It is mission accomplished – Hello everyone! As mentioned in a previous blog post I was going to report on two things. The first is a summary of my most recent trip I took through the Southeastern portion of the United States. The second report is a summary of the last 33 months traveling to every state in the Union, with the exception of Hawaii. (I did go to Alaska but on personal business) As you may be aware, I left in February 2015 in a van donated by a dear brother in Alameda. I returned back here to the Bay Area in the first week of November 2017. During the last 33 months although covering the whole country I was not in a perpetual state of travel. (Like Larry Stevens) I often tethered back here to Northern California to attend my home church, visit family, and to take care of domestic issues like going to the doctor.
I do not want to take it lightly concerning all the churches and individual people who have supported the furtherance of the Gospel through my lips during the last many years. I very much appreciate all of the monies and prayers that enabled me to carry out the will of God for my life in this itinerant street preaching ministry. I will continue to evangelize and serve the Lord.If I died today I would feel I have finished the race; I’ve completed what He wanted me to do. It did not come easy as it was through much discipline from God and miracle after miracle getting me to fulfill His will. All praise be to our great God and Savior Jesus Christ the Lord! I marvel at His work in me. It is truly a resurrection of a dead wasted life.
Henrietta, the Van
I wanted to mention a few things about the van. My van, a 2001 Ford E150 Club Wagon, went the distance with no breakdowns or issues, not even a dead battery or flat tire. I have both AAA and car insurance and praise the Lord I never had to use either. I never had any theft or vandalism even when traveling through some rough cities like St Louis and Detroit. I did have two close calls avoiding an accident. This last year the AC worked intermittently and finally gave out although this is a mild American hardship. Henrietta is the name the van had when I was given the keys. John & Janelle Pillitiere donated the van to me in January 2015. From that time she has been mine. Many times Henrietta thought she was a long-haul semi truck and I had to veer her back from the weigh station entrance. Another time when visiting a farm in Kentucky she wanted to be a chestnut mare.
Be that as it may, she has been the most dependable vehicle I have owned, even when I had new ones. The conclusion is that the Lord Jesus Christ through the prayers of the saints has been her success. Back in February 2015 my nephew Pat had converted the van to a custom evangelistic camper. The van’s color, you got it, chestnut brown, went through a change about midway as I painted the top white with an RV heat-resistant paint. John commented that it looked like the van had spats. Early on I had my friend Skip who does auto detailing for a living give her a makeover with buffing, polish, then a hand wax. Henrietta is more than a van but has been my living quarters these past couple of years housing all my belongings as I move on down the highway. We have endured a severe hail storm, avoided hurricanes and tornadoes, had a little snow, and numerous rain storms all with no leaks. I receive comments all the time on how nice the van looks for the year that it is and how clean it is mechanically.
Fall 2017 Trip
This last trip through the southernmost part of the east coast could well be the last major trip I will take in the van. Here are the numbers: For a little over two months I traveled 10,414 miles through 15 states preaching in 40 cities. Virginia was the farthest point east with Miami being the furthest point from homebase at 3,131 miles. My average gas mileage was 17.2 mpg. Gas being a little more expensive this trip was on average $2.38 per gallon. My total gasoline bill was $1,442.65. I had a string of 25 new cities in a row before reaching Washington DC where I have preached before.
As usual some cities were cancelled for various reasons and some were added. I had aborted Tallahassee when hurricane “Irma” moved up into the South through Florida. I postponed my trip down to the rest of Florida until later. Among the cities where I was rained out included; Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Houston, and Beaumont, Texas. I also did not make it to Atlanta, GA and Chesapeake, VA as originally intended. However I was able to preach in some add-on cities; Columbus and Augusta, both in Georgia. Myrtle Beach, SC, Portsmouth, VA, and Huntington, WV. FALL TRIP PHOTOS
These are a Few of My Favorite
Things – Cities
The most polite drivers were discovered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In Cocoa Beach I verified that the ocean is like bath water. The white sandy beaches make this place one true vacation destination. It was capped off by “I Dream of Jeannie” Lane a tribute to the 1960’s television show. There were two cities that stood out as Christ friendly. They are Birmingham, Alabama & Charleston, West Virginia with Charleston taking 1st prize. For honorable mention I also felt there was good reception in Charleston, South Carolina. I am pictured here on Cocoa Beach.
Charlie Daniels sang “the devil went down to Georgia?” Well, he’s still there. My least favorite place was Georgia for reasons that are too much to get into. Georgia will not be on my mind. My least favorite city to preach in was Columbia, South Carolina. This was dead and resistant and the police were rude. I was perturbed so I took and strapped my amp on the passenger side of the van and drove up and down the street preaching out my window. I soon stopped when I realized the speaker was blocking my view in the passenger side mirror. Once settled down I realized this was not motivated in love. (still learning)
Summary of Last 33 Months
I racked up a little over 72,000 miles. I preached over 400 different times in 160 cities in 48 states (Continental United States) This is somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 hours of preaching and 1,500 hours of preparation time. Obviously this could not be accomplished with mere human effort and ingenuity – I know it had to be the Lord since I am physically weak and lazy by nature. One of the battles out there is that when I preach to an apathetic and complacent populous, not to become that way myself. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit I did not become so indifferent to the lack of response that I quit. After getting the van ready for the trip in February 2015 I took a maiden voyage to Southern California. I returned here and was “sent out” by my church – Christ Bible Church. Calvary Chapel of Roseville also contributed greatly to the cause. I headed across the south into uncharted territory for me. I decided to tour around Texas this first trip hitting the six major cities in Texas for about a week in each city. I also traveled into Juarez, Mexico at that time passing out about 500 Spanish tracts. I continued up through Colorado and across I-80 back to Sacramento arriving in May of 2016. I had a few health issues on this first trip concerning my heart disease. Angina in Santa Fe and shortness of breath in the mile high city of Denver. I cut the trip short and came home a week early and had some extensive testing done. I began to wonder if these were fathom pains since the tests revealed nothing. I am thankful to God all turned out OK. I did receive specific prayer in Denver for my heart by the couple I stayed with – John & Glory Swiniarski. I truly believed God healed me at that time.
On my following trip to the Pacific Northwest I had a debilitating health issue. My back was so sore I could not go out preaching. I have had three back surgeries over the years since I’ve had many blue-collar jobs. I had to visit the hospital and doctors up in the Seattle area and took some pain pills which was not a good idea. Praise the Lord he brought me through that ordeal. I had great emotional and mental depression as I forced myself to continue to Spokane, on to Colorado & Utah and around the horn back to the West Coast. I then parked the van in Portland for a week and flew to Pittsburgh, PA for a marathon of preaching and witnessing with friends.
It was about the second half of my venture I started going into smaller cities and preaching. Prior to that I only hit the larger cities of 500,000 or more. My friend and fellow preacher Norm James from Willits, California was instrumental in training me to go to small cities and towns preaching. After being convinced of this new venue it made sense since I was passing through these places anyway as I traveled. The smallest city I think we preached in was about 1,200 in population – Laytonville, California. This of course opened a whole new mode of travel as well. Instead of staying in an area for a week or so at a time, I went from city to city preaching in a new one each day. Because of this I was able to rack up a total of over 200 cities (lifetime). Going city to city you can wear the same shirt for a week. I met a lot of great people and made new friends across the country. Another thing was I joined a hospitality network called, “Candle in the Window” which allowed me to make contact and stay with Christian families in various states. Throughout the trips I had stayed in a few motels as well. Most of my stays where in Wal-Mart parking lots, and yes there is an app for that. Occasionally I would stay in a church parking lot or rest area. I joined Planet Fitness, a nationwide health club. This proved to be one of the best moves I made paying $20 a month to have showers and other amenities provided virtually everywhere I went. Several tips on travel came from Larry Stevens (mentioned above) who has been traveling the country for well over a decade singing and sharing in nursing homes.
The last 3 years has been a bit of a blur. It is unbelievable that I went everywhere that I did, sort of surreal. Besides spending a fair amount of time on the West Coast (Mostly California) I made three long trips across the country to the East Coast. One of these was in the north and included New England and the North Atlantic States. The other two were across the country going the southern route. I also took an extensive trip into the Midwest via the Northern Plain states. BEST OF USA PHOTOS
Do Not Despise the Day of Small Things Zech 4:10
The Lord called me to tell as many people as I could about Jesus back in 1978. I initially told friends, family, and coworkers. However this did not satisfy my quest to evangelize. My first time on the streets was in 1988 when a buddy and I went on the streets of Everett, Washington. I spent a fair amount of time in a small city east of Everett called Granite Falls. I did not despise working in the small town of Granite Falls. In fact quite the contrary; I didn’t want to leave it. The Lord was calling me to go from city to city. I shrunk back in unbelief and like Jonah went the other way. Well I had my own “in the belly of the fish” experience. But praise be to God who is faithful he brought me through and over time little by little entering the land I traveled and preached like Philip the Evangelist. Traveling to new towns and new people became a lifestyle that I’m not sure I can’t break. It has been a wonderful life and a blessed ministry. All that I can say is, WOW!