Sunday, June 20


I interrupt these road trip postings to bring you some amusement. This is mainly for those of you who are not facebook frequenters, and thus, would have missed an entertaining snippet of my life.

This morning at the hospital, I had a patient who was perhaps slightly confused. As I was starting an IV on her, she rather abruptly said, "Did you know it's a sin to cut your hair?"

Slightly surprised, and also quite curious to know what verse she had interpreted to mean that, I asked her where in the Bible that was found.

"Oh, somewhere in First Paul, or... well, if you read through the New Testament, you'll find it there somewhere." She then continued to educate me in spiritual matters, first relating that it's actually a sin for men to have long hair and a sin for women to cut their hair (to clarify). She went on to tell me about her encounters with the Holy Spirit, greeting fellows with a holy kiss (and the opposition she met to that practice), and other such matters. All in approximately 7 minutes.

I laugh at this, and I hope you have too. However, in a way, it's kind of sad to me too. First, it's sad that her mind is no longer as sound as God created it to be. But it's also somewhat of a rebuke to me to think that she has absolutely no inhibitions to sharing her faith and spiritual life with me-- a complete stranger-- and I can't remember the last time I truly shared my faith and spiritual life with a stranger. Not that her way is the way that I ought to go about it, but it made me pause to reflect. What am I so ashamed of? Why can't I seem to let go of my inhibitions and share God with others?

Thursday, June 17

Day Four: Kalamazoo and Holland

Unfortunately, the sights of Kalamazoo are rather few. Our first object was to discover where we could find shirts that said Kalamazoo on them—again, because we thought it sounded so fun.

We asked a few of the people at the hotel for tips on things to see in Kalamazoo and a place to find t-shirts, and the reactions were mostly similar; a small smile would come across their faces, amused that anyone would come to little Kalamazoo for sight seeing. We finally decided we would go to the Kalamazoo College (better known as K-College) to look for t-shirts, and then we would head to the Air Zoo.

The t-shirts available at the college at the start of summer were few, but we managed to find some that we liked, and then we went down to the college sign to take a picture. We attempted some self-taken photos, but they were pretty awful, so when we saw a girl and a guy coming out of the nearby building, we decided to ask for some help. The random girl obliged, took our picture in front of the sign, and then asked, “So what is this for? Memories?”

We laughed. Then we all three attempted to explain our mission.

“Wait, so you all don’t even go here?!” she exclaimed in amazement. She laughed at us, we laughed as well, and then we parted ways. I’m sure we will be a source of amusement for her and her friends when she tells them how she met these strange girls who wanted Kalamazoo College shirts.

On to the Air Zoo. The Air Zoo is still somewhat of an oddity to me. It is home of a small collection of planes from days past. You walk around, look at the planes, attempt to take bad pictures in the dark, and then there are the rides. What kind of plane museum has rides? Well, the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo does. So we tried out some of the rides (which are mostly designed to entertain small children).

We went in this flight simulator game in which you “fly” the plane and can make yourself absolutely sick from twisting every which way. We watched a horribly inappropriate for children, 4-D presentation that was miserably sad in commemoration of those who have fought and died in wars. We also rode a drop out thing that takes you up and drops you a few feet and repeats the cycle. That was kind of fun, but the guy operating the ride was kind of teasing us about being riding on children’s rides. Beth-Anne and I also went on this incredible human gyroscope thing that spins you around every which way rather quickly. That was probably the highlight of the Air Zoo for me.

After amusing ourselves there, and handing out a Steps to Christ to the woman who sold us our admission tickets, we decided to head out to Holland, Michigan to see the windmill and the little Dutch village.

We made it in just in time to go catch a tour of the windmill, which was fascinating. A lady dressed in Dutch clothing gave us a thorough tour of De Zwaan Windmill (Dutch for “The Swan”), which is a wooden windmill that they received from Holland back in the 60s or 70s (I think). It is still a working windmill; they actually have a miller who mills wheat. It was so interesting to learn how the windmill works, and we got a few fun pictures there. Unfortunately, the tulip gardens were no longer in bloom, so we didn’t see those, but we did walk around a little bit and look at the shops with wooden shoes and hand-painted porcelains.

Sunday, June 13

Day Three: Kelley's Island to Kalamazoo

When I went to sleep the previous night, I had already decided that I would wake up early and take a walk in hopes that I could find someone to give a Steps to Christ book to, especially since I had to give away two today. After showering and dressing, I headed out, praying that God would help me to forget the discouragement of yesterday and that He would give me a divine appointment. I prayed about which direction to take, then headed right off Huntington Lane, despite the fact that it was a less populated area. As I walked with the shoreline on my left, I saw a woman walking her dog coming from the opposite direction on the sidewalk. She saw me and looked like she was in a hurry, not wanting to make eye contact. I breathed a prayer and said good morning. She responded, and encouraged, I asked about her dog to make conversation. We talked very briefly, and then I tried to give her Steps to Christ. Failure number two. I walked on even more discouraged and began to talk to God. My eyes teared up (silly, I know) as I confessed my frustration with my unsuccessful attempts.

I passed by another woman and decided against trying to give her a Steps to Christ. I couldn’t think of any good way to stop her as she walked the opposite way, and to be quite honest, I wasn’t quite ready for another rejection, so I just smiled and said hello. I walked to the bend in the road, leaned against a wooden pole, and lingered a while in prayer. Then I turned back, trying to cheer myself out of feeling like a failure.

I hadn’t walked very far back in the direction of the bed and breakfast when I saw the second woman walking toward me on the sidewalk a little distance off. I prayed again, convinced that if I was seeing her twice in this morning walk, God must want me to offer her a book. My mind kicked into motion trying to think of a way to talk to her. As she came near, I (likely very awkwardly) said, “Ma’am, do you like to read?” Somewhat surprised, she stopped and said, “Somewhat I guess.” I then told her that I had been trying to find someone to give a book to, and that I had written a little story to go in it. I asked if she would take one, and she said she would. “Should I pass it on?” she asked. I told her she could if she wanted to, and then we parted ways. I couldn’t help smiling as I continued on my way, and I thanked God for working through my inept words and ways.

After breakfast and packing up, we talked with Patty for a while. She had a lot of questions for us about Adventists; she kept comparing us to Mormons because we had told her about each of our student mission years. It was actually the first time I can ever remember really sharing and answering questions for someone about Adventism, although she didn’t ask many questions specifically about our beliefs. Em gave her a Steps to Christ, and we were on our way. We checked in some little shops—a mostly fruitless search, and then read our devotional book Crazy Love while we waited for the ferry.

Once back to the mainland, we headed out—Michigan bound. More specifically, to Kalamazoo. We chose to make Kalamazoo one of the stops on our road trip mainly because it had such a fun sounding name. We arrived several hours later at our hotel without much event. Beth-Anne was brave and handed out her Steps to Christ to the lady who checked us in to our room, and then we quickly headed upstairs to eat and play on the little dumbwaiter. We watched a beautiful sunset from our window, and then headed off to bed with plans to wake early to conquer the sights of Kalamazoo.