I'm a Christain, albeit a very theologically uneducated one, so I think of Sodom and Gomorra when in Las Vegas. Driving into town on a Saturday early evening was an experience in itself as we were exhausted from three days on the road. We found the motel easily enough with the assistance of Peaches, our GPS unit, and the fact that we're staying at the Stratosphere Tower which literally towers over every other structure on the strip. We found a parking space on the 7th floor of the parking garage and fought our bags down the elevator, from one end of the casino floor to the other for check in, and back up to the 7th floor to our room. In this happy jaunt we were approached, or accosted, no less than three times by vendors attempting to suck us in to what they were offering. The gentleman at the check in desk and one of the vendors on the casino floor pointed us to the "nearest" elevator to our room which turned out to be the furthest elevator to our room. After we finally dropped our bags and located the "nearest" elevator to our room we headed back to the casino floor to find a bite to eat before sleep. I was so disappointed to find that the buffet here was twice as expensive as the buffet at the Terribles casino in Iowa where we stopped enroute, but we weren't willing to keep walking and take another option at the end of the day.
When I walk through a casino I feel depressed and out of sorts. While living in Southern California I worked in a casino for six months. I worked in the check cashing center and was front row to the desperate damage gambling can inflict on people's lives. I've seen businessmen throw every credit card they have on the counter searching for that last $50 cash to throw away in a slot machine. I've talked to the school teaching single mom who decided that moving another 25 miles from the casino would be the only thing that would keep her out of it and maintain a portion of her retirement account. I've seen people throw a temper tantrum because the ATM machines and the check cashing center refuse to give them cash from their government assistance (food stamp) cards. I've seen people return to the check cashing center regularly on a 36 to 48 hour gambling vigil with no sleep.
I see that when I come here. I see the billboards for topless shows about female vampires and the families dragging small children through the casino where they are exposed to whatever might cross their path. I see people living the phrase "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas"..... but I know it doesn't. You can't hide from the Lord and you will end up before him accounting for your choices some day.
Enough preaching. I've made many, many bad decisions in my life. I've done things that would make most people blush or weep. I thank the Lord every day that he brought Bubba & I together and that I finally found my faith and the joy it brings to my life. I pray for those who have not yet discovered the joy that following Jesus brings. I pray for those who have not discovered the strength to make better decisions.
Later today we go to Richard's house in North Las Vegas. I'm so anxious to meet him! Its so exciting to have a new family member after 9 years of not knowing any of Bubba's family. As best they remember they last saw one another in 1985 when Richard came home from Germany and his tour of duty there. They're brothers but barely know one another. It should be wonderful experiencing their reconnection. Bubba and I believe this is the Lord's plan; that we should come here and reunite part of his family.
If all goes well we will spend more time with Richard tomorrow and hit the road again Tuesday morning. Will try to keep you all posted as to where we are and what we're up to. I should have a picture or two to share with you my morning.
More later ...........