My earliest memories of South Dakota go back to about 1952 in my Grandpa's blacksmith shop in Mt Vernon just west of Mitchell. During trips, I saw the "Think" signs on all the roads around South Dakota. I soon learned that they marked the place where someone died in a accident.
I didn't know any names behind those signs until 1964, when two of my high school classmates were killed at a remote rural intersection.
I still travel those roads several times a year for ministry, pheasant hunting and to visit friends, ministry partners, and lots of cousins. The "Think" signs still draw my attention, causing me to wonder why other states don't use these sobering reminders.
Last week I was driving I-90 just East of Mitchell on a ministry trip...
I knew about where to look and found them between mile markers 347 & 348.
Many of you instantly know the names behind these signs and, like me, your heart stirs in an emotional mix of memories, feelings and still unanswered questions...
When I stopped on the side of the road to take these pictures, I took time to remember Ty & Terri Schenzel and Ryan & Emily Hrubes in prayer. I never did get the name of the man who was driving on the wrong side and hit them head on...
Instantaneously promoting Ty, Terri and Ryan into the presence of the Lord Jesus.
I don't want to be morbid, but you can still see where the fire burned so hot it baked and cracked the concrete. As I remembered and prayed, I felt like this was now sanctified ground. Sanctified means "set apart to God", much like a church sanctuary is dedicated as a place we set apart for God's purposes.
Could we agree together in prayer that everyone who passes over this little piece of interstate and sees the four "Think" signs would be prompted by God's Spirit to consider their own mortality and eternal destiny?
There are always several Divine purposes at work simultaneously when loved ones are taken like this. After 45 years Sheryl and I still have times when we remember our first daughter, Renee, who was with us 9 months in Sheryl's womb and just 8 hours after birth... no newborn cry, no opportunity to hold her or get a picture.
Whenever we hear of a couple who lost their baby, we can reach out to them in a way only parents who have lost a child can. I remember praying "Lord, our first-born is with you, so I am asking and believing that our other children will be strong and healthy." We had some close calls but are so thankful for healthy kids and nine grandkids. I seldom get upset at a crying child, because when you hear that cry... They are breathing!
I remember standing with Ty at a First Responders PrayerWalk on the site where a Hope Center Kid was murdered, and I could feel the pain in his heart. Thus, I sense there may be a broader message when we see the front and back of the "Think" signs side by side... You can look at these signs in either order and make a connection to part of the vision, purpose and plan from God's heart which was to become the Hope Center.
First Responders Homicide PrayerWalks, The Hope Center, Christ For The City International, and many other ministries are called to save lives not only in this world but into the next...
Sheryl and I have the privilege to be part of a team that prays at the Hope Center with the staff, collectively and individually, for an hour each month.
Sheryl and I leave tomorrow for another trip to Northern Minnesota. Friday morning, we will be meeting near Brainerd with my childhood friend Lanny, his wife Mary and three other couples Lanny invited to join us in prayer. Many of you may remember that he was recently diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Please join us in praying aggressively for this couple, who have been a huge support not only to us over the years, but to many others serving the Lord around the world.
Sunday and Monday we will be checking in with our long term ministry friends up along the North Shore who are coming out of a time of personal and ministry crisis.
Sheryl and I are so grateful to have been able to serve the Lord vocationally for over 45 years, and we are especially thankful to each of you who have faithfully partnered with us through prayer and financial support. You have personally cared for us in too many ways to mention here!
Over the last several months, several of our financial donors have had to cut back or drop off because of their own financial situations. but continue to partner with us in prayer and encouragement. Please pray with us that the Lord will raise up others to help meet our ongoing needs.
Thank You for praying and caring as the Lord leads. Everyday we feel the Lord is restoring, refueling and equipping us for our part in the challenging days ahead.
Dave & Sheryl