We left our friends' house in Denver very early in the morning knowing we would be facing a long day in the car. We were very thankful for the nice rental car that we had. It got good mileage and the air conditioning worked well as we traveled through the desert.
Our friend Steve had helped us map out a route and let us borrow his atlas. We were very thankful to have it since our GPS and even our phones did not have service in some of the remote areas that we drove through. We were amazed at how the landscape changed over the course of the day. We left the lush green mountains of Colorado and entered the dry, brown mountains of Arizona. We saw very few animals--just a few cattle and horses.
Here are a couple of pictures from our dirty car window:
We saw very few birds and on some parts of the trip we would drive for 50 miles or more without seeing another car. We did see some saguaro cactus that was in flower and there were birds that were feeding on the nectar. We were later told that those cactus only grow in Arizona, California, and Mexico and that they are highly prized and protected by law.
When we thought we had just another hour to go before we would reach our friends' house in the Phoenix area we realized that there was an hour time difference between there and Denver, much to our dismay. We finally did arrive and received a very warm welcome from Dave and Becky S. and their children Laura and Davy.
After some light refreshments they took us to a guest room at International Baptist College where Dave teaches and Becky is an executive assistant. The guest room was lovely and we were very thankful for such a nice place to stay.
The next morning which was a Saturday Dave and Becky picked us up and gave us a tour of the college and of Tri-City Baptist Church where Dave is the music pastor. They have a lovely facility and it was encouraging to hear how the Lord has provided different items for the school and church music programs. After our tour we picked up the kids and went out to lunch at a Middle Eastern restaurant.
After a delicious lunch we went to the Heard Museum which has a focus on American Indian art and history. We took a guided tour for part of our visit and enjoyed learning about some of the beautiful artifacts on display.
They have pieces that are very old and then similar modern pieces. We especially enjoyed the pottery and the beadwork displays. The detail in some of the beadwork is amazing. It's hard to imagine the amount of time it would take to construct some of the items which are completely covered in the tiny little beads.
This is a beaded baby carrier:
These beaded vests and the purse were among my favorite pieces:
It was very sobering to visit the displays about the Indian children who were sent off to schools far away from their parents to try to discourage them from adopting their native culture and language.
After a brief rest in our room Dave, Becky, and the kids picked us up and took us to a very unique place for supper. Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa, Arizona.The restaurant features pizza and live organ music played on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ which was built in 1927 and has nearly 6000 pipes. We sat up in the balcony where we could easily see the organist "pull out all the stops" as he performed.
For some of the songs there were additional props such as puppets which he could also control from the organ console. People were able to write their requests and place them on the platform and he played many of them. After dinner we taught the whole family how to play the game Tenzi. It was a very fun evening and something we will always remember.
The next morning we attended church at Tri-City Baptist Church which was located just across the parking lot from our guest room. In our Sunday school class we met the parents of some people we know here in Greenville and the parents of one of Rob's students. Rob also talked with a man who was in some of his college classes way back in the last millennium.
During the church service Dave surprised us by singing one verse of Be Thou My Vision in French. Dave had gone on a mission trip to France with us twenty years ago and he dug out his old mission team notebook and polished it up again just for the occasion. That was a very special moment for us.
After the service we went out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant with our friends and another family from the church. Even though our time there was rather brief we had a wonderful visit and were thankful that they were willing to take time from their busy schedules to accomodate us and make us feel so welcome. We enjoyed hearing how the Lord directed them to move from the ministry they were at in Vermont to move to Arizona and were blessed to see how He is using them in the ministry there.
Mid-afternoon we were back in the car again and heading to our next destination, Williams, Arizona.