Salvation Mountain

Below are some more pictures of my trip to Salvation Mountain. As you read on, the pictures may become the insignificant part.

To be honest, I didn't know what to expect when I was thinking of going. Almost backed out several times because of the unknowns. I had to leave the hotel at 5:00 am and drive 3 1/2 hours in California traffic to get there. Wasn't for sure how anxious I was to travel by myself to a place in the middle of nowhere in the California desert. As I got closer, I started to realize that I was probably standing out. I pulled into Niland, CA (population 1,184) in my Volvo S80 sedan (thanks Hertz for the great upgrade). Most of the cars were very vintage (pre-1980ish). So I made my final turn onto Main Street and headed a couple of miles out of Niland to Slab City. This is the place that is proud of the fact that it is "the last free place" to live. Turns out the land is occupied by people who want to 'get away' for free. Leonard Knight happened to be one of those people...

So I pull into the entrance to get to Salvation Mountain and was greeted by someone other than Leonard. Realizing that I had travelled too far to back out now, I got out of the car and introduced myself. Because I had left so early, nobody else was there yet. Found out that Leonard was in Niland having breakfast. So I had about 30-40 minutes to talk to Kevin. What a great conversation! He was a volunteer that had taken 6 months off to come down and spend some time with Leonard and help. He spent alot of time telling me about Leonard and the area around Slab City (in particular Niland and the Salton Sea). I felt like I was in an advanced history class... So then he let me know that Leonard was coming. I turned around to see a small brightly painted car heading down the road at a fairly fast rate of speed. As the car approached the drive, you can hear the brakes working overtime. Kevin said that Leonard sometimes forgets about the brakes. So here he comes up the drive in his car with a big smile on his face. Kevin let me know to talk loud and look directly at Leonard, since he didn't hear that well. No sooner than the car stopped, Leonard hops out and comes up to shake my hand. He asks me if I have ever been to Salvation Mountain and then offers to take me on a tour. The amazing thing about the tour was how he continually talked about all of the details on the mountain and how his face absolutely glowed that someone actually came to hear about it. He was constantly apologizing for "gabbing too much". And he made sure that we knew that the reason that he did this was that he wanted us all to know how much God loved us. He kept letting everyone (by this time there were around 30-40 people) know that he loved it when we took pictures, because then more people would hear about the message that he was trying to get out. I can honestly say that I took alot of pictures, so now I feel like I should do my part and post them for others to see.

So what was the big deal about going to the middle of the desert to see an old man that had spent a large portion of his life building a mountain out of clay and painting it with bright colors and graffiti about God? Didn't really realize it until after I left... Think about this... Here is a man who made a decision that most of us could never make; to simplify his life and focus on a God who loved him unconditionally. He continued on this path despite his apparent failures time after time of getting the message across. Even when people didn't come, he continued. Now he is in the latter part of his life and people are coming from everywhere to the middle of nowhere just to meet him and hear his message. What would we give to have an impact like that? Most that come to meet him are probably already Christians. But remember that he has made his home in the middle of an area that many people come to because they have no other home. Leonard is there with a bright, BOLD statement as a backdrop that can't be missed "God Is Love"! So my question is: HOW BOLD IS OUR STATEMENT?

1 comment:

  1. WOW, Troy, what an awesome experience! I had never heard of it before--thanks for sharing with us!