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How to Be a Faithful Traveler

 Here are 4 tips to continuing your spiritual journey while on vacation.

An inspiring and scenic back road

We rode the wild river through the beautiful forest. Thrills and vistas. Just what a vacation should offer. But then the guide yelled, "Rock up ahead!" Six paddles dug into the churning current. No use. Into the water we went

Two companions and I groped for the shore. Rejoining the beached rafts downstream, I noticed the words "Rolling Thunder" stenciled on a raft.

From the hymn "How Great Thou Art" I remembered the verses, "I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed." Shamefully, I realized it was the first time that day I'd thought of God

Too many times I'd done this—setting out on a vacation armed with toothbrush and hair dryer, but not with my faith. And yet God had been with me in my rafting mishap. And He'd been in the ancient cliffs and towering foliage I'd enjoyed along the river.

Well then, shouldn't my vacation be a time of renewing my sense of the Lord? Of course! And so I resolved to think of ways to pack my faith for the road, too.

1. Stow the Scriptures.
A paperback Bible can be easily packed into a suitcase, but I've found that I should also pack pertinent Scriptures into my memory. Before a camping trip, for instance, I read and memorized Job 38-42. Later, as we put up our tent, the sun gave way to a sea of black-bellied clouds.

I threw humor at them by recalling Job 38:37, "Who is wise enough to count the clouds and tilt them over to pour out the rain?" (GNV) God is the answer to this question and, fortunately, He didn't tilt those clouds onto our tent.

The Bible is indeed full of verses for the sightseer. Visiting a city of impressive architecture? Read about the building of Solomon's Temple in I Kings, beginning with chapter 5. Traveling through farmland? Read Jesus' nature parables in Matthew 13.

2. Seek out the spiritual byways.
Once, for instance, we sought out a city cathedral whose windows depicted the life of Christ. What about visiting an art museum with masterworks of biblical scenes, or a tour of a working monastery?

3. Pack for Sunday worship.
I'd long let myself feet that vacations meant utter laziness. Why attend a "strange" church? But one day I read about a man who hadn't missed church in 60 years, even though he'd traveled widely. He'd worshiped in hospital chapels and tents during the war and in a pine-tree "chapel."

Since then, having packed respectful churchgoing clothes, we've worshiped in a little seaside church where we heard the anthem played on a hammer dulcimer: we've been to a camp meeting with a joyous congregation shouting out hymns beside a tranquil mountain lake.

4. Enjoy faith with newfound faithful.
If you want to meet new people when vacationing, try meeting on the common ground of faith. On a cruise the blessing we said before a meal caught the eye of our waiter, who then charmed us with tales of the street-preaching he does during his shore leaves.

At one of my husband's business conferences, two women and I chatted forlornly as we awaited the end of a meeting. But then one of the women mentioned that with God's help she'd recovered from cancer.

The other said her mother was hospitalized with that ailment. Our spirits lifted as we exchanged words of hope.

Perhaps you'll soon be hitting the vacation road. If so, make sure to pack your faith. It travels well.

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