I returned from the Arkansas leg of this Fall tour.
What an incredibly beautiful state, filled with
incredibly good people! My travels had me from
the southeast to the northwest, from central to
southern Arkansas. Only missed the far
northeast. Sorry Jonesboro. I'll catch
you next time. And even though it rained a
good portion of the tour, I find it hard to complain
amidst the stunning vistas and valleys, the changing
leaves, the winding 2 lane highways, the quaint
and proud historic towns. Just as I've tried
to convince folks who've not been to Texas that
we're more than cowboy hats and horses, or that
Idaho is much more than potato farms, I'm now
standing tall, ready to defend Arkansas against
those who may assail it as being a backward state.
anything, the folks in Arkansas have figured out a
big secret that it took me 34 years to understand:
that true joy and inner peace come from a strong
life of faith and trust in the provisions of God -
not from financial successes, powerful jobs, or an
accumulation of things. They speak openly and
freely of their love of the Lord, they share
energetically the effect and power of prayer in
their lives, and they give generously of their
treasures and talents.
spiritual life was blessed immensely by the folks I
encountered and the actions I observed. I met
young couples who feel called to be house parents to
provide love and structure and encouragement to kids
who've come from abusive situations or who've had
trouble with the law. Denise shared with me
her private stash of incredible drawings that depict
visions and dreams she has about her faith life -
this is stuff that could be worldwide famous.
I learned of an elderly, single, physically disabled
disciple on a very fixed income who brought in a
shoe box full of one dollar bills - representing
years and years of saving - and gave it to the
church. Brother Joe shared his moving faith
story with me, of how he came to leave a career in
New York to join the monastery at Subiaco, where I
spent a couple of days. Paul, Kimberly,
Karly, Eli and Bella took me into their home and
instantly treated me as family. Ritchie's
story of her journey through alcoholism to find the
amazing joy of Christ brought forward such emotion
in me, I could barely eke out a song.
for each one of you whom I encountered and give
thanks for the blessing you added to my life.
And I pray that my readers will have an opportunity
for an Arkansas experience. Surely, they would
be changed forever.
Grace and peace
to you as you journey.
Yours in Christ,