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JESUS SAVES: Spreading the word by covered wagon

By JUDY SCHLESSELMAN, Star Press Union reporter


Heads turned in Belle Plaine Friday evening as Randy Boehmer and his mule-drawn covered wagons made a water stop at Grieder’s BP station. Boehmer has been traveling the country for 16 months spreading the Gospel. He came from “down the road” and was heading to Minnesota.

In a scene reminiscent of the Old West, a mule team pulling two covered wagons and a small trailer plodded north on Highway 21 into Belle Plaine July 24.

At the reigns was Randy Boehmer, an Arizona man who says he is on a journey, not a trip, with no particular destination in mind.  

“I’m a sinner traveling the country spreading the Word of God.” Boehmer said as he stopped at Grieder’s BP station to water his Belgian draft mules Frank, Jesse, Dick and Jack. Signs on the wagons underscore his mission: Jesus Saves, Ask Him and Acts 16:31.

A former self-employed taxidermist, Boehmer and his mules, along with his Border Collie, Shep, and rat terrier, Proverb, left Indiana for Florida 16 months ago.

They’ve been on the road ever since and in Iowa about three weeks.

All Boehmer knows is that he came from down the road and is heading north to Minnesota where the weather’s cooler. When the seasons change, he’ll head back south.

Boehmer got the idea to travel the country by covered wagon from Lee Young, a man he met in Arizona in 1990. Young had driven a mule team cross-country and lived a meager existence.

Boehmer was intrigued by such a simple life, but it wasn’t until his mother’s death in 1991 that he came to understand the insignificance of material possessions. He said he and his brother cleaned out his parents’ garage and what the family didn’t want was hauled to the dump.

“That’s when God put in on my heart to travel the country telling people about Jesus Christ,” he said.

But Boehmer wasn’t ready for the mission yet. After his wife died in 1998, he studied the Bible and was saved on March 3, 1999. Two years of Bible school followed.

To prepare for his journey, Boehmer spent seven months in Arizona learning to shoe horses and care for their feet. He then traveled to Indiana to build his covered wagons.

“God provides,” is how Boehmer sums up his life on the road. People are generous along the way and offer feed and water for the 1,300-pound mules. Overnight lodging is simple: he pulls the wagons into roadside ditches and beds down for the night.

“I’ve met a lot of nice people,” Boehmer said of his journey. The curious often stop to talk and 52 newspapers have interviewed him. If God is willing, there will be many more interviews and miles to come.

“I’ll be traveling until the day I die,” Boehmer said.

UPDATED July 29, 2009 9:31 AM

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