Beautiful mountains of Chattanooga, TN — the handy work of God was breathtaking. After the riders meeting, we visited a cemetery with 155 unknown Confederate soldiers, or at least all but nine are unknown. RFTW donated a check from Run For The Wall for $1000 for grounds upkeep. It is such a sad little cemetery.
It was great watching our M25 Chaplains do “Biker Blessings”. God has allowed us to pray with so many as we worked to ‘serve’ them water, crackers, apples or just good ole junk food.
So many stories of men and women touching these veterans are shared each night that our devotion service can become rather lengthy. Tonight one of the stories that really blessed me, Chaplain Debbie Pearson shared as she rides behind the “Missing Man” rider that she tries to think, ‘what are they experiencing?’ She really wants to feel with them and be more sensitive to the pain they are carrying. A young man that is carrying the ashes of three Viet Nam Veterans to the wall for their wives was noticeably moved after the ride. He did not know these men but is doing what the wives asked. He stated, ‘I had the men in my heart at first but the last 20 miles they got in my soul and I will never forget them’.
We were so blessed tonight at the awards program they honored our M25 teams. It was an awesome experience. The crowd had to be told to set down and stop clapping for our Chaplain Corp. They stated it several different ways, ‘they are coming for the church’. This is what we really want – yes it is moving to be honored by their statements and certificates and gifts BUT we want them to know we come in the name of the church. I am attaching a picture of a very special gift – a neck scarf with my name, “The Shepherd” embroidered on it with the Viet Nam era colors flanking the name. It really took me back.
During lunch it was a blessing to set with a man who is “Special Forces”. He told me of things he had seen that were so painful. I will share one story, in Bosnia they discovered a hole that was some 10 – 12′ across and 1000′ deep. When the finished they removed over 19,000 bodies brutally killed in the name of war. He stated that he has tried almost every church there is and felt like he had found his church recently but when he and his wife went to the welcome class they asked what he did for a living. When he told, them one lady asked, ‘have you killed anyone?’ The pain that insensitive questions spawn is sometimes unbearable.
Well, we did have a busy day on the ‘Chase Team’. Bikes were breaking and then 2.5 miles from our ‘Target’ (destination) going into a construction zone a man laid his bike down on the payment. It was terrible. When I arrived we immediately went to work securing the scene. This is tough for a ‘preacher’ but as God would have it, there is a medical doctor riding next to me and he went to work on the man immediately. There was a retired police officer riding behind me and he was so kind, just standing there. I asked him to assist me seeing I was new at this role. He just stepped in and helped. I missed the dinner again tonight due to being in the hospital. We worked with his pastor at home to secure him help. They will have to do surgery and wire his shoulder together soon.
During the rider’s meeting today Robbie Jones and Kevin McBride were introduced due to them serving meals in the campsites. After it was over the man in charge of the Honor Guard (they place the wreaths) came up and told Robbie that several had been watching him serve out of the hydration trailer. They were inspired by his spirit as he worked to serve those in need of water and stuff. They had decided to make him an ‘Honorary Honor Guard’ member – it just keeps coming.
Chaplain Moore shared the devotion tonight on let’s finish well, give it all we have for the next few days. My oldest son text me and told me he was praying that we would end on a good note. Please join us in prayer that we can finish this race in victory.
By the way, thanks to all who have responded. It means so very much to all of us.