Trek 2008 - Instincts
Trek 2008 – Instincts
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady
Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it. Luke 11:28 NIV
Do you trust your instincts? I trust mine completely – if and only if – I began my day with prayer, meditation, and Bible Study and asked God for knowledge of His will for me and the power to carry that out. When my instincts speak, I test them against the word of God, and if they pass the test, I take action. People often ask how I can be sure I’ve heard the voice of God. The answer is simple. I do the footwork, trust my instincts, and obey. When I make mistakes and it is obvious that I misheard God, I get better at recognizing God’s voice next time. One sure way for me to become a lost sheep nibbling her way to disaster would be to pray for knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry it and not assume God was going to answer that prayer. When I hear and obey the voice of God, I am blessed instead of lost.
I spent the first three days of the journey in Nevada. I was overwhelmed by the Casinos, brothels, and buffet food bars. I passed signs like “Shady Lady Ranch” and “Petticoat Junction” and knew what they were advertising. Choices for campgrounds were in parking lots for Casinos. As long as they were safe, I was OK with that because I often visit Casinos on these journeys – not to gamble – to minister.
Nonetheless, the smoked filled rooms and glazed eyes of addiction were breaking my heart. I was feeling a strong spirit of what I can only describe as oppression. On the first night, I walked the Casino for hours, praying for everyone I saw. I talked with a few people but felt led to pray. By the end of the second day, I’d reached my limit. When I arrived at what was supposed to be my campground, (see pictures – Nevada – Tonopah) I parked Halleluiah and buried my face in my hands.
The building was dirty. The parking lot had no grass to walk Belle. Piles of smelly trash littered the parking lot/campground. An open trash filled can sat by each site. Across the street from the campground was a government-subsidized housing project with yards full of used cars, broken toys, and more litter. As the sun beat down on Halleluiah, I sat there in shock, contemplating my options. The only other advertized campground within 100 miles had the name “Joyland” and I didn’t want to contemplate what that meant.
Eventually, I got out of the van and went inside the Casino. Camper registration was at the Casino cage. My eyes stung from cigarette smoke as I walked past the ringing dinging slot machines to a stringy haired dull-eyed women sitting in a cage counting money. She assigned me Site 2 and suggested I hook up before I pay. That worried me even more.
I was exhausted and groaned as I discovered I needed to get out the blocks and level the camper. After I got the left wheels on blocks, I realized the electricity did not have the 30 amps I needed. I returned to the Casino to be reassigned to Site 15. Site 15 was tucked behind a large dirty empty warehouse. I didn’t even have the security of knowing I could be seen from the Casino. A project house was 20 feet from my camper and I had to avoid a trash pile of barbed wire just to pull in.
My instincts had been screaming since I arrived but I had been too tired to listen. I was starving and didn’t think I could face another 100 miles driving. I didn’t trust any of the hotels I’d passed and had no idea if they took dogs. Besides, I could drive another 100 miles, only to find the same situation.
I almost hooked up Halleluiah but as I looked around, I knew I wasn’t supposed to stay there. I sighed, decided to trust God, and forged ahead. I had not paid and knew the tired women in the cage didn’t care what I did so I didn’t torture my still stinging eyes any further by going back inside.
I apologized to Belle as I drove away. “We’re not staying. You wouldn’t have liked it anyway. They didn’t have any grass.”
Wonder of wonders - a block up the street was a new shiny Best Western Hotel. I love Best Westerns. They didn’t even have a Casino. By this time, I was done with Casinos. Briefly, I worried about money. Gas was expensive and this hotel was going to blow my daily budget of $120. I shook off the financial worry and trusted my instincts to park. I rushed in and gushed, “I have 2 questions. Do you have a room and do you take dogs?” I didn’t bother to ask the price.
She smiled. “Yes to both questions.” She checked me in, charged me $79, and told me where I could buy dinner. I was too hungry and tired to considering trying to turn on the generator and cook. At this point, I didn’t even consider the extra expense of eating out. God was talking, acting, and I was listening and obeying.
My Nevada stay went uphill from there. I ministered in the restaurant, giving the discouraged hostess a tract containing the plan of salvation. The next morning, I met and ministered to Dennis, who you will read about another day. I spent Day Three of Trek 2008 driving across glorious snow tipped mountains, past babbling brooks, and along a beautiful white capped 20-mile lake. (see pictures under Nevada – Highway 95) I played my worship cd’s and praised God the entire day. Everywhere I stopped, I spoke blessings of God.
As I drove, I thought about the choices I’d made the day before. If I’d not spiritually prepared the first thing in the morning, my instincts would not have been God centered. Everything would have all turned out differently if I had given in to exhaustion and hunger and ignored my screaming instincts. I would have missed ministering to the discouraged hostess and Dennis. If I’d passed the Best Western and driven to a campground further up the road, I’d have driven in the dark never having a clue about the beauty I was missing. The snow still on the ground told me that I’d probably have been driving in a snow storm. I don’t even want to think about the possibilities regarding safety concerns if I’d stayed at the campground. By hearing and obeying God, my faith was cemented as I basked in the wonder of the blessings God offered.
Because I heard and obeyed, no one found me lost and wandering in the desert of Nevada, quietly nibbling my way to disaster. I was able to leave what little grass there was to the real live sheep.
Cheryle M. Touchton is a ministry partner with and the Director for Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to www.pocketfullofchange.org or call Gail Golden at 904 316-5462.
This ministry exists because God calls people like you to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road as a traveling missionary, send your tax-deductible contribution to Pocket Full of Change Ministries, POB 51205, Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32240.
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