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the FREEDOM letter
On the Road with Tom Lomas 9/4/00 - Paris Issue
|CYCLING EUROPE||DAYS 93- 156||FREE PRISONERS||CONTACT US|
Your strength must come from the Lords mighty power within you. (Eph 6:10)
(This part of Freedom Letter updated from earlier issues)
The Freedom Letter, 40 Days to Freedom, and The Man in the Desert are publications of Freedom Ministries, Inc., a Florida not-for-profit corporation (#N94000005074). Providing insight and God-given procedure for freeing the human spirit from all that would enslave is the focus of all our publications. Tom Lomas, the author, was told by his Creator to "follow the example of Jesus' forty days in the desert" in answer to a desperate prayer when on the brink of a second suicide attempt.
Toms addiction of almost forty years was classified by psychiatry as masterful instinct (incurable). During the forty day walk in the desert of his soul, he was spiritually reborn and set free. God then disclosed the reason he was given a procedure, instead of an instant healing, was for Tom to write 40 Days to Freedom so souls in bondage, all over the world, would experience this same, glorious, God-given freedom and rebirth.
Since early 1995 almost 17,000 in-print copies of 40 Days to Freedom have been distributed without cost to the recipients, as a gift from their Creator Father. Our miracle book has been given freely to souls in need in 25 countries, 49 states, all US territories, including individuals, 135 prisons and jails, and 192 prison and recovery ministries. This does not include distribution through our web site as a free download since 1996. 40 Days to Freedom has been out-of-print since early 1999; and we are hopeful of a third printing by late 2000 or early 2001 as God's provision is now in process through the publishing and distribution of our second book which is available to the public both online and in print.
In answer to a prayer for prisoners, on May 18, 1999, God gave Tom the title of this second book, The Man in the Desert. All royalties are paid directly to our ministry for the purpose of a third printing and distribution of 40 Days to Freedom. Also, all donations will be used for this purpose. Thanks to the orchestration of our Father in heaven, Freedom Journey 2000 (FJ2K) has been adequately funded through the donations of primarily two people. If you have been blessed by 40 Days to Freedom, this may be an opportunity to share your blessing with others still in bondage. If you wish to be a part of that process, see "Contact Us." Freedom Ministries, Inc. is qualified as a 501(c)(3)charitable organization (IRS #585090062).
This issue of the Freedom Letter - On the Road will deviate from the standard format and share Tom's experiences, blessings, and inspirations while traveling over the globe with his bicycle, White Lightnin.' This format is planned to be repeated every one or two months until Tom returns to Orlando in late October, 2000, from what will be his last place of visit, Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he will attend the annual conference of the World Community for Christian Meditation.
God's plan includes bicycling from Orlando to Vancouver, WA (completed July 1, 2000 - Day 92), traveling by freighter ship (completed August 20, 2000 - Day 141) to Italy to view the Shroud of Turin (display starts only days before reaching port, completed August 24, 2000 - Day 145), and traveling by bicycle and ferry to Northern Ireland. The primary purpose for this journey of many miles, states, oceans, and countries, as assigned by God, is to publicize Tom's second book, The Man in the Desert. Here again love, truth, and freedom are the topics with the purpose of individual and global spiritual rebirth. We are assured the book will be a best seller and God's purpose will be fulfilled.
You may remember last time when I reported to you: "My plan, subject to refinement by Father, is to bicycle the 100 miles from Genoa to Turin. The remaining journey through Italy, across the Alps, and through France I expect to mostly be by rail reserving most of my cycling during my two months in Europe for the British Isles. Here, as in the USA, the primary purpose for my cycling will be to promote The Man in the Desert. It makes sense to me for that endeavor to be more pursued in English speaking countries, initially, as my promotion cards and the book are now only in English."
Well, I can now report that plan was subject to great refinement by God. It was as if he said, "What is this? I thought it was supposed to be a bicycle journey everywhere except where you have to cross water. You learned of the railway tunnels through the Alps and decided hours of liesure aboard a train would be far preferable to huffing and puffing pedaling over mountains. Is this what I tuned you for on the Pacific Coast, a train ride?" Not one mile has been traveled by train thanks be to God; and, yes, the Alps do lay between Turin and Paris where I am writing this to you. I encourage you to read this issue's journal entries. I promise, you'll be glad you did.
Record books are filled with stories of human achievement, not so many with modern day God achievement. This series of "on the road" Freedom Letters and the following book Freedom Journey 2000 is. It is a modern day true story of what can be achieved by anyone who totally surrenders to God and then trusts His direction, no matter what, with the faith that He wants only the best for each of us. Well, you might say, "Why doesn't He just give the best to each of us to begin with if He loves us so much?" Indeed, He loves us so much that He will not violate our free will under any circumstances. So we must not only sincerely want what He offers; but, as Jesus told us in the Bible, we must "seek" it; and, if oneness with Him is our desire, then that too we must "seek."
In the UK I will cycle England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland where in Belfast I will attend the annual conference of the World Community for Christian Meditation entitled "Religious Harmony in the Third Millenium." Since the material in The Man in the Desert is for all people of the world, regardless of religious identification, I believe my attendance at this meeting to be no accident or coincidence. The Dalai Lama will be the guest speaker and leaders from many other of the world's great religions will also attend and present.
DAYS 93 THROUGH 156
Prelude: The following are unedited excerpts from my daily journals of Freedom Journey 2000. The entire edited journals will be an important part of the book, Freedom Journey 2000, and will cover the time from my departure from Orlando on April 1, 2000 until my return from Europe in late October 2000.
Days 93 - 113 (July 2 - 22, 2000), Vancouver, Washington, 200 miles, 4642 total miles: These days are spent in preparation for the European segment of Freedom Journey 2000. Daily bicycle training is a must both now and shipboard to maintain conditioning for cycling from Genoa to Turin to Belfast. I am also to now plan for the route for that journey. Daily prayer and meditation will continue and will undoubtedly increase during the ocean voyage. Fathe has given me knowledge that during my ocean voyage I am to study primarily "The Man in the Desert." One might ask why I would need to study it if I wrote it. The answer is simply that it is text ispired by God. Indeed parts would even fall within the genre of automatic writing. This was also true of my first book, "40 Days to Freedom." Over the years as I have often read a paragraph or two from 40 Days or as I have repeated the 40 day procedure for various purposes, I have grown sprituallynand in knowledge of God. I believe the same will be true as I read "The Man in the Desert" not as its author but as a seeker of the truth. As I obey my Father in this study my knowledge of Him and my oneness with Him will increase as will my knowledge of the truth and thus my freedom.
Day 114, Cielo del Canada, Portland, OR, Terminat 6 on the Columbia River: Before 7:00 AM my nephew drove me to Teminal Six in Portland less than a half hour form his home. We transferred the bicycle and luggage from my nephew's car to a security van. The officer was new on the job and almost delivered me to the wrong ship until I noted out loud the different name on the hull. He promptly turned the van around and deposited me and my gear dockside to the Cielo del Canada. A member of the crew helped me get everything aboard then to the ship's general office for a short wait and finally to my room on the fourth of five decks below the bridge. As my helper deposited me at my room he informed me that breakfast would be served in just 15 minutes in the officers' mess. Great timing, thank you, Father. I had been too nervous to eat earlier; but now that I was aboard I found my appetite. Pancakes and yogurt were featured.
Day 115, Cielo del Canada, Pacific Ocean enroute to Oakland, CA: My first cycling workout on board was after breakfast this morning for one and a quarter hours which I plan to build upon as we go. Whether I will have the opportunity or the inclination to cycle off the ship at our stops remains to be seen. I visited the bridge (control room) at 7 PM and found the only the chief mate (first officer) one of the German contingent of the crew. As I asked permission to enter and it was granted , he immediately turned down the stereo. I said it was all right but didn't press the matter as he was being considerate. He is much younger than the captain and I enjoyed our dialogue and getting to know him. Soon he was relieved by the third mate a member of the larger contingent of Phillipinos and the first crew member to receive a freedom card when I first boarded ship.
Day 116, Cielo del Canada, Oakland, CA, 745 sea miles, 4 bicycle miles, 5391 total miles: I rose at 3:30 AM rested and awake. The vibration of the powerful engines and the motion of the ship I find no impediment to my sleep and may even be an aid. Thank you, Father. The morning was overcast but the clouds gave way to a beautiful clear afternoon. I am blessed to be allowed on the bridge at will and have an excellent rapor with the captain, his orricers and crew. One of the displays shows the names of towns along the coast and I recognized Bodega Bay and Point Reyes from my bicycle trip. I informed the captain of the connection between Bodega Bay and the movie, The Birds." He was delighted and expressed his wife had seen that movie ten times.Immediately after dinner I went back to the bridge to witness our entry into San Francisco Bay. We passed under the Golden Gate Bridge at 6 PM. As I viewed Alcatraz Prison and downtown San Francisco I was now very thankful I had brought my binoculars. I was also able to view bicyclists on the bridge and recalled my crossing at 7 AM in the morning more than a month ago. In my study I have added religions of the world which now gives me four areas of concentration. Meditation, music, and naps also continue to be a normal part of my day on this magnificent trip.
Day 117, Cielo del Canada, Pacific Ocean enroute to Los Angeles, CA: I am sensing the purpose for my study of reincarnation is to sharpen my discernment skills or communication with my Internal Bible using a widely accepted though false concept. I have learned that many therapists today using past life regression recognize spirit possession as separate from reincarnation and endeavor to isolate each instance as one or the other. This indicates they are moving closer to the truth that what is mistaken for reincarnation is spirit or unincarnated soul possession or observation. When man realizes there is nothing he can to to attain heaven, that it is a free gift from the Father in response to soul longing for oneness with God, he will abandon false beliefs and progress in truth.
Day 118, Cielo del Canada, Los Angeles, CA, 450 sea miles, 15 bicycle miles, 5856 total miles: I later met our newly boarded passengers, a husband and wife, self-described Brits who retired to Orange County, California after considering Florida. the captain had earlier told me the husband flew for the RAF during the Berlin Airlift and when questioned he humbly played that down and talked with greater enthusiasm about their recent visit to the Queen Mary now permanently docked at Long Beach.. They expressed great interest in my journey, book, and impending trip through Europe.
Day 119, Cielo del Canada, Pacific Ocean enroute to the Panama Canal: After lunch I walked the length of the ship for the second time since Portland. I lingered at a couple points to watch the bow cutting through the water. At my second stop I observed for the first time in my life flying fish. What marvelous little creations of God with their horizontal tails and flapping fins which look like wings. I was also impressed by man's co-creation of this giant ship and the enormity of the amount of steel in its structure.
Day 120, Cielo del Canada, Pacific Ocean enroute to the Panama Canal: I went up top at sunrise and found a mostly overcast sky but it was still God's beautiful creation. The air is warmer now as we continue to steam south. I normally stay inside except for early morning and late afternoon. While watching God's beauty in the sky, the thought came to me that there are no strings attached to God's gifts. True through surrender and obedience we are able to see them more easily but we only need accept. There is nothing we can do to earn His love. It is there 24 hours a day just waiting for us to accept but for most of us our focus is elsewhere on what we perceive as the real treasures such as power, wealth, sex, materialism, and on. And then when we keep coming up empty we are still reluctant to accept His wonderful gifts of love, freedom, servitude, peace, contentment, knowledge of Him, understanding, and joy. We feel we will have to pay too high a price when all we truly need surrender is our bondage.
Day 121, Cielo del Canada, Pacific Ocean enroute to the Panama Canal: All of these studies are agreeing that there are many spheres of light and darkness in the spirit world and that resicence in darkness (hell) is not eternal though for some it may last a long, long time. As the novel I read was both entertaining and worthwhile as an instrument to stimulate my compassion for others, I have selected another. I am aware Farther's process of grooming me for what is to be experienced in Turin and later continues. He is in control. I am aware of His great love for me which translates equally for every soul on earth. Thank you, Father. Help me to surrender, to obey, to accept all your marvelous gifts.
Day 122, Cielo del Canada, Pacific Ocean enroute to the Panama Canal: At 6 AM I went up top to catch the sunrise and as I reached the bridge deck, I looked up and there was my favorite constellation, Orion the hunter. This evening I was telling the third mate about Orion and It seems to be his favorite constellation also. He has determined to name his firstborn after one of its stars, Rigel. I continued my study today and started study on St. Augustine.
Day 123, Cielo del Canada, Pacific Ocean enroute to the Panama Canal: Viewing the sunrise this morning was not possible as it was raining but yesterday the captain informed me the pool had been filled so before breakfast I sampled the pool and the sauna for the first time. Th pool is a little small for swimming but excellent for some of my exercises and floating. The sea water gives wonderful buoyancy. I also enjoyed the sauna as the vibration of the ship's engines seemed to give a massage while lying on the wood. Today I had a delightful lunch with the captain and the Brits. It seems Eldon is also a writer but I was unsuccessful in getting him to devulge other than he is not a fiction writer.
Day 124, Cielo del Canada, Panama Canal, 3421 sea miles, 9277 total miles: While in the sauna this morning I enjoyed contemplative prayer and was reminded of my favorite prayer spot at Bally Health Club where Father and I spent so many mornings in precious communion. My daily workout routine now includes swimming in addition an hour of cycling in my cabin plus a multitude of stairs to climb every day. Hopefully I will be able to resume 50 mile cycling days when we land in Genoa. Today I also caught up on e-mail messages I hope to send in Columbia as well as receive my accumulated mail fom the past ten days. According to latest news we should arrive at the Panama Canal this evening and pass through in the morning.
Day 125, Cielo del Canada, Panama Canal, anchored awaiting passage: My contemplative prayer was very intense and the inflowing of God's divine love very noticable as again now as I write hours later. I had to stop writing for several minutes and meditate and still the flow, the presence continues. It is important to know this is not triggered by the mind or by words but only by the true desire of the soul, the true person within the flesh, the entity made by God alone, the entity which is transformed by receiving His essence, divine love. It is difficult to continue writing under these circumstances. There is ringing in my ears and my entire being is as if electrified. This is the love making flowing from the soul of God to the soul of the human through His holy spirit. This awesome love is all around us all the time just waiting for our seeking but it will not invade without invitation. The true desire of the human soul is the trigger causing the response which can only come from the Father, the Source of all that is blessed and good and love.
Day 126, Cielo del Canada, Panama Canal enroute to Columbia: This morning I was on the bridge before 3:30 AM. The pilot entered at 3:50 and we were soon underway and approached the first set of locks just as day was breaking. At 6:15 AM the doors closed behind us on the first lock. The clearance on either side of our ship was no more than five feet. In addition to our pilot tugboats and special cars on railway tracks were used to guide us through.
Day 127, Cielo del Canada, Cartagena, Columbia, 310 sea miles, 18 bicycle miles, 9605 total miles: On the way back to the ship I got lost again. I used a monastery on a mountain top which I spotted coming into the harbor and I asked the local pilot if it was a monastery which he affirmed. But I went to far inland and soon found myself in impossible traffic in the market place of the locals. Lots of beeping, motor bikes, buses, and on this Saturday swarms of people everywhere. Well, I finally decided to ride crazy just like everyone else and trust Father's angels to protect me. I was almost as fast as a motor bike so I acted like one and got out into traffic riding between lanes. Finally, an intersection and I was able to head back to the coast and I soon arrived near the dockyard.
Day 128, Cielo del Canada, Atlantic Ocean enroute to Valencia, Spain: After seeing so much of our beautiful country I still have a very strong sense of home in Florida. From the standpoint of geography, family, and ministry, it truly is where my heart resides. Over lunch Sir Eldon and I had a sprightly conversation about freedom with his concern more for the physical well being of the human and mine for the spiritual. It was envigorating.
Day 129, Cielo del Canada, Atlantic Ocean enroute to Valencia, Spain: My focus this day was on prayer and study. Though not planned it encluded a 1998 encyclical of Pope John Paul II, the same document I quoted in the beginning of "The Man in the Desert." I scrolled the document to a mid point and found some very interesting information on faith and reason and how they can work together instead of in opposition to one another as some believe and how when combined with love a hunger is experienced in wanting to know kmore and more about hte object of our love.
Day 130, Cielo del Canada, Atlantic Ocean enroute to Valencia, Spain: At 6:30 PM I went outside on my deck. Taking in the beauty of the ocean, the sky, and the sun, I went into contemplation. Immediately as I closed my eyes I saw a rainbow reminding me of the beautiful rainbow I observed in the sky this morning while topside. We had just passed through a shower. At 7 PM I went topside and went to the spot where I've done most of my outdoors meditating. The sun was still very high and very brilliant; but, as I stared directly into it somehow I knew the protective disk would be there and it was and I marveled in thanksgiving at God's awesome power and love. Even the penetrating and potentially damaging brightness of the sun is subject to His command.
Day 131, Cielo del Canada, Atlantic Ocean enroute to Valencia, Spain: I went downstairs to the officers' mess for a final cup of coffee and found the Brits having a late dinner. We had a short pleasant sharing before I returned to my hermitage. Thank you, Father, for this blessed day, the good food, ths study, the prayer, the sunset, the people, and most of all, Father, for your divine love.
Day 132, Cielo del Canada, Atlantic Ocean enroute to Valencia, Spain: The swells in the ocean are greater today. A cup and saucer fell from my desk and broke causing me to retrieve the vacuum cleaner from the closet outside my cabin. Later when the steward came to empty the trash containers in my room, I asked for clean sheets. I helped him change the bed and cut my finger on a piece of glass from the broken cup and found other glass in the bed. I immediately realized if we had not changed the bed I would have probably received more serious cuts when later retiring for the night. Thank you, Father. I am led to make the comment here that though I always thank Father I am aware that some of the guidance I receive is probably from His angels assigned to me. I thanking Him for their acts I feel their joy must be as greater or greater than if I thanked them directly as they like me owe everything to Him whom is Father of us all and like me they can do naught without Him. As I grow closer to Father, I sense That matters like the broken glass and protecting me on the bicycle are probably the direct responsibility of angels or spirit guides and protectors whereas my communion with Father in contemplation and major direction and revelations concerning ministry are more direct contacts with Him and His great spirit.
Day 133, Cielo del Canada, Atlantic Ocean enroute to Valencia, Spain: Another time zone and another early start to this blessed day. To the laundry room to get things started, then to the officer's mess for my first cup of coffee, then outside for whatever God may have to say or show. As usual I was placed in awe with a brilliant star lit sky and while gazing at the heavens I witnessed two shooting stars which I accept as another of a multitude of blessings I have received every day of this journey.
Day 134, Cielo del Canada, Atlantic Ocean enroute to Valencia, Spain: We have advanced our clocks another hour which translates to four hours later than eastern US time. At that I rose at 5 AM to start my day with prayer, contemplation, writing, and next study. I am not satisfied with my spiritual work on this ocean journey and this morning came to the realization I am relying too much on my strength and not enough on God's. I therefore need more contemplation and more surrender to receive His strength, His divine love
Day 135, Cielo del Canada, Atlantic Ocean enroute to Valencia, Spain: No time change during the night. Today is Sunday, August 14, 2000. I am taking the day off from bicycling, my last day off until Genoa since we should arrive the 20th. My prayer, meditation, and study all continued as normal today. Also I have been reading "The Sleepwalkers" by Hermann Broch, an English translation from German. It is a trilogy about a romantic, an anarchist, and a realist. It is a study in people and their lives in the early 20th century and I find it not disassociated with my other studies in addition to being entertaining.
Day 136, Cielo del Canada, Atlantic Ocean enroute to Valencia, Spain: This morning at 9 AM I was led on a tour of the engine room by the chief engineer, Michael. Having been built in 1998, everything as you may imagine is computerized. I was impressed that the fuel used is described as very low grade and "cheap." However the emissions are very low due to the technology of the engine. It enters the cylinders at 250 degrees farenheit. The conversion of sea water to fresh is very efficient as hot water already used to cool the engine and thus heated is used in the process. The conversion unit itself is very small I would estimate only about three feet in diameter and spherical in shape yet has an output of 18 metric tons per day. The engine itself seems quite basic though gigantic as an inline six cylinder engine. I was able to view the drive shaft which looks to be about two feet in diameter. There are three generators of which only one was in use operating at 44%. The others kick in or drop off automatically as needed. This is all located in the bowel of the ship with many staircases and huge pieces of equipment everywhwere.
Day 137, Cielo del Canada, Atlantic Ocean enroute to Valencia, Spain: Passing Gibraltar, though we had a clear sky above, we were in thick fog and unable to see land. C'est la vie. Sir Eldon was also up early in hopes of seeing the Rock and stayed up for an early breakfast so we dined together and again at lunch with his wife Betty. Eldon does all his writing longhand which Betty then transcribes to a computer. They seem a good team and I have the feeling they've been married for some time. Some study, prayer, and reading this morning and my workout, saltwater tank, and sauna this afternoon.
Day 138, Cielo del Canada, Valencia, Spain, 4533 sea miles, 9 (4689) bicycle miles, 14147 total miles: I was directed to another store but it was closed. Since it was only a little after 9 AM, I decided to cycle the area and return after 10 which worked. Surprisingly I was able to obtain all my needed supplies and was even able to determine the approximate charge on my Visa Card since the slip showed in addition to 2,695 Pts. (?) 16.20 Eur which is close to dollars. So I am already benefiting from the Common Market. Thank you, Father. On my way back to the ship I spotted a hotel where I thought I might try to connect online. Again, Father came through. I was given a private desk with a telephone outlet (all I needed) and made immediate connection to AOL. There was no charge and a freedom card was cheerfully received by the English speaking desk clerk. Again, thank you, Father.
Day 139, Cielo del Canada, Mediterranean Sea, enroute to Livorno, Italy: My first study was in Chapter 4 "Passion" of "The Man in the Desert." Without detail it present both the joyful and suffering passions of Jesus and presents the Shroud of Turin as the one, perfect, unaltered gospel of the Christ. The longest chapter of this 68,000 word published work, I entered yesterday and finished today. The study both moved and humbled me as I realized these were not my words and I was but a conduit. I believe them to be words that will truly change the world for the better.
Day 140, Cielo del Canada, Livorno, Italy, 545 sea miles, 14692 total miles (4689 bicycle): Last evening I experienced another unique, beautiful, prayerful sunset. A comparison with the Bible came to me that the sun really isn't setting but the truth of the sunset is in its message of love in the beauty created by our Father for His children and in onset of evening to bring them rest from the busy day. Likewise with the Bible its truth lies in the messages within its stories rather than literal correctness and also Father through allowing man's error lovingly encourages the discernment of our Internal Bibles in separating the wheat from the chaff.
Day 141, Cielo del Canada, Genoa, Italy, 90 sea miles, 14782 total miles (4689 bicycle): At times earlier I felt I was not enough steeped in spirituality but Father knew exactly what He was doing in His grooming. He orchestrated a gradual increase rather than a sudden dive. As a result I feel totally at peace and prepared for the remainder of this quest including the pilgrimage to the Shroud within FJ2K. I also admit to being very excited in anticipation of the cycling adventure ahead. There is still much of the little boy in me, praise God.
Day 142, Fado, Italy, enroute to Turin, 22 bicycle miles, 14804 total miles: I received my pasport and departed th ship at 1 PM immediately biking to the tourist information office at the airport only to find it closed. I was able to obtain a map of Italy from the Avis agent. I left the airport at 3:30 PM determined to bike north of the city to avoid Monday morning traffic. It was all uphilluntil I stopped at a small hotel in Fado exhausted but I enjoyed a shower, good meal and early to bed.
Day 143, Asti, Italy, enroute to Turin, 66 bicycle miles, 14870 total miles: I decided to head back to the hotel but just before reaching it the earth violently shook. People started streaming oout of doorways everywhere and sirens could immediately be heard and soon emergency vehicles rushing east where perhaps there was damage from the earthquake. None was apparent in the vicinity of where I was staying. While waiting for the all clear to enter the hotel, I met a canadian couple also staying at the Genova. Both they and the hotel owner received freedom cards.
Day 144, Turin, Italy, 40 bicycle miles, 14910 total miles: But after checking in at the Hotel Genova in Asti, I learned there was a bicycle mechanic next door who would be open at 8:30 this morning. Unable to use my 28 tooth gear I decided to forego the early start to have the proper adjustment made. This lowest gear is very important for climbing mountains or facing high winds or just when fatigued or any combination. It is a Godsend which He orchestrated through my mechanic in Florida. As I entered his workshop at 8:30 the mechanic was working on a bicycle whell with the customer observing. I waited not seeing a workstand which would be necessary for my adjustment. It never dawned on me unitil he hung Lightnin' from hooks hanging from the ceiling that this was their purpose. Obviously an expert, he made two adjustments in just a few minutes and the shifting now worked perfectly. In addition he would accept no gratuity as he waved off my offer with a broad smile. Is God good or what?
Day 145 (Shroud Day), Turin Italy, 5 bicycle miles, 14915 total miles: I was on my way walking to the Shroud at 8:30 AM along an ancient pedestrian street with large cobblestones and old buildings lining both sides. As I entered the street and could see the Piazza Costello in the distance, I had a sense of destiny and prayed for God's strength to surrender to his will. When I arrived at the starting point of the tour, I was way too early so I went to a nearby shady spot and half sat and leaned against an old iron bar fence which was cool to my back through my shirt. I went into contemplative prayer and father was with me and we were one.
Day 146, Susa, Italy, 35 miles, 14950 total miles: Before leaving Hotel Diplomatic I was struck with an inspiration that in true obedience there is no sacrifice only treasure. It is important for me to record these inspirations from Father as I anticipate the will be a source of additional writing in the book which ensues from this journey.
Day 147, Mont Cenis, France, 16 miles, 14966 total miles: I used my next to lowest gear for about the first half mile then 98% of the remainder of the 16 mile climb was in my lowest, 28 tooth gear. As a side note, before FJ2K but after making the committment, I was concerned about my racing gear arrangement. In Bicycling Magazine I read an article by a cyclist using a 23 tooth gear, writing as if it was a sissy gear, but also stating he loved passing all his friends on hills. My current freewheel went fro 12 to 19 teeth in seven gears. Well, the article inspired my going to Michael, my mechanic shop owner, to obtain a hill climbing freewheel with a low gear of 23 teeth. He responded he would have to make a special order as he didn't have one in stock but he did have one with a 28 tooth low gear. Immediately, I thought if 23 teeth would make climbing easier, 28 teeth should make it a lot easier so I told him to install it. At the time I did not think of Father's orchestration in this instance but now it is very plain to me as 23 would not have been enough at Big Sur and certainly not today. Thank you, Father.
Day 148, Chambery, France, 96 miles, 15062 total miles: At 6 AM I walked to the restaurant next door for my prepaid breakfast. I found the proprietor in the bar with a couple truckers. I love to see a man who enjoys his work. As he served coffee and sundries for his customers to take on the highway he was jovial and full of conversation even at the earlier hour. Indeed his customers seemed not nearly awake as he. When I walked in , he invited me to sit at one of the two tables in the small bar, poured me coffee, and soon asked if I was ready for breakfast to which I responded, "Oui." He served up a big plate of ham and eggs with a basket of sliced French bread.
Day 149, Chambery, France, 5 miles, 15067 total miles: I arose at 2:30 AM feeling rested enough and immediately (after prayer) started to work trip planning then email communications. I decided to not bike to Lyon which I had originally planned since with better maps I found a more direct route. Additionally Lyon is a large city which would present unneeded traffic challenge. I even thought of bypassing Paris but, here again, who knows when I may have another opportunity to visit such a famous city. I envision cycling under the Arch de Triumphe as did Lance Armstrong when he recently won the Tour de France for the second year straight. I'm sure Father will provide ministry opportunity in Paris.
Day 150, Bourg en Bresse, 68 miles, 15135 total miles: When I arrived at the tunnel there was a sign prohibiting pedestrians and bicycles. I stopped near a S.O.S. roadside phone and debated whether to use it or proceed. If I went I would use my flashing taillights (red and amber) and then I realized what I was to do. With no thought of this tunnel, yesterday, I did some needed maintenance on the mounting of the lights and I realized that Father had me make that repair as they would be needed for the tunnel today. Man's law said STOP. But Father had given me a sign to GO. I obeyed the higher authority.
Day 151, Chalon sur Saone, 61 miles, 15196 total miles: At the desk the clerk informed me the coupon was not honored here and pointed to the list of participating hotels listed on the map beside the coupon. I was about to leave when she asked me to wait. She stepped away and returned with the good news she could allow the discount. Thank you, Father. Across the street was a Buffalo Grill which looked very interesting for dinner and a large mall where, before dinner I was able to shop in a huge super market and purchase some of my old favorite staples, prunes, raisins, and peanuts in addition to a couple apples and water for tomorrow. After a delicious Buffalo steak and fries and coffee, I returned to the hotel to complete this journal and retire early. Thank you, Father, for another excellent day.
Day 152, Salieau, France, 51 miles, 15147 total miles: You know how some days everything just falls in place, all is harmony, Nothing can possibly go wrong. I believe everyone experiences that and probably a lot more than my share here which I credit to being in harmony with Father God through surrender. Then there are those other days. Well this was one of those other days, I'm happy to say, in the small minority for me. All was well until I started pedaling. Now I noticed soreness in my legs earlier but this was ridulous. It was as if all strength was gone from my legs and every pedal stroke was a great effort. Then came the climbing but not steep but I had to use the 28 tooth gear which added to my frustration. Then I couldn't find coffe for my first break. I cycled into this little town and through narrow winding streets, sttep, uphill and could not locate a cafe. Then I was on the other side of the town on this narrow road going I know not where. So, yes, I backtracked (I hate to backtrack) to the highway and decided to skip the coffee and eat the apple I had with me. Then the rain started.
Day 153, Saulieu, France, 8 miles, 15155 total miles: After breakfast I decided to explore the area. I carried my bike out and found the town center right behind the hotel. Tiny streets packed with small shops. In a market I bought two apples, 1.5 L water, and a brick of swiss cheese to go with my left over bread from breakfast for lunch. Then in a sundry shop I found post cards with an overhead of this exact town. I bought one for everyone in my family and some friends. Then I discovered the most incredible bakery with even meats and hot dishes. Weather permitting, I will return to purchase my in room dinner for tonight. I think she even had beef. I quickly returned to the hotel when it started to drizzle. If I didn't know better, I would say I sure am lucky to have my rest day in this place. Thank you, Father.
Day 154, Auxerre, France, 61 miles, 15216 total miles: About ninty minutes out of my destination, the clouds suddenly thickened and rain started. I pulled under a tree and covered my luggage pieces with the two halves of my separated pauncho. I then exchanged my sweatshirt for my riding jacket and continued. By the time I was back on the road the shower had stopped but about a half hour later a steady rain ensued plus wind plus hills. To further complicate my situation I sensed a dragging brake but pushed on reluctant to stop just a few miles short of the hotel. I had total awareness while all this was happening that my spirits were not dampened nor my joy dented. These were simply circumstances to be overcome by God working through me as He did. As I approached the hotel I was aware I would be using the automatic (like an ATM) registration. The last time I was assigned a room on the ground floor and didn't have to negotiate stairs with the loaded bike. Most of these economy hotels don't have elevators. Would I be that blessed again?
Day 155, Pamfou, France, 65 miles, 15281 total miles: I will preface what I am about to record by saying neither White Lightnin' nor I were hurt in any way. The wind was coming from my 10:30 position and we were on a good two lane road, N6, with a few inches to the right of the edging stipes. We were in the country and traffic was pretty heavy including trucks of all sizes so I was painting the edge stripe, normal for me in these conditions. Then I felt something strike my left shoulder and immediately a small, boxy panel truck passed swerving as if having trouble staying on the road I presume due to the wind. I observed a mirror extending from the side of the truck at about the right elevation. My shoulder was unhurt but it certainly was struck.. About three years ago the bottle cage behind my seat was struck I assume also by a mirror of a passing car and the bike and I became projectiles. This time we didn't fall and I don't believe we even swerved. So this was either a pure miracle from God or the mirror had some sort of a spring arrangement or both. Thank you, Father.
Day 156, Paris, France, 47 miles, 15328 total miles: Then Father sent another one of His angels in the flesh, a cyclist who was riding what looked like a possible bike trail. Well I left my route and simply followed him. He then stopped to talk with some people fishing at this river and I continued on the trail, relaxed riding, for some distance then the trail ended at a narrow but lightly trafficked road. I dug out my map and discovered the river was the Seine which I could simply follow all the way to Paris which I did except for a couple excursions to try to find a tourist information office to obtin information on hotels. I was unsuccessful and didn't even know if they would be open on a Sunday. At noon I quit the search in favor of a McDonalds where I enjoyed lunch. Continuing on I decided my objective would simply be the Arc de Triomphe and to ride des Champs Elysees to it as Lance Armstrong recently did. I just kept asking people, "Arc de Triomphe?" and initially they would just point in a direction and as I was closer an English speaking man gave me exact directions for about the last two miles. As I tuned on des Champs Elysees what a thrill when I caught first sight of it straight away in the distance. My spirit was soaring as I pedaled thrpough traffic closer and closer. Being on a bicycle can be very advantageous when in heavy traffic and traffic jams. Finally I arrived.
NEW BOOK PUBLISHED
(This part of Freedom Letter updated from earlier issues)
The Man in the Desert - Diary of a Freed Addict is published and available, both print and download formats, through our co-publisher, 1stBooks Library. http://www.1stbooks.com/cgi-bin/1st?partner~1st|type~3|Data1~3179 is the link-address for ordering through the Internet. Print copies are available at bookstores either through POD (print-on-demand) machines or by order from Ingram's Distributors or by calling 1-800-839-8640.
Spiritual and personal freedom from all that attempts to enslave us is again the theme as is true with all the publications of Freedom Ministries, Inc. In addition, The Man in the Desert includes my personal and spiritual autobiography which was not included in our first book. As since disclosed to me, this was Gods plan that I experience nine years of His tutelage of my soul, after its rebirth through His Holy Spirit, before sharing my full autobiography in print.
As orchestrated by the Father, the proceeds from the new book will be used to pay for additional printing and free distribution of 40 Days to Freedom; therefore, all author royalties will be donated directly to Freedom Ministries.
By the grace of God, I receive no ministry salary. Since freeing me from self-dependence to God-dependence in early 98, God has adequately provided for me materially as well as mentally and spiritually; and I have indeed come to understand what St. Paul characterized in 2 Cor 6:10, we seem to have nothing, yet really we possess everything. The spiritual provisions and knowledge from the Lord have been especially bountiful. God has revealed to me just two things we take from this life into the spirit world, love and knowledge. If our only love experienced is selfish, then we gain little that is useful in the hereafter. Likewise, if our only knowledge gained while here is secular, of this world, then not only is this useless in the next life but can stymie our growth in knowledge and love which is intended for eternity.
I am thankful to the Father for making this new work available to His children, which we all on this earth are, before the new millennium in 2001. Its powerful message has the potential to do much to bring sanity and hope and freedom from all fears to our beleaguered, materialistic world. My cup truly overflows and my prayer is that overflow will bless you through The Man in the Desert - Diary of a Freed Addict.
(repeated from earlier issues)
We wish to remind our readership that our efforts, both with The Man in the Desert and with FJ2K, from a practical standpoint are directed to transforming prisoners' (both incarcerated and with imprisoned minds) hearts from hearts of crime or sin to hearts of agape love. Sin enslaves while love sets free. Incarcerated prisoners have not had access to our miracle book, 40 Days to Freedom, since early '99 as they do not have access to the Internet and we have been out-of-print. By purchasing The Man in the Desert or by sending donations (see "Contact Us"), you are serving both yourself and society as most incarcerated people are released from their physical prisons to become your and my neighbors. When you look at the cost per year, between $20,000 to $50,000 each, to send them back to prison, this is certainly a small investment while enriching your own life and life to come. Indeed The Man in the Desert is so reasonably priced to in a way be better than free as some people don't pay much attention to free literature even if it is inspired by God Himself. We pray your journey through this short life on earth will be filled to overflowing with God's blessings, His provision, His freedom which is the only true freedom for the human soul, and most of all with His Divine Love. Amen.
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