Off to the Ozarks!

I wrote the following while we were driving to Arkansas, and even though it’s a little out of date, I thought I’d post it anyway….

March 31, 2005
We have finally made it west of the Mississippi! We left our friends at Teen Challenge yesterday around noon, and once I made one return trip to get that final load out of the dryer (ah, the blondness of it all!), we headed northwest through Alabama. It was an uneventful driving day (the best kind!) and we spent the night at a Walmart just inside of Mississippi. I’d like to say we stopped to see all of the historic parts of Birmingham and Mobile, but alas, we just drove on through! We even drove right through (well, around the beltway) Memphis, TN without stopping at Graceland. Sorry, Elvis!
Crossing the Mississippi was a little bit of a let down. I was busy snapping pictures, but out my side were some pretty darn ugly railroad bridges and the truck traffic was pretty heavy coming the other way, so I don’t feel like got any good shots. (I’m actually typing this as we drive so I haven’t had a chance to download the pictures.). While we will only be west of the Mississippi for the month of April, it still is exciting since we’ve never been this far west before. (Doesn’t take much to get this girl excited, huh?)

Our first impression of Arkansas (on interstate 40 heading toward Little Rock)? So far, it’s been flat. Oh, and more trucks seem to be heading toward Memphis than to Little Rock (and that’s good for us!). We still have 70 miles or so until we hit Little Rock, and then we start heading north. We’ll be about 130 miles north of LR in the Ozark Mountains – so we should be out of the “flat” before the day is out! =)

One final word about our time at the Teen Challenge Ranch – and our other projects as well. As we have worked together with folks from many different denominations and varying doctrinal stands, we have been amazed at how small those differences are when we all the same passion for following Christ and obeying his command to serve others in his Name. It’s been a blessing to see how diverse and lovely God’s family actually is!

So now it’s April 2nd and we’re getting settled at this beautiful retreat center – Shepherd of the Ozarks in the Ozark Mountains. I might not get any pictures posted for a while, so check out their website if you’d like to see our home for the month! We have no cell phone reception and can get only one snowy PBS channel on ye old TV, so this will be a quiet month for us to catch up with reading. The surroundings are very condusive for quiet time with the Lord! One of the staff memebers has offered her internet connection which I will be taking advantage of, but I don’t want to be too pushy and overstay my welcome. We’ll start work on Monday – mostly on a new building they are working on. The staff has been great and our other SOWER couple has been easy to get to know. I think it will be a good month! We might even get in some horseback riding! Whoee!!!

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