I don't think there is such a thing as a "rest" day when one works with AiG! Even though it's a holiday weekend (July 4), I've already had phone calls and emails from other staff who are working on projects. Before Tuesday, I have to write the AiG monthy letter and newsletter article-and finalize notes for my talks at the MEGA conference! There's just not enough days in the week it seems. And today I sort of got into trouble because I got up at 6.30 am while Mally was trying to sleep in to overcome jet lag! I thought 6.30 am was sleeping in--but it's been explained to me that it's not!!
Last week, staff member Carl Kerby participated in the first of our annual Grand Canyon Raft trips for this year (see attached photographs). As well as Carl, we had a guest specialist who explained the geology of the Canyon to the participants. Carl Kerby brought daily devotionals and helped lead the trip. Carl sent me an exciting report of an event that occurred during the raft trip down the Colorado River. You will be praising the Lord after you read this (I will share a follow up story from Carl tomorrow):
Last week while floating down the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon I had an amazing experience, please let me share it with you.
Every year AiG hosts a tour through the Canyon where we teach folks how to start from the Bible to understand the Canyon. As always, it was an amazing 7 day trip. This year was a little more special though.
Because of the number of people we take on the trip we need 2 boats. This means we need 2 boatmen and 2 "swampers". ("Swampers" have an extremely difficult job. They are assistants to the boatmen and help them at every turn. Many times they are men and women who are learning to eventually become boatmen. It is rough, hard work that requires taking a lot of bumps and bruises.)
We work with Tom Vail, of Canyon Ministries to pull these trips off. He is a dear friend of the ministry. (Maybe you read his book "Grand Canyon: A Different View". If not, you really should. It is an unbelievable book filled with beautiful photography and information from leading Creationists today.)
Tom works very hard to make these trips an unforgettable time of food, fellowship, fun and teaching! He and his wife Paula are solid Christians with a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. This is a treat because there are VERY few boatmen on the river who are Christians. As a matter of fact, Tom didn't know any others until this last trip.
This being the case, we've always used this trip as an opportunity to share the Lord with the second boatman and 'swamper'. We were blessed this time because the other boatman, Wes, turned out to be a Christian! Praise God!
Wes had never heard of AiG or heard how to see the Canyon from a young earth, Biblical perspective. This gave us an opportunity to share with him. He asked great questions and seemed to really enjoy his time with us.
The "swamper", Lee, was not a believer though. Let me tell you a little about Lee. He has got to be one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. He is strong, hardworking and a lot of fun to be around. We had a great time joking, working and enjoying the scenery. He truly loves the Canyon.
Early in the trip he showed us these huge scars on his thigh. He told us that he had contracted a flesh-eating streptococcus that nearly cost him his life just last year. (According to 'The Arizona Republic" newspaper, 40% of the Arizonans that contract the disease dies. This infection is what cost Jim Henson, of "Muppet's" fame, his life in 1990.) He told me, "I'm lucky to be alive." I couldn't let that pass so I said to him, "Lee, it's not LUCK that you're alive. You're still here because God has a purpose for you." He just looked at me a little sheepishly.
Well, a short time later we had stopped to camp. As we were sitting around eating dinner I noticed one of the folks, Shirley, sitting on the boat sharing with Lee. Shirley is a retired nurse who shares that Lord with everyone. I looked over to the man I was eating with and said, "We've got to pray for Shirley and Lee." and we did. Not more than 15 minutes later Shirley stands up and shares with the entire group, "Hey everyone, we've got a new brother in Christ!" What a joy.
This was the first on-river conversion in Tom's 26 years on the river. Needless to say we were all very encouraged. Lee started attending the devotions and has promised to start going to church. He and Wes live in the same town and he told Wes he'd go to church with him.
Can I ask you to pray for Lee and Wes please? It is vital that Lee get around good, solid believers that will encourage him to grow in his new-found faith. The river is a tough place. Many of the folks that work there are alcoholics. Pray that Lee and Wess will be bright lights on the river to the others that they work with and lead.
Next time I'll share a story that Lee told me after receiving the Lord. I know that it will encourage you. Until then, stay strong and bold. Share your faith with someone. You have nothing to be ashamed of. God's Word is true, 'from the beginning'! God bless.
Pray for Lee - and thanks for stopping by.