Hotel / Casino New York-New York in Las Vegas.

Image via Wikipedia

Our friends gave us a week in their Las Vegas time-share, which was a real blessing as we had no money for a vacation after buying a car, so thanks so much, guys! There’s not much to see in between L.A. and Vegas, unless you count the world’s largest thermometer or a 50’s diner with a dinosaur park…

Yes, somebody had to make one...

…or a splitting image of FINLAND on the side of a Nevada mountain. (I guess you’d have to be Finnish to really appreciate it!)

The map of Finland on the side of a mountain. Amazing!

Having spent just a week in Vegas, I really don’t get how people are able to live here! It’s been over 110 degrees Fahrenheit (That’s 43 degrees Celsius to you Europeans!) most of the week, and we’ve had a very testing time here. This really puts Jesus’ 40 days in the desert in perspective! Both kids have been sick, but that hasn’t kept us from the hotel pool, which has just about the balmiest water you could imagine…

Stepping outside, the heat clings your shirt to your skin as soon as you hit the sidewalk. We’ve taken short walks as we’re only a block away from the Strip. That, by the way, is a very appropriate name, since the newspaper boxes are full of girl catalogs and sidewalks are full of people in t-shirts screaming “GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!” and other variations of the same theme, while the people wearing them slap their “business cards” and try to hand them over to guys, girls and yes, sometimes this husband and father of two, who is WALKING WITH HIS WIFE AND TWO KIDS! Sin City, for sure, but God is even there. In the middle of it, I suddenly heard a quiet voice in my heart say, “You don’t belong in this world.” What an awesome moment. Then I looked at my family around me, and the same quiet voice said, “Strength.” Looking at the peddlers with their cards, one last word, “Weakness.” It felt amazing to hear God protect and guide us through this maze.Β We did our best to walk by the rag mag boxes, blocking them from the view of our 5-year-old son Miro. You might think he wouldn’t get it, but when it comes to protecting our kids, you are talking to a tiger. I will do whatever it takes to allow our children to grow up healthy and free of junk, thank you very much!

Downtown Las Vegas

Las Vegas has been built up like you wouldn’t believe, and it isn’t all pretty. Just because you have money, it doesn’t mean you’ll create something beautiful. What used to be is now covered by ritzy skyscrapers and shopping malls that look generic and unwelcoming. To me, it kinda sums up living life without God. You end up with a lot of things, both material and immaterial, but there’s no heart, no redemption, no eternity. I wouldn’t choose it…

Where's the soul?

It seems no coincidence that the “New Center of Las Vegas” is in trouble, some of its cold, steel structures even before they open up. Just check this article on the Harmon Hotel. Not even opened yet, it might be demolished before receiving its first guest! Talking about construction, this building caught our eye by the North Premium Outlets:

Would you like to live in here?

Even with all the gloominess, there are still some great things in Vegas. Check out the lions at the MGM Grand:

Thank God for the glass in between!

A 1/3 replica of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Casino is a personal favorite:

The Other Eiffel Tower

The Twin Towers

The greatest thing about Las Vegas? Meeting with God! We just returned from a Sunday morning visit atΒ Central Christian Church and heard some amazing worship by their band and a great teaching by Jud Wilhite about making time for what really matters. Their creativity was inspiring, and they reach people from strippers and addicts on, God is doing amazing work there!

Central Christian Church in Las Vegas

Even better than going to church was a moment on holy ground right on the Strip the other day. We were walking by the M&M store (13 bucks for a pound, what’s up with that?!?) and saw a young man dancing on the sidewalk. Thinking nothing of it, we passed him by the next day and heard a worship song about Jesus blasting loud in the middle of people dressed up as anything from Iron Man to strippers in cop uniforms, earning their living from tips by letting people take photos with them. I had to walk up to Jeffrey, as he then introduced himself. We said a quick hello, I told him how much I loved what he was doing, and we parted ways saying that we’d be meeting up in heaven one day (God willing!) It was an amazing moment in the desert heat surrounded by a city that thrives on sin and it reminds me of God’s words about how grace abounds even more where darkness reigns. God adds life to everything, and it’s awesome to experience Vegas with Him.

Mango drinks for everyone!

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