***Ministry Update: As some of you know, this blog isn’t in “real time.” At least, not yet. As I type this, we’ve finished up our tour of the Midwest and are currently driving through Such Dakota. The delay was intentional because I needed time to process my thoughts. We’re four months into this insane adventure, driving through our 29th state. We’re coming to a fork in the road, figuratively speaking. We know our lives are about to change. We can feel it. ****
Almost everywhere we go, someone inevitably asks if we’re taking notes on how to live out this grand adventure. But, here’s a confession: You don’t want our notes. I promise. Jamie’s always quick to respond, “The only notes we have: What NOT to do.” It’s true. All the experts will tell you that we’ve done everything “wrong.” And maybe from the world’s standards we have. But, the Lord is leading us to the road less traveled. Honestly, it feels like He’s just dropping us in the middle of a 2000 acre corn field with only a machete to carve out our the trail. (We just spent the past two weeks driving through corn. It’s fresh on my mind.) We have no compass or map. No sense of direction. Just a gentle blowing of the wind… and pretty much all six of us questioning which direction the wind is blowing. We’re a ridiculous mess.
As we encroached on two weeks without a home, we finally purchased a RV… in Pennsylvania. Without ever driving it. Without even looking at it. This isn’t recommended. EVER. (You should see the faces of seasoned RVers when they hear our story. They can’t hide their horror at the thought of making sure a huge purchase without due diligence.) Because the model we settled on (Entegra Odyssey) was different than the models we originally looked at, our cargo capacity changed. In short, we had to shave about 150 pounds of weight. That might not seem like a lot, but it meant only bringing 460 pounds into the RV. And when the kids’ instruments weight 75 pounds, and then you add the InstaPot and clothes for six people… things start to add up REALLY fast. Jamie and I spent HOURS packing and then stepping on a scale to weigh ALL. THE. THINGS… and then repacking. There were casualties from this process… like my coffee maker. If you know me… you know I cried. For real. (From the beginning, the Lord was showing us how much we relied on things of this world…how comfortable we had gotten in this world.)
After everything was packed up, we headed to Pennsylvania. Jamie took Brayden and Tenley, our dog. (Yes, our dog), while I drove the other three kids in the car, making a quick stop in Bridgeport, Connecticut, before heading down. A friend of ours had left Maine years back to plant a church in Bridgeport. At the time, I remember so many people in our church being confused. Why would a older white male from Maine want to plant a church in a inner-city community in Connecticut? Why would you want to walk away from the (safe) life you built to venture into the unknown circumstances of inner-city ministry? Other people thought it was odd. I thought it was magnificent.
I’ve been friends with Doran for a while. We’ve watched his ministry flourish despite the setbacks. I’ve watched him evolve into one of the fiercest advocates for racial equality that I personally know. He fights for his community, no matter the cost. Knowing him and witnessing his work has made me a better person and I wanted my kids to benefit for his existence in the world. At his relentless pursuit of being the hands and feet of Jesus. So, we spent a few hours with him.
While our time was short, it was life giving. He shared with us the reality of systemic racism, ingrained in the political and governmental infrastructure of their community. In many communities across our country. He talked about the importance of the church being present and active in the lives of the youth. Twice on our tour through the city, Doran jumped out of the car to talk with people in his neighborhood. It was beautiful to watch. He kept apologizing for the delays, but I can’t think of a better way to start our adventure. It was a profound example of the importance of connection. You never know when the Lord is going to place someone in your path. Someone He wants you to connect with. Someone that will impact your life. Someone that might profoundly change everything.
The Lord has put SO MANY people in our path. They have forever changed our lives… and our love for the church.