Monday, July 09, 2007

the end and the beginning

we left medford early on july 8, and drove out to the gorgeous oregon coast. we arrived around 1pm at the tillamook cheese factory, where we waded through a sea of humanity, people from all over the country, who were there eating and learning about cheese! after unloading at a hotel in nearby garibaldi (and taking a much needed nap), we actually returned to the factory for a bit of ice cream, before heading up the coast to watch the sunset at rockaway beach (specifically, at the access by st. mary's by the sea). it was beautiful — and cold. in spite of the fact that temperatures in central oregon were peaking into the 90sF/33C, it was cool (65F/18C) and very windy. we enjoyed the sunset, then hiked back to the car to defrost!

today, i was awakened early by a phone call from montreal. apparently, they were missing (lost?) the paperwork that would allow our possessions to cross the border. since we were out at the coast, there just wasn't much in terms of office equipment, but after about two hours of various attempts, we were able to get the needed forms to them. nothing is ever easy in a transition.
later, we drove up the coast to cannon beach. it is a beautiful spot, but on this day, it was also cold, windy, and foggy. we took a walk on the beach there, but rapidly retired to mo's for lunch, then continued our journey, eventually turning eastward along the columbia river.

we arrived in issaquah, wa around 7pm, in time for a delicious korean meal with b and n who are hosting us here. actually, n has moved out to create space for us — a generous act that made me feel pangs of regret; we hadn't intended for that to happen (it didn't the last time we visited). tomorrow, we hope to sign on the house, and to close by the end of this week. tomorrow evening, i'll attend my first elders meeting at the lighthouse.

here are some of the statistics from our road trip:
  • distance traveled — 5427 miles/8734 kilometres
  • days total — 20
  • number of hotels/motels — 3 (a total of four nights)
  • van breakdowns — 3 (two in new mexico, one along the arizona/california border)
  • hottest spot — mojave desert, 112F/44C
  • coldest spot — oregon coast, 65F (but seemingly much colder with the tremendous wind
and so we come to the end of one journey, and the beginning of another. i will be completing many 'lasts' for inter-varsity this month — my last prayer letter, my last expense reports, and the like. to do so is a sorrowful thing, the end of something wonderful. even so, it's hard not to be excited about the road that God has laid out in front of us. like our recent road trip, i do not expect it to be the straightest or most efficient route; it is likely to include some surprises and even brushes with danger. but i am confident that God is with us, leading the way into (what for us is) uncharted territory: this new frontier of church planting. pray for us when you remember — the adventure is just beginning!

at first, i saw God as my observer,
my judge,
keeping track of the things i did wrong,
so as to know whether i merited heaven
or hell when i die.
he was out there sort of like a president.
i recognized his picture when i saw it,
but i really didn't know him.

but later on
when i met Christ,
it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride,
but it was a tandem bike,
and i noticed that Christ
was in the back helping me pedal.

i don't know just when it was
that he suggested we change places,
but life has not been the same since.

when i had control,
i knew the way.
it was rather boring,
but predictable…
it was the shortest distance between two points.

but when he took the lead,
he knew delightful long cuts,
up mountains,
and through rocky places
at breakneck speeds,
it was all i could do to hang on!
even though it looked like madness,
he said, "pedal!"

i worried and was anxious
and asked,
"where are you taking me?"
he laughed and didn't answer,
and i started to learn to trust.

i forgot my boring life
and entered into the adventure.
and when i'd say, "i'm scared,"
he'd lean back and touch my hand.

he took me to people with gifts that i needed,
gifts of healing,
and joy.
they gave me gifts to take on my journey,
my Lord's and mine.

and we were off again.
he said, "give the gifts away;
they're extra baggage, too much weight."
so i did,
to the people we met,
and i found that in giving i received,
and still our burden was light.

i did not trust him,
at first,
in control of my life.
i thought he'd wreck it;
but he knows bike secrets,
knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners,
knows how to jump to clear high rocks,
knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.

and i am learning to shut up
and pedal
in the strangest places,
and i'm beginning to enjoy the view
and the cool breeze on my face
with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.

and when i'm sure i just can't do anymore,
he just smiles and says… "pedal."

"the road of life" (author unknown)
from holy sweat by tim hansel


marguerite said...

praise God for your safe arrival! our girls loved the stats

Zhi Wei said...

what an adventure! thanks barry for the many updates. it's really great to hear how God has blesssed and provided for you and your family thus far. it's a real encouragement to us all!