns and museums and made it home late in the evening.  In all the trip was most of 300 miles.  We really enjoyed getting away from the van for a bit and having the gas pump read less than $10 when we filled up.

Star Valley


On Saturday morning we started driving toward Pocatello, ID.  We intended to stay the weekend and go to church, then visit the university there to investigate their engineering school.  We arrived and started meandering about the center of town, talking with people and trying to get a feel for where what sort of town we were in.  After a few hours, we needed to stop and pray about what the Lords plan was, because things just didn't feel right.  Although we had found a church we intended to go to the next morning and had identified some people in the community that we could try to connect with more deeply, we felt the Lord wanted us to keep driving.

We set out in the direction of Boise, trusting that the Lord would show us where to stop so we could find a church for Sunday before evening.  About an hour later, Laura got bored of the interstate and we turned off into a cluster of farming communities.  We found ourselves in the town of Rupert.  After poking around the town square, we inquired about churches and Grace Community church was recommended to us.  After stocking up on yummies from the Panaderia, we went to find this church.  When we found it, we were invited to stay the night in the parking lot, where we got to chat with another guy who lives out of his trouse and has been going there while he's in town.  He's been writing a lot recently about the need for total surrender to Christ and want to publish some of them.

Church the next morning was encouraging. It was filled with a variety of people, with many people that seemed really excited about Christ and to be able to worship him and be lifted up by the fellowship. The message was on how we need to build our faith. With examples of going to a gym and working out, the pastor encouraged us that only we can build our faith. (www.graceid.org)

At church we met Bill, Virginia, Haley, and Mike.  They live on farm about twenty miles south of Rupert.  Bill invited us to camp there while we went down to an area called city of rocks.  We arrived later that afternoon after being treated to lunch by a few delightful older gals from the church.  Plans for the city  of rocks were postponed on account of having too much fun touring the farm, bonfiring, gun firing, weenie roasting and enjoying new friends.




Monday morning we were invited for breakfast, then went to the city of rocks.  We finished the day with chores, dinner, and lots of good conversation.

city of rocks - lots of climbing potential



This brings us to this morning.  We are sitting in the kitchen typing, wishing we didn't have to leave this fun, engaging, loving family and their world.  We'll be off towards Boise again this afternoon after stopping at Shoshone Falls.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rawlins


We stopped in Rawlins, for the night, and since it was Wednesday night, decided to look for a Wednesday Evening Service/study at a church in town. We saw a sign pointing up the hill towards First Baptist Church, and were invited in. The pastor, Harvey, gave a talk on 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, as part of a study of both Corinthian books. He shared the good news of the resurrection – Christ’s and our own because of Him. 

We received a prayer request from Kathy, a member there that attended that night – To be with First Baptist as its numbers dwindle, and for all the churches in the area that have experienced a loss of membership as members move away as the jobs leave or just advancing in age and going to be with the Lord. We encouraged them to stay the course: keep preaching the gospel, and focusing on living Christ’s love for other people. Numbers aren’t a sign of a church being alive, and even a small congregation is just as important and can be very effective for the Lord.  Please pray that the Lord brings fruit through this congregation and that the Lord sustains them. 
 Happy June!

On our way

We're finally on the road! We're about to head out from Laramie, WY. After battling 60 mph headwinds to get here, the weather has evened out and we visited Vedauwoo. It's like heartman rocks in Gunnison on steriods. Did a 5.9+ yesterday after meeting some climbers and hanging out with them a bit. Learning how to adjust to life on the road and excited for what's next! Stopped at the University of Wyoming to chat with the engineering department. School is still a daunting thought, but we know it's up to Him to send us in the right direction. Headed west...

Pictures: 1. The vouse at hartmans before we left. (minus motorcycle, it was being used)
              2. Driving to Vedauwoo
              3. Camping at Vedauwoo





Thursday, May 19, 2011

Test Blog

Hello All,

This be the test blog for this blog.

Bloggity Bloggity blog blog

We'll be leaving Gunni soon. Hopefully to warmer locations?