Greetings on a warmer day in May!
Allow me, first of all, to say… “I made it!” Barely. Pastor Jeff Bassett up in Lone Pine tried to kill me this last weekend. Several months back he suggested that I join him in an ultra-marathon they hold every year called the WILD WILD WEST. Typically, they have three races… a 10 mile, marathon (26.2 miles), and the 50K (31 miles). He said that he managed to talk the race director in to hosting a 50 miler this year. They said they would under the conditions that he become the race director for the 50 Miler. He agreed… and this year there were four events to choose from.
I waited until the very end… one week before the deadline cut-off period to register… hoping to choose the right race for the conditioning my body would be in come race day. I decided to run in the 50K. I thought my body could handle 31 miles. HOWEVER… these so-called Alabama Hills at the base of Mt. Whitney were more than murdering. The first 3 miles were straight up this sandy uneven terrain. I was three miles into the race and was ready for bed. Yet, I had to move along. In the back of my mind I was thinking how smart I was to walk over to the motel lobby and speak with the clerk just before the race. “I’m racing this ultra-marathon today… can I get a later check out time?”
She informed me that checkout was at noon… but that I had until 12:30. As I journeyed through the race… 8:00AM came and went. Then 9:00AM… more hills… another single track trail… rocks… streams to cross… and then it was 10:00AM. I glanced at my GPS and felt like I was doing well. 25 miles into the race… and only 6 miles to go. Oh yeah… I’ve got plenty of time to finish and make my way back to the motel I thought. All was going great… I now was on the road leading back to Lone Pine… the home stretch… And then… I happened upon the second to the last aid station, and… I couldn’t believe my eyes… they said “follow the white lines…” I did, and these stinkin’ lines led me back up into the hills once again. “WHAT?”
My pace began to drastically slow down. I was nearly crawling… I looked at my GPS… knowing I only have four miles to go… I pressed on. It was closing in on 10:30 in the morning. Two hours until check-out. And then… the last aid station… my GPS read 28 miles. That meant one thing… 3 miles to go. I can do this… It’s 11:45AM… and I’ve got plenty of time. But the man helping out at the aid station said, “You’re doing great… only 6 miles to go.” I wanted to punch him in the nose! “Six miles… there’s only supposed to be three!”
Needless to say… he was correct… as I journeyed down the mountain, my legs had completely shut down. My body was through. I had HAD it! I fought… jogged… walked… and wanted to cry my way to the finish line. My watch read “12:25PM”. Completely exhausted and without an ounce of energy, I staggered to the table for a cup of cold water. My GPS read nearly 33.74 miles. The race was only supposed to be 31 miles. I began walking back to the motel. I must have looked like the Walking Dead. I walked up to the counter and asked, “Can I have 20 more minutes to take a shower before checking out?” She was so kind. My wish was granted.
Well… that’s a long story for a run… I had to get on the road to make it back home in time so that I could get up early the next morning to install Pastor Chad Bohi in Santa Maria. But, let me make one more comment… Pastor Jeff Bassett is a stud! He ran in the 50 mile race and came in 6th overall. His time was under 10:30… that’s ten hours and 30 minutes in altitude and a hilly course. Great job, Jeff!
Next year I will need to do a lot better training. Who’s joining us next time? The cool thing about this weekend… I got to play “uncle” to little Emmaus for more than an hour as I carried him around while his mom and dad were busy with race matters. Check out these photos:
ENCOURAGEMENT: I will lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalms 121:1-2) I’ve always enjoyed climbing mountains. Perhaps it’s a “boy thing”… I don’t know. There was always something neat about donning the gear, strapping on the cramp-ons, and taking hold of the ice-axe that was exhilarating. I recall tying the rope to my harness and heading up the mountain. God created some incredible and fantastic mountains. There was nothing like tackling one of the Volcanoes in the great Andes Mountains. Climbing up into thin air. 16,000 feet… 17,000 on up to near 20,000. Mountains were there to be climbed. At least, that’s what many of my high school friends and I thought.
I’m not sure just what mountains the shepherd boy was looking at when he thought of this chapter… but young David knew that many people had the thought that the gods lived up in the mountains. The dark clouds… thunder and lightning… the mysterious part of the peaks in the clouds all led one to think that maybe, just maybe that’s where God lived.
Yet, what a powerful truth we know and proclaim… even before the mountains were… God was already there. As majestic and powerful any mountain may appear… God is that much more! Covered with pure, unblemished white snow… God is even purer. He is holy. Nothing can compare to Him. The Lord is God.
That’s one of the great blessings I encounter every day as I glance out the office window. I look out towards the hills beyond Pasadena and Monrovia and I see endless hills. What a great reminder of the eternality of the God I serve. He IS the creator of heaven and earth. Praise His holy name.
DISTRICT MINISTRIES: I want to thank all of you pastors and leaders who have sent in your materials to help us prepare for District Assembly. Thank you! But, if you are one who has, yet, to send it in, would you please assist us by doing it today. Shay Pierson is working hard to accumulate everything. Thank you for your assistance.
· The NMI Council met the other night to go over the final matters before the Wednesday night gathering on June 15 at 7:00PM. Remember, we are combining all three auxiliaries (NMI, NYI, & SDMI) on Wednesday night and Thursday. Yesterday Shay sent out the NMI materials via email, once again. Please review them and return them to our District NMI President by the deadline mentioned in the material. Thank you!
· Pastor and family Photo: Please send us your photo ASAP so that we may put it into the booklet. Thank you!
· Elders, Deacons, and Licensed Ministers: If you haven’t already submitted your annual report card, please do so.
· Santa Maria Cornerstone: This past Sunday I had the honor of installing Rev. Chad Bohi as Lead Pastor in the presence of a full house. What a joy it was to have Haley’s parents present, as well as Pastor Chad’s mom and grandpa (General Superintendent Emeritus Dr. Donald Owens). What a joy it is to have the Bohi’s in ministry on the district. Many of us have followed Chad’s father, Dan Bohi, in his evangelistic crusades across the country.
· District Assembly is quickly approaching. The theme for our convention and assembly is BUILDING BRIDGES. I appreciate the many bridges being built around the district as we continue working together to grow the kingdom.
Ø Wednesday, June 15 at 7:00PM The Opening Service
Ø Thursday, June 16 from 8:30AM – 3:00PM Convention Business (purchase your lunch tickets to eat on campus)
Ø Thursday, June 16 from 3:00PM – 4:00PM District Assembly convenes
Ø Thursday, June 16 at 7:00PM Ordination Service with General Superintendent Dr. Eugenio Duarte
Ø Friday, June 17 from 8:30AM – 4:30PM Assembly Business (D.S. Report, elections, PLNU Report…) Lunch will be on your own…
DISTRICT LICENSEES (NEW AND RENEWAL) ORDINATION SERVICE: A quick note to all of our District Licensed (new and renewal) Ministers. As you know… those who will be ordained will need to be present early… and you have already been instructed as to when and where you need to be. But, for those of you who are receiving a new District License or you are having your License Renewed… I am asking that you please come to the Ordination Service and sit together as a group. If you are married, please have your spouse join you. We will set aside a section of seats for all of you, which will be determined at a later time. Thank you, in advance, for your participation. I look forward to seeing you there.
STAMP OUT HUNGER: Did you know that this Saturday you can help “stamp out hunger”? You may have already received a grocery sack, and if you haven’t, you may get a sack, fill it with non-perishable food and place it by your mailbox before your usual time of mail delivery. Your bag will be picked up and donated to local food pantries. Can you help out?
May you have a wonderful weekend as we all gear up for a fabulous Lord’s Day this Sunday! I love you all and I hope to see you very soon.