Thursday, April 23, 2009
This Journey Goes On Forever
Yesterday afternoon I was driving on US Highway 49 in Mississippi between Mendenhall and Jackson, when I came upon an obviously evangelistically covered wagon trotting down the highway being pulled by four tired looking mules. I pulled off the road and waited for the wagon to catch up.
I had my camera in my hand.
And I had a few questions formulating in my head.
The guy at the reins, who turned out to be Randy Boehmer from Arizona, wasn’t very nice at first. I asked him what he was doing. He sarcastically responded, “What does it look like I’m doing?” I said something along the lines that I travel a good bit and I don’t normally see a covered wagon with four mules with Jesus Saves signs trotting down the highways of America.
He began to warm up to me.
It turns out Randy has been on the road with his four mules and two dogs (Shep and Proverb) for over a year. He started in Indiana on April 1, 2008 and he travels about 4 miles per hour.
His mission is to crisscross the United States in his wagon to tell people about God.
Boehmer was a taxidermist for most of his life. When his parents died in 1991, he and his siblings were cleaning out their parent’s house and his sister made the comment that whatever they didn’t want they could take to the dump.
He then realized all the possession his parents worked for all their lives meant nothing in the end.
He was reminded of a man he had met a year or so earlier who was driving down the road in a covered wagon. Boehmer said to him that day that he bet he didn’t have many worries. “The only worries I have,” the man said, “are to make sure my horses get water every day.”
When Boehmer’s wife died of cancer in 1998, he started reading his Bible. And he was reminded of the lessons he had learned about possessions.
For the record, this man’s worldly possessions are now in the back of his wagon - which includes a wood stove and a solar panel on the top to power lights, his TV, his DVD player and to charge his cell phone.
Before he left on this journey, Boehmer did some preparation work. He worked with a horse shoer for seven months to learn to take care of his mules. (He is pulling a feed and water wagon behind the bigger covered wagon). He also spent a great deal of time with an Amish group who taught him how to take care of himself on the road.
I asked him if he stops in different towns to preach.
“I don’t need to,” he said. “All I need to say is written in very large letters on the sides of my wagon.”
How long does he plan on doing this?
“It’s a journey, not a trip,” he says. “A trip ends. A journey goes on forever.”
And all he has to worry about on his forever journey is to make sure his mule's get water.
Not so bad of a journey when you think about it.