Blog from Saudi Arabia from Keith Simpson

Hello again from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Have you ever felt like your life is heading down a one-way road the wrong way? I sure do. Driving back and forth from our compound to the Saudi Air Force airfield reminded me of that. Traffic laws here are more like suggestions than laws. People here pretty much do whatever they want driving. It’s such a contradiction to the Religious laws. We regularly see cars and trucks driving the wrong way on a one-way road just because it’s quicker. Making the drive to the airfield every morning we face numerous obstacles. The first thing we face is the traffic driving the wrong way. They flash their lights and blow their horns. That is how they let you know they’re coming and you better move. It’s pretty exciting the first few times. It’s especially fun when the cars are 2 and 3 wide coming at you in the wrong direction. It’s like NASCAR except backward! After getting past the one-way portion of the trip, we’re headed towards the next set of obstacles. They like to build speed bumps in the road to control speed which often blend in with the asphalt. They don’t paint them so you can’t see them. If you slow down too much to cross them, cars or trucks will pass you in the opposite lane and on the dirt shoulder. Yep, exciting again!
Next, comes the camels. There are several areas we call camel farms. They’re 2 or 3-acre squares in the desert that have dirt bulldozed into walls all the way around. Somehow the camels still get out or maybe are let out. They wander out into the road. When it’s you in a Suburban or Tahoe against a camel, the camel will always win. They are very large and will completely destroy a Large SUV. I had one stand in the road in front of us and then finally walk along the side of our vehicle and stop and look in the window. Pretty funny. We have figured out they use dirt for the walls or fences because wood is in very short supply here but the one thing they have plenty of is dirt. Lots and lots of dirt or fine sand. The camel herders use what they have I guess. After the wrong way traffic, cars passing you on both sides of you and the camels wandering around, there’s always the mid-size flatbed truck that is piled as high as they can pile it with bales of alfalfa and they can somehow strap it down. The trucks are piled so high it looks like they could tip over with a light gust of wind. After all of that, we drive into the airfield, thankful we made it but knowing that in several hours we have to run the gauntlet again.

This reminds me of my spiritual life. I, probably like most people, navigate through various obstacles every day. We trudge through the journey every day, dodging bullets (so to say) from things thrown at us and just the normal issues most of us work through daily. Very often I find myself trying to do this on my own. I think I have to handle everything alone. First of all, I am lucky to have a wonderful wife I know I can count on to have my back and help me but I usually don’t want to bother her. The most important resource or help we all can have is the Lord above. I can ALWAYS pray and ask for His help, wisdom, and guidance. We all can look to Him to bless us with the wisdom and good judgment to successfully navigate any obstacle that life can throw at us. We are so fortunate to be able to ask for these things and most importantly ask for forgiveness for our sins and for the wisdom to do better the next day. Isn’t that amazing that our God loves us so much He is willing to forgive us all of our sins? All we have to do is ask and you shall be forgiven. I know I am certainly not worthy of it but he gives it to me willingly. His love for us is unconditional. His grace is constant. I am so thankful I worship such a loving God. I know I have to try harder every single day to live life in a way to honor Him and lead other people to know his grace and forgiveness. As a Christian, I believe it is my duty and obligation to him to set the example for everyone to see. More often than not it is what we do, not what we say that will either bring others to know Christ or make them turn away. The old saying “Actions speak louder than words” is something I believe. It doesn’t mean I always succeed but I must strive for that. We can let his light shine through us for others to see.

Instead of a scripture verse this time, I will leave you with words from my Grandmother’s favorite song.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no 
less days to sing His GRACE, then when we first begun.”

God bless you all. I hope to see you all soon!

Keith Simpson

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