June 1982 – Jackson Hole, Wyoming
After flying all day across the USA to get here, the airport van dropped me off in front of the picturesque hotel, the site of a week-long conference for doctors and nurses on Emergencies in Obstetrics. My director gave me three educational days and paid for this national seminar in return for giving an in-service to the labor and delivery nurses when I returned. I had to pay for my own airfare and hotel. Since I could not afford to stay at the elegant hotel where the seminar was held, I booked a room at a cheaper motel down the hill.
The van driver told me there was no taxi service in Jackson Hole. As I wondered how to get my suitcase down the hill to the motel, a pickup truck pulled over. A cowboy got out and asked, “Howdy, Miss. Do you need a ride somewhere?” I explained how I needed to go down the hill. He said, “I’m going that way, so hop in. No problem at all!” He swung my big red suitcase into the back of the truck. I thought to myself, “He seems like an honest friendly guy, so I guess it’s OK.” He promptly drove me one block down the hill, put my suitcase on the little porch, tipped his hat, and wished me a good day. I tried to give him a few dollars, but he absolutely refused and said it was his pleasure to help me out. Folks sure seem friendly here.
Since the next day was Sunday, I looked in the yellow pages of the phone book for a church to visit. I found the name of one and asked the motel owner for directions, which he wrote down for me. I took off walking to church with my Bible and finally arrived in time for morning worship, five miles later. I didn’t realize how far outside of town it was, but God richly blessed me with the Bible message. During the welcome time, the Pastor asked any visitors to stand. I stood and a married couple also stood. We introduced ourselves to the small congregation and discovered they were a doctor with his wife from the Midwest, also attending the seminar.
We became better acquainted after morning worship concluded. When they heard I had walked so far to get there, they happily offered me a ride back to town in their rental car. Then we went to lunch together in a log house called “Jedediah’s Original House of Sourdough”. The history of Jackson Hole on the newsprint menu about Jedidiah Smith’s adventures in the Rocky Mountains in 1829 made for enjoyable reading.
The excellent seminar held during the mornings left the afternoons and evenings free for sightseeing. Dr. Earl and his wife, Patty, adopted me for the rest of the week. We had great times of fellowship as we explored the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Park, went hot air ballooning in Idaho, and took a rafting trip. As I drove their car during the week for them, Dr. Earl read from the Psalms to Patty and me. I was refreshed to meet a doctor who fervently loved the Lord.
One afternoon, I took the ski lift gondola to the top of the mountain overlooking the town of Jackson Hole. I gazed off into the distance and saw mountain after mountain as far as I could see. As I thought about some low points of a year ago when I had to switch jobs, and then had the severe back pain in December, I just praised God for this week of oasis and renewal.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 (NKJV)
On our final day, we took a covered wagon ride through the woods. As we ate our delicious chuck-wagon dinner of barbecued beef, cowboys serenaded us with songs from the Old West. It brought tears to my eyes as they sang “How Great Thou Art” in perfect harmony. What a great finale to the week which began with a friendly cowboy.
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander, And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees, When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze,
Refrain: Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee; How great thou art! How great Thou art!
And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in, That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin. Refrain
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation, and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow in humble adoration and there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art! Refrain
Numerous times God has taken me through a difficult trial in my life, and then graciously blessed me with a time of refreshing like He did in Wyoming. Even though I went to the seminar alone, He gave me sweet fellowship with Dr. Earl and Patty the remainder of the week. I never would have met them if I would not have walked those five miles to church. I know God saw my heart and longing for fellowship with other believers and brought us together.
I also learned much about how to handle Emergencies in Obstetrics and received my certificate verifying the 24 hours of lectures I attended. And I shared my new knowledge with the other nurses in labor and delivery when I returned.