Rune Rofke - Glenn Emery
I was just about to write that Mike has left the team, but just now Captain Yasuda came back from making a phone call to Denver and Mike has come back.
Mike left while we were in Boulder. Satan sent two ex-family members to the parking lot he was at and he stopped fundraising and left a note saying he was going to think about it a couple days.
I had been driving the team while Captain stayed in Denver to do the books and order more product. Mike was the last person to be dropped off. I was resentful toward Mike for the accident. I felt his arrogance had allowed Satan to attack our team and he needed to repent.
Since I was in the Abel position as driver, I decided to let him have it. I told him he had to become top seller because of the accident, and the future of the team really depended on his attitude, since he was most directly responsible for the accident. I also said he was in the position to receive the greatest blessing if he could be humble and sincerely repent for smashing up the van and putting Kate in the hospital. I could tell from the look on his face that he didn't like what I was saying, but I knew I was right.
When I went back to get him, he wasn't at the pickup spot. So I drove over to the message post, a light pole in the corner of the parking lot, and saw a small piece of paper under a rock at the base of the pole. Mike's note made it pretty clear that he was gone, so after driving around a bit looking for him we finally went back to Denver without him.
It turned out Mike, after failing to make any result in Boulder, had taken a taxi back to Denver and gone to the center to talk to Captain about what I said. Captain Yasuda scolded me for talking to Mike that way, saying that even though I was right, I shouldn't have talked to him that way because it made him feel too accused to fundraise, and that didn't help Father get victory at Yankee Stadium. I apologized to Captain, saying I should have chosen my words with Mike more carefully, but I was mad at him for causing the accident.
Captain Yasuda then explained to me that he was upset too, that all of us were angry about the accident, but the responsibility was his because he was Abel. He said it was his failure that Mike smashed the van and put our top seller in the hospital. He said he was the one who had to answer to Mr. Kamiyama, not Mike. He said he was the one who had to repent for allowing Satan to attack. He said he failed by falling asleep instead of staying awake to make sure Mike didn't fall asleep, because we all knew Mike was prone to dozing off, especially late at night like that.
I'd never heard anything like that before. I could see the enormous burden in his face. For the first time I understood what it means to be Abel, that being the leader is not about glory and praise. Abel is the one who takes responsibility for Cain's failure, even though it's not really his fault. Only Abel can ask God to forgive Cain. Cain cannot do it himself. It blew my mind.
But Captain also said he was very firm with Mike. I guess judgment from Captain was easier to take than hearing it from me because Mike agreed to come back to the team.
Monday we made preparations to leave the city for a few days, and on Tuesday Kate returned from Pueblo, still sore but able to move around. So early on Wednesday morning we left Denver and drove to Grand Junction. The next day, Thursday, we hit Montrose. This was the same town that Imoe and I had picked up Karola last summer. It was pretty good fundraising. That night Debbie and I fundraised Ouray, which is at the base of the mountains. Last night we drove up into the mountains to Silverton, where we spent the night.
It snowed all night. We tried to get an early start. We had a Ford LTD station wagon that I had rented while our van was in the shop, and we were pulling a U-Haul trailer with our product. Captain was driving and our goal was to get to Durango by noon. But we didn't have any chains on the station wagon and it was really slow going. After a while, pulling a trailer up the mountains in the snow, it got too steep and slippery and we couldn't go forward. The back wheel just kept spinning. We had no choice but to turn around and go back to town and buy some chains.
It was snowing pretty hard and the two-lane highway was now just one set of tire tracks hugging the mountain. Fortunately, there was almost no other traffic. We quickly unhooked the U-Haul, got the car turned around, and then hooked up the U-Haul again. Now we were in the wrong lane going down the mountain, but we had nowhere else to drive. We just hoped nobody was trying to come up the mountain.
A few minutes later we came around a blind curve and there was a Cadillac coming toward us. We both hit the brakes but just kept sliding. We all braced for impact and it sounded awful. But when we got out to look, there was almost no damage because both of us had been going so slow. So we apologized to the other driver and then continued on into town. It took a lot of heaven's time and money to get back on the road again. And by then we didn't need the $50 chains we had just bought because the sun came out and the road to Durango was now clear.
By mid afternoon we were in Durango. The sun was out and it was pleasant, almost springlike. I fundraised a Mexican market that was hopping with Saturday shoppers. We'll stay here one more day and then head back to Denver.
The warmth of the sun made me feel good. It seemed like a really long, hard winter. The air was so dry that I would often get awful nosebleeds without warning if I blew my nose. There would be blood everywhere. I had never experienced that before. It looked terrible.
But that wasn't the worst of it. Most of the winter my fingers and knuckles were badly chapped and cracked. Even though I had gloves, it was a hassle to wear them because I'd always have to take them off to take someone's money or count change. So even though it would be below zero, I usually didn't wear my gloves and my hands just dried out. I'd rub them with lotion but it would only help a little.
The skin under my nails was so dry it split, and handling Satan's money, all those germs on the bills and coins, would make them infected. Pushing my hands in and out of my pockets was excruciatingly painful. Some days I could hardly do it. Like I said, it was a long, hard winter. I'm glad it's almost over.