THESE BOOTS…

“You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the lands which you shall possess.”     Deuteronomy 5:33

Pop was born with a sense of adventure and growing up in a family of 6 brothers and 1 sister, he learned to fend for himself early on.  Even though he didn’t always use the best judgement, he always went, with gusto, into the task at hand.

rider 2

Having a love of motorcycles, he seized the opportunity to buy a motorcycle dealership when he was very young.  And, his love for motorcycles and the open road have filled his soul all his life.  He set about to make his dream of seeing the world come true…just he and his motorcycle…and lots of faith in God.

Harley Davidson

 

His first trips took him north through the Unites States and Canada on the AlCan Highway, to Fairbanks, Alaska. One hundred miles north of Fairbanks is Circle, Alaska…the northernmost point of the Northern America Highway System…The End of the Road. Heading southward, he arrived at the End of the Road once more…40 miles above the Panama Canal.

After he was satisfied that he had seen the End of the road…he set his sights away from the USA and into 15 foreign countries. If he could ride his motorcycle there from Dothan, AL, he did. But, if not, he shipped it in and then picked it up and rode throughout the countries. Many times, he would exit the country the way he came in…and leave the missionary with a newfound and reliable method of transpiration. Kenya, Tanzania, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras are just some of the countries he spent time in. Not speaking Spanish, he quickly learned the most important words to safely navigate his way. A place to sleep, a place to eat, and a safe place for his machine. Many nights he kept it in his motel room with him ! He made a total of 7 trips, 5 solo and 2 with a buddy. Most lasted for 2-3 months. And on every trip, he wore boots….these boots to be exact…

boots 1

These boots were made for riding…and hiking through jungles…and catching alligators in the Amazon River. They were made for wearing while missionaries homes were tinkered with by the ‘missionary man’ from Dothan, AL. He calls himself ‘the missionary to the missionaries’. Always traveling at his own expense and providing his own tools and work gear, he left tiny snatches of his heart throughout South and Central America, and parts of Africa. His work over the years included building radio stations, churches, helping visiting medical teams, traveling with the missionary on the field to remote villages to check on new churches, pray with them and encourage the ‘brothers’. He fixed cabinet doors in missionary residences, repaired washing machines so they wouldn’t scoot across the floor, and built rabbit hutches for a young missionary kid. He patched roofs and fixed doors so they would swing freely. He went to be a friend to those who were called to serve. He befriended missionary kids and made lifelong friends.

[Missionary Dick Greenwood center back in brown jacket…Pop in front gifting this church with a generator…] generator...Honduras

These years were full of close calls, brushes with near death, and an angel visitation. But, for a man who felt a calling on his life…he viewed it as one big adventure. My Mom supported his trips and we daughters were in awe of the man who would pack a few bags of supplies on the back of his Honda, tie them down with several bungee cords and take off for parts unknown.

rider 5

 

Some called it folly, others a great witness and testimony. But, he calls it “just one little man doing his little part in the great big world.” There are missionaries all over who know today that they were cared for and loved and respected by him and his family. If they had a need and it was in his power, he met it. God’s grace and protection abounded everywhere he went…and the stories he can still tell could fill a book…which I hope to write one day.

This is my Daddy…my Pop… and if you want to know more…just ask him. But, you better be prepared to sit for a mighty long spell! They are as fresh and alive in his 88 year old mind as they were when they happened!

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Happy Birthday, Pop! You make me proud!

 

boots 2   [The pictures of Pop’s boots were done by Adam as a gift for Pop.  They are absolutely beautiful, printed on metallic paper …the copies here do not do them justice.]

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9 Comments

  1. Oh, Tonja! He makes ME proud, too, from this two-step remove way up here.

    Your dear sweet Daddy! I can always tell by your pictures that he is a man of great character, faith, and hard work. Give him a big birthday hug from another southern girl, up in the heartland.

    And when you CAN get him to sit down and talk, get that recorder going, and just let him go on and on—I'll guarantee you'll hear lots you've never heard before now. My Daddy kept a recorder going all the time he was woodworking or driving or working on cars, and never failed to write some music while he was on the long drive from to and from our house. And the memories—the stories and happenings and things of a time before US—those are indelibly precious.

    You'll be so happy to have his voice and his words, and if you don't have time to transcribe them, I WILL!!! I type like the wind and can understand SOUTHERN like all get out. And spell it too, but some of that I make up.

    Oh, SO MANY HAPPY BIRTHDAY WISHES, Pop Townsend!. I know you know how much you're loved.

    Rachel in Indy

    PS I hope you're hanging these pictures beside the unforgettable one of your Mother's hands.

  2. Beautiful story. Beautiful man. Beautifully written. So glad you shared!

  3. Tonja, I had no idea he did all that!! No wonder you're such an amazing woman!! I do look forward to that book. I had ones I hope to write as well someday. (-:

  4. Tonja,

    I hope all's well with you and yours—I posted before there was a comment here last week, and it still says ZERO, so hope you're just busy.

    This touched so many levels of my heart, and I'll write more of it when I don't have a little girl coming at 7 a.m.

    love and,

    rachel

    • Hi Rachel, I have just gotten around to looking at my comments.  Spent a few days at the beach last week and I am still having trouble with this foot!  Also having a little kidney trouble and have not been feeling my best! Thank you for your kind words!  My Pop loves, loves, loves to tell stories.  He has stories about every place he visited and the people he visited.  He has truly had some remarkable experiences for one man!  I have gotten him a tape recorder and some tapes and told him to start talking!  He says he does better when someone is listening and asking questions.  So, Joy and I are planning to take him down to the beach house for a few days when it cools off some and just let him talk away!   So, I may take you up on your offer.  I know you could make his stories sing like nobody's business!   Do I remember you saying that you were making a trip down into these parts?  If you do…or in the future….I would love to find my way to you and get a real live hug from you!  Even though I feel as if we are old friends.  I often feel the hugs in your words! Hope things are going well with you and your precious little one!  Know she is growing so!  Hope you are ot having these terribly hot days like we are!  Just about have to live in the pool!Take care…and Consider yourself hugged today! Tonja

  5. Beautiful story. Beautiful man. Beautifully written.

  6. I'll bookmark your website and come back soon.

  7. Nice!! Your blog is very informative. Thank you for sharing this post.

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