Day 11 - February 8, 1998 - Milepost 1366 - Yuma, AZ

(SF). A mother was so upset with her two boys who were always getting into trouble that she sent the older one to visit the pastor. The boy walked into the towering church, found the pastor's big office and saw a huge desk and chair behind which sat a larger than life minister. The minister asked the boy "Where is God?" The boy could not answer. The minister boomed again "Where is God?"  Again the boy could not answer. The minister slammed down his fist and shouted "Where is God?" The boy got so scared he ran out of the minister's office, across town, into his house, up the stairs, into his room and hid in a closet. His younger brother found him and asked what the minister had to say. The boy answered that God is lost and the minister thinks we had something to do with it. Brother Richard uses this story as the opening to his sermon this morning in the Yuma Lakes Clubhouse. The clubhouse is almost filled to its 224 capacity with other retirees seeking God's word. The theme to today's sermon is running the race. Take off the loafers and put on the running shoes to spread the good news. After all we certainly have the time, the transportation and the funds. Another couple sing a slightly off key duet with words of perfect pitch. "Let Me Travel the Last Mile with You" touches my heart and tears come to my eyes.

As we return to RTENT I sadly remember last night's weather forecast of sunshine.   It is raining.  I think back to the woman who stayed here during Tuesday's storm and said the whole area was covered with water and she needed a picnic table on the driver's side of her motor home to get out. It took a couple of days of pumping to get rid of the water. We have not sent e-mail for a few days so we proceed to the clubhouse searching out a phone jack.  None can be found.  We go to the membership sales' office and the salesman there said he did not know where we could "do that."   He directs us to the security gate and park office. Here we are addressed with some amount of belligerence, not the first time this has happened.  I wish to learn what drives that hostility. Is it ignorance, is it strain, is it fear of the boss? I then notice the salesman run toward us and say we can use his jack (before he did not have one).  I guess his boss realized we still had to go through our sales pitch and we would not be in any disposition to buy a membership. Nevertheless the position here seems to be uncaring and not helpful.  I am reminded of yesterday's restaurant request, the list of rules and the situation in the store when the lady minding the register kept a customer waiting at least five minutes for the purchase of a candy bar while she took care of something in the back room. We retrieve our 30 some messages within four minutes, thank those in the room and go back to RTENT to savor the news from home, family and friends.

(BF). Yuma Lakes RV resort offers church services this morning in the main club house. We've attended services at many campgrounds and usually found them sparsely attended, but here promptly at 9 AM the club house is overflowing with more than a hundred worshipers. On stage with her back to her audience, a gray-haired lady plunks out folksy church music on an upright piano. As I scan the listeners in front of me I guess I am the youngest one here, quite a contrast from College Station where we often feel the oldest when dining in restaurants near the A&M campus. We sing Victory in Jesus, followed by Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, hymns with a Southern Baptist flair. Then Gene and Bonita sing an off key Country & Western tune that relates life together as a couple (they celebrated their 50th anniversary this year), but barely refers to God. So far I am less than inspired. I'm beginning to suspect it will get worse when the leader announces the regular pastor will be replaced today by Brother Richard. Up steps a muscular man with a youthful face that makes him resemble a high school football player a few years beyond graduation. Contrastingly, his goatee and narrow mustache display more hair than his nearly shaved head and a golden ring in his left earlobe glistens ominously. I begin to wonder what is in store for us. He begins with an amusing story that has nothing to do with the sermon theme, but puts the congregation into a jovial mood. Quickly he builds a momentum of stories, experiences, scriptural passages and solid Christian doctrine to keep our attention. Using a text from Hebrews about running the race, he parallels a foot race to the Great Commission and challenges the retirees to take off their loafers and put on running shoes to spread the Gospel.


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