Our plan for the day was to drive from Crossville, TN to somewhere in Arkansas. We got back on Interstate 40, heading west. We continued our travel through the hills of Tennessee; some of the hills slowed us down a little, but that 400 Horsepower Cummins Diesel in the back was doing its job. It was times like that, when I am glad that we went with a “diesel pusher” this time around. I also had the opportunity to learn how our HI/LOW engine brake worked. After climbing those hills, you guessed it, we had to come down some pretty steep grades, and the last thing that you want to do is “ride” your brakes coming down those hills.
Adriene got a kick out of us driving through a tunnel for a short stint. It wasn’t bad, but it can feel a little claustrophobic driving through there in a “big rig”; it seems like you are about the scrape the wall or the ceiling while driving through there. For me, short tunnels are better than long tunnels, but I’m glad that she enjoyed it.
Once we got out of the mountains, and back down in the “low lands”, we stopped to get some fuel. It was then that we decided that we would try and drive all the way to Mount Pleasant, Texas where our longtime friends “Jimmie and Laura Newton” live. My GPS put us there just before sunset, so I said “let’s go for it”. While at the fuel stop, Adriene went inside to grab some breakfast; she was wearing her “God Don’t Slack” T-Shirt. She was able to minister to one of the patrons inside and share that God is not slack concerning His promises (2 Peter 3:9). As she was coming out, I was sharing our ministry with another truck driver that was getting fuel. The Lord had previously reminded me that “Truckers” are on the road and often away from “church” on a regular basis; I now leave a card at every fuel pump that we use during our travels. Maybe, we can “bridge the gap” for them too. We use truck stops and travel centers to get our fuel because we use diesel fuel and the truck stops have plenty of room to maneuver in and out.
We got back on the road and set our sights for Mount Pleasant, TX. Once we made our way into Arkansas, we made contact with the Newton’s; they were just as excited as we were, knowing that we would be able to spend some time together. We told them of our estimated time of arrival and our excitement continued. Our initial plan was to park at a campground that is only a mile or two from their home, but they offered to let us park on their property, so we graciously accepted and continued to count down the miles through Arkansas, as we transitioned from interstate 40W onto 30W; making our way back to the great state of Texas.
As time went on, we started to do the “sunshade dance”, as the sun was beginning to set right in front of us. The sunshades in the coach come down pretty low, but there was still the times when the sun was “blinding” us from the sides. The time finally came, that our exit into Mount Pleasant was coming up quickly. We gave the Newton’s another call and told them that we were “2 miles out”; they told us that they were coming out to meet us. As we pulled up to their property, Brother Jimmy was there to open the gate and to help us to back our ministry headquarters in through the side entrance. We got parked, leveled the coach, and shut it down … We put out the slides to give us more room and told them to “come on in”; the Newton and Allen Reunion commenced.
Our relationship with the Newton’s goes back 30+ years (that just made me feel old); we first met them in Alaska, before we got married. Adriene knew them even before I did. Jimmie served as the Head Deacon at our church, and Laura was one of the Missionaries. They were Godly examples for us as a couple from the early days; we wanted our marriage to look like theirs.
As they came in, we celebrated and “loved on each other” with hugs and greetings. They asked for a little tour of our “casita” (that doesn’t take long in a 400 square foot home :-) We showed them around, then they told us to “lock it up”, we were headed over to the “Newton Castle”. God has blessed them greatly, and we celebrate every bit of God’s blessing on their lives. We went in, they had already had dinner prepared for us. They really made us feel like “traveling evangelists”, as they welcomed us in to their home, and prepared a meal for us. As we “broke bread” together, they wanted to hear all about our ministry, and what God had been doing in and through our lives. We had a great time sharing with them. They have known us for so long, they said that they knew we would be doing something like this “one day”.
Well, that day has come, and they celebrated what God was already doing. We stayed up and talked, and talked, and talked; their hospitality continued as they offered us a guest room to stay in while we were there. It was getting late, so Adriene and Laura walked over to the coach so that Adriene could pick up a few things for us to use for the night. When they returned, I stayed up for a little while longer; the long travel day had caught up with me; I headed to bed. I’m told that my brother Jimmy wasn’t too far behind me and he went to be as well. Apparently, Adriene and Laura stayed up until about 1 o’clock in the morning; just “chatting”. Of course, I didn’t find out about that until the following morning. It was a great day of travel, concluding with a great reunion of “like-minded” souls. The Allen and the Newton’s were back together again …