Hellanback arrived at a hope: If people could exist without money, as it seemed to him Jesus suggested, then financial institutions, wars and other criminal actions would become profitless, encouraging a redirection of resources to eradicate famine and erase the suffering of poverty.

He looked to reading for theory, but to experience as the most reliable teacher of fact . If he wanted to believe the truth, he decided, he would have to be honest. For days into months he continued thinking of an experiential test by which to try the conflicting "truths" of Jesus versus the moneychangers. Finally, an idea solidified. He would try to walk across North Africa, to Cairo, without money, and see if God did, in fact, provide. From his information the area was hostile, its inhabitants barbaric, which would make it an acid test.

If Jesus could be taken literally then there should be no reason to fear for his food, clothing, shelter, or the cruelty of Arabs. If Hellanback understood Jesus correctly not only would he survive the walk, but he'd also be in an ideal position to study the Great Pyramid firsthand rather than through the writings of others.

The only hitch was Donna. Although it wasn't perfect, Hellanback felt their marriage was precious and believed there was room for it to flourish within the framework of his budding spiritual growth. There was still a chance that he and Donna could learn and grow together.

He told Donna of his plan to walk across North Africa. "I don't know if the values we're living by are sound," he explained. He questioned. "What can be more important in life than to pursue understanding of eternal values?"

Donna was horrified. "What will happen to me? Maybe I'll lose the house."

"I don't expect that the trip will take more than six months, a year at the most. Aside from the mortgage we don't owe anyone a penny," he reminded her. "But there's more than enough money in the account to satisfy the bankers until I get back. You've got two cars, a pick-up truck, and a couple of hundred thousand bucks worth of jewelry at my cost. You can job it below cost if the going gets rough. I don't think you have any reason to worry about how you'll survive if I leave."

But mostly he tried to convince her to go with him.

"What are we living for? I think there must be something more to life than a Good Housekeeping home, color T.V., and progressively fancier cars. 'Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened.' I believe that God wants us to discover something in our lives of greater value than machines and trinkets."

"I'd be willing to go," Donna compromised, "but we'd have to have an itinerary, and advance hotel reservations so we know where we're going, and so people will know where we are."

"That would defeat the whole purpose for going. Anybody could make the trip with prepaid hotel reservations; I need to know whether it can be made on faith."

Donna clung to her fears like a young girl, taught by a world of people so afraid of dying that they never really lived, afraid to run away from home.

For a couple of weeks he hounded her with the ideas he'd been developing, and the importance of testing them. Their discussions played like a scratched record. Reluctantly he decided that the gap was unbridgeable.

One June night while Donna was watching television, he announced that he was leaving.

"I love you, Bill, but if you go I'm not going to guarantee I'll be here if you ever decide to come back."

"I hope you will be," he said, and stepped out the front door with nothing but the clothes he was wearing, a stetson to ward off the summer sun, and the desert nights. Walking near the University, he stuck his hands in his pockets and discovered several dollar bills. He very seldom went to a movie, but, passing a theater, decided to buy a ticket. He handed his last bill to the clerk at the refreshment stand, and watched the first installment of Star Wars before continuing his journey. At the city limit he stuck his hand in his pocket and tossed his last six cents into the darkness. Before him was the cold night of the desert, behind him the bright lights of the city, his wife, home, everything he'd been working for over the last seven years.

"Am I out of my mind?" he asked himself.

"Whoever values wife or children, home or lands more than he values me is not worthy of me." Words of Jesus stilled his doubt.

While walking out of town he realized that during their discussions of the trip Donna had never voiced any concern for his safety. He resolved not to become involved with another female unless he could believe she loved truth more than comfort and security.