Tina and I recently made a trip into Wyoming to see some sights and to visit the place where we first met. We have just completed 25 years of marriage and it seemed fitting to visit the space where it all began for us. I love history and so our two-day trip focused on seeing some historical sites. The picture is of me walking along some wagon ruts that were cut into the rock by the thousands of emigrants moving west along the Oregon Trail. This is near Guernsey, Wyoming which is not a place that you will ever find unless you happen to be going there. It's amazing to me that the trail still remains--after all of these years. It was no easy task to make the trek across the plains and mountains to the promised land of Oregon, Californa, or even Utah. It was often a deadly pursuit and only the stoutest arrived to begin a new life. The pioneers would travel maybe 12-20 miles a day hoping to slip through a narrow window of good weather that would allow them to cross the mountains before the winter snows began. I'm learning a couple of things from the Oregon Trail emigrants. First of all, there is a trail for all of us to follow--we don't have to make our own way. Others have gone before us and we can learn much from their journey. Secondly, we don't travel alone. The emigrants relied on the multiplicity of gifts contained in a wagon train in order to overcome the constant obstacles in their path. In the same way we have fellow travelers joining us--gifted in their unique ways--working together to move forward to our common goal. Thirdly, there are others coming behind us who will benefit from our experiences and signs of life that we leave behind.
I am the Pastor of Tolar Baptist Church, Tolar, Texas. I am the author of, "Messed Up Men of the Bible: Seeing the Men in Your Life Through God's Eyes" (Kregel, 2016). The book received the Golden Scroll: Non-fiction Merit Award. I am the founding pastor of Grace River Church in Severance, Colorado. Previously I pastored Cornerstone Baptist Church, Windsor, Colorado (9 yrs) and FBC, Lipan, Texas (6 yrs). My first church to pastor was the Cliffside Baptist Church of Amarillo, Texas. I have served on staff of the FBC, Monterey, Tennessee, Olsen Park Baptist Church, Amarillo, Texas, and FBC, Camden, Tennessee. I have served the Colorado Baptist General Convention as the Chairman of the Executive Board and as a Vice President. I have served as a Trustee for the North American Mission Board of the SBC. I have been blessed to walk alongside the love of my life, Tina, for the past 32 years. She is a talented author, teacher, singer, and song writer. Tina writes at www.tinasamples.blogspot.com and is the author of, Wounded Women of the Bible, 2013 by Kregel Publications. I have two amazing sons, Jaren and Zach, and one extraordinary granddaughter, Abigail.