Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Wild Frontier

I thought I would share with you a fact that I recently learned about the area where we live and serve in ministry.
I keep telling you that we are in rural South East Colorado.
But I was informed recently that we are not rural, we are considered frontier.

Here is the definition that explains that determination:

Frontier areas are sparsely populated rural areas that are isolated from population centers and services. While frontier is sometimes defined simplistically as places having a population density of six or fewer people per square mile this does not take into account other important factors that may isolate a community.

What are some of the challenges facing frontier areas?

Answer: The isolation and distances that classify an area as frontier results in long trips to attend school, shop for groceries, get health care, and reach other basic services. Public transportation options are often limited or unavailable in frontier areas, making access to needed services difficult for low-income households, the elderly and disabled. Frontier areas face seasonal travel barriers that can make travel difficult. For those living in mountainous areas, some roads and passes may be closed in winter, leading to longer travel times. Residents may find that winter driving in the frontier extends travel times because they need to slow down to adequately account for road conditions and limited visibility. Flooding caused by melting snow and heavy rains can force the closure of main roads for unexpected and extended periods of time in both mountainous and flatland landscapes.

The economy in frontier areas is usually based on a few specific resources or activities and so are more at risk of downturns and boom-bust cycles. Tourism, farming, ranching, logging, and mining are some of the businesses that are common in rural areas. Frontier communities may be more vulnerable to less desirable sources of business income, such as nuclear waste disposal. Frontier areas where much of the land is federally owned may lack an adequate tax base to pay for needed services. (In SE Colorado most of the land is privately owned ranch land which is taxed but not at the level of residential property, leaving the counties with a low tax base for services).

This information is from the Rural Assistance Center website. My added comment in parenthesis.

My intention is not to bring you facts that you can add to your trivia bank. My desire is to give you something that forms a picture, a mural if you will, of the people and the challenges to ministry in this area. For the sake of keeping this update from getting too long I am going leave you with this info and let the Spirit of Jesus paint a picture in your mind.

Next update I will give you some snapshots to add to this mural.
Tonight I will also extend the invitation of “come and you will see” John 1:39.


A little update from Mary-

Happy Birthday Sweet William!

Bill with his Mom and Dad this January