Mission Impossible: Walking over the Falls

Over the past 15 years of working with students, I figure that I’ve been a part of over 600 student Bible studies or worship services on Wednesday night.  One that stands out happened in the mid-2000’s in Memphis, TN.  That Wednesday night we had a group of men come in and share with our students.  One of those men was a tightrope walker named Tino Wallenda.

I don’t remember ever seeing a tight rope walker and really had no idea what he needed.  He drove an old van with almost nothing in it, but his equipment.  I remember carrying in his rope thinking ‘man this rope is HEAVY!!’  He was a really nice man and was polite to me even though I could offer him almost no help in setting up his rope.  Basically I carried his stuff, held his ladder, and let him know when he had ‘official’ permission to walk across a rope tied to our track in the gym.  Of all the gifted men that I’ve seen share with students, his gift was unique and allowed him to speak truth into their lives.

This past Friday night, Tino’s nephew Nik did maybe the most remarkable tightrope walk in American history.  I spent my first anniversary in Niagara Falls in the middle of winter!  Because of that we visted alot of places that talked about the rich stunting history of Niagara Falls.  It is amazing that Nik was able to deal with all of the elements.   It is amazing that Nik was able to have the endurance to do that long of a walk.  It is amazing that Nik could talk while doing it.

The most amazing thing is that this event ever happened.  I would NEVER have thought a rope walk over the Falls would be approved by both US and Canadian governments.  Daredevil stunts have been banned in the Falls for over 125 years.  Even when guys like Charles Blondin walked near Falls they were pretty far away from the Horseshoe Falls.  Most people that do a daredevil stunt near or in the Falls die.

For over 2 years, Nik tried to get this event approved.  I cannot imagine how many times the governments told him no.  I bet many people thought he was crazy and would eventually give up this dream.  I would have told him to stop and move on with walking over the Grand Canyon (his next walk).  Somehow he didn’t listen to all of those no’s and finally got this event approved by all involved.

This will go down as one of the greatest stunts in American history.  I doubt that you will ever see it again at the Falls.  However the real story is Nik’s passionate pursuit of his dream.

How could someone have that type of patience to deal with TWO major governments and officials.  I think it has something to do with his faith in Christ.   he is a follower of Jesus.  Just like his uncle that I worked with many years ago.


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