Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hetch Hetchy Hike

Yesterday, Monday May 27, was Memorial Day holiday in the USA.  My son Tim and grandson Evan were needing to get out into the open and breathe some fresh mountain air.  They invited me along.  How could I resist?  

Our destination was Wapama Water Falls above Hetch Hetchy Lake in the mountains just north of Yosemite Valley.  We left at 7:30 AM.  At 10 AM we could see the falls in the distance from the edge of our high mountain road.   



While Tim and I were taking in the scenery, my grandson, "Mighty Man Evan", almost 16 years old, was busy splitting this rock right down the middle.  Watch out below! 




We arrived at the dam at 10:30 AM.  It was a beautiful day for a hike, neither cold nor hot.  

This lake supplies the water for the city of San Francisco 200 miles to the west.  Click on the picture to enlarge and thus see the falls in the distance across the lake.



The 2.4 mile hike to the falls takes us across the dam and through this tunnel.  Tim takes his high quality camera and tripod with him everywhere.  I just used my little pocket Panasonic Lumix.




Rest stop in the shade... from Tim's camera and tripod.




Monkeys can't seem to resist trees.




Evan was everywhere at once, up the mountain side or on a high rock over- looking the lake.  

If the mountain hike didn't do it, the scenery would take your breath away.




Now there he is resting on a rock made especially for napping...  just long enough to snap a picture.



"Mighty Man" is showing off again.  




A friendly lizard is also showing off, doing his morning push-ups in the sun. He blends in perfectly with the multicolored stone cliff.




Finally we arrived at our destination.  It was a roaring torrent with spray going everywhere.



The hike back, climbing up and down, over the same trail seemed longer for some reason.  

Nonetheless I thanked the Creator of all this majesty for the privilege of joining with my offspring, hiking mountain trails and breathing God's fresh air.  I arrived at my home in Modesto almost exactly 12 hours after leaving.  

God has been so good to fill my life with adventures of many kinds.  Thank you Jesus for 81 years of Your "abundant life!" (John 10:10)

Ralph


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Michelle's High School Graduation

Many of you know that my trip back to the USA was timed to be there for the big event.  My granddaughter, Michelle, was graduating with many honors from Modesto Christian High School. Thursday, May 23, 2013.



Michelle's Dad, Tim and son, Evan were on the team to film it all.
(Click on pictures to enlarge.)



Michelle's proud mother, Cheryl, (right) waits for the moment with family members including her parents, Ken and Mary Crow.


500 people stand to their feet as the 52 graduates march in.  Michelle is that gorgeous blonde behind the girl with the dark glasses.



This is a Christian High School, there were salutes to the American flag, the Christian flag and the Bible.



Students with special honors were asked to stand.  There were many, among them Michelle.



Michelle played the keyboard... 



...as a special choir sang.




A brilliant Christian young man, Zachary O'Leary, who is Michelle's special friend, gave the Valedictorian speech.



When the big moment came my camera refused to focus.  Pastor Lance Lowell gives out the diplomas and is the first to congratulate Michelle.




The official photographer had his camera between us, but I managed to get the shot of Michelle with her diploma and the school principal.



Finally it was my turn to give Michelle a hug and congratulate her on completing this important step in her life with honors. 








 Tim, Evan, Michelle and Cheryl Hiatt: a family that is bent upon serving God and their fellow man. 
From the graduation ceremony a large group of us retired to the Hiatt house for a second celebration... with good food, including this photo-cake.




Michelle will be majoring in graphic art and design at Azuza Pacific University starting this fall.  She has won many awards for her paintings.  The duck (right) is among them.

Ralph

Friday, May 24, 2013

Contrasts

Two weeks ago I was driving to the small city of El Bolson nestled in the Andes Mountains.  The terrain looks much like the place of my father's birth in an area called "Mist" in northwestern Oregon where his father, William Frank Hiatt, homesteaded in the mid 1800s.  

It is late fall here in Argentina and wild rose hips line the highway.  (Click on pictures to enlarge.)


Pastor Fernando Reyes and his lovely family welcomed me to eat at their table in their tiny home that he has built on a steep mountain slope at the edge of a gravel road.  


Unable to maintain the rent of a small civic hall two years ago, he traded his car for a little plot of land next to the river and built a temporary shelter for his small congregation.  They hang sheets on the walls to help keep the cold night wind from blowing through the cracks between the rough log siding. (below)


One has to honor their faithfulness.  Fernando works as a plumber to support his family while at the same time attempting to build up a congregation.  29 people, including the pastor and family showed up on a very cold Friday night.  I count little kids and babies!  Why not?  I think Jesus would.

Now, 14 days later, here I am surrounded by opulence as I sit at my office computer in my comfortable home in Modesto, California... and already feeling an aching inside to go back soon.  I manage to get myself out of Argentina, but I can't seem to get Argentina out of me.

Ralph

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Black-out in Las Plumas

Las Plumas does not even figure on my GPS data base.  It is a little sheep-shearing town in the heart of the Patagonian desert.  The inscription on the church's cornerstone marble plaque reads (in Spanish):


This temple is dedicated to the memory of Reverend Harold F. Steward of Richmond, California, USA and to the God of love that he served.  
April 11, 1999.  


Funds from Harold Steward's memorial and from Richmond Hilltop AG, Pastor Jim Heden, provided all the building materials.  I drew up the simple plans and all the labor was provided by voluntary brothers.  Jim and Debbie Heden flew down to dedicate it to the Lord.

Tuesday night, just as I was concluding the service, there was a total blackout in the town.  No one seemed the least concerned and we finished under candle-light.  




The brothers have built a little house out behind the church where I was to stay.  The night was cold and windy and a wood fire in the black iron cook-stove kept me close to its welcome warmth.

The town of Las Plumas may not be important enough to figure on my GPS data base, but it certainly does figure on God's data base.  

He knows the name of every one of these little ones and cares about their eternal souls and those of their parents as well.  Our "Good Shepherd" goes out into the desert to find even one lost sheep.  

Ralph 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Good News for Kids



Many of our Argentine churches are reaching out with great success to the neighborhood children... and I always love to get invited to minister to them with Felipe and Perfume.  This was in the city of Trelew last Saturday afternoon.



Sometimes, when the entire service is just for kids, I give them the "Good News and Bad News" of the Gospel. 
(Click on pictures to enlarge)  


Often every eye is fixed upon what I am drawing (above). 


I called up this darling girl to flip the face for me at the proper moments.  I think that she was there for the first time.


Good News!



Bad News!


Of course I always end with the Good News of Christ Jesus' sacrifice in our place.


At the close I gave her the picture for a prize for her great job.

Ralph   






Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sacred Moments

God gave us a wonderful "Spiritual Emphasis week" here at the Patagonian Bible Institute... the AG’s furthest south Bible institute in the world.

These 60 plus students really get down and pray… and don’t get up in a few minutes and run out the door.  



Some lie face down on the tile floor for 30 minutes or even an hour as the Lord is working on them.  The floor has been scattered with puddles of tears.  These are cherished sacred moments that change lives forever.  

I believe God helped me to communicate His message this week. 






I am so proud of our good friends Eddie and Diana Echevarria who are directing this great center of spiritual and academic preparation for ministry in Argentina and around the world... in the absence of missionaries Martin and Charlotte Jacobson who are finishing up their itinerary in the USA.  



Behold these servants of the Lord who soon be reaping a harvest of souls somewhere in the world.  I have just come from visiting churches all over the southern part of Argentina where IBP (Instituto B√≠blico Patag√≥nico) graduates are ministering, many of them at great sacrifice opening up new areas as church planters.


Thank you for your prayers and "Thank You, Lord for Your answers!"  My strength and my voice have held out miraculously.  I just now went back to my records which show when, where and what I have preached... and see that I have driven 6,351 miles and ministered 67 times in the past 65 days since I arrived in Argentina this trip.  That has to be a miracle since my voice is obviously stronger now than when I left the USA!  To God be the glory, great things He hath done!

Ralph