There aren't many visits to a graveyard that might be described as "amazing." But one I had recently was nothing less than amazing. When our "On Eagles' Wings" outreach team of young Native Americans was on the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho, we met this young basketball player named Quanah. He made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that weekend, and he asked if he could go with our team to other reservations for the following two weeks. We don't usually add team members along the way, but because of the urging of some strong Native believers there and our own sense of Holy Spirit's leading, we invited Quanah to join us.

The other day, while I was out of town, my wife woke up to the sound of hoofbeats in our yard. That's actually a problem. Misty, her horse, is supposed to be out in the pasture, inside a barbed wire fence. But this particular day Misty was having a grand old time running around our yard - and, without quick action on my wife's part - soon she would have been out of our yard and in harm's way. Fortunately, my wife managed to get Misty back to her pasture before any harm was done. But the big question was, "How do you prevent this horse from getting out again?" The problem was that storm with 80 MPH winds the other night - it uprooted the tree that was anchoring one corner of the pasture's barbed wire fence. We were hoping that the downed tree and the partially intact fence would be enough to keep Misty in until we could close the gap. It wasn't. Our horse just found the gap and ended up going where she really should not go.

 

The other day in the airport, I saw a mother and her daughter hustling to make a plane. But the little girl's face was covered with a mask that was basically a screen - she could see through it, but it was protecting her face. In just a glance, I could see that her face had been badly burned. She had long sleeves and long pants on, but my guess is that she probably had burns on other parts of her body, too. I really felt for her - and for her mother. She appeared to be a burn victim, doing all she could to heal and recover.

After living most of our lives in a major metropolitan area, we are enjoying some of the benefits now of living near one of America's "top 100" small towns. And there's a real feeling of community around here. One of the times you really feel it is during holiday parades. We've got this classic town square with the county courthouse in the middle, a bandstand, and stores all around the square. So we love to take our grandson and get a front row spot to see all the bands and floats and decorated vehicles as they move around the square in a parade. Of course, the part all the kids - including this kid - like the most is when the people on those floats or in those vehicles start throwing handfuls of candy all over the place. They always seem to have plenty, and to throw out plenty, so plenty of children can walk away with plenty of goodies in their pockets!

My dad had taken me on all kinds of rides at Riverview Amusement Park that day - but he wanted to take me on their biggest roller coaster, "The Bobs." I did not share his excitement. I'd seen the commercials with people screaming in terror as they were catapulted through space on those murderous ups and downs. But I gave in. As we were subjected to those heart-stopping heights and drops, Dad tried to talk to me. I didn't scream, I didn't cry - I didn't do anything. I was frozen. No sounds, no expression, no signs of life.

It's got to be one of the most unique sporting events in the world - it's the Iditarod, the ultimate sled dog race in the world This past year 68 teams lined up for the historic 1,000-mile race from Anchorage, Alaska, to Nome. Of course, it didn't start as sporting competition. It started in 1925 when the stakes were much higher than a cash prize - it was the lives of countless children in Nome who had been exposed to the dread disease, diphtheria. The only serum to fight it in Alaska was in far-away Anchorage. It had to get to Nome in the shortest time possible. And it was carried in an amazing, Pony Express-like, relay by one dog team after another. It took 20 drivers, some of whom braved mountain ranges, brutal weather, a merciless gale. But on February 2 - only 127 hours after the first team left - the last driver arrived in Nome with his tired dog team and 300,000 units of that life-saving serum.

It was one the causes Princess Diana was most passionate about. A little-known organization that addresses this issue won the Nobel Peace Prize. It's not an issue we think much about, but it's one that costs countless lives every year - land mines. They are the deadly leftovers of old battles, and many innocent people are injured or killed by them. A land mine is, of course, not where you can see it coming. It's buried. You're just walking along and suddenly the ground beneath you explodes, maiming or destroying an innocent person.

Little Eddie's daddy had agreed to play hide-and-seek with him. So while Eddie counted, Daddy hid. Then Eddie opened his eyes and started the search. Behind the curtains in the living room and the dining room. No daddy. Under the dining room table, the kitchen table, in the kitchen closet. No daddy. Which meant Eddie was going to have to look upstairs. Unfortunately, his father was nowhere in the bathroom or either bedroom. Which left only one place to look - the big closet - which had a light switch Eddie couldn't reach. With his heart beating a mile a minute, Eddie opened the closet door and stared into pitch-blackness. He felt to the left. No daddy. He felt to the right - R-R-R-R-R-R-R! It had to be a big bear! Eddie ran as fast as his little legs could go down the hall - R-R-R-R-R! The bear was chasing him! Down the stairs, through the living room, the dining room, into the kitchen, to the back door. R-R-R-R-R! He couldn't look back, but the bear was right behind him! And the kitchen door was locked! Suddenly the bear reached out and grabbed Eddie - and hugged him. It wasn't a bear trying to hurt him, it was a Daddy trying to hug him!

Our daughter's all grown up and a mother herself now. But she still remembers the day she got lost at the grocery store - and all the feelings that went with it. She was four - her baby brother was in the grocery cart - she was walking ahead of us as we browsed the aisles for our next meals. Somehow, she got way out ahead of us and into another aisle. She kept walking until suddenly she realized that her parents were nowhere around. She remembers it as one of the traumatic moments of her young life - she said, "The aisle was so long, the shelves were so high, and I felt so alone."

There are few moments in recent American history that are more indelibly etched in our memories than the explosion at the Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City in April of 1995. We've all got mental images of the twisted rubble, the terror and grief on victim's faces, and the heroic efforts of the rescuers to get into that building and save the survivors. There were also heroes behind the scenes as well. For example, there was a convention of restaurateurs taking place in a downtown hotel that day. Like so many people in Oklahoma City that day, as soon as they heard about the explosion and the rescue efforts, their plans changed. Suddenly, they set aside their convention schedule and commandeered the hotel kitchen - and dedicated themselves to supplying meals to the rescuers so the rescue work could continue uninterrupted.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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