July 7-8, Days 5-6 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
Yesterday, on an off day, we visited First Baptist Church, an old church with a new facility and typical Sunday attendance of a couple thousand. No pastors were around, so we left some materials about TheHopeLine and accepted the staff’s invitation to their youth summer camp across the street, where a delightful young lady provided a tour of the grounds.
In a special section of their grounds called the “Commitment Garden” were metallic tree-like structures with plates commemorating commitments to Christ that were made at the camp over the years. Each individual’s name was etched and hung personally on the tree by those who decided to make a commitment. Years later, some of them return to their spiritual roots to remember their decision.
The scene was a reminder of chats on TheHopeLine that both Debbie and I had the prior evening with individuals who had made decisions for Christ and then turned away. Both were in despair for different reasons. In my chat, a 17-year-old girl was struggling with cutting, a common issue in girls who contact TheHopeLine. When deep emotional wounds are suppressed, these girls often turn on themselves and cut to release some of the pain. Like any addiction, however, the relief is only temporary and they go back for more. If we can convince them to see a counselor or other trusted individual to whom they can begin to tell their story, they often will find permanent relief from the addiction.
There were additional issues swirling about in this girl’s life. She decided she wanted to come clean and turn back to God. After praying a prayer of repentance, she confessed to another addiction, a first-time disclosure for her. I shared more resources with her to help educate her and to provide her access to an organization that can support her as she battles her way to freedom. Although she has a long road ahead, last night seemed to be a breakthrough. Debbie’s chat also ended on a very positive note. We like happy endings!
After visiting Camp Harlow, we were soon off to downtown Eugene for a spin around town. Bicycle lanes appear on virtually all major downtown streets. After a trip to a bicycle shop for an adjustment to Debbie’s seat position, we visited the University of Oregon campus, also located in the downtown region.
Today, we consulted with an orthopedic specialist about some soreness in Debbie’s knee. She received a cortisone shot for relief, so we’ve been laying low for another day. The doc said she’ll be fine. We plan a return to the road on Wednesday.
We’ve come to expect early-tour health issues. They seem to accompany long days in the saddle. On our first two tours, saddle sores were the principal cause of delays. This time, our delay came earlier than expected, but we are thankful it came when we had access to excellent facilities and skilled services. We’ll be ready to hit the road with renewed vigor soon!