TUALATIN, Ore. - It's 10:07 PM PST, and I am supposed to pick up my wife at the Portland airport at 11:19. That won't be happening, however. Due to severe weather conditions in Minneapolis, her plane was diverted to Rochester, Minn. and she'll be spending the night either at the airport or a hotel, once they are bussed to Minneapolis. Hopefully it's the latter.
So, instead of spending 54 hours with her for the first time in two and a half weeks, I'll only get to spend about 40 hours with her before she flies back to New Hampshire. And such is life. I've been doing a lot of waiting over the past few weeks.
I've been in the lovely Northwest for the past 16 days. They call it Field School, but I'm not sure how much of that is going on. It's been slow. We've been holding some meetings in Woodland, Wash., and though the evangelist is great, the pastor is great, the church is great, my classmates are great and everything about the Northwest is great (except for the fact that I'm separated from my wife), we haven't done much. Attendance has been sparse - and we have not even shared any of the "testing truths" yet.
But there are reasons to be positive. Some folks who are attending have stories to share, testimonies to tell. God has been blessing - and you can never put a price tag on a soul in Christ's eyes.
Meanwhile, we've almost done more sight-seeing than visitation. In some ways, that's fine, but in others, it's kind of a sad commentary on the challenges that we face here. We've hiked around Mt. St. Helens, camped at Mt. Hood (pictured right - taken this morning), and seen the Oregon coast (below). It's all very beautiful - definitely my favorite place in the US outside of New England.
However, I want to make another point - and perhaps this deserves a whole other entry - but whoever said that the Northwest is the most secular area in the United States has never been here. Truthfully, it seems like there is a Christian church on every corner - and an Evangelical church for that matter. There are three or four Christian radio stations in Portland, alone! Honestly, the Northeast is way more secular than this place. I know this is purely anecdotal and lacks any true empirical evidence, but I have eyes, folks. I can see. And I think there is probably plenty of evidence that the Northeast is every bit as secular (if not more so) as the Northwest.
The reason our meetings are so sparsely attended, by the way, is because we are holding them in a town of about 4,000 people, and there was no pre-work done before the meetings began. Handbills aren't going to bring in the masses, friends! But I digress. . .
Well, that's about all for now. This is probably the most unfocused blog entry I've had to this date, but I just wanted to inform my faithful readers of what has been going on with me for the past few weeks. And you can be sure, with the slowness of our experience here, that I would be writing more often. But the place I'm staying doesn't have internet (myth #2 of the Northwest: everyone is wired. This is not true at all).
Fortunately, tonight I am staying with two wonderful fiends of mine - David and Val Smith - who have internet. Though they've gone to bed, they have consoled me as I received news that my wife would not be arriving tonight.
More later, I'm sure.