5106 North LaCrosse Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60630-2431

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8:00 a.m - Slovak Language
9:30 a.m. - English Language

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JESUS IN THE WILDERNESS

At the breakfast table, Henning or I would usually pray to recognize opportunities God places before us in which we could be given the spiritual strength to make the wisest decisions. As we prepared to leave for the Grand Canyon and environs, we also asked for God’s protection against any adversities.

To save miles in our rental car, we plotted out a short cut to the Havasupai Indian reservation on a detailed map of unrouted county roads. After negotiating miles and hours of unmarked gravel roads through pastures, rocks and cacti, and having only half a tank of gas remaining, we saw no sign of any civilization in sight to ask for directions, but there was God. So I half-heartedly uttered a prayer for help. Henning thought he saw some power lines in the distance, and we made a bee line in their direction and found an unmarked but paved road. We voted for going left and soon encountered a speeding cattle feed truck which stopped for us. It was being driven by two Indians who told us to follow them to the access trail where we could hike eight miles down a tributary canyon to the Supai Indian village.

The strenuous trek in 105° heat took us more than four hours, and Henning arrived in the village no more worse for wear, while I limped in with blisters on both feet. The rudest awakening was a sign on the lodge door which read, “Power Out - No Water - Closed Until Further Notice.” Government food rations and drinking water were being helicoptered into the isolated Indian village exclusively for its 800 native American inhabitants; the three stores in the village were shut down; and Indian women passing by said they didn’t know of any place WE could get food. Proceeding further, we passed a house with a Caucasian man sitting outside, reading a book. We asked if he knew of anywhere we could get food, and he promptly invited us in for some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apples. This man was a recently retired physician who was flown in to serve the Indian clinic as their doctor. He was a Mennonite Christian from New Jersey who was experiencing a lonely two-week stint away from his wife, and was happy to have our company. We ended up staying with him for 2 nights and 3 days, and concocted meals for the three of us from his assortment of dry goods while he worked at the clinic. He prayed the most inspirational prayers of grace before our meals, repeatedly thanking God for the divine providence of matching us up in this unlikely situation. He spoke about his family and wife in New Jersey, Henning told him of his German background and Trinity “family” in Chicago, and I marveled at this non-coincidence while I nursed my blistered feet.

We used his house as our base camp while hiking to picturesque blue-green waterfalls and pools which fed into the Colorado River. The doctor also hosted a family of four from Poland who were similarly stranded. And on the third day Henning hiked back out, while I rode out on a saddle horse owned by one of the two Indians we had originally encountered.
— Floyd Rueger

09/01/2006