During most of the last week on my walk between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa I walked alone through the vast mountains and valleys of beautiful New Mexico. What an awe inspiring state to walk through. Sunrises and sunsets are stunning, and the scenery is incredible. As with much of my journey though I walked alone I always knew God was right there with me. When I needed water, he provided it for me. When I needed a place to safely camp, he provided it for me. One night it was by a overpass, the next by a railroad track, the next under a highway overpass, but not once did I worry for my safety. I could feel God walking with me, and I knew I had nothing to worry about.
On the very cold nights (in the twenties), and with the wind blowing at 15 to 20 miles per hour, I could still feel God’s hand at work. Even with what little gear I am carrying I was able to stay warm and comfortable. One night I remember the wind getting really strong, and it seemed as though my tent was literally going to come apart at the seams. I remember texting my family members and many other fellow believers asking them to pray that God would stop the winds. They can all testify that I texted them a short while later, saying that God had stopped the winds, and everything was okay. Once again God had answered our prayers in an awe inspiring way. For the growing family of fellow believers praying on my behalf, know that God once again heard and answered your prayers. What a great God we serve!
Finally, after walking 18 miles in cold and wet conditions I reached Santa Rosa, NM. That morning I had asked God for a ride if I needed it, a warm shower, something to eat, a safe place to sleep, a place to clean my clothes, and some money because my funds were starting to get low. As I sit here writing this article I am still in awe of the way that God answered my prayers that night and the following day!
As I got into town I began walking up a hill towards Love’s truck stop, and you guessed it, I had another flat tire. Just what I needed, another delay, and because I was cold and wet I began to shake all over. Thankfully I was quickly able to use the repair kit the hardware store in Tucumcari had given me to fix the flat, and I finally made it up the hill to the truck stop. Because I had eaten very little that day I purchase a meal, sat down and ate it, and then went to the counter to see if I could purchase a shower. The gentleman behind the counter, Jeff Hinkle, not only told me where I could leave my cart so it would be safe, he also allowed me to take a hot shower free of charge. After thanking him again, and feeling much better, I left the truckstop and began walking towards a local convenience store, hoping to purchase some water and get directions to a local RV park I was looking for.
Upon arriving at the convenience store I called the RV Park, and after finding out they no longer offered tent camping I once again got frustrated. By then it had turned dark, and once again rain had began to fall. Discouraged and not sure what to do I stepped outside, and almost immediately met a young gentleman named Chuy (pronounced like Chewy) and some of his friends. They offered to take me to a safe place to camp, and because appearances can be deceiving I was a little concerned about taking them up on their offer. Suddenly a peace came over me, and it was as if God was once again telling me not to worry, that he was in control. Not knowing what else to do, I accepted their offer and a short time later I set up camp behind some local fishing holes and on a dirt road between some trees. After talking to Chuy and his cousin for a short while I thanked them for their kindness, gave them some money for their efforts, and tiredly climbed into my tent. Little did I know things were just getting started and that God was once again going to teach me to wait on him and to have total faith that he can and will answer my prayers. Folks, not only was he going to answer my prayers, but he was going to do it in a big way!
The next morning turned out be dreary and rain had began to fall on and off. Every time I began to get up and load my gear the rain would start, and it was as if the Lord was telling me “not yet”. A while later the rain stopped, and I heard a vehicle pull up next to my tent. I immediately knew it was the local police. They asked me to step out of my tent, and I quickly did so. What happened next can only be God’s mighty hand at work. Standing there was Michael Gauna, Chief of Police for the City of Santa Rosa, and a deputy. He stepped towards me, reached out and shook my hand, introduced himself, and told me the Mayor of Santa Rosa had asked that he take me to a local motel and put me up there for as long as I needed to stay at no charge. He also said that I was to be provided with meals at no charge at a local restaurant, handed me some money, and said that Mayor Nelson Kotiar wanted to meet me after I had finished eating. Folks, I know some of you are saying no way, but I assure you that when God is in control and you are on his timetable he will always make a way!
To make a long story short they had all of my belongs transported to a local motel, gave me time to take a shower and get dressed, provided transportation for me to get to a local restaurant, provided me with a free meal, and then took me to meet the Mayor. Upon arriving at city hall they took me into a council meeting, where Mayor Kotiar, the City Council, the City Clerk, a New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge and several others were in session. I briefly waited while they wrapped up their meeting, and then the Mayor asked me to introduce myself. He said reading my blog had made his morning, and gave me the opportunity to tell them a little about my Walk for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and of how God has provided for me every step of the way. What a blessing to meet a man of strong faith like the Mayor and have the opportunity to tell everyone there about my Jesus and his faithfulness in taking care of me!
How did God’s timing come into play? Had I not been slowed down by bad weather all day, and had I not had that flat tire before making it to Love’s Truck Stop I would never have been at that convenience store at exactly the right time to meet Chuy. And I wouldn’t have been at that exact campsite where Mayor Kotiar found me the next morning when doing his inspection of the town. Nor would he have seen my sign with my blog site address on it, went to his office and read it, and then asked the Chief of Police to offer me the incredible kindness they offered me. God’s timing is always perfect, and once again I just needed to learn to wait on the Lord. I have to admit that when the Chief of Police introduced himself and said what he did I was totally stunned. The truth is I shouldn’t have been. I serve the King of Glory, and in his Word he has promised to take care of me each and every day, and not just in ordinary ways, but in extraordinary ways as well. What a blessed and mighty Savior I serve!
To Mayor Nelson Kotiar of Santa Rosa, Chief of Police Michael Gauna and all of the others of their staff who treated me with such incredible kindness and respect, thank you so much. Your city and staff are a shining example of the way God desires for us to treat others. Mayor Kotiar, as I walk I will pray that God will bless your administration and the City of Santa Rosa. You have truly been a blessing to me.
As I close this article I would encourage you all to wait on the Lord, and to always stay in his will. The blessings he will send your way will amaze you, and you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is always there with you, regardless of your situation or the circumstances you find yourself in. The Bible tells us to be still and know that he is God. To God be the Glory!
Until the next time,
Always Onward I Walk,