Our oldest children, Daniel and Rosemary, attend a church that was planted in Fort Collins, Colorado by a few families from the Antioch Church movement, which is headquartered in Texas. When these families arrived, God put a burden of compassion and prayer on them for the little, isolated mountain towns of Colorado. They were certain that He wanted to use the new Fort Collins church to bring the love of Jesus into these communities, somehow, someday. After nine years, after the church was firmly planted and filled with excited followers of Jesus, the leadership had the idea to send a team to the mountains in the style of Matthew 10 and Luke 10, where Jesus sent out His disciples to bring the good news of the Kingdom of God to the villages of Israel.
Rosemary and five of her friends went out for two three week tours through half a dozen towns. They took no money, no car, no food, no shelter, and only basic mountain clothing. Their plan was simple–go to a town and ask God what comes next. What came next should have been no surprise, because our living God loves us and is faithful to provide for us. In short, during their three weeks they had sufficient–no abundant–food, shelter, transportation, and they had intimate access to people’s hearts as they ministered to them in the love of Jesus.
When Rosemary first told us about what was happening, the word “disruptive” came to mind. If they had gone to these towns to “do ministry,” it would likely be in some common form like a meeting or concert or rally or something else that people would recognize as “religious,” and would automatically avoid. Instead, the group came to town and asked God what was next. He then orchestrated special appointments with people, coming in sideways, lovingly disrupting their preconceptions of Jesus.
There are so many amazing stories from these adventures which will be written about later, and by those who experienced them first hand. But since one of the stories ended at our house, making us eye witnesses to God’s wonderful ways, I feel free to tell it.
About half way through their first tour, Rosemary needed to return to Fort Collins in order to attend the wedding of a close friend. It was a Tuesday and they were in Leadville, Colorado. As the group prayed about the problem, they asked God to provide a ride for Rosemary to her home town of Estes Park on Thursday.
Later that day one of the team members, Miranda, was in a coffee shop where she had met a couple from New Zealand who were vacationing in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. They were also followers of Jesus, so they had been enjoying deep conversation, and had been rejoicing with Miranda as she related the amazing God stories from the previous week. Just before she left, the man said, “Oh! One more thing. We don’t have much room in our car, maybe enough for only one, possibly two, but we are going to Estes Park on Thursday. If any of you needs a ride, please let us know.” Miranda was used to these kinds of “miraculous provisions” by now. In fact, they weren’t miraculous at all. It was becoming perfectly normal to expect God to provide for their needs, simply because they asked Him.
We got a phone call from Rosemary on Wednesday, saying that she found a ride home with a wonderful couple from New Zealand, that they would be coming the next day, and that we had to meet them. Thursday afternoon they arrived at our home. Over English tea, we all worshiped God together as we heard the wonderful and unusual story of Rosemary’s ride home.
Photo of Leadville by Thaine Norris