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Monday July 9, 2007

Day 36 -
Marshfield to Eminence MO, 107 miles, 6:46

Meet Jim Roberts, from a group called Concerned Christians based in Mesa, AZ. He's traveling in Missouri right now setting up a new office (one of 53 planned) for his ministry which reaches and assimilates Mormons to the Biblical Truth of Jesus Christ.

"We're kind of like an AA for Mormons," Roberts said Monday morning while visiting our campsite. They don't do the 'twelve steps', but do have a systematic approach to help Mormons and recently converted Christians. "There's a lot they have to deal with," Roberts said.

The Christ aCross America team is dealing with another week: Week 6.

On the cycling front, we put the tri-bike back on the rig and rolled out the Christ-bike for round three of the Missouri roller coaster. And the farther east we go, the more intense the ride.

What started out in western Missouri as rolling hills have finally given way to the Ozark Mountains. The quarter-mile up - quarter-mile down stuff, by the end of today's 107-mile ride, was more like a mile up - mile down. Gives a whole new meaning to “climb and coast.” And these suckers are steep.

It was really humid and really hot for the first time on the tour, and the deeper we ventured into the Ozarks, the more I started to feel like I was in a rainforest or something.

Speaking of rain, my favorite story from the ride was my first experience with a new kind of thrill sport. I call it Storm Surfing. Picture this, just before getting caught in a really nasty, mid-afternoon thunderstorm, with trees bending and black skies all around me, my route turns northbound and the violently whipping winds on the front end of the storm line up right behind me and thrust me ahead at 26-to-28 mph for about 10 miles. The really big winds calmed and I finally felt a few sprinkles. Rather than breaking out the rain gear, I started looking for a neighbor's home to duck into.

I turn the corner and there it was: a church. God's house. Perfect neighbor. And this church was a modern building with a covered driveway that I camped out in for 10 or 15 minutes while the semi-sideways bands blew through.

I know I've said it before, but you can't go though a situation like that and not feel completely like God was in control, and that He was going to make sure you didn't get clobbered.

Sometimes, we get clobbered. But just like our prior descent out of Breckenridge, CO, we stayed dry and continued to meet folks and share the love along the way.

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 J. Boe Ellis - 813.732.0619