Two Great Speakers

We hadn’t known this before we booked our cruise, but one of the speakers for the week was our own former U.S. Senator Al Simpson.  We were thrilled to know he would be speaking throughout the week.  In addition, his close friend, Norman Mineta would be sharing the speaker’s platform.  Norman was the U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush, the only Democrat to hold office on his cabinet.  He was in this position on 9/11 and was the man who issued an order to ground all U.S. civilian aircraft, something that had never happened before.  He also worked on the implementation of the Transportation Security Administration department for airline safety. Here is an excellent video of Norman’s recollections of the events on 9/11.

We listened to all their speeches throughout the week and they were fascinating, funny at times and entertaining.

The story of how the two became best friends is amazing, and they took turns sharing the story with us.  Norman’s family had been detained at Heart Mountain–near Cody, Wyoming–one of the Japanese internment camps during World War II.  Al’s Boy Scout leader decided to take his troop of young boys out to the camp to play competitive games and camp-out together.  They ended up in the same tent and became fast friends for life, though one joined the Democratic party and the other joined the Republicans.  Maybe this is why Al was always so good at crossing party lines and working to compromise rather than hating the other side, something that is badly needed now.

We had met Al several times before, and he invited us to have lunch with them in the Palm Court; it was a special treat to sit with these two giants of the political world–men with integrity, kindness, intelligence and openness.  Their wives, Ann and Deni, are also about as kind and caring as anyone you could meet.

We asked a lot of questions about Washington and about 9/11, of course, and they willingly answered them all.  What an honor and privilege to dine with these special people!

Here are some photos from breakfast and from our dinner that evening.





We Found a Body Lying in a Field

“There’s a woman’s body lying out in the field!”  This is what I heard as I finished reading my Bible yesterday morning.  I was staying with friends and volunteering at the Compassion International booth at the Downpour Festival in Great Falls, MT.  My friend’s husband, Jake, had rushed into the house to get a cellphone.  I dropped the Bible, grabbed my cell phone and rushed out with the others, dialing 911.  As we neared the body, I fully expected to begin doing CPR with my friend, Mindy, who works in a hospital and knows CPR well.

It was a young teenager, flat on her back with an open cell phone beside her head.  Another man had tried to awaken her to no avail.  Jake had tried as well, but she was unresponsive.  Bernice and Mindy sat down beside her, checked her pulse and began talking to her.  Finally, she looked up in a stupor and tried to get her bearings.  As we questioned her she began to talk to us and eventually sat up, but none of her answers made any sense.  Gradually, she began to become more coherent and could carry on a conversation, although she was not sure why she’d spent the night out in a field on her back.  Bernice was so sweet to her — saying things like, “I’m a mother myself, so I can’t help but be concerned about you and care about getting you some help.  Where is your mother?”  The girl tried to reach her mother on my cell phone, but there was no answer.

When the police arrived (for the EMT’s had decided from our report that she didn’t need an ambulance after all), they began to question her as well.  Sadly, she said, “I’m just a drunk who got lost out here last night and couldn’t find my way home.  Are you going to charge me with an MIP?”  She was 18 years old.

The police took statements from us and offered to take her home.  When we returned to the house, we stood in a circle and prayed for her.  We couldn’t help but think of the stark contrast between this precious, troubled girl and the teens that were raising their hands in worship to the music of Jeremy Camp.  We thought of the ones that were rushing to our table to sponsor needy children.

We felt she most likely had a drug-induced condition, because we didn’t smell alcohol, and it had taken her so long to respond to us and to gain any coherency.  We even wondered if she’d been raped out on that hill, because she was buttoning up her pants as she sat up.  We wondered how a girl could be out all night and not have a parent reporting her missing, or even in range of a phone call.

We thought of the teens I wrote about here that we’d met the weekend before in Billings — the ones rushing out in an ambulance to minister to the homeless.  Totally unexpected, we’d had our own “EMT Situation” as well, except that this one almost literally came to us rather than the other way around.  We felt God had allowed this to happen right then and there so that we could lift her up (literally) and be praying for her.

What was my scripture that I’d abruptly dropped on the bed that morning?  “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”  Ecclesiastes 4:10 (ESV)

Will you please join us in prayer for this young girl?  We have no way to minister to her now, except by our prayers.  But given the fact that God placed her in our pathway, we believe He is reaching out to her to lift her up with His strong hand.  What would you pray for a girl in this situation that you know you’ll never see again in this world?