Time to get caught up on Sibling Assignments. A couple of weeks ago, IEG gave us this assignment:
"What do you consider 'God's Country' and why?"
Raymond Pert's is here and IEG's here.
I am glad I have lived a few different places in this great country of ours, and have managed to consider each place God's Country.
My first 18 years were spent living in the Silver Valley of northern Idaho. The Silver Valley from 1963-1981 was a lot different looking than the one of right now, but it was my home, and beautiful just the same.
Even though Kellogg's hillsides were bare of trees, living in Kellogg was a wonderful experience, and I'm glad I grew up here. You felt safe. People looked out for one another. You started kindergarten with about 25 kids, and most of them graduated from high school with you. You established traditions. And, I didn't know much else besides living in Kellogg. We didn't venture far from the valley while I was growing up. Sometimes to Spokane, and a once a summer trip to Orofino. Other than that, we stayed in Kellogg. Even traveling 15 miles to Wallace was a big deal to my folks.
But I longed for adventure. I liked going new places, and seeing new things.
My second home was in Moscow, Idaho, while I attended the University of Idaho. The beautiful rolling hills of the Palouse, and the U of I campus had a beauty all their own. The years at college were foundational as I grew closer in my relationship with God, and trying to figure out who I was, which really made it God's Country for me.
One summer, I lived in California. I worked at the International Headquarters for Campus Crusade for Christ, and lived at Arrowhead Springs, and worked in San Bernadino. This again was God's Country, because of the work I did, helping spread the "Good News" in all that I did that summer. I found beauty in the desert, in crowded Los Angeles, and Disneyland. I found God everywhere that summer, and again grew closer to Him. I also realized that summer that I loved PKR, and he was the man I wanted to marry and spend the rest of my life with. I attended the 1984 Summer Olympics that while in Los Angeles, and enjoyed watching the USA Basketball team play (Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, among others). I still keep in touch with some of the people I lived with that summer.
After college, my first job was in Glendive, Montana. My dad always said Glendive wasn't the end of the world, but you could see it from there. I lived in Glendive from 1985 to 1991. While we lived there, eastern Montana was experiencing a drought. This is a problem when the type of farming you did was dry land farming...no irrigation.
But you found a tough and genuine breed of people in Eastern Montana. Those farmers and ranchers taught us plenty about trusting and having faith in God and many of the things we learned in the Glendive's Evangelical Church of North America have been the foundation for our Christian faith throughout the years.
One area that really grew on us while living in Glendive, and we came to appreciate were the "Badlands", and Makoshika State Park, located in Glendive. It had a very particular beauty all its' own, and we absolutely loved it.
After Montana, we moved to Meridian, Idaho, outside of Boise. The Treasure Valley again brought us growth in our relationship with God. We grew a lot in our faith and trust and understanding of God, and learned alot while in Meridian. But then, it was time to return to my roots.
In 2000, we returned to Kellogg. And the Kellogg of 2000 looked much different from the Kellogg of 1981, when I had lived here permanently that last time. The hills were now filled with the trees that were planted on the hillsides while I was in high school. The wetlands were emerging. There was no more smelter smoke. But God was still here, and that is because the spirit of the people remained the same. I still had many connections to people in this valley, and this is where a part of my heart and soul had remained all these years. And now I continue to enjoy life here in God's Country, the Silver Valley, the place I have always considered home.