Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 2: Farms, History, and Health

Today was our first morning in Nebraska!  It started with a hearty breakfast at our host homes in Eustis.  We all bundled up and headed out for our first farm tour.  The family raises cows, chickens, and horses.  It was neat to hear them talk about their animals with such joy and with such passion, encouraging us to know the origins of our food.  Although it was cold and windy, we all enjoyed hearing their story.  Our next farm visit included a warm cup of tea, a trip up the combine, and a drive-by tour of the fields in the area.  Pastor Bev and Cathy then lead us to the next town over to eat at a local restaurant and tour the 100th Meridian Museum and Henri hotel.  We had a wonderful tour of the hotel that was built by the founder of Cozad.  He was also the father of the famous painter Robert Henri.  The museum is not open in the winter, but they will make an exception for special occasions.  They thought we were a special occasion!  We headed over to the 100th Meridian Museum owned by the Cozad Historical Society.  (For more info, check this out- Museum)  From there we drove to the community clinic.  It serves as an ER, out-patient clinic, in-patient care, rehab center, etc, etc.  The physicians and nurses are jacks and jills of all trades doing their best to meet the same standards as big city clinics with fewer resources and staff.  They made it clear that there is a strong sense of community, pointing out that whether they were treating a blood relative or not, everyone was family.   Our final stop of the day was to a beautiful independent living center.  Each resident had their own apartment.  Meals were served at scheduled times during the day.  They could come and go as they pleased, and there was room enough for family gatherings or simply to share the vast common space as a community.  (Are you sensing a theme?  I'll give you a hint.  It starts with a "c" and ends with "ommunity".)  Our night ended with a delicious dinner at pizza hut and time spent with our host families.
It is an honor to be welcomed by so many people who have never met us and may never see us again.  Their willingness to share their stories, time, and hospitality speaks to the breadth of the Body of Christ.  Each of our questions has been graciously answered, free of judgement.  Many people are humbly proud of their community, history, and vocation acknowledging God's gracious hand in their lives.  One of the farmers today walked us through the process of conditioning their wheat harvest.  We observed the care that he seems to take with insuring a good product and we noted that the other farm also had a heart for going the extra mile to provide quality food.  He responded by saying that money was important, but integrity, that was what really mattered.  An honest, cared for product was the end goal because it would surely return a profit.  Honesty, care, love, passion, graciousness, gratitude...these are words from the day that are rolling around in my mind tonight.  Combined, all make a great model to strive for in daily living.  No one can be all these things all the time, but if a life lived with these in mind is the goal, surely one's life will be the gift that God intended it to be, rich and abundant.  Tonight, I'll borrow my prayer for my brothers and sisters of Nebraska and for you all reading this from 2 Peter 1:2...
"May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord"