Friday, September 3, 2010

BIG SKY COUNTRY

Recently Molly and I were comparing how many of the 50 United States we have each been to. After this trip out west I am creeping up on her 27 and taking my number to 24. One of the states adding to my number is Montana. Montana's official nickname is "The Treasure State", but it is more commonly known as "Big Sky Country". Both are incredibly fitting nicknames. I have found my fair share of treasure in this state. 


Bryan's Top 5 Montana Treasures (in no particular order)
1) "The Bobcat Special": A delicious turkey & roast beef sandwich at Montana's famous Sandwich Shop "The Pickle Barrel" in Billings, MT. Thanks for the free wifi Pickle Barrel.


2) Ellie Grace Jackson: This adorable little 6 week old baby girl is the daughter of Chad & Emily Jackson and she captured my heart. Chad is Molly's "honorary big brother" because the Jacksons ministered in Santa Cruz, Bolivia with Molly for a couple years. It was so good to create  friendships in Billings. 


3) Stockman Cafe:  Rapelje, Montana's premiere eatery. That town is pronounced (Rap.el.jay). This is a very unique "not for profit" restaurant with volunteer community staff. Molly and I were treated by John and Karen Tyra from the Columbus Evangelical Church. Neither one of us ordered the special and I was regretting it when I saw the complimentary dessert with the special called "Chocolate Yum Yum". 


4) Runaway Truck Ramps: I pray I never have to discover the real treasure in this innovation. For a small town Iowa boy, who has not spent time in the mountains, this was quite intriguing. So for those of you as clueless as me...there are signs periodically through the mountain passes that say "Runaway Truck Ramp ahead". The "ramp" is a quarter to half mile stretch of gravel to the right of the road that is supposed to slow a vehicle down to a stop after the brakes have failed. Call me a bit skeptical. 


5) Mountainous Golf Courses: I had to appreciate this treasure from afar. The view from interstate 90 was enough to make me drool all over the mission van window. Rolling hills, deep sand traps, and mountains in the background as you swing for the green just sounds like the perfect setting. 


COLUMBUS, MT August 29, 2010
The second stop on "Summer/Fall 2010 Deputation Tour" was Columbus Evangelical Church. I had seen Pastor Jay Forseth at General Conference, but hadn't put a name with a face until we arrived in the church foyer and had proper introductions. 


Jay told us about a wildfire that had burned through 10,000 acres about 3-5 miles outside Columbus just a week before we arrived. No homes or lives were lost thankfully. The fire was started by a careless welder near some dry grass. The fire had burned for more than a day and fire crews were working as fast as they could, but the outlook was grim and looked to take months to contain this fire. Jay really put it in perspective when talking about how God sent a rainstorm Sunday evening and in 20 minutes He contained the raging flames. 
We had a good service and were able to share the story of Evangelical Church Missions in Bolivia and how it intersects with "Our Story". Following the service we spent the afternoon with John and Karen Tyra. As we drove to Rapelje for lunch we could see the many burnt acres. The fields were covered with ash and the hills appeared to be covered with hundreds of giant charred matchsticks sticking straight up. 
Molly and I have a powerpoint game we sometimes play with congregations. It is called "The Bigger Picture". We zoom in on a portion of a picture and have the people guess what they are looking at. 
This summer our home state of Iowa has seen incredible amounts of rain. There have been records for flooding throughout the state. People have lost homes and irreplaceable items. How interesting it is to be asking God, "why so much water?",on one side of the country and asking God ."when will the water come?" on the other side. Only He knows His full plan. Only He is in control. Only HE knows the Bigger Picture. I was challenged and want to pass that along. Whenever you feel like the small part of the picture you see isn't enough and you just want to "pull back" and see the Bigger Picture remember that it is best in God's timing to reveal His plan. 


In His Hands, 
Bryan & Molly Canny (missionaries to Bolivia)

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