Yesterday Patsy and I decided to visit one of the churches that we have assisted in the past. Remembering our first visit to that church I allowed ourselves ample time for the one hundred twenty miles to get there.
As we traveled toward Wickenberg on Route 60 I became keenly aware of the dual highway that eliminated much of the bumper-to-bumper feeling that once accompanied our trips for four years. We hardly recognized the reconstructed area as we went through Whitman. The sun was rising, the mountains and the mist made for a magnificent sight to behold; water was flowing in the Hassayump River and it glistened and sparkled under the sunlight.
Swinging north on Route 93 we immediately noticed that the re-paving that was underway a couple of years ago had been completed. Though only two lanes in width, there were more passing areas. The three-day weekend meant that much of the traffic had moved earlier and would return later than us. A road-killed fox and a javelina were evidence that we were out of the towns. When the sign read: “Emergency Phone 12 miles”, followed by one later: “Emergency Phone 16 miles”, I knew we were a little removed from the towns.
Just before the Santa Maria River there was that Moving Picture scenery that comes and goes as quickly as focusing the camera. There were no cattle or horses in the river, as in previous years, and we knew the Environmental Protection Agency had been at work. The Road had been widened into dual highway, except for a seven mile area that was presently under construction. Great care was being taken to preserve the saguaros. Old bridges had been replaced and hills and mounds equalized to minimize moving materials long distances. I remembered our grand-daughter writing a poem and reading it to us as we made this trip on one occasion.
We approached “Dead Man’s Corner” that no longer existed. I used to count 13 crosses on that corner, but the road is routed differently. They tell me that is not an accurate figure of the number of people killed there. Far more met their Lord there than crosses erected. As we crossed Burro Creek and the 600 foot drop to the river, another bridge was being added. Another suicide had been committed there this week. Up the road apiece there was no evidence of the wild burros we had seen in the past and new bridges obliterated the possibility of viewing Kaiser Springs.
Within minutes we were viewing Wikieup. The building on the far left, all alone, was the church. We had only 7 miles left to travel. It had been an eye-opener and we were 50 minutes early. I could hardly believe the difference in travel time from those earlier years, but there was much that we missed that we had appreciated in the past.
Music ushered from the building as we approached from the “dirt” road. It was clean and crisp. There was evidence of a new paint job. The little congregation was still pushing forward to retain an effective testimony in the community. They have been faithful. Years from now the evidence of that faithfulness will be recognized. We sang together: Great is Thy Faithfulness. A blessed time was enjoyed in the Scriptures and a time of fellowship, all too short, was enjoyed around the tables. Praise and Prayer had been practiced and something significant had transpired in each of our lives.
In these days when bigness is the emphasis, I was and am glad for the scenic trip that was climaxed with this scene: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20 NASB)