Jan. 23 2006

I’m a little late on starting this journal. I left Chattanooga on Jan. 19th and have drive almost 1100 miles since then. I have traveled (alone) through six states and stopped in many interesting towns.

-Jan. 19th (Thursday)
I hit the road at 4:00 pm in the afternoon, after eating lunch with my friend Ariel and buddies at McAllister’s Deli. It was good to see Russell, Beaver, Jason, and Sarah Slade. I then went and saw my little brother, Eric, at my dad’s office. We took a few pictures of our trucks; I then said good-bye and hit the road. Well, I stopped at the Army Surplus store and picked a cot for sleeping. While there I saw the guys from Downstream.

After driving about 350 miles I stopped in Belleville AL, to spend the night. The previous weekend Belleville was hit by a tornado and many homes were destroyed. Oddly enough I spent the night in the graveyard at a local church.

Belleville, AL

my "resting" place, Thursday night, January 19

-Jan. 20th (Friday)
I woke up after a restless night of sleep in the graveyard just of the side of the road in Belleville, to hit the road running. I wanted to help in Belleville, but there wasn’t much of any opportunity of relief help available, so I left and hit the road for Mobile AL. Once in Mobile I stopped, got some gas and ate some Subway. I jumped on Interstate 10 and headed to New Orleans.

New Orleans was new for me. I have traveled through 44 of the continental 48, but Louisiana wasn’t one of them. Interesting land, very wet, swamp like. New Orleans was hit this last fall by a series of hurricanes ravaging the coastline. The devastation is vast, much greater than what the news had portrayed on TV. WOW! is all I can say.

I stopped by a Home Depot to pick up some 2-stroke oil for my chainsaw. The Home Depot was under lock and key… there were twelve-foot fences all the way around the parking lot with a military and police force guarding the building. I was beginning to feel like I had already left the country, and was traveling in a completely different land. While at Home Depot I ask one of the Police officers where there was a volunteer camp, so that I could help out for a few days and be a blessing to the people of our country that were in need of relief. I was sent over to St. Bernard Parish. Wow! It was like driving through a landfill. There was trash all over the place. It was ugly.

After New Orleans I headed west to Texas. I made Texas in a few hours, stopping outside Beaumont to grab some Taco Bell; 1 bean burrito no onions, 1 seven layer no guacamole, and an order of cheesy fiesta potatoes. Yummy! I hit Houston just as the sun was setting in the west! Great Sunset! I turned south and headed down Hwy. 59 toward Victoria. I called my grandfather in Maryland, and he got me the address to an Adventist Church in Victoria for me to drop by on Saturday morning.

Once I arrived in Victoria a little after 9 pm I found the church, then stopped at a gas station and asked for a place to camp for the night. A gentlemen recommended me to drive out of town about ten miles to a place called Coletto Creek. I made my way out there and found the Coletto Creek reservoir and campground. I pulled in, saw the ranger, and picked my campsite. I set up my tent, but while setting it up I noticed four deer just chilling in the clearing, no more that just fifty feet away. Weird… anyways I got the tent set up and got to bed. During the night the wind picked up and a storm moved in. It began to rain and the wind came in fast strong bursts, I thought my tent would be ripped apart and would be soaked. But nothing happened, and I was fine.

-Jan. 21st (Saturday)
I met a fellow camper in the morning, I have given him the name of: the Texas Ranger. The gentleman was a kind man with a dog, living out of his pop-up camper. He is separated from his wife and is out in the Texas landscape fishing and living a simple life with his dog and creator. I spent an hour and a half talking with this man. We talked about God and baptism. He had many interesting comments to make about what he believed.
One dealing with blood, and how it is a sacred thing and how we should neither handle nor consume/ingest it; His words were wise and honest. He offered me a cup of coffee, it was good, besides I enjoyed the company and talk. Thank you Mr. Texas Ranger.

Jan. 24th 2006

Victoria SDA, Victoria, Texas

-Jan. 21st continued
It was 11:28; I was driving northeast on Hwy. 59 trying to make it to the Victoria SDA church in time for their 11:30 am worship service; I made it just in time. I walked in the door wondering how I was going to introduce my self??? Happy Sabbath! Wow, the SDA greeting that is nationally recognized, Yes!

I met several nice people at church that morning. Pastor Chavez, Elder David, The YMCA Lady, and Sherry Kocian. Sherry is my biggest blessing! The YMCA lady gave me her pass to the local YMCA so that I could get a shower and brush my teeth. Not that she noticed that my teeth needed brushing, just that I asked her if I could use the churches' restroom to brush my teeth and she said that she would be delighted to loan me her YMCA pass so that I could get a fresh shower and clean up. That was an awesome gift!

Sherry Kocian, she has blessed me in so many ways. She came up to me while I was talking with one of the church elders, explaining my trip and its mission, and handed me a check for a hundred dollars. She said that God had impressed her to give me the check for my trip. I had not even talked to her. She had overheard me talking with the elder and felt impressed. God is GOOD: All the time! All the time; God is GOOD!

After the service was potluck; Yes, fresh hot food! Sherry wasn’t staying for potluck, but she invited me to go with her later that afternoon out to her home in Port O’Conner. Not having anything else to do yet, I told her I would love to go.

I ate lunch and had many interesting conversations with the church members about my trip and where I was going and what I was going to try to accomplish. I told everyone I was going to be in the area for about five days and would love to help out as much as possible. No one really got what I was saying though. David, one of the elders invited me to go with the Pathfinders out to San Antonio for a retreat, but I never made it. I ended up going with Sherry out to Port O’Conner. I didn’t realize it until I saw the beach that, Port O’Conner is on the gulf coast, and her house was a very nice two-story beach house no more than 400 feat from the inner coastal waterways. Wow! Talk about being blessed. The house was incredible, nice beds to sleep on, huge 60 in. big screen to watch movies on, and food in the fridge for us to eat. Mrs. Sherry was truly a God sent blessing. It was not just Mrs. Sherry and me, Her Grand daughter Emily and five friends were there as well. Emily and her friends were around 14 or 15 and in junior high. That evening Mrs. Sherry took all of us out to eat at Josie’s restaurant. Josie’s made the best enchiladas that I have ever eaten!

Mrs. Sherry and I talked about a lot of things; mostly about how to know the truth, and about the end times. We read in Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelations, Exodus, and several other chapters of the Bible. A lot of what she had to say was very true and made a lot of sense. She once again gave me a great blessing. I really enjoyed spending time with her reading and studying the bible, she has such a passion for the truth.

Mrs.Sherry Kocian

-Jan 22nd (Sunday)
I awoke Sunday morning to find Mrs. Sherry sitting on the front porch sipping on a hot cup of coffee. She offered me a cup and I gladly accepted. The three guys who had come with Emily were up and sitting on the porch with us as well. It was peaceful and very relaxing.

Mrs. Sherry cooked eggs, hash browns, and biscuits for breakfast. Ummm it was good! We ate and then she should me showed me some more texts that she had forgotten the night before. She wrote all the texts down for me and gave me some sections to read for my own. I hope I will stay true to her and read and discover for myself the truth that she has and fills her with so much passion.

I asked Mrs. Sherry if there was anything I could do for her around the house to help out, to be a blessing with. She said that one of her kitchen cabinets had a small piece of trim that had come off and wondered if I could reattach it for her. Sure I said, and had is fixed in a few minutes. She was so impressed with my work. For me honestly it was nothing. She then asked I could hang a small box/cabinet in her laundry room to cover up some cable and phone wire. I told her that I could, but that I would have to run to town and see if I could find the necessary hardware for the task. So I left and went to town.

I first stopped at the Speedy-Stop, the local Eckerd’s, grocery, bait-shop, and gas stations in one. I found most of the hardware there, but still needed a few more things. I had seen a True Value store on my way to the Speedy-Stop, so I went by there next. I needed to find some hinges. I walked through the store three times and didn’t find any hinges. I asked the girl behind the counter if she knew if they carried hinges and she walked all over the store with me again looking for hinges. No hinges. The girl was very cute and I really enjoyed following her all over the store. Man, if only I was not heading into South America and didn’t live in Tennessee. She was a definite cutie!

I returned to the beach house and got to work on the cabinet. It didn’t take me very long to finish the project, maybe thirty minutes and I was done. I showed it to Mrs. Sherry and she loved it. She was so impressed with my skills.

Mrs. Sherry and the kids left at three that afternoon. She gave me the house for the week. What? Yep, she gave me the house for the week. I had the beach house to my self until Friday morning. What a blessing; a warm place to sleep, soft beds, and food in the fridge. God has really blessed me! Thanks you God for Mrs. Sherry and her kind heart.

Sunday night I watched the movies, The Perfect Storm, Sixteen Candles, and The Green Mile. All movies were very good and interesting. I really enjoyed watching them, I had not seen any of them before.

-Jan. 23rd (Monday)
I awoke around 9am and started watching more movies. I watched, Cocktail, Top Gun, Boiler Room, Romi & Michelle’s high-school reunion, and Forest Gump. It was a long day of movie watching. I didn’t do much. I used my stove for the first time, it worked wonderfully, really heated up fast and produce a great cooking surface. I also started my journal. I should have started my journal the day I left Chattanooga, but never though twice about it until my grandparents called me while in the middle of Romi & Michelle’s high-schools reunion. Thanks Grandma, I glad you reminded me.

-Jan. 24th (Tuesday)
I awake to find the sun already up and the sky to be clear, well clear once I leave my room. I get up and start another movie, Where the Heart Is; the one where the lady lives in a Wal-Mart and has her baby there. Good movie, not one that I expected to very good, but really turned out to be a good one. While watching the movie I made lunch, it was almost 1 pm and I was getting hungry. I had Broccoli Mac and Cheese, Umm Yummy!

After the movie I got dressed and went outside. The day was beautiful! The sun was shining and the sky was clear and blue. I could see the water glistening across the way, a soft dark blue with the gulls floating lightly on the breeze. The temperature was around sixty and everything was good. I unpacked my truck all the way and repacked some of my containers. I was getting more familiar with my truck and where everything was located. I repacked my truck and charge my cell phone. I forgot my wall charger at home, so I am using my car charger for now.

Now I am up to date in my journal. I am presently sitting in a swinging air chair off the bottom of the second story deck, writing in my journal the past days events. Things are good and I am happy with where God has carried me this far. I pray that He will continue to bless me in the future, and guide my path in the way that he sees best. God is GOOD; All the Time! All the Time; God is GOOD!

Jan. 26th 2006

-Jan. 25th (Wednesday)
Well, after a day’s break from the writing I’m picking it back up. I realize my entries haven’t been very detailed, but to be honest, my life hasn’t been very interesting. I have traveled, but really haven’t very helpful. I have mostly met a few random people and talked briefly with them what my mission is. No one has seemed very interested in giving me work or projects to do. For the most part I have been sitting in my room here in Port O’Conner watching movies, waiting for the guys to arrive from Tennessee.

Today I watched: Titanic, Sister Act, Dirty Dancing, Twister, What Women Want, Armageddon, and part of Blind Faith. All the movies where pretty good, but, Blind Faith Sucked really bad. To anyone who cares, never-ever watch Blind Faith, it’s not worth the time to see.

Yes this life sounds worthless, and yes you are right. I have not enjoyed all this movie watching. It is a complete waste of time. I ask God everyday to send someone or something into my path, so that I might be a blessing. So far nothing has happened. I have made a few trips to town to drive around and see the world that is known as Port O’Conner, but nothing jumps out and says help me. I am very new to this and have completely placed my life in God’s Hands. It was only about a month and a half that I became involved with this mission. Just after Thanksgiving. I have put everything in his hands; I sold all my things, invested in a new vehicle just for this mission, and purchased supplies and raised funding. I believe that if God has a plan for this trip, and me the least he can do is show me the way. Example: I left last Thursday with only $200 dollars and had no clue to where God would lead me. I got as far as Victoria TX, and used my last twenty to pay for my campsite Friday night. God guided me to Victoria and to Church the next morning; where I met Mrs. Sherry Kocian. God has blessed and guided my steps. Praise God and His perfect plan for all of us!

Hopefully in the future I will be able to walk out on my own and search for those who I can bless. I really want to bless those around me, but I am shy and content in my comfort zone. God BREAK me of my comfort zone, set my kind and giving soul free in your name!

-Jan. 26th (Thursday)
Today I woke late, around 11am. The day had started and was slightly overcast. I unpacked my clothes and got a shower. I then finished Blind Faith, This movies really stinks! Why did I finish it? Well, Because I was getting to the bottom of my movie box and just felt like finishing it. It still stinks, stinks really bad.

I cooked another grilled cheese, yes another. I have consumed around twelve grilled cheeses in the past three days; sick right. I also fixed a plate full of Mrs. Sherry’s hash browns and add cheese and Taco Bell mild sauce on top. Lunch was so very tasty!

I then made a run into town and stopped by the True Value store to get replacement drill bits; Yes Ryan, I do have the receipt if you’d like to compensate me for the ones you burn up. I also stopped by to see that cute hardware store girl I had seen there on the past Sunday. She wasn’t there, but I was able to get two of the five drill bits. I next went down the street a couple hundred feet to the real hardware store and found the other three drill bits there. As well as drill bits, I also got the necessary pieces to finish my air compressor and air hoses. I then returned to the beach house and decided to work on my air compressor and hoses. Guess what?
I purchased mismatched hose parts backing Tennessee. I had style M female fittings and style T male fittings. ^*&* !!!! Well then that’s not going to work. Maybe I’ll be able to find the parts before I get into Mexico.

There is a gentleman staying in the beach house across the way from me now. I think He pulled in a few days ago. I have waved at him a few times, but haven’t really said anything to him yet. I bet he has been wondering what I’m doing over here at the Kocian house. Anyways he dropped by this afternoon. He asked me about the truck and why it was set up like it is. He said it look like something from National Geographic, or some safari show.
He said he liked it a lot and wouldn’t mind having his truck set up like that. I told him about my mission into the south… South America. He told me that his son in Washington DC did something every summer, something mission related. It was good talking to him and seeing his face full of joy talking about my adventures to come. I find that a lot in people. My mission inspires them, fills them with dreams and joy. Every time I talk to some one I feel like I’m being a blessing by just telling them of my plans. They see the good in the world, and the peace found in fully relying in God. Most find it hard to do, but still have respect and find peace. God bless those who I have shared my story with!

Well it off to bed for me. Hopefully Aaron gets his money transferred and I’ll be able to meet him in Houston tomorrow and hit the road south into Mexico. God Bless!

January 27--Friday--Aaron isn't going to be flying in to Houston, I'm going to get on the road and head through Mexico for Guatamala --alone--and meet up with the rest of the group that are already there. Ryan, Josiah and Aaron will leave TN sometime next week.

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