Friday, January 29, 2010

Stranded in the Snow!!!

Yesterday, I drove through a snowstorm all the way from El Paso, TX, to Santa Rosa, NM, only to get there and find the I-40 eastbound onramp shut down. I was trying to get to Amarillo, TX, to do a job, and I had even already booked a hotel for the night in Amarillo.

I decided to try to take an alternative route (famous last words) and found myself travelling alone on a lonesome highway in the middle of nowhere. At first things were going pretty well, but then I kept running into some very deep patches of snow and snow drifts. My Hyundai Sonata 4-cylinder car was miraculously able to keep going through all the snowy roads, but I just wasn't sure how long this would last. My cellphone and GPS still had signal so at least I was able to make sure that I wasn't getting super-far from the interstate or civilization.

After about 35 miles I noticed a ranch house by the side of the road with the lights on, so I pressed reset on the odometer trip counter so that if I got stuck I would know how far back it was. The road seemed to be getting better, and I was cruising right along, but then all of the sudden I came plowing into some really deep snow on an uphill incline and got completely stuck right in the middle of the road. It was 9:00pm.

I spent about 40 minutes trying to dig myself out, so that I could at least reverse back the way I came and get to the ranch house, but there was no use. I finally realized that it wasn't going to work, and that it was only getting later, colder, and windier the longer I waited. I switched into survival-mode and layered on every piece of clothing that I had with me in the car. I hadn't even planned on spending a night out of town when I left the house, but thankfully I still had some extra clothes with me in the car (having a messy car sometimes pays off because you always have what you need for survival). I then packed my laptop, cellphone, and GPS into my backpack and set out.

I abandoned the car and set out for the ranch house which my odometer told me was 1 and 1/2 miles away (had I not known exactly where I was going it would have been safer to stay with the car until morning). The house was very well lit so I hoped that I wasn't waking anyone up when I knocked on their door after 10 o'clock at night.

A young couple came to the door and were a little bit shocked to see ANYONE out in the middle of nowhere where they lived in this kind of weather! The young man called his dad who lived 8 miles away to bring over his 4-wheel drive to come and pull my car out. It took us a little while, but we finally were able to pull the car out. I then drove it about 10 miles to the rancher's house where I was put up in a nice guest house for the night.

And that's where I am right now as I write this post!

In a few hours the rancher is going to have the worst part of the road back to Santa Rosa (the way I came in last night) somewhat cleared because his son is also heading that way later to go to a rodeo somewhere near Albuquerque. Then I can get on the I-40 westbound in Santa Rosa and head back to Phoenix (east is still closed).

I'm just going to have to do my job in Amarillo on another trip. In the words of the rancher who I'm staying with, I'm like the mouse who no longer wants the cheese, I just want out of the trap!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

4th Sunday of 2010 (comments are now open)

I'm not sure why, but my blog wasn't allowing comments before. Now comments are open.

We had 44 in church this morning and 15-20 out soul-winning in the afternoon. I preached this morning about how Jesus and his disciples preached the Gospel to all the towns and small villages in Judaea during his earthly ministry, something that is mentioned MANY times in the 4 gospels.

After hours and hours of soul-winning, our church collectively had 29 people saved today! Our attendance in Sunday night church was 34.

A 15 year-old guy in our church, Gabriel, got saved and baptized 21 days ago (Chris and Victor knocked his door) and has been out door-to-door soul-winning with people from our church on 10 of the 21 days he's been saved! Only at Faithful Word! haha

This coming Saturday is our Small Town Soul-winning Marathon in Kearny, AZ! Listening to the above sermon from this morning will explain why and what we do.

We use Google Earth satellite images to see which streets have houses, and then we hand out street maps to everybody that are printed from Microsoft Streets and Trips. Then people report back once they have completed their map and we mark it off on the big map of the whole town.

Kearny is the biggest town we've done so far. The other five we did were towns ranging in size from a population of 1,500 - 2,500. Kearny is a little bit larger than that (the population is over 3,000), but the houses are close together.

On 3 of our marathons we completed the whole town in one day. On the other 2, just a few of us had to go back on another day to pick up the few streets we had missed.

We have some people come for an hour or two, some who come for half the day, and usually about half come for "the long haul!" We're trying to do 4 per year, but we skipped one at the end of 2009 because we were so busy. I'm excited about getting back into it, and I think this is going to be a very good town for it.

Here's a great website to get demographic and statistical info on towns:

You'll be shocked how much info there is! It tells you every possible stat about any town in America: population, income, ethnicity, even how they vote! It's pretty interesting, and it helps you get a feel for the town.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

3rd Sunday of 2010

47 in attendance at church in the morning, 30 in the evening service, 44 saved through door-to-door soul-winning (that is an all time new record!) and 5 baptized after the service! In the am I preached on "Stepping Out in Faith," and in the pm I preached a sermon called "Only One Can Be Right."

Also one of the guys who got saved through soul-winning and baptized 2 weeks ago has been out soul-winning more than once this week himself with Victor who won him to the Lord. Saved, then baptized, then soul-winning! The cycle is complete!!!

Also, another man who has been going to our church for a couple of weeks now is going soul-winning for his first time with Brother Dave on Wednesday afternoon before the service.

This week I traveled to Washington DC and Virginia during the first half of the week, and the latter half of the week I stayed in AZ the whole time. On Saturday I had all 5 kids on my hands because my wife was taking her concealed weapon permit the entire day (8am-5pm). I decided to take all the kids to Sedona, a deer farm in Northern AZ, and Montezuma's Castle (a National Monument off the I-17). We left at about 5 in the morning and returned at about 6 in the evening.

We also brought along 2 friends from church: Richie Symes and Scott Brooke

Monday, January 11, 2010

2nd Sunday of 2010

Before I get into Sunday, on Wednesday (1/6/10), we had 31 in the service, 7 saved in the afternoon through door-knocking, and 4 people baptized after the service (3 from the door-knocking).

This Sunday our attendance was 44 in the morning service and 31 in the evening service. I preached on "The Doctrine of Baptisms" in the morning & "Changing the Meaning of Words" in the evening. Most of our church people went out soul-winning throughout the afternoon & we had 22 people saved total. Also, the 3 who got baptized on Wednesday night were back again this Sunday.

In the last week, I drove through 9 states: AZ, CA, AR, MS, AL, GA, TN, SC, NC. I drove about 2,575 miles. I slept in the car 2 nights and another night on a beanbag in an airport. What a crazy week!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First Sunday of 2010

45 people attended the Sunday morning service today. I preached a sermon entitled "First Pure, then Peaceable." We had 15-20 people out soul-winning in the afternoon between the services, and tonight in church we'll find out how many people got saved. I personally had 2 people saved while out soul-winning with my son John and one of our other church members, Dave Carls. Right now I'm watching the kids while my wife is out soul-winning with Amanda.

We had a great New Year's Eve service and heard sermons from some of the men of our church: Matthew Stucky,Dave Berzins, and Brett Riley. We also played Scattergories, Ticket 2 Ride, and other board games while enjoying chips, organic sodas, and chocolate fondue. Then John stuck a toothpick in the machinery of the chocolate fondue fountain which then exploded and sprayed chocolate all over the wall and table.