Pony Express Ministry
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” - Hebrews 12:1
God is GOOD! Wow! What a summer! I quit my full time job as a Customer Service Representative with a Propane Company on May 24th. What for? Because the Lord was ready for me to “saddle up” for the next phase of my life. Was it easy? Are you kiddin’? It scared the fire out of me…..Good Benefits, Good pay, Great people to work with….was I nuts?! :)
This account of the summer is a LONG one. So, you may have to revisit this page to finish reading it :). Just warnin’ ya.
My purpose for writing it is this. As we live in these last days, we as Christians simply need to strengthen our Faith. We turn on the news and everything and everybody seems to have just plum lost their minds. You can’t even watch a decent show (if there is one on anymore) without being bombarded with provocative commercials. Or, someone trying to talk you into “popping a pill” to solve everything. Yipes! Where do you turn for sanity?
I am always encouraged by the Faith stories, the Love stories, the Compassion stories. Not only the amazing testimonies in the Word of God, but also the testimonies of “today”. People that aren’t afraid to share how God spoke to them, healed them, loved them. So many wonderful things happened to us this summer, I wanted to share my stories too. My hope is that one or more of these will encourage you in your walk with Him. In writing these stories down, it also helps me to keep in mind that God is ALWAYS faithful. When I face a new situation, I can go back and read how God was there for me in the past. He never changes (Hebrews 13:8).
So, c’mon… let’s ride for a bit……..
A few months before I quit my job, I had been getting a restlessness in my spirit that God was going to move me. I started praying for CLEAR direction as to going full time in the Ministry. The last thing I wanted to do was to get ahead of Him. So, knowing that I’m a bit hard headed, I asked Him to REALLY make it clear…a burning bush, writing on the wall, something like that. Well, I didn’t get the Bush or the Wall, but God spoke through a trusted friend of mine and that was all I needed. God’s “still small voice” spoke to me all through the next week, encouraging me to take that first step of Faith and actually tell my bosses.
My husband, Bruce, is already in full time Ministry (Calvary Cowboys) and God has never let us down financially (or otherwise). However, with BOTH of us being in full time Ministry….whew! It was a real test of FAITH. I had about two things “on the books”, a tiny savings, a BIG truck payment, etc., etc., etc. But, the Lord kept telling me “I am your Provider…..period. I was the One who gave you such an awesome employer for three years. They were good to you, paid you well, etc. How much more do you think I am going to take care of you as your DIRECT “employer”? I am your Provider! (He had to talk to me on my level of understanding).
He also “hot-shotted” me with “How can you minister about Faith and then shrink back when I ask you to “step out”?” Oooooooo, THAT got me! “O.K. Lord,” I said, “I’m goin’ for it. I’m willing to trust You and step out in the most courageous move of my life. I’m literally taking You at your Word”. When I made that decision, however, I knew that Satan was right there wanting me to fall flat on my face. So, I dove into the Word to make sure I stayed strong. I looked up the word “Faith” in the Concordance of my Bible and read every verse under it. The Lord made it clear through His Word that He would take care of me in my decision of Faith, just like He did Abraham, Moses, Noah, David, etc. (the list is a “mile” long). He says in Hebrews 13 that He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He wouldn’t let me down either.
The adventures He took us on this summer were incredible. He answered prayers, granted the desires of our hearts, showed up in ways that blew our minds.
Those of you who live in Texas know how HOT and HUMID it can get in the summer. The first blessing He continually gave us throughout the summer, was to send us to areas of the country that had COOL, DRY air! Now, for those of you who have beloved animals, you will really understand this. My concern was not only for mine and my husband’s provision when I stepped out in Faith, but also for our “boys”. Nocona and Tari are my two horses and they’re part of the family. Tari has been with me for 16 years, Nocona for 6. God in His ultimate love for us, understood our love for our pets. He also provided a place for them in our absence…..17 acres of grass and a pond to swim in. Yep, they were in their happy place!
The first place God sent us to was Colorado. The Calvary Cowboys had a couple of Ministry dates up there and I was able to go along for the ride. After the three year pressures of a demanding job, it was like someone opened the corral gate and let me go! We were able to spend some awesome time with Bruce’s family up there and we met some wonderful new friends at the Cowboy Churches.
We were totally blessed when we were invited to a VERY remote area of the Rockies where the family owns property. It was a place that Bruce had been wanting to go to for years and a place I was longing to go to after they told me where it was…….heart of the Rockies, right by a stream/river, wildlife everywhere…….wild! We hiked, shot targets with the bow and arrows, explored, ate like pigs…..wonderful! I even realized a dream I had "forever” of finding an Indian Spearhead. We were exploring and there it was…..blackened by possible centuries of campfires, it now has a special place in my house as a testament that God indeed cares about our “little” dreams.
Hittin’ the road again, we headed for Wisconsin. We had a very blessed time singing at the Cup of Joy Café in Green Bay and then at the Wisconsin Gospel Music Festival in Marshfield. From there, we were to travel cross country through the United States to California and then back through the southern states to Texas.
Now, keep in mind, diesel prices had just started to soar beyond anything we dreamed imaginable. All in all, that trip put about 6000 miles on my truck…..you can imagine what the diesel bill was. However, God NEVER tells you to do something without Him already knowing how He’s going to provide for you. Our job is to walk out our Faith in His promises. Kind of like the Pony Express. The Pony Express riders were given the provisions they needed to start out……a horse, gear, food, water…but, you actually had to get on and RIDE before you saw the provision down the road…….
Our desire was to travel across the Country, simply because we wanted to see and explore this awesome Land and to meet people from other parts besides our own little world. We prayed about it because we knew it would be expensive. God gave us the “go ahead”.
Bruce and I love to stay in and explore National and State Parks. After our concerts in Wisconsin, our first stop was The Badlands of South Dakota. Oh, how I wished my horses were there……I could have ridden that place for WEEKS! We arrived at the campground very late (yes, we were quite popular with the other campers as we traipsed through with our diesel truck). We decided to camp at the extreme far end of the place, so if there was any wildlife, we would be right there……little did we know…….
That night a dangerous storm had been brewing in the distance and actually was quite fun to watch…..until it changed course and headed right for us. Now in South Dakota, there’s ALOT of open ground. And, here we were in a nylon pup tent with little to no protection at all. The line of that storm stretched so far and wide that there was no way it would miss us. About the only thing we could do at that point was pray. And pray we did! We rebuked that storm in the name of Jesus. Then, prayed and thanked the Lord for our protection.
The more the lightening became brighter and the thunder louder, the more we thanked the Lord for our protection and that the storm had no authority where we were.
Here’s the cool part. The minute we finished our prayer….the wind came up……blowing THE OTHER way! The first thing I thought of was the verse in Psalms that says: “He makes His angels winds”…….I told Bruce what I was thinking and the Lord had just told him the same thing. Right then and there, we knew all was well. That storm stopped within a few miles of us and went around us in a circle. THAT’S the Power of the Almighty God!
The next morning was beautiful. We woke up to the strange sound of snorting, munching, stomping. Now, remember, we were camped at the FAR end of the campground. Ok, we wanted to see wild life, but we were beginning to think we got a little more than we bargained for.
I opened the flap of our tent and looked out at a scene from 200 years ago. Everything from the 21st century was completely erased from view………by about 200 Bison! They were everywhere and ALL AROUND our tent and truck! Two little calves came up to me through the opening and I tried to touch their noses, but that was a little much for them and they scampered off.
I was having great fun…..until I heard their Mama snorting and pushing her nose against the back of our tent. Bruce and I looked at each other and realized that we could be in a very tense situation. But the thrill of the moment took over and we were mesmerized by the scene outside.
We realized our potential danger when a HUGE bull walked by our tent, swinging his head and grunting…..and with every swing…..giving us the “stink” eye. Now, I’ve been around animals, wild and otherwise, my whole life. I’ve never been afraid, but always respectful. But, when I looked in that eye, instinct told me that this bad boy meant business. Bruce and I shrunk back inside our tent and prayed that this brute would move on. After a couple passes he finally did, as well as the rest of the herd, and we were finally able to get out of the tent.
After that experience, we came across literature with warnings about how dangerous these animals can be. Probably a good thing that we read this stuff AFTER the fact. I was also thanking the Lord that my battery went dead as I was trying to get a picture of the Bull. Had the camera worked and the flash went off, we might have really ticked that guy off!
Thoroughly “in” to our trip now, we headed for Yellowstone….stopping off at Mt. Rushmore on the way. God has given so many talents to mankind, it’s amazing. The key is to realize your talents, work in them, and give glory to Him. How the men carved out the faces of these Presidents on the side of a mountain is nothing short of a testament to the awesome talents God can give us. Those Presidents reminded me that our Great Nation was indeed founded on one nation UNDER GOD!We were also able to see the Crazy Horse Monument in the making. That was an incredible sight!
Off we went again towards Yellowstone. WOW! In parts of this awesome place, it was like how one would imagine walking on the moon. Craters, bubbling mud pools, hot brilliant, gem colored “bottomless” pools everywhere, geysers, clear rivers, lakes…..oh, and OF COURSE, Old Faithful Geyser! God’s power, majesty and beauty were everywhere. We saw bald eagle, bear, mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, bison and even heard a wolf pack that night (that was kind of spooky….but VERY cool!). As I was born an explorer/adventurer, I was reluctant to leave that place. But, we’ll be back.
Off to Yosemite! Now, I do want to mention here, that through all of our traveling, the weather was absolutely awesome. Nasty storms that we’d see and seem to be heading right for, suddenly seemed to part and give us a “window” to go through. Or, as we noticed later, some storms would come through AFTER we had already broke camp and headed down the road.
Now, remember I told you that God cares about the details of our lives, the small as well as the big dreams? I have a card that says “If it matters to you, it matters to Him”. This is very true. I saw this profoundly in Yosemite.
Let me take you back a “few” years. When I was 16 years old, my family and I went to Yosemite. It was an inspiring, soul refreshing, life changing experience for me. The year we were there, heavy rains had caused the waterfalls and rivers to be full to over capacity…..gushing and thundering down the mountain sides and cliffs. There were waterfalls where there usually are none. It was spectacular! One of the places we camped was a place called Tuolumne Meadows. This was a particularly special place for me……no houses, no fences, no inhibitions.....just wide open, wild, free……
With the abundance of water, I felt then that we had seen something very rare and I probably would not see that again in my life time. We took tons of pictures to capture those memories.
Unfortunately, about a year and a half later, we lost our home in the Panorama Fire in Southern California. We lost everything. We basically just got out with the clothes on our backs. The pictures, of course, were destroyed. From time to time, I would think about those Yosemite pictures and wished there could have been some way I could have saved them.
Now, 26 years later, I felt so blessed to be able to come back to this awesome Park that held so many good memories. As we drove through, I almost couldn’t believe that I was back again.
And then I saw the sign……..”Tuolumne Meadows”. “We have to camp here!” I told Bruce. But, as we drove up, we saw that the Camp Office was closed. We also saw the other Camp statuses throughout the Park…..”FULL”. We were stuck. It was already late in the evening and the only option was to drive through the Park and hope there was somewhere to “hole up” or we’d just have to sleep in the truck right there in the parking lot. All we could do was pray that the Lord would provide somehow. I told the Lord, “I believe You can pull this one off…..but, man, this is going to be interesting!”
I told Bruce, “Look, I know we may not be able to stay here. But, let’s drive through the Camp, just for my memories sake. I have to see at least the Camp again.” (Oh, me of little faith). So, we swung the truck around and pulled in. Just as we started through, we noticed a booth in the middle of the road. No way!..hee,hee!!! Two Rangers were manning that booth for latecomers like us. The camp was full…….but NOT for tents! We ended up getting a site RIGHT ON THE RIVER! Needless to say, we made the most of that stay. We hiked up and down the River and back in to Tuolumne Meadows.
As I sat on that River, I thought back through my life. And, although I haven’t had it easy a lot of times, the Lord was always there and provided. I felt like a kid again and I felt like I had come full circle.
Now, that was the first amazing thing. The second was that Yosemite had gotten rain…..and LOTS of it! When we traveled through the Park, I could barely believe my eyes. It was like I had stepped back 26 years and was again witnessing the spectacular beauty and the awesome scenes that I thought I would never see again. On top of that, I retook the pictures of the scenes that I had lost in that fire many years ago. GOD IS GOOD!!
From there we headed down the State Of California to Salinas where the Calvary Cowboys were to be in Concert that Friday night. After that, we took our time and headed down the California Coast – Highway 1. We were blessed to be able to spend a few days with my family in Southern California (I only get to see them about twice a year at the most).
For the last leg of our trip we headed for Texas to sing and minister at Rising Star Cowboy Church and then at Mound Cowboy Church. On the way to Texas we hit some minor delays, but they’re worth mentioning. Sometimes in life we get so frustrated when we get held up in traffic, our order isn’t ready, the check-out line isn’t going fast enough. Stuff that is just plain irritating and just holds us up. Next time that happens, instead of compounding your frustration with stress, think about this. We were at a truck stop in El Paso. There were so many cars and trucks going in and out of that place that it took us “forever” to get out on the road. We were on a tight time constraint because we had to be at Rising Star that evening. We were frustrated and stressed. Then, we just decided, look, this just ain’t no good. We’ll just chill out and pray that God will redeem the time and not worry about it.
It had been raining pretty heavy on the road ahead of us and as we neared a certain stretch, we noticed that there were cars strewn out everywhere. Eighteen wheelers were flipped in the bar ditch and on the road. Cars were banged up and jumbled beside them.
Had we not been delayed back at that truck stop, we would have been in the middle of that mess. This scenario actually happened twice. But, you better believe that we were less stressed the second time. We knew God had His hand on us. The concert at Rising Star was His from the beginning and He would get us there on time and in one piece. We prayed for the people involved in those accidents and thanked the Lord that He had spared us.
Just remember, some things that happen seem bad. But, when looked at closely, they’re just an inconvenience and they may have been put there to save your life.
By the way, I know finances are an issue to a lot of people. So, being as that we sometimes have the same Faith struggles in this area, I’ll share this last miracle.
As I said before, we were trusting the Lord that He would cover the finances for this trip. We also had other big financial needs that were coming up. Also, it looked as though a cherished family trip that we took every year would have to be cancelled due to lack of funds. We had NO idea how God was going to provide. We were trying not to look at the love offerings and the CD sales. But, even though that’s not why we sing and minister, it’s hard when you have bills and the money just isn’t there yet.
During the trip when I started thinking about what I could see (the circumstances), I would rebuke those thoughts by speaking out the Word Of God: Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33); Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7). The Lord started speaking to my heart throughout that trip, telling me things like “it only takes one”; "I am your Provider", etc. AND, He would ask me questions like:
"Are the bills due yet?" My answer: "Well, no". "Have you paid your truck payment already?" A: "Yes". "Is the NEXT one due yet?" A: "Welllll, no". "Do you NEED that money now?" A: "O.K., no". He told me “I am not early, I’m not late, I am right on time!"
Although the Lord uses people to meet others needs, we are not to look at the people to meet those needs. We’re to look at the Lord Jesus who is the One who provides.
Well, the Word says that if we put our trust in Him, we will not be disappointed (Romans 10:11) He confirmed everything in His word that was spoken to us and then some. At the end of our journey, God used one person to meet ALL of our needs. Not only that, there were enough funds to be able to go on our family trip. The Word says He will give us beyond what we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20) And He did so……right on time!
Sometimes He makes us wait for stuff because we need our Faith strengthened. But, He will never give us more than we can handle. He knew that our Faith in Him needed to be toughened beyond what we thought we had. I’m so glad we serve a God who loves us so much that He wants us to strengthen and grow. We never have to worry about the provision because it will be there……and right on time!
I hope you enjoyed riding this trail with me. But, above all, I hope you were encouraged. Our God is an impartial God (Ephesians 6:9). He loves His kids all the same. If He did this for us, He will do it for you. We need to just believe that He will. And, just like the days of old, He is still the great “I AM”.
OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!!