Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My tent never looked better

My tent never looked better, is still in it's bag.

Chuck and I are sitting in an airstream RV with a front porch, awning, and little airstream-trout lights strung across the front. There is a mountain thunderstorm going on, lightning is flashing across the sky. Yet, we are safe and sound sitting on our front porch watching the action.

We left Grand Junction yesterday, stayed the night in Cotopaxi, Colorado, then headed to Crystal River, Colorado. Tonight, we are relaxing in style. When we called and there were no tent sites available we almost did not come this direction, but then they said we have this old RV you can use. It didn't sound too appealing but we thought we would give it a try. We are so glad we did.

We rode through some of the most beautiful country that we had ever been in. We crossed mountain ranges and summits. We rode into Aspen and saw the huge homes, the airport stacked with private jets. Of course this got me to thinking.

We don't have any members at our YMCA that have a private jet, I doubt if we have any that have a home like the ones I saw in Aspen. I thought about the staff that has forgone this kind of life for one that give back to those that have virtually nothing.

I started thinking about our Youth Development team.

They do things like, After school enrichment or ASE. ASE is a program that works with kids after school in the schools. They do things like Lego Engineering, cooking, and other life skill training. They work with the kids that others don't have time for. They provide programming that schools have dropped due to budget cuts.

These people could do just anything, they have degrees they are people of capacity, yet they spend their days working with underprivileged kids.

I began to think about how at first I wasn't too thrilled about sleeping in an old RV. But, when Chuck and I arrived we saw that the KOA had worked with it and turned it into a great place. They had taken something somebody else did not want and made it beautiful. Our Youth Development Department does the same thing everyday. They take a kid that somebody else does have time for and works with them. They make beautiful people.

I'd rather spend my life with them then ten minutes with somebody who would rather spend money on themselves. Aspen is a beautiful place.

The Clark County Family YMCA is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people.

I just thought you should know.



Sunday, July 17, 2016

We stopped at the junction and it as Grand

Good Morning,
I pray the day finds you well.

Yes, we made it to Grand Junction Colorado.

We left Twin Falls Idaho Yesterday and rode into Grand Junction Colorado last night.

We rode through Salt Lake City and hung a left at Spanish Fork Utah. Once again I was left wondering, what is a Spanish fork? I guess I will have to wait for Demi, my admin assistant to tell me. After all she told me what Biggs Junction was. I sat there on my bike wondering, "What is a Spanish fork and how is that different from a German fork, or an Irish fork, or even a dutch oven? Hmmmm, things to ponder.

We saw many beautiful things in God's creation along the way. By the time we arrived at Grand Junction we were rode worn and very tired. It struck me how many people come into our YMCA feeling the same way. Life has a way of wearing you out at times.

People come into our "Y" and want to join. They say the want to get into better shape or lose a few pounds. The membership desk will ask them some open ended questions and many times these same people end up in my office. You see, there is a reason they ended up in their current in the first place.

Life has a way of wearing you out.

A homeless couple came in a while back. Life had been very hard on them. All they wanted was a shower. I came into relationship with them and before long I had offered them a 3-month membership, chaplaincy footing the bill. I introduced them to one of our healthy living people, her name is Mattie.

Mattie runs a program called "adaptive fitness." This is a program that was the brainchild of my friend Randy Scheel. He was a board member and owned a rehabilitation center for those that needed physical rehabilitation. We dreamed of the YMCA being the third space for people that needed extra help. Life is hard, people get hurt. People go to hospitals and hospitals do a good job of patching them up. Then, they send them to a rehab center. The rehab center works with them until the insurance runs out and then gives these people some exercises to do at home. Many times this is not enough. Randy and I dreamed of sending these people to the "Y" so they could completely heal, Mind, Spirit, Body.

Randy passed away last year. He never saw this come to fruition.

After Randy passed a young lady by the name of Mattie showed up. She had a special gift for people that needed adaptations to their fitness goals. Needless to say, Adaptive Fitness was born.

So I buy this homeless couple, their names are Loyd and Falon, a membership. I introduce them to Mattie. Mattie starts working with them.

Falon left my this note a few days ago, "Chaplain Roger, thank you so much for your help.I feel so blessed. For the first time I feel like a beautiful wife for my husband.. God Bless you and the YMCA."

I contemplated this note as we rode through Utah. I looked around and saw landscape that at first looked barren and hard. As I continued to look I saw how God was molding and shaping His creation. I thought about all the people that come to the "Y". I thought about how Mattie works with these people and helps God mold them. Seeing a girl come into the "Y" in a wheelchair and walking out all of her own accord a short time later is an amazing thing to see.

God is doing great things, all we have to do is have our eyes open to Him to see them.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

We both fell at the same time

Good morning,
I pray the day finds you well.

That's right Chuck and I made it to Twin Falls Idaho!

It was a short jaunt, a quick 500 miles.

I started the day saying goodbye to the river by my house. I gave Abe a pet, then gave Laurie a hug and a kiss. I told her I loved her and missed her already, then rode away.

We traveled highway 14 down the Gorge, or is it up? I'm never quite sure. Had breakfast in Bingen, went over the Biggs junction Bridge, I always wonder why places get their names, I will have to look that up one of these days. Then rode I-84 all the way to Twin Falls.

I spent the day contemplating the Ignatius prayer of examen. The prayer goes something like this, "Lord show me where I have loved today, show me where I failed to love."

The best thing about the ride is I spend my days alone with God and every evening Chuck and I share what He showed us that day.

As I listened to my Father gently show me ways I could do a better job loving, while at the same time giving me praise for the love I did well. I started to think about our Child Watch department and how they spend their days loving kids. Just like the rest of us they have their personal problems, some more than others. Many have the problem of trying to live on minimum wage. None of this matters when they are with the kids, their focus is on loving them. They know that the time the kids spend with them may be the only time they are shown unconditional love. They do a great job. A person could learn a lot about loving just by being with them in Child Watch.

The person in charge of them is Allyce. It is her leadership and teachings that make them who they are. Allyce could be anywhere but she is at the YMCA. It is her passion, her mission.

Her whole team is on the "transformation Team," I will talk more about that later, but it is pretty cool.

As I wander down the rode of life I am glad that I know a person like Allyce. She makes us all try a bit harder.

Thank you Allyce for all you do.


Friday, July 15, 2016

A stressed, blessed chaplain

Good morning,
I pray the day finds you well.

I didn't sleep well last night.

This is the morning that Chuck and I start our ride. The last year has been a good year. A year filled with joy, challenges, and heartache. My wife's illness was rough.The death of my brother was hard. My mother' bought with cancer was scary. At the same time, watching God do His thing, having people heal, giving them hope, seeing His love in action was something amazing to watch.

I didn't even get to begin packing for the trip until last night. The weeks preceding the trip were very busy. Days that did not end until after 9pm. Yesterday, Laurie's car broke down. I had to get that fixed before I could leave. All this to say that I was a bit stressed. I think Laurie is ready for me to go on my trip. A stressy husband is no fun, or so I am told!

This morning I woke to the thought of God's blessing on my life. He shows this in many different ways.

The love of my wife.

The love of my kids.

The love of my dog.

There are other ways He shows His love for me.

All the amazing volunteers that are feeding hungry kids while I'm gone. Without them I wouldn't be able to leave.

The amazing YMCA staff that spend long hours everyday loving on people. We have a saying at our YMCA, "Teaching a community to truly love its neighbor." The YMCA family truly does this. That is what we do. I am blessed to be part of it.

The chaplaincy board that works tirelessly to help create opportunities for us to be His hands and feet.

I went to bed last night a bit stressed.

This morning I awoke feeling blessed.

I will spend my ride practicing the Ignatius prayer of examan.

We have another saying at our "Y", "It's not the challenge that defines you, it's your response."

I will practice a response of love to this prayer.

To all the staff and volunteers, thank you for all you do. Pray for me on this trip.

I will be praying for you.