Our objective in going to Longview, Texas was threefold; first off, we wanted to spend time with our daughter, Ariene; secondly, we wanted to meet up with and help Kidmin Charlie and his wife Jenn with their “Questmoble”, and lastly, we wanted to meet with the staff and missionaries of Missionary Tech Team.
As we made it into Longview, we navigated our way over to the campus of Missionary Tech Team. We had made arrangements to stay in their RV Park during our time there. Kidmin Charlie and the “Questmobile” were parked at that campground while making necessary repairs to their bus, so it worked out that we were able to pull into that campground, and park our rig, right beside them. It wasn’t too long after we got pulled in to our campsite that Kidmin Charlie and his wife Jenn were returning from an outing; we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves and they did the same. I had previously learned of, and made contact with them through a mutual friend on Facebook. We finished getting our rig setup, and our time of fellowship commenced. We invited them to come over and join us in our rig; we shared the mission of Altar to Altar Ministries with them, and they shared the mission of “KidGrow Quest” with us.
We were getting a little hungry, and Charlie had told us about a great “barbeque joint” in Longview, that he had gone to a couple days prior. I asked what time they closed, and he said “5:30”; it was about 4:45 at that time. I said, “let’s go”, so Charlie and I jumped in our car and headed over to UNC’s Barbeque to grab some dinner. I found out that the owner of the barbeque joint was a Pastor of a local church; we had a good time of fellowship while we waited for our order. After getting our food, we stopped by a convenience store to get some sodas; before leaving, we prayed for the cashier while checking out. We also made a quick stop by the parking lot where Charlie had started his “street ministry”. Did I fail to mention, that Longview is Charlie and Jenn’s hometown? We headed back to the campground, to get the food back to the ladies. That barbeque was as good as “the hype”, and we got our fill …
Later in the evening, Ariene came over to the campground to join us for a while. We spent time in our rig, and later went next door to take a peek in the Questmobile. “Questmobile” is the name they gave to their “kid friendly” mission bus. We could certainly see why kids love it so much. After spending some quiet time with us, Ariene headed back home; she had an early start scheduled for the following morning at church. She was serving in both the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services, so we bid her a good night.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
We have been extremely proud of the accomplishments of our daughter Ariene. Since her graduation from Liberty University in Virginia, she moved to Longview to serve in an outreach ministry serving young ladies in area of counseling and training. She also is now serving in her local church; sharing her gift of song with the Praise Team and leading one of the church’s small groups. We had the opportunity to attend the 11 o’clock church service at her church (Pathway Church). It was great to see her on stage leading in worship, following the worship was a great Word of God from her Pastor, Marty Strait, as he continued a series “Make War”, and the Armor of God. Pastor Marty has a great vison for Pathway; we are glad that Ariene is plugged into a growing, Bible believing church, and continuing to grow in her faith and service to the Lord. There was very heavy rain that day, to include hurricane warnings, but that didn’t stop Pathway members, or us from making our way to the morning services. After service we headed over to Olive Garden for lunch. It was still pouring down rain, but there were a few breaks in the rain and wind that we were able to take advantage of. After lunch, we went to pick up Ariene’s car from the church where we left it, and headed over to her apartment to spend more time together.
It was great to see how well Ariene has settled in to her new apartment; she has made it her own place, and we were proud to see what she had accomplished. We spent most of the afternoon and early evening just catching up with Ariene, and celebrating with her. Before leaving, we joined in a time of prayer; we prayed for Ariene, and she prayed for us.
We set our GPS to take us back to the campground for the evening, and we were on our way.
Monday, April 3, 2017
After getting up and ready for the day, we headed out of the rig and walked over to the main offices of Missionary Tech Team. We had never heard of their organization until we saw a video posted on Facebook from Kidmin Charlie, stating that they were there. Missionary Tech Team is a ministry made up of a small staff and a host of missionaries that provide support to other missionaries and ministries, both in the United States and around the world. When we arrived, Katie met us at the door and welcomed us in for a tour of the facilities. We had met Katie and her husband Ken the day prior, not long after we arrived at the campground. As we entered the main building, Katie began to lead us through the “grand tour”. Shortly after we arrived, we met the President of the organization; Randy. We took the opportunity the share our ministry with him, and he assured us that Missionary Tech Team had lots to offer.
As we continued our tour, Katie introduced us to many of the staff and missionaries that were there in different capacities. We met people in the areas of administrative support, graphic design, architectural design, computer support, and they also have a fleet of vehicles that missionaries can lease while they are back from the mission field. Many of the missionaries are based in another states, but serving on a voluntary basis at Missionary Tech Team for a period of time; they continue much of their support even after heading out on other mission trips of their own. As we made our way through the different offices, it was quite apparent that Missionary Tech Team does high quality work, and could be a great support for our mission at Altar to Altar Ministries. Before leaving the main offices, they invited us to come back and stay in their campground anytime that we are in the area and needed a place to stay. We knew that we would be back in touch with them.
We headed back to our campsite, and connected with our neighbors Kidmin Charlie and Jenn of “KidGrow Quest”. They came over to our rig for a while and they began to share their insights of serving in mobile ministry, and the faith walk that they have been on. They have been traveling all over the country, serving the children outside the walls of the church, and leading them to a relationship with Jesus Christ. With our prior experience as Children’s Pastors, and Adriene’s many years serving in children’s ministry, we connected very quickly; both in serving children, and sharing the Good News outside of the church walls. Charlie and Jenn, like us, are on mission here in the US; they have had a tremendous background in ministry and street evangelism that they graciously shared with us. We were just taking it all in, and growing stronger by the minute. It wasn’t long and we were ready to grab something to eat; I headed outside to pull the grill out, so that we could “break bread” with our newfound friends and ministry partners. Charlie and I setup the table and chairs out under the awning, while Adriene and Jenn pulled things together inside. As the meat was sizzling on the grill, we pooled our resources together and prepared the table for everything else. Before long, it was time to eat; Charlie blessed the meal and we dived in.
Our training session and fellowship time continued; after we finished eating and cleaning up, we all headed over to the “Questmobile” to see firsthand, how they do some of the things that they do in their mobile ministry. The Questmobile is a totally converted RV, dedicated to serving children; with a small living space in the back of the rig. I asked Charlie to show us how they use their technology in conducting their services. Not only did they tell us what they do, they showed us the tools that they use, and as they shared their videos and experiences in other services, we ushered in the presence of the Lord in the Questmobile. What started as a training session, ended in a worship service. That really didn’t come as a surprise; when four Spirit Filled Christians come together, and start talking about the faithfulness, and miracles of God, it is just a matter of time before the Lord joins the gathering.
It started to get late, so we all came together in prayer; speaking blessings over both ministries and our lives. We thanked them for our time together and headed back over to our “humble abode”. We didn’t stay up too much longer because we knew that we would be heading out in the morning, going to Richardson, Texas to visit a dear friend that was in the hospital. We called it a night …
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
We didn’t get up too early since we only had about a 3 hour travel day heading to Richardson, Texas. After getting something to eat, we started doing our pre-departure preparations. I headed outside to take care of the outside chores, while Adriene pulled everything together inside. While I was disconnecting our systems from the campsite, one of the staff walked up and invited us over to the main building the join them for breakfast pastries and Panera bread. He said it was “first come, first serve”, so we didn’t take too much time before we were ready to head on over. By that time, Charlie had come out of their rig, so he walked over with me and Adriene. When we got over there and went in the break room, we were shocked at how much bread there was. There were two large plastic bags with bread rolls, as well as boxes of pastries. We selected a few pastries, took a seat, and enjoyed them. We spent a little time with a few of the staff, then we grabbed a few bread rolls on our way out; we headed back to our coach to prepare for departure.
Once we got back, I headed inside and cranked up the rig to get it aired up, and back in “drive mode”. I then headed back outside to get our “toad” (tow vehicle) in place so that is was ready to be hooked up to the back of “Destiny”. As we were making our final preparations, Charlie and Jenn came out to join us. Once the rig aired up, I pulled it into place and connected the toad. Once we were ready, I went back inside the main building to ask Ken (the campground manager), to open the back gate so that we could pull out. He followed me back outside and opened the gate for our departure.
Adriene and I gave our hugs, thank you’s, and a “see you on the mission field” to Charlie and Jenn; we loaded up and pulled out of the gate while our new found friends waved us off …
We pulled out at about 9 o’clock, expecting to arrive at the hospital a little after 12 o’clock. We got back to Interstate 20 West and it was a smooth travel day. As expected, we made our way into the hospital parking lot around 12:30. It was “slow going” trying to find a spot to park our 60 foot house on wheels, but we got in there just fine.
It was important for us to visit our longtime friend in the hospital. We took the opportunity to share Communion with him and his wife and daughter. We prayed with them, believing for his total recovery. It was great to reminisce, and spend some quality time with our friends during a challenging time.
After spending time with our friends, we made our way back to the coach and “inched” our way out of the hospital parking lot and back on the road, heading toward our home base. We were not planning on going all the way back, but we just planned to drive a while and see where we ended up. We wanted to be off of the road before dark. We ended up stopping for the evening at a rest stop about 35 miles north of Waco, Texas. We got leveled off, pulled the privacy curtains, and started the generator so that we could heat up something to eat and watch a little TV before calling it a night …
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
There were a few 18-Wheelers at the rest stop with their engines running all night, but overall, we got a good night sleep. We got back on the road about 9 a.m. heading South on I-35; we had another 3 hour travel day. We usually are on the road earlier than that on travel days, but I wanted to wait until after the main “rush hour” in Waco; good thing we did, because the traffic was still a little heavy going through there due to the ongoing construction projects and windy roads. Adriene really doesn’t like going through that area because, from her “navigator” seat, it looks like we are riding right up against the blockades on the passenger side. I have to admit, there isn’t much room for error when driving through that stretch of road. Once we got through Waco, it was smooth sailing. Our timing was perfect and we didn’t experience any major traffic when going through Austin; that was a first for me, but I was glad to see it. We pressed on, with intention of stopping at the Stony Creek RV Park, to dump the waste tanks - RVer's favorite pastime :-) We were also hoping to meet up with a friend that lives at that park full-time; she wasn’t there, so that didn’t materialize. We got there safely, and I headed inside the office to pay the $5.00 “dumping charge”. That is common for RV parks to charge you to dump your tanks if you are not staying at that campground; $5.00 is a bargain, so we usually stop there if we are coming back from that direction. I disconnected the “toad”, so that I could maneuver the rig into the “dump station”; Adriene helped guide me into place; it was a little tight getting into place. While I was dumping the tanks, Adriene was inside the rig getting everything ready to transfer into the car once we got to the storage facility. That is always a sad time, when we are parking the rig in storage, even if it is for a short time. We got to the storage facility, unloaded, and backed Destiny into place; this mission was complete, but we were already talking about when we would be heading back out again … :-)