One winter around the turn of the twentieth century, young Robert Earl Holding was taking care of a herd of sheep in the desolate desert of western Wyoming when he got caught in a terrible blizzard with 50 mile an hour winds and 40 below temperatures. Merely longing for a warm fire, something hot to eat, and a blanket, he thought about what a blessing it would be if someone would build a shelter for travelers in that God-forsaken place with a crackling fire, a warm bed and good food. Years later, in the 1930s, inspired by Admiral Richard Byrd’s 1929 base camp in Antarctica which he named “Little America,” Mr. Holding decided to make good on his dream and call it just that: “Little America.” Holding, died on April 19, 2013, with a personal net worth of over $3 billion and a Little America in six different locations.
I first found out about Little America in the late 1960s when I used to drive back and forth between Los Angeles and Chicago with other students from California when I was attending college in the Midwest. We would take either the southern Route 66 (now Interstate 10) or the northern Route 30 (now Interstate 80). Along the northern route we kept seeing signs: “1,263 miles to Little America,” or “768 miles to Little America.” I must admit, it was a brilliant public relations campaign because you really wanted to find out what this place was when you finally got there. You had to stop.
Chandler and I stopped at the original Little America yesterday, and it is such an anomaly doing a booming business in that desolate place. After driving for hours with nothing to break the monotony of this country, here is this oasis in the middle of literal nowhere.
Many people are experiencing a life of lonely desperation. For many, life is one long stretch of desert. You and I, as representatives of the Gospel of Welcome, can provide a place for acceptance, spiritual nourishment and a fire in front of which to warm one’s hands on the expectation of love. You can be an oasis in a desolate place.
Here at the Catch, many people see us as just that — an oasis in the desert of their lonely lives. Just listen to a few comments:
I could never tell anyone at my church community what I did. I know I would be judged because I have watch them judge others for far less. To come clean with someone was great. What I didn’t expect was the one-on-one care as the Lord healed me from the guilt and shame I have been carrying around for years. But that is not all, they walked me through the steps to reconcile my relationship with my husband, which as an added benefit, drew us closer to our children. To say the least, this ministry has significantly affected my life. (Jaine, age 47)
Many of us Millennials want to “buy into” something specific that speaks to where our passions also lie. The Catch is that vehicle. We want to know we’re walking the same direction with you; that we’re truly “in this together” like an extension of one life to another. And … we are. (Luke, age 26)
My son is a believer and a homosexual. My hypocritical church welcomed him in, but when they learned of his sexual orientation, they batted him out with the Bible. We searched for a church with people who would reach out in love and truly get to know my son. We found a faith based church 45 minutes away. To help fill the distance, we each choose a Catch from the week before to discuss along the way. Thanks John! (Julia and Ryan, ages 54 and 27)
(More to come …)
Thanks to Priscilla, David, Annette, Fresh Bloomin’ Clothing, Paula, Chris and four others, we reached our daily goal of ten new MemberPartners yesterday! We’re on our way! I feel like putting up a sign: “90 more MemberPartners to go,” and I can’t wait to put up “65 more MemberPartners to go!” and then more signs as we get closer. Only you have to help us do this. We don’t have any gimmicks or give-aways, we have the knowledge that as a MemberPartner, you are providing an oasis in someone’s otherwise dreary life.
One more thing: today is my birthday, and somebody let the cat out because I’m getting tons of well-wishes already. It’s hard not being with Marti, but Chandler and I are going out to dinner and a movie to celebrate tonight. However, I can truthfully say, there is no greater gift anyone could give me than to click here and sign up as a new MemberPartner of the Catch. Only 90 new MemberPartners to go!