Location: Out West

An old-fashioned guy grappling with new-fangled ways.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Odds and ends...

I'm about to get extremely busy, so I thought I'd better post something while I still have the time. Our trip to Rayville Missouri was both illuminating and sobering. It was sobering to see the actual physical state of the village. Most of the buildings are in need of repair and clearly this small town has seen better days. Unfortunately, this is the case throughout farm and ranch country from the Mississippi to the Pacific, and probably east to the Atlantic too, but I'll stick to reporting what I've actually seen. It is so sad to see once thriving main streets all boarded up and falling down. I'm sure the village of Rayville owes it's continuing existence to reasonable real estate prices and the easy commute to Kansas City and other larger towns in the area.
But something is beginning to happen in Rayville that I would love to see happen in countless ailing towns and villages all across this once great land. There are folks in Rayville fully sold out to the Lord, seeking to do His will in every area of life. This all by itself is a rare and precious thing. But if the Lord wills, someday little Rayville will be a beacon of hope, a village set on a hill so to speak, a testimony to the goodness and blessing of keeping covenant with the Lord, and with one another. Already there are many encouraging signs. Pastor McConnell and Elder Klute could hardly contain their enthusiasm as they described the progress they've made in the last decade. Missouri Woods is beginning to prosper. The church there is beginning to grow and prosper, as many Internet agrarians continue to relocate to be a part of the Rayville vision. Homesteads are being built. Direct christian involvement in local government has been initiated and is ongoing. The people I met and enjoyed fellowship with are fully committed to the town and the vision so ably articulated by the leadership of Covenant Reformed Church. Their enthusiasm is exciting to see and contagious as well. Of course, changes like these cannot take place without spiritual opposition. This is a pioneering work, full of sweat, blood and tears and often attended with controversy and strife. But the Lord is good and faithful, and He has given the faithful in Rayville encouraging progress and a measure of prosperity, too.
And the land.. how beautiful it is! It is so green, so fertile, bursting with life and abundance of every kind! We enjoyed a short tour of the area with Pastor McConnell as our able guide, and I was struck dumb by the natural beauty and richness of the area. On every side there was both abundance and astounding variety. Many hardwood trees, an incredible range of wildlife, thick green grass, streams, rivers, ponds, all testify of rich soil and generous and regular rainfall. All this, and coal under the ground as well! It is a land that cries out for christian husbandry, a virtual Eden pining away for many sons of Adam who will faithfully dress it and keep it! It is also a land steeped in history and folk-lore. Jesse James and Bill Quantrill rode and fought there. Missouri suffered a great deal during the war between the States; and much of this travail has been ignored or glossed over in the accepted history books. Yet, if that war had ended with the south victorious, there would be many prominent and lavish monuments to southern valor within an easy drive of Rayville. It was all so fascinating!
And now the reason I'm likely to be too busy to write for awhile: Our house is under contract, and we have about three weeks to pack up and move. No, we're not going to Rayville, at least not yet, but rather just across town. This is an answer to much prayer, though. My desire for several years has been to simplify my life and unload debt along with excess bedroom space, so I can eventually afford to go back to school full-time. This is the first substantial step in that direction. We will be renting for awhile, but at less then half the monthly cost of the house we just sold. One house gone, one to go; isn't God good?
There is another thing I took away from Rayville, something Elder Klute kindly gave me. It was a copy of S.C. Mooney's book, 'Usury: Destroyer of Nations'. I can't recommend this book highly enough, nor will I ever be able to repay the debt I owe to both Mr. Mooney and Mr. Klute. This book rocked and rearranged my world. God is using this book's message to reform me, gradually and thoroughly, in the whole critical area of money, business, investment and economics. It will take time and perseverance to fully absorb and implement this teaching into my life, but I will gladly spend any heart-beats I have left trying. That's not to say that I'm always happy about it. My moods since completing the book have alternated between despair and nausea and exuberant praise and thanksgiving. I'm not exaggerating; since completing a first reading of 'Usury', I've spent whole days feeling mildly sick to my stomach. It is not an easy message, nor are it's implications always pleasant. But, the Lord knew it was exactly what I needed to read; and my soul drank in every drop of the bitter medicine, as a sponge absorbs water. Now, if I can just keep it down...
Don't stop praying for me, and I'll write more after we're settled, sometime after June 18.


Blogger Homestead Herbs said...

Congratulations on the contract on the house! Praise God!

We'll pray for a easy and peaceful move!

10:45 AM  

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