Thursday, April 17, 2008

Our American Journey - Day 11

SOMEONE must have warned the US Department of Homeland Security that a couple of crazy Canucks were coming to this part of eastern Texas! When we got to Longview, TX, there was hardly a motel room left to be found, apart from smoking rooms and Jacuzzi suites, both of which were not on our list of desirables for various reasons. It turns out that Homeland Security had booked nearly all the motel rooms in the area for some kind of event, so it was with some difficulty that we finally secured a place to stay for the night. We don’t think there was any connection between these two events, but that didn’t stop us from wondering if someone hadn’t tipped them off!

Longview has been a spiritual pilgrimage site of sorts for me every time I come to Texas. It’s home to LeTourneau University. It’s founder, R.G. LeTourneau, is one of my heroes of the faith (yes, I know it’s odd, but true). He was a Christian industrialist that God blessed with incredible success in the world of construction and heavy equipment manufacturing. Although he became tremendously wealthy, most people don’t realize that he went bankrupt four times and travelled through some pretty stormy waters in his life before he reached that point. However, he was very serious about serving God, and early in his career was prepared to give up the construction and machine-building work he so loved to go to the mission field. A wise pastor prayed with him and then told him that God needs businessmen too. R.G. devoted the rest of his life to serving God through his businesses. His autobiography, “R.G. LeTourneau: Mover of Men and Mountains” makes for a very interesting read.

LeTourneau is often cited in sermons on giving or tithing as the man who gave away 90% of his income and lived on the 10% that was left, instead of the other way around as most Christians do. What some pastors fail to point out is that LeTourneau’s 10% was more than what most of us get for our 100%! However, Kathy & I are pleased to report that we too have managed to achieve this incredible goal of giving away 90% of our income and living on only 10%. In fact, sometimes, we manage to give away the whole 100%! Do you think it matters that our list of donor organizations and people include MasterCard, Bell Telephone, Pembridge Auto Insurance, and our landlord? After all, these folks are trying to make ends meet too!

Starbucks just went up another notch in my books. Yesterday I walked into one of their stores in Louisiana and asked for my usual order, a short bold. The barista behind the counter said, “How about I give you a tall bold for no charge instead?” I thought they were just out of small cups and were going to give me the next size up for no extra charge. Imagine my surprise when she told me that, no, it was absolutely free! I’m not sure what happened there, but I walked out with a free cup of Starbucks’ finest in my hand that lasted me all the way to the Texas state line. If someone has a possible explanation for this, please feel free to fill me in!

Today, we’re off to Dallas, TX. Dallas – Fort Worth is the home of Super Suppers, by the way. It’s where the company started, spreading from there to every state in the USA, including Alaska and Hawaii! Check out their website at I’m more and more impressed with this idea. And I see that they do not yet seem to have entered the Canadian market. Some of you may want to click on the Franchise Info tab :)

Well, check out time is fast approaching, and as usual I've managed to stay on the computer long enough to give Kathy time to do all the packing up :) There's no exercise facilities at this motel, so maybe I'll carry our stuff out to the car instead. Being on the second floor helps too. Wow! Imagine getting to use real stairs instead of a StairMaster machine!

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