Saturday morning, the Hale group got up very early and met at the
church at 4:15 am if you can believe it, and even if you can’t. They
picked up Pat at the Gordonville UMC in Midland, Michigan. There,
they were met not only by Pat, but by a team of prayer warriors who,
like the wise men, came bearing gifts. No gold, or myrrh or that
other stuff that starts with an ‘f’ that I can’t even begin to spell.
They brought cookies and coffee and encouragement. From there, they
traveled and traveled and grazed and traveled and grazed. They ate
lunch in the Meijer’s parking lot. They had to stop at a Meijer’s in
Indiana to buy an adapter for their van. It didn’t have a CD player,
just a cassette. Then they drove and ate and drove and ate some more.
Bob’s chocolate chip cookies didn’t make it past the Michigan border.
I (Rod) asked (tried to demand) that they make more in Nashville, but
so far, I haven’t seen any. When they arrived in Nashville, they
camped out at Antioch United Methodist Church. They went out to
dinner at Shoney’s, where they were greeted by several people over the
course of their dinner, thanking them for the work they were doing.
One woman told them a story of HER story as a volunteer worker in
Biloxi. Her husband had been a Parkinson’s patient for some time.
When she arrived and got her work assignment, it was to plant flowers
at somebody’s house. She thought that seemed like a frivolous job,
but it turned out that the person living at the house was also a
Parkinson’s patient…. Amazing what God does.
The Minnesota team didn’t leave quite so early. We met at the church
at 7:00am and left at 8:00. Before we left, Bruce prayed with us and
did devotions for us. Erin C. from the first Biloxi trip brought
muffins for our breakfast. What a blessing. (more wise men gifts!)
We drove and ate and drove and ate and drove and ate and ate and ate.
This was a recurring theme from both teams on Saturday. We got a call
from Troll wishing us well. That was a really neat gift also. For
lunch we pulled off expressway thinking we would just find a neat
spot, and we did in some abandoned turn off. No wind. Good weather.
We arrived in St. Louis about an hour after Hale got to Nashville. We
checked in at our church and walked down the street to eat some pizza.
Throughout the day, we kept in touch with Darlene and Deb. (Deb flew
to Memphis on Sat. am.) Barbara did devotions for us before we went
Sunday morning, Hale got up and were on the road again by 6:30am.
They wanted to be able to worship St. Luke’s UMC in Tuscaloosa at
their 11:30 worship service since that is one of the churches they
will be spending the night in on the way back. From what I heard
Roma, the 10 folks almost doubled the attendance in worship. There is
a great spirit in the church. Darlene will tell you the story about
that church when you ask her. They had lunch in the church parking
lot and soaked up the 80 degree temperature. They got on the road and
arrived in Biloxi around 6:00pm.
Minnesota got up and were on the road by 7:00am (7:10 if truth be
told). We had a great drive down to Memphis, stopping for breakfast
and gas and then heading out again. The trip was uneventful until we
got to Memphis. Rod was leading and Lewis was driving Howard’s truck,
following. There was some construction and traffic and we had to go
to the far side of Memphis to pick up Deb. (who had spent the night
at Trevor and Heather’s house- THANKS!- she spent Saturday evening
on Beal street.) When we stopped, Lewis asked if I remembered he was
pulling a trailer. I told him yes, and I started out trying to be
considerate when changing lanes, but after awhile, my thoughts changed
to, “I wonder if Lewis can do this…” We picked up Deb, and headed
south- stopped for lunch at a rest stop, and headed on down. Corrine
drove for awhile and Linda drove Howard’s truck. We got into Gulfport
around 7:00 and met the Hale team for dinner at CiCi’s Pizza. –
suggested by Gary and Barb. It was funny because we passed each other
on Highway 49 looking for this pizza joint. The first meeting was a
great one. Our teams met and meld well together. Ray and Rod seem to
have a lot of energy and similar sense of humor. (much to the dismay
of everyone else- I will be teaching him the “wanna buy a duck?”
game.) After dinner, Rod and Linda went to the airport to pick up
Bruce and Judy. Everyone else piled into Hale’s van to head back to
Seashore. Bruce and Judy’s flights were uneventful, EXCEPT that Judy
sat by a woman from Ocean Springs that thanked them more than once for
Back at the camp, we did devotions. Some people that we are sharing
the dorms with came and hung out with us for that. Toward the end, a
woman came up and talked to us. She was hard to understand, but
eventually, we came to see that she needed a place to stay for
tonight. She didn’t come right out and say it. We didn’t know what
to do. The camp is not ours to offer, but there is a need and we
maybe have the means to fill it. As Angie (the woman) walked away, we
all had a sense of something was missing. We prayed for wisdom and
then I asked people what we should do. Vicki was sure we were
supposed to let her stay with us tonight. Vicki and Ray and Roma and
Lewis went out to find her, but couldn’t. Some of us had a sense that
we had failed an important test from God. At very least, we all felt
like Angie was an important part of what we were suppoed to see here
and not miss what God puts in our path. Please pray for Angie and her
situation. We don’t know much about it.
“We truly have seen God’s hand at work EVERY step along the way, and
in only ways that HE could orchestrates. That is an overwhelming
sense that I have about who’s together and why we’re together. And
that’s before we even have families (work assignments to help with)
Thanks God for everything. Your blessings on this trip alone are
numbered higher than we can count. Your favor on us has been more
than we could ask or imagine. What an awesome God you are.