Below is a journal entry after the first service on our current trip mingled with pictures form a VA service a night later.
July 17, 2013
"It was the first day. The first day on the road after having been home for two months! We were so happy to be doing the traveling life again. I awoke from my bonk as Father started the bus engine to start driving and was comforted by that familiarity then fell back to sleep. I got up a few hours later to make whole-wheat French toast and smoothies as we headed down the highway. The forenoon was spent in personal Bible time and general traveling activities.
We arrived at destination and promptly proceeded to have much-needed family time during which Father announced the theme verses for the trip (we don’t usually have a theme verses, but we do this time.)
'Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.' Phil. 2:14-16
Little did we know how much we would have opportunity to have this verse tested in our lives this day. After this it was quick, late lunch, naps for some, system set-up for others. I rose from a short nap to eat some food before heading in, then, several hours before the service, I heard the generator shut off. Problem. We made the traditional, during-sound-set-up, 'there’s a problem in the motor home', call to Father. He came out to fix it: no go. By now I was getting ready for the service and it was getting WARM. Remember the theme verse!
(Harp tuning before service #2)
I headed in with the harp for tuning, practice, and sound check. The service that night was to be held in a 'Veterans of Foreign Wars' building. On the sign was posted things pertaining to the 'bingo night' and 'jackpot'. Grace thought it was a church we were going to and concluded from the sign that the activities at this church were quite different from the norm. ;) I walked in to the building: “It smells like smoke” were my first words. (Also the first button pushed. The men were WELL aware of the smell. J ) They then mentioned the heat in the room (which I didn’t understand since I came from the bus and thought anything was cooler then that!) Remember the theme verse!
We proceeded with a long sound check/practice since it was the first service for the tour. We were running late, cords were determined not to work, whenever I played bass notes on the harp a strange crackling sound proceeded from the speakers, and now it really was feeling warm in there. There were things we just decided to leave out of the service for lack of patience and time to practice. Mother proclaimed that we would have to bring our clothes into the building bathrooms to get ready since it was too warm in the bus. Remember the theme verse! She brought us healthy ice coffee during sound check. Bless the woman who is “glue” to us.
(Running through a few things right before the service)
The the building's bathrooms weren’t….horrible. Mother simply said: “at least this lighting doesn’t reveal all our flaws” referring to the dim and poorness in the lighting. I smiled. Remember the theme verse! I stood in front of the mirror next to Mother doing my hair when the theme verse mingled with 'in everything give thanks' (1 Thess. 5:18) ran through my head and I said aloud: 'Thank you Lord that we don’t feel prepared for this service so that we don't do it in our own strength. Thank you that we have a bus to travel in. Thank you that I feel inadequate in singing...' Finally ready, I left the bathroom to greet a few people, make 'Order of service' list, and apologize to certain members of the family for wrong attitudes on my part during all this process.
The service happened. We were shaky with nerves, we saw the flaws, but it wasn’t about that. I felt His peace and thought of Him as a sung, inwardly smiling at the potential of what His thoughts may be, being with us through every detail.
The service was over. We ate delicious food with wonderful and encouraging people. Bunches of little girls came to me, introducing themselves, and how fun it was. They told me their ages, they sat with me to eat and told me all about their little lives. They asked if they could play my harp. I went with them to the front and we had a swell session of little fingers taking turns running across the strings. Finally I looked at Derek who was wrapping up cords and said with 'rescue me' eyes in a hushed tone: 'can you come take the harp to the bus' to bring the session the to a close. J Tactfulness- yes. There was also a session of "Play with the 'Red Tie' door" which resulted in 'CRAHS, BANG, BOOM.' (No children were injured, thank God. :))
Here’s the thing. We were all wrapped up, most people had left, and there was still that problem with the bus. We could hardly stand to be there for more then a few minuets. It was cooler out-of-doors then in there. There were generous men who stayed behind to help Dad diagnose the problem. The building was to be locked, so us ladies went out in the parking lot and sat on the black-top with the wives and children of the men who were helping Dad. It was an incredibly joyful experience- the whole night- even the hard moments. Honestly beautiful. Honestly character building and memory making. I felt so alive in it all. So fulfilled to have Him with you through the annoyances, work though you in your weakness, do it in the spirit of 'togetherness', and giving you the privilege to meet such delightful people.
The problem was a torn belt on the generator. Great diagnosis! Easily fixed (if it weren’t 11:30 at night, that is.). So men stood around on their phones trying to locate a willing vessel to get a belt from. In good spirits Daddy finally announced that we could get in pajamas, make a stop at the local Wal-Mart to make sure we couldn’t find a belt there, and if not, take our stay at one of the apartments at Mountain View nursing home that was nearby. The people were so generous to accommodate us. So, we went to Wal-Mart in our pajamas with two of the men to try to find a belt. We were ridiculously silly as we waited in the van. Mother thought it would be a brilliant idea to go dumpster diving, then she remembered her night-gown-adorned state. We thought that her being found out would be a good reason for the remaining services on the trip to be conveniently canceled. J
(The cupboards were so warm from that no air-conditioning night that our chocolate chips turned chocolate melt and so we put it to good use for an after-service snack!)
Needless to say, we are now sitting in a beautiful guest house at Mountain View Nursing Home. We are exceeding grateful and happy after a deliciously eventful day. Behind me are two brothers who have much energy to release and are doing so via wrestling. I’m talking big men…fighting, laughing, grunting and it doesn't even phase me anymore. :) Grace takes it upon herself to brake them apart (problem.). Oldest brother is chillin’ on the bed, Mom and Dad are in the next room, and I’m writing to the beautiful noise of being apart of a siblinghood.
Day one down.
Joy unspeakable because of His love for us
and pouring that to others is beyond privilege.
Happiest in His will- long and the short of it.