I think it’s time for a Praise Report! (And a really cool story)
A few months before we were setting out on the East Coast Tour, Joel and I did a few calculations and quickly determined that our finances would not hold up against 4 weeks on the road. And my nerves would not hold up against starting home-school in a mixture of various people’s homes (as delightful as they may be) and motel rooms. We sent out a request to the churches and individuals we had been involved with in Michigan describing our dilemma.
Adding to the dilemma were the dates we needed a trailer for (over Labor Day Weekend) and the low tow limit of our Honda Pilot. Well, God moved mightily through Berlin and LeValley Churches as they worked together to strike a lease deal with the local RV dealership, but the Honda limits made it almost impossible to get a trailer big enough to work for that length of time. Translation: we thought a shower would be a blessing to the folks we were meeting, a toilet would save our sanity, and a pop up would put Joel over the edge.
Dick and Penny Simington saved the day when they offered to switch their truck for our Pilot. This gave us a 12,000 lb towing capacity. The team went to work with the new limits and got everything set up with the RV dealership. The scope of the project was substantial with fund raising within the churches to pay for the lease, insurance, and ensuring compatibility of tow packages. All this was taken care of without concerning us. They just promised the truck and trailer would be ready in time.
I imagine God was watching with a smile on His face as He watched His children diligently working to get this missionary family on the road. Only He knew that 5 days before we would have to leave, after the preparations had been made but not finalized, the original plan would be thrown out (sorry Bill and Bob for the hours you put in). I imagine He watched with delight as we received the call from Clinton Rudd offering his 24 ft trailer free of charge. Rudd’s had just realized they could accomplish their Labor Day trip in another camper and had their’s to offer us.
The truck was perfect (of course), the trailer was perfect (of course), and we headed out August 20th.
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
A thought has been coming to me in my quiet times with the Lord … planting seeds. One thing I love about the Lord is how a simple phrase can mean so much in so many aspects of our life.
The most obvious is planting seeds in our children. The seeds of trusting our Savior for our financial, spiritual, and emotional needs daily. Modeling our total dependence on Him to the two little minds who are soaking up our every move in this time of shifting sands. And He has been so faithful!
The less obvious seed planting is outside our home. As Joel and I are navigating this new terrain of “what it means to be a missionary” together, the seed planting analogy arose again. We have been reminded yet again that our missionary work is not beginning when we set foot on African soil. It is even beyond the churches and individuals we have been blessed to be meeting with.
Planting seeds looks like a 45 minute subway ride with a businessman who became interested in two vibrant, friendly children who talked about going to Africa; opening the door for us to share what God is doing there and how we will be helping spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through aviation. Divine appointments. He left with our prayer card, information on AIM, and a smile on his face. As we’ve said before, its not just about our journey, but all soldiers of the faith. Planting seeds.
Or talking to a volunteer at the Hershey Chocolate plant (a guilty pleasure that was on our way and too close to pass up). A five minute conversation that started with “So where y’all from?” and ended with Africa. The look on his face said it all. A seed had been planted and He was touched.
Sometimes I get stuck thinking grandeur. God thinks in mustard seeds.
Who knew we’d love gardening this much?! Well, other than God.
Following graduation, we hit the road running. The first order of business was to take Riley, our poodle bichon and pet of 12 years, back to his country of origin (Canada) to live with LaReina’s mom and dad in Alberta. They blessed us by meeting us in Steinbach, Manitoba which was a half way meeting point.
Seeing Mom and Dad again after a year was great. Saying good-bye to Riley – not so great.
Riley jumped into the truck heading for Alberta and waited for the drivers as if it had been whispered into his heart that his travelling with us was over. I don’t know about you, but I think that dog had a God whisper that day. After all, the Master Creator made him too. His heart was calmed, and watching his reaction to the unfolding situation brought peace to ours.
Psalm 84:5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
Thank you, Jesus, for taking the smallest details into Your hands and blessing us through them.
Joel graduated with his Airframe and Powerplant License August 10th. He celebrated with 27 other graduates and their families before they scattered onto the plans God has for each of them. Some are completing the final stages before deployment to the field; some are just getting started in their journey. All in all, it was an incredible year of new experiences, growing in faith, enduring trials, and learning that travelling with friends makes the walk so much more enjoyable! Thank you to our Michigan friends who made this year so fun!