True stories of God's encouragement in the life of two music ministers living on the road in a living quarters horse trailer with their two horses.
Come ride along with Pony Express Ministry and be inspired by these testimonies and beautiful photos.
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"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”—Psalm 46:1.
Wild horses! Just the thought of spotting them sent me trotting to the barn. It took me no time at all to saddle my horse, Nocona. To be quite honest, I really didn't think I'd see anything, as these horses run on about 64 million acres of Nevada Bureau of Land Management land. What are the odds of me finding them? But, hey, it was worth a shot.
I glanced at the sky with its gathering clouds, but figured I'd have plenty of time to quench my thirst for exploration that day. However, I tied my slicker on the back of my saddle, just in case—you never know in the backcountry.
Off I rode toward adventures unknown. The wind was up and so was my spirit. I felt like the proverbial kid-in-a-candy-store—so many possibilities. Topping the last hill, I caught my breath in sheer delight as I gazed at the entire high desert valley stretched out before me to the far mountains—not a soul out there but me and my horse as far as our eyes could see. I breathed deeply as the sweet smell of sage saturated the breeze.
We descended into the valley, absorbed in the vast beauty. Suddenly I sensed something looking at us. Slowly scanning the terrain, I saw them. A band of six jet-black wild horses calmly watched us from their hill. I could hardly contain my excitement.
Captivated, I spotted the stallion (a black stallion, no less) standing on the point. The breeze caught his mane and tail; they flowed softly behind him. I cried—I really did. Never in my life did I ever think I would witness this sight for real, not just in some movie. But then again, the Lord is ever so willing to give us more than we could ever ask or think and to give us the pure desires of our heart ... very cool! (Psalm 37:4)
I could have stayed there all day with the Black Band, but the trail-less-traveled was beckoning, urging me to continue exploring this vast, wonderful land. I swung Nocona around and headed down the valley.
Riding the backcountry, one has to keep an eye on the trail—and another on the weather which, in this case, was becoming more unstable every minute. As I glanced toward Fred's Mountain, I noticed black clouds quickly gathering. Reluctantly, I decided to abandon my original trail ideas and head back to camp.
It was a good decision. With every step, the black cloud buildup was getting worse—that was on my right. To my left, huge white thunderheads formed and headed my way. If Nocona and I didn't hightail it out of there, we would be caught between both storms. I had another decision to make: 1) take the shorter route toward the worst part of the storm and risk getting hit? Or, 2) take the longest route and hope I made it through? It wouldn't have been so bad except the boom of thunder foretold of lightning inching closer. We were up in an open valley and a prime target.
Did I start praying? You bet I did! "Jesus, keep us safe," I prayed, as I kept an eye on the black mass making its way over our heads. I glanced at the sky again. Right between the mass of white thunderheads and the mass of blackness was a perfect trail of blue. Surprisingly, it pointed toward the longer route. I made my decision, threw on my slicker, and urged Nocona into a long trot, following that trail in the sky.
As serious as this situation was, I had to laugh. Looking up toward the "wild horse ridge," I spotted the herd watching us as Nocona and I hightailed it up their valley. What was going through their minds?
Trotting and loping, dodging sagebrush and cactus, we sailed off the ridge and raced across the valley floor. My slicker snapped in the air behind me as the wind grabbed it. My hat strained against its stampede string as it threatened to fly off my head, and I threw my hand up, pushing it down to my ears. My other hand grasped the bridle reins with a white-knuckled grip.
Urgent prayers went up again as we headed into open country, and I watched the lightning streaks flash to the ground. Suddenly I witnessed a miracle. The wind blasted toward us, but the black clouds moved away from us! As I prayed, the Lord spoke to my spirit, "I am bigger than the storm." Awed and encouraged, I swung Nocona toward our rig parked in the middle of the valley.
As we galloped toward camp, I glanced at Fred's Mountain—another set of storm clouds tried to make their way over the summit. I realized in amazement that some unseen force restrained them—another miracle.
At last we slid safely into camp and underneath the barn overhang. Only then were the clouds released. The downpour on the tin roof was deafening, but we were safe. And I thanked God for His goodness. (Psalm 91:14-15; Hebrews 1:7)
While scouting for a much needed truck, my husband Bruce and I have been privileged to hang around our home base and help family. One of these awesome opportunities came in the form of babysitting our little cousins over the summer as well as spot appearances in the fall and winter. It was a tad challenging from time to time as these kids live in a pretty tore up family life, so there were attitude adjustments here and there and yes, a lot of prayer. But, all in all, we had a blast together and developed a solid bond.
As I babysat these kids (six-year-old twins (boy and girl) and a nine-year-old autistic boy), I prayed for opportunities to introduce them to Jesus. We all need Him. But these guys needed a little extra dose. My heart was to show them how kind and mighty He is. That He is approachable, and He would help them if they were in trouble.
A variety of opportunities presented themselves throughout our time together—some profound, others more subtle, but every one important. Sometimes I got distracted and missed it, but those times just made me more determined to be quicker when the next opportunity came. With fervent prayers for wisdom, the Lord helped me field Creation, heaven and death questions; He helped me build on their grandparents’ foundation of praying over meals; And on one particular morning, He prompted me to take action and step out in faith.
That morning I walked in my aunt’s door for “work” and into a challenge. One of the twins was sick and “it” was coming out both ends. When things calmed down a bit, my aunt settled him on the couch with a trash can next to his head. She left for work, and I prayed for wisdom.
I watched his curled up form and couldn’t bear observing his misery. I knew right then that I needed to pray for him. I looked around at his twin sister, concern shadowing her face.
“You know what?” I told her. “We’re going to pray for Dax so he feels better.” Her eyes grew wide. “Come on,” I coaxed as I reached out my hand to her. “We can pray together.” She crept forward with a skeptical expression, but she was game. I held her hand and placed my other hand on Dax’s head. “Jesus, please make Dax feel better. Thank You, Jesus, for healing Dax. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
Dax relaxed, and Mila and I dug out the crayons and busied ourselves with masterpieces.
Dax used the trash can a couple more times, and then, in typical shy-Dax style, an arm emerged above the couch, fanning back and forth. I grinned: Dax’s unique “feel better” flag. Within the hour, he was up playing with his dinosaurs and Transformers.
Now, we were in full play mode…all of us. I cleared off the chest (a.k.a. the coffee table) to make room for horse corrals and a road for the truck and trailer. Tiny Transformer toys that scattered the chest top got tossed in my wellies (rubber rain boots) to keep them off the floor.
Mila and I corralled horses as Dax performed fly-bys with his Transformer fighter jets. Suddenly, a swift movement out the window caught my attention—a flash of flea-bitten gray. Oh, man! Somehow the ranch horse escaped from his pen and was having a high-time of it running around the yard!
Knowing the gate was open at the top of the driveway, I flew into action…and, yes, prayed again. I grabbed my wellies and stared into their uppers…brimming with Transformers. I promptly dumped them on the floor, jammed the boots on my feet, and slung on my coat and hat as I headed for the door.
As I hit the top of the landing, I saw the gray horse with his head buried in a feed bucket on the tie rail. Not knowing this horse, I quietly moved down the steps. He moved off toward a patch of grass. I had an idea. It was a ways up the lane to the open gate, and the horse seemed to have no interest in running off. I grabbed the bucket and slapped the side of it as I headed into the horse pen. Thankfully, the horse took an interest, and I safely lured him inside and secured the gate.
As I turned toward the house, I noticed I’d picked up two tails—both twins had bolted out the door, hot on my heels. I grinned as I observed Dax and gave a hearty “Thank You, Jesus.” I watched him run around like a penned up pooch that had won his freedom. He scooted across the yard with his hands shoved in his sweatshirt pockets, dancing from side to side.Then he took off to the ant pile to see if he could find any dead ants (frozen by the frigid temperatures).
He showed no signs of slowing down. Part of me wanted to stop him for fear, since he had just been sick, that he would relapse. And then the thought came, “Whoever Jesus heals, is healed…period.” So, I kicked that fear out of my mind and let him rip.
I’m thankful for the God-given courage to step out and take advantage of opportunities that not only put feet to my faith, but also showed these kids by example, the love of Jesus.
We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done—Psalm 78:4.