Home Away From Home…One week in the BVI

"In Recess" at Jost Van Dyke

“In Recess” at Jost Van Dyke

A long-time dream came true for me this last week as I have been made my home on a 41′ sailboat, sailing through the British Virgin Islands.

The opportunity came a few months ago when a friend of mine invited me to to crew on a boat for the week sailing in the BVI.  I checked the calendar, talked to my amazingly generous wife , figured out a flight using frequent flyer miles, and the trip was a go.

It has been an unbelievable week,  I stand in awe at God’s creation and power as a result of all I have seen and experienced in the last few days. The pristine beauty of this part of the world amazes me.

Our first day out we snorkeled over the “Wreck of the Rhone,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Rhone, a British mail ship sunk  off of Salt Island on October 29, 1867.  Seeing the massive 310 foot ship lying on the bottom of the sea like a filleted fish was amazing!  Seeing the anchors, huge steel prop and metal framework made me think how incredible the seas power is to destroy such a huge ship.  Then my mind wondered about the men & women who were on the ship, both passengers and crew, what were they thinking, what must have endured.   Over 123 souls perished when the ship sunk.

Sailing to Wreck of the Rhone

Sailing to Wreck of the Rhone

My first time at the helm, we were sailing to Marina Cay through a gale.  As I stood at the helm, I could feel the power of the sea and the wind as I tried to keep the ship on coarse.  The wind was so strong…at one point the ship was leaning significantly to port, I slipped on the wet deck, my feet went out from under me, and I was hanging on by the huge pilot wheel.

God made His mighty power evident to me that day in the torment of the sea!  I saw His power up close and personal.

Me On "In Recess"

Me On “In Recess”

As a part of my schedule, I am taking a seminary class on the Book of Isaiah, with Dr. Van Gemeren, at Trinity Divinity School (a fantastic class).  This week, the BVI has been my classroom.  What a place to study about our creator and His purposes for His people!  God is teaching me many things through the book of Isaiah (more on that later).  No question about it, God took me to school this week.  He showed me amazing and wondrous things through His Natural Revelation (creation), and wondrous things through His Special Revelation (the book of Isaiah).  I am grateful for both.

Kane Garden Bay, Tortola, Island

Kane Garden Bay, Tortola, Island

Here are a few of the lessons I learned this week, 1) God is good and sometimes If you are patient, dreams can come true.  2)  Time with good friends is priceless.  3)  I still like 80’s music.  4)  Sometimes it’s difficult for us to see God or know Him, but, God has revealed Himself, His nature and character in the things he has made as well as the things He Has said.

My home away from home was a gift for which I am extremely grateful!

Ironman – Part III – The Finish Line – “You are Ironman!”

Tucker Dunn

Photo

Jordan Zarraonandia

Photo

Sunday June 23, 2013 was the most amazing day!  The alarm went off at 3:30 AM.  The big day was hear.  Tucker & Jordan were heading out to the car, their bikes were already checked in the day before as well as their race gear.  All they had to do was dress and get themselves to the starting line for the swim.

Photo

My son Ty and I were volunteering all day at 3 different locations during Ironman.  We had to be at our first assignment by 5:30 AM, which was the first bike aid station at mile 6.  Ironman begins with a 2.4 mile swim, so we did not expect to see the frontrunner cyclist until around 8 AM.

Next at 11:30 AM we reported to the transition area from Bike to Run, where we helped the athletes transition to their running gear.  Transitions are very important for racers, so if we could help them shave a few minutes off their time, that would be a good thing.

We ended the day with the final shift at the finish line from 8:30 PM – 12:00 AM where we expected to see Tucker & Jordan cross the finish line.  It was a long day, but more fun than you should have on a Sunday.  We met lots of interesting people and were able to help hundreds & hundreds of people achieve there dream.

We saw Tucker & Jordan a number of times during the day as they passed through each of these stations.  We were able to get updates and encourage them along the way.  They both were doing well, but were tired coming off of the 112 mile bike…with lots of hills!  Jordan had broken 2 spokes on his bike and was delayed significantly while he figured out a repair.  He had time to make up in the run if he was going to finish.

We were able to follow their progress on an app called IronMobile, both of them were slowing their pace especially on the 2nd half of the marathon, but each would find the finish line in time to hear the words of Mike Reily, “You are Ironman!” before the 17 hour deadline.  They had hoped to cross the finish line together, but due to Jordan’s bike troubles that did not happen.

5985_10151772251185739_1137393381_n

What does it feel like to swim, bike & run your hardest for over 16 hours?  What’s it like to get the the point of absolute exhaustion and have to keep going and going?  What are the things you endure, think about?  How do you find the will to keep yourself from quitting 100 times along the way when you so very badly want to?

The Apostle Paul talked about a race in Hebrews 12:1And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Paul also said in I Corinthians 9:24 “Run in such a way as to get the prize.”  In the case of Sunday’s event, the prize was crossing the finish-line and getting that medal around your neck that says “Ironman.”  Not to mention bragging rights for the rest of your life! Tucker said he was going to add Ironman to his resume!  I guess he & Jordan have both earned that.

But what is the bigger picture?  Paul tells us, life is like a race, a very difficult and challenging race, the Ironman of life.  If you are going to cross the finish line and win the prize, you must keep focused and disciplined.  I think the lessons that Tucker & Jordan learned by doing Ironman will be lasting and have application in their careers, family and spiritual lives.  We can all learn from this and we can run the race of our lives to win the prize that Christ Jesus has in store for us.

Congratulations Ironmen!  You are truly amazing!