Thursday, January 24, 2002

This past weekend, we went to Gatlinburg, TN, where we held the CrossRoads Winter Conference. The weekend was filled with speakers, Siler's Bald, and discipleship workshops. There were over 500 in attendance.

I thought this would be a great opportunity to spread the word about this fund-raiser. So, I got a little container, cut a hole in the top, and glued a brochure to the outside. The MC made an announcement about the fund-raiser and the coins started dropping in. By the end of the weekend I had collected $68 in coins, $108 in bills and a $600 check. The check is from a 15 year old guy. He gave me the check and asked me to wait to cash it so he could transfer the money.

After I got home on Monday, I received an e-mail from him explaining why he chose to make such a contribution:

"I'd been saving the money since I was about 12, having the intent to buy whatever car I could get with the money when I turned 16. I was 15 and I had $1000 cold hard cash saved up. But, this was my plan, I hadn't really let God do much planning when it came to me getting a car. At summer CrossRoads (summer camp), we talked about idols. God showed me that I did have some stuff that I was putting before Him, one of which was a car that I most desperately wanted. So, I stopped craving to get a car, stopped going and looking at cars, stopped spending my free time on the computer looking at car web-sites.

Then one day God said, "Hey, you know what?, You don't really need a car all that bad!" So, if God didn't want me to have a car, then I didn't need one. So, He told me that when I needed a car, he'd get me one, but until then I didn't need the money either. So $400 went on a mission trip with some good friends and YAP's got the rest. I'm fully confident that God knows what He's doing, so therefore I got no worries. Rock on, Your Friend."

Not much to say to that other than a great big thanks.

In 29 days Rhonda and I will begin this great adventure. Please continue to share with your friends about this project. We only have $47,000 to go!!!!

Have a great day,

Stephen J.

Monday, January 14, 2002

As of last week, we have made it to the $2000 mark. Now we only have $48,000 to go. Thanks to all who have donated so far.

Please continue to tell your friends about this project. We have forty days until we make the drive out west.

I had the opportunity to meet with some friends in Davidson on Saturday. We rode a metric century (60 miles). It turned out to be a pretty chilly day but it is always good to see old friends. They even offered to let me come speak to the cycling club about the trip and Youth Assistance Program.

In case I did not mention it before, I am available to come speak to your club, civic group, church group, ice cream social group, or any other sort of group you can think of.

Special thanks to Shanewolfe Cycle Sports for donating two sets of bike tires, tubes and energy bars!!!

Have a great day,

Stephen J.

Thursday, January 3, 2002

First, I wish you all a happy new year. I got back from Chambersburg, PA yesterday. Rhonda and I had a youth retreat up there with along with our friends Matt and Shannon Orth. Since we were there we decided to spend New Year's with them.

Northerner's are great people, although they have an odd tradition. At midnight everyone grabs pots and pans. They then go out on the porch (in the freezing cold) and start banging and clanging. I have to admit that it was a lot of fun.

As I write this newsletter a very rare thing is happening. SNOW!!! Ok, if you are in the north it is not a big deal. But to those of us who live in the south, it is quite exciting. I haven't been to the store yet but I'm sure there is no bread, milk or eggs left on the shelves. I don't know what they do with them but I guess they have eggs sandwiches with milk!!!

The south pretty much shuts down during the rare snow "storm". School is cancelled and all that!

I am a little different. I look at snow as an opportunity. An opportunity to venture out, to explore untraveled roads. When the forecast calls for snow, I plan on going hiking!!! ( sometimes I even go mountain biking in the snow). What an opportunity to see the environment in a covering of white.

When I was in college, 5 years ago, I would talk a couple of friends into going driving with me. In Northeast Ga. there are a lot of State game lands and forests and therefore a lot of dirt roads. We would drive all over the mountains in my little front wheel drive VW Fox. The nice thing about driving was that if I were to get stuck, my friends got to push while I drove. This is why it is good to have strong friends.

To end the day we usually went to a local restaurant, Hickory Mtn. Restaurant or Betty's in Helen.

So today, instead of going for a ride on the bike, I will head out in my Fox station wagon, looking for adventure.

The moral of my story is: Don't let an opportunity pass by without at least considering it.

Have a great day,

Stephen J.

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