He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. …For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:1-6, 11-12 NKJVIt’s hard to believe it’s been a year already – a year since the near-death experience God brought us through – one that we all walked away from. We are still amazed at it all. It is hard to find words to express how we feel, except that God is powerful and merciful and faithful, and we are so grateful for each other and for life!
What a journey this past year has been as a result of the plane crash! (If you have not read the story, you can find it here.) We were invited to share our story on the radio with Wayne Shepherd, took our first flight after the crash a few months later, told the story and shared the gospel in a public school, connected with one of our EMT’s when we returned to that community, and watched God open so many doors to tell people the story and point them to Him. We’ve shared this story at kids clubs, churches, and prisons. People recognize that our survival was nothing short of a miracle. We tell them that we cried out to Jesus, He heard us, and that He is real. We are so grateful for this testimony to share with people.
As believers in Jesus Christ we have everlasting life, which means we know that when we die, we will spend eternity with Him. We were ready to take our last breath. Are you? Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV
Praise God for what He has done!
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised… The snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears. …The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. Psalm 18:2-3, 5-6, 46 NKJV
After Alabama, we were off to the Southwest!
After a two-day drive, we arrived at a church in Albuquerque where we would be singing the next morning. This church family has been a real blessing to us as we have gotten to know them over the last few years. A number of people were there to help us unload all of our instruments and gear, and after we set up, everyone went out for dinner at a true New Mexican restaurant. Tortillas, beans, green chilies…yum!
Mom started having some back pain and by the next morning it was to the point where she wouldn’t be able to join us for church, which included our concert. It also turned out that on Monday (our planned departure day) Mom’s back was not up for traveling, and our hosts, the Delaney family, were so gracious to us when we had to stay a few extra days. We had a good time with them!
Even though our schedule hadn’t gone as planned, it was still a profitable few “extra days” in New Mexico. Dad was able to have a couple of ministry-related meetings, and we three girls were able to join some of the church family in a children’s Bible club at the school. We shared the airplane story with the kids, showed them a picture or two, and sang a couple songs.
Thursday we had a concert scheduled on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, so it was time to say goodbye to New Mexico and the Delaneys. Mom was still having some back trouble but she was able to join us for the concert that night! We were in Tuba City at the discipleship center, and we enjoyed meeting people and getting to know the Haskins who minister there and also put us up for a few nights.
And how can you come this far and not go to the Grand Canyon? A few of us have been there before, but we had never been there as a family. We were really looking forward to going. Being at the Grand Canyon reminds us how small we are, and how powerful God is.
We had been invited to sing on the Hopi Reservation if we ever were down that way. This was another place that was a first-time for our whole family, and it was a great opportunity to encourage the believers and share the gospel. We had a concert there on Saturday night and then stayed for the Sunday church service. We met quite a few believers there and they made us feel so welcome.
Sunday morning was a church breakfast, with tortillas made hot off the stove. The morning service was an encouraging time of testimony, music, singing Hopi hymns, hearing the Word, and at the end the believers got up and sang in their Native language, “God be with you till we meet again.” We were so blessed by them.
The town we were in is in a canyon, and right behind the church is a rock wall. It’s beautiful country down there, and between all the rocks, red dirt, plains, canyons, and other scenery we drove through or past in the southwest, we felt very far away from Minnesota! (And we probably sounded like it too…”Look at that rock! Look at all those rocks! Look at the dirt!”)Everywhere we were at on this trip, people were so welcoming and hospitable, whether or not they had met us before. It’s wonderful to be part of God’s family.
From Arizona we began our trek northward, a three-day drive home. We drove through the Rockies in Colorado, and despite some snowfall and high road elevations, we made it safely through and thoroughly enjoyed the stunning scenery.Our last two nights on the road were spent with our friends the Marinos in Colorado and the Wissmanns in Nebraska who are such an encouragement to us. Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for us and blessed us on this road trip! We know that God is working. Sometimes we see it, and sometimes we don’t. Either way, we desire to be faithful and trust that where God gives us opportunity, He is at work.
“That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:6