Monday, August 18, 2014

A Branson Vacation

Well, we just got back from 5 days and 4 nights in Branson, Missouri. We've talked about this trip for about 15 years, and finally got yo it. We've talked about an anniversary trip for several years, and finally got around to it. I'm glad we did.  I want to tell you about our favorite stops, our not-so-favorite stops, and a few things I learned from the trip.

It seemed like everywhere we went there was a show. Someone was singing at Mel's Hardluck Diner, at Grandma's Rolls, and everywhere else we went. We attended a couple of paid-for shows - Jonah at Sight & Sound studios, and the Hughes Brothers 'It' show. Jonah was hands down the best show we saw. The story of redemption was told with incredible singers, acting, and special effects. If you get to Branson and see one show, this is it.

Our favorite attraction was riding the Branson Duck. Ducks are revamped WWII amphibious vehicles. The one we rode had a great group of passengers - a mom & dad and four grown sisters with their husbands. They sat in front of us and they were hilarious, but the driver of the Duck was just a hoot. He informed us, drove us, captained us as we went amphibious, and made the trip the best hour we spent in Branson. We got to watch the Branson Belle paddleboat leave dock from the Duck. It was great.

Here are some of the things I learned:
1.  No one who lives in Branson is from Branson. They've all moved from somewhere else.
2.  Branson has a family-friendly, very moral atmosphere.
3.  There are more flea markets in Branson per capita than anywhere else on earth.
4.  Even family friendly can be worldly.

Let me talk about that one. If you've never been worldly, then it won't register. If you have, it may. We stayed in a boutique hotel - meaning small & one-of-a-kind. It was a romantic spot that catered to couples who weren't bringing their kids. Denise told me I did good. It wasn't wild and crazy. It had a wine bar/café, outdoor garden-like seating, and live music each evening. The guests listened to music, didn't get rowdy, and were civilized. I mean, this was a nice, romantic place. But . . . that whole music, beer/wine garden, live music scene is seductive to me. It's a draw, not back to my wild west days, but rather to my worldly days. And, I've discovered that worldliness is a much greater danger than wildness for me. So, I'm thankful for the wake up / reminder from the Lord about that.

Now, on to the last thing I learned:
5.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most precious thing I possess. 

Where to worship last Sunday. Would we stay in Branson? Would we side-step to Fayetteville to hear Ronnie Floyd? Well we ended up stopping at Summit Church in Little Rock on the way home. It was good to worship with them, and  hear their senior pastor, Bill Eliff (co-founder of One Cry), share the first of three sermons that were sort of a vision-casting for the next year for their church. He shared, with his church of over 1,000, mostly younger adults, that this year they would equip every one of them to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By the end of the year, every person in their church will know how to present the most precious gift to the people in their lives. He shared his testimony with tears, and I was renewed and reminded.

The time away was a blessing. The time with my best friend, Denise, was a blessing. Jonah, the Ducks, the flea markets, all blessings. The reminder from God about worldliness, a blessing. We met a lot of people, enjoyed our time, and were reminded that we already have the most precious gift in the universe - the privilege of knowing the good news of Jesus Christ.