Friday, December 5, 1997
Wagonmaster 'pulling for Christ'
By TANYA EISERER / Abilene Reporter-News
Travelers may have noticed an unusual sight at Highway 83/84
and Farm-to-Market 707: a buckskin clad woman, four horses, two
dogs and a covered wagon.
In case you did not stop, Finisia Medrano, of northern Idaho,
has camped on the edge of town to rest for a spell. Medrano, 41,
expects to stay through Sunday.
Her horses -- Strawberry Short Cake, Mouse, Katie and Little
Soldier -- are pinned in a makeshift corral made of stakes and
nylon cord. A solar panel atop the wagon allows her to electrify
the fence at night.
Medrano also had to make a trip into town to retrieve her dog,
Rusty, who bit a small child.
"I had to get him out of jail," she said.
Medrano lives in the covered wagon with a faded red sign on
the side proclaiming, "Pulling for Christ."
The cozy interior of the wagon is covered with Indian blankets
and momentos of her travels. She also has a bed and even a cage
for the dogs to sleep in at night.
"I've got a wood stove in there for heat and cooking,"
she said. "I've been burning mesquite wood in Texas."
She even has a stained glass window with a cross in wagon.
"I'm a firm believer that the church is wherever you make
it," Medrano explained.
Medrano makes Indian-style bead artwork that she sells to various
galleries. She's making a beaded "shoo fly" from horse
hair and leather.
"I make every kind of traditional item you can think of,"
Medrano said. "My grandma taught me how to bead when I was
a child. It's turned into a living."
Medrano lives a rather simple, pioneer-style life with no electricity
and no running water.
"I'm not complaining," she said. "It's what
I chose. I don't ever see myself going back and doing regular
Medrano lived in the wagon in Idaho for the last two years.
She traveled around teaching Bible studies and selling her artwork.
She struck out from Idaho in her covered wagon in May, heading
south through Wyoming, Colorado and Oklahoma. She travels about
100 miles a week.
"I don't want to go too far south because I don't want
to fight fire ants," she said. "They are dormant right
She plans to continue heading south -- at least for the time
being. Medrano hasn't made any other plans because she's waiting
for the Lord to provide instructions.
"This is the first time I've got nothing to do,"
Medrano said. "I have purposely refused obligations. I wanted
to find out what God wants. So now, I'm waiting.
"I just hope it doesn't have to do with Texas and fire
Medrano says "folks" quite often will stop and give
her food and other items. One couple stopped by Thursday and gave
her some hay left over from a recent parade.
"You meet some of the worst, and you meet some of the
best," she said.
Medrano has also kept a collection of patches from law enforcement
agencies around the nation.
"You don't get patches like that because they leave you
alone," Medrano said. "Some of them are gold-plated
Whenever she's hassled, Medrano says she always asks for a
"I get about a one-tenth of them," she said.
As a devout Christian, Medrano also tries to witness to others
about the Gospel.
"Somebody once asked who I witness to," Medrano said.
"I told them largely newspaper reporters and cops."
Medrano said she was a nurse, living in Woodland Hills, Calif.,
in 1984 when she converted to Christianity while trying to quit
a pack-a-day smoking habit.
She then hit the road.
"I sold everything, gave everything away, took up my cross
and started walking," Medrano said.
She walked for several years before she stopped long enough
to travel with pack horses. Medrano did that for about four years,
until some "rednecks" in Alabama built the wagon.
"I'm a bag lady," Medrano said. "I was a bag
lady for six years. It's just that my shopping cart has improved."
Over the years, she has traveled thousands of miles in the
wagon. Medrano said she has heard about the two Odessa men who
are trying to set a distance record for a covered wagon.
"If they're out for a record, they can have it,"
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