Thank you for your prayers and financial support as we do our part in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ; building altars unto Him, and enlarging the Kingdom of God …
This weekend we celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the birth of our vision for campground ministry; “Building Altars from Coast to Coast”. God has truly been faithful to His call, and we are humbled that He would use us as He has. We have had the privilege of building altars for salvation, for healing, for deliverance, for provision, and for rededication to the Lord. The great thing about celebrating our first year in ministry, is knowing that we have only just begun. Our best days are ahead, and we are excited to see what the Lord is going to do next …
Thank you for your prayers and financial support as we do our part in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ; building altars unto Him, and enlarging the Kingdom of God …
We were up and about, getting an “early” start on our travel day. Once we got ourselves situated, I went outside to take a look around to ensure that everything was OK around the rig. We have never had an issue with staying in Walmart parking lots, but we know that we always have to be “prayerful and careful”. While I was outside, I noticed that there was another motorhome that had pulled in and parked for the night. It was certainly not a campground, but RVers have this certain camaraderie that surpasses specific locations. It was still early, and no-one was outside of that motorhome, but I quietly walked over and slipped one of our ministry cards in the edge of their door opening. Maybe, we will see them one day on the road, but for now, we just planted a seed.
We got us a little breakfast and we were about ready to get back on the road. As I walked around our rig making final checks, one of the truck drivers from the night prior was pulling off. I knew without a “shadow of a doubt”, that truck driver had visited our website; as he drove by, he gave a big smile and initiated a wave that is not customary from truckers to RVers. His countenance had changed. My prayer was that the love of Jesus Christ has penetrated his heart; maybe I will see him again one day and he will remind me of our encounter.
We got back on the road about 8:30, heading West on I-10 towards Arizona. That was some beautiful country driving through New Mexico and in to Arizona. There was a lot of “nothingness”, but there was also plenty to see of God’s handiwork. I kept telling Adriene to grab the camera and take a picture, she would say “Take a picture of what?”, and I would just point “that way”. I would say, “Yes I know, we have been this way before, but right now, I don’t know what we got a picture of last time”.
It was a very nice travel day making our way through Tucson, Arizona, and in to the Phoenix area. Since we were planning to stay in the area for a few days, I had made a prior reservation at Destiny Phoenix RV Park in Goodyear, Arizona. It is on the outskirts of Phoenix, and not too far from Adriene’s sister in Avondale. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we drove much further than expected for day one, so we had actually arrived in Arizona a day earlier than expected. I asked Adriene to call the campground and see if we could come in a day early; they said “no problem, come on in”. Typically, if it is not the prime summer season, most campgrounds will have some openings, so last minute “drop-ins”, or early arrivals in our case, are usually not a problem. Our campground wasn’t to far off of I-10, so we hit a couple main thoroughfares and before we knew it, we were pulling into Destiny Phoenix, off of Citrus Boulevard. As we pulled in, it appeared that we made a good decision with this park, it looked pretty nice. Some campgrounds use “creative photography” in their advertising, but this one made a great first impression.
I pulled up beside the office, and went in to get us checked-in. The receptionist was having a bit of a challenge finding my reservation; come to find out, their online reservation system was not “talking” to the front desk system, so I had to go back out to the rig and get my reservation number to “help her out”. Once I gave that to her, we were good to go after she re-input our reservation into their “new system”. While she was getting us checked-in, I asked her if there was any type of Church Services available at the campsite. She said that their was a Pastor and wife actually in the campground that conducted services there, but she wasn’t certain if they were in town or not. I shared with her about our ministry and gave her one of our cards; , she got really excited. She actually got on the phone while I was checking in to call the Pastor so that we could get in contact with him; she ended up having to leave a message and informing him that we were in the park, and the campsite that we would be staying in. She also gave us their campsite number, so that we could go and stop by. Come to find out, that Pastor and wife were from a small village in Alaska (hmmm); they were ministering in Alaska until they came to Arizona. I was thinking to myself, “OK God, this looks like a setup”. I asked the receptionist if I could bring some of our ministry cards by to leave at the office for the inbound campground guests; she said “absolutely”. We were soon making our way to our campsite (#252) off of “Tomahawk” street.
After we got all setup, I was eager to touch base with the local campground Pastor, so I headed over the their site to see if we could make arrangements to help them with service that weekend. Well, they were not home at the time so I left one of our cards in the side of their door, and hoped that they would get in touch with us later on. It wasn’t too long and we made contact with Adriene’s sister Crystal; she came over to the campground to meet up with us and take us over to her house for dinner. She lives about 10 miles from where we were staying. I grabbed a small stack of cards to take to the front office, but when we passed by there, we found that the office was already closed for the day, so I planned on stoping by in the morning to drop the cards off. Crystal is a foster parent, so on the way to her house, we stopped by one of her friend’s house to pick up her 2 foster kids (Analisa and Su) that were over there for the day; that was our first time meeting them. We then went to her house and enjoyed dinner with her and the kids. We spent the rest of the evening with them before we packed it up and Crystal took us back to the coach to call it a day.
It wasn’t my intention, but we put in a very long driving day beginning our ministry trip heading West. My initial plan was to drive to Fort Stockton, Texas and spend the night there, but by the time we were getting into that area, it was still relatively early in the day, so I decided to keep on going. This is the very reason why I don’t make a lot of RV Park reservations; I want to keep our options open and stop wherever the Lord leads us to stop; whether it is a shorter distance than planned, or much farther as we did on our first day. By the time we finally pulled over for the evening, we were in Las Cruses, New Mexico; we called it an evening and pulled into a Walmart parking lot to spend the night.
One of the main reasons that I pulled over when I did was because we were having some challenges with our refrigerator. We often have our refrigerator running while we are on the road, utilizing the propane option that we have, put for some reason, we were having to hit the reset multiple times, and before you know it, we were hearing the “beeping” sound that indicated a problem. After multiple attempts to restart the fridge, I just decided to turn it off. We had a fridge full of food, so I didn’t want to go too long without addressing the issue. I had experienced this previously, so fortunately I had an idea of what I needed to do to remedy the situation. Once we finally pulled into the Walmart parking lot and got the rig leveled and shut down, I pulled out my toolbox and I was in “refrigerator repairman” mode. I had to do the repair from outside of the coach in the refrigerator access panel. Essentially, I had to open the control panel and “jump start” the fridge with a wire on the control board. Praise God for the “how to” sheet that I had on my iPad from my previous encounter with this same issue. Thank the Lord, I was able to get the refrigerator dilemma resolved just before it started getting dark outside. Once the fridge was back in working order, it wasn’t long, and my phone rang, we quickly transitioned into “ministry mode”.
Some friends of ours were experiencing struggles in their marriage; we had been ministering to them during their challenging times, so the husband gave me a call and I began sharing with him. Before you know it, Adriene’s phone was ringing; yes, it was the wife. I was inside speaking with the husband, Adriene was outside speaking with the wife. It wasn’t a good night for them, but we are so grateful that God had us in place at the right time to intercede on their behalf. We have found out that ministry opportunities often present themselves when we make ourselves available for service. I also took the opportunity that evening to introduce myself to a couple truck drivers that were spending the night in the Walmart parking lot as well. During my interactions with truck drivers, I usually will use the common bond of spending a lot of time on the road, and not in the “church” environment on the weekends as my way of starting a conversation with them that they can relate to. As I did on this occasion, I introduced them to our ministry and our desire to share the love of Jesus as we traveled. They were busy with their trucks, but they were receptive, so I gave them each one of our cards and blessed their travels.
Most of our interactions with truck drivers are during our fueling stops. It takes quite a while for “truckers” to fill their fuel tanks, so I will often take the opportunity to “plant a seed”. I also leave a card at all of the fuel pumps that we use along the way, as we did earlier in the day.
It was kind of funny; as I was standing in the parking lot, I noticed a guy sitting on the curb with his dog at the neighboring hotel parking lot; I “assumed” he was homeless. I went to our “stash” of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) that we keep in our storage bay, and grabbed a bottle of water to take to the “homeless” man. The funny thing is that by time I was heading over to bless him with some food and water, I looked over and he was just sitting there waiting for someone to come out of the hotel. He and his dog, jumped in his pickup with his friend and they drove off. One thing I learned through that is that when you have a desire to be a blessing, everything and everybody looks like an opportunity.
We made a quick trip into the Walmart to pick up a couple things, then we came back out and settled down for the evening. I was a long travel day, but we were well on our way.
I was awaken to the voice of Sister Newton yelling “Jimmy, Jimmy, do you want me to call 9-1-1?” I jumped up and headed out to the kitchen to see what was going on. Laura was on the phone, Jimmy had apparently seen someone in the act of stealing something from a neighboring property. Jimmy had kicked into “super hero mode” but was not over there soon enough to “apprehend the villain”. That was an exciting way to start the day. While this was going on, I took the opportunity to pray with Sister Laura for God’s intervention in the situation. Shortly thereafter, Jimmy came back in and told us the story.
After our heartbeats got back to normal, Laura and Jimmy continued where they left off; they had already started preparing breakfast. After we got ready, we joined with them for a “breakfast of champions”; Jimmy made some waffles that the “Waffle House” would envy. Once we finished breakfast, we packed all of our things up, in preparation for our pending departure. Jimmy and I took all of our things back to the coach, while the ladies stayed behind and soon followed us with a casual stroll. I started preparing the coach; there was little to do since we didn’t spend much time in it during our stay.
While I was doing a walk-around of the coach, Jimmy flagged down a couple police officers that were passing by in their cruiser. He was able to report the “shenanigans” of the early morning villain. I cranked up the coach knowing that our visit was coming to an end. When Jimmy came back over to the coach, we took a quick “snapshot” of us with our friends, then went inside and joined together in prayer. We prayed for them, and they prayed for us. After big hugs, they told us about the “shortcut” to highway 30, guided us through the gate, and we were on our way.
It was time for us to head back to San Antonio; our plan was to be back at our home church for Easter “Resurrection Sunday” Services in the morning. We were heading “home”; of course, for RVer’s, “Home Is Where You Park It”, so I’ll say we were heading back to our “home base”. It was about a 6 hour drive for that day. On most occasions, I prefer not to drive that long, but as you have seen, we have been known to “push the limits” now and then to get where we are going. It was a beautiful day for travel as we spent the day on familiar highways that we have traveled many times. As we were getting close to the “home base”, I decided to stop by a campground that is close to our “sticks and bricks” house, to use their waste station to dump our “grey” and “black” tanks. For those that are not familiar with that terminology, the grey tank holds waste water from the sinks and shower, while the “black” tank holds waste from the toilet. For some reason, I can’t get Adriene to help me dump the tanks We pulled in to Stone Creek RV Park; I thought that I was just there to dump the tanks, but God was still executing His “Master Plan”. I went inside to pay the $5.00 dump fee, and came back out to head over to “finish up”.
After getting the coach maneuvered and in place at the “dump station”; I started my routine to “lighten the load”. Shortly thereafter a pickup truck pulled up to the dumpster behind us, the lady in the truck said to me “Have a Happy Easter”. I returned the greeting, and asked her what she would be doing to celebrate Easter in the morning. Since we were back at our “home base”, I invited her to join us at our home church; when I mentioned the name of our church, she told me that she was familiar with our church; her sister was a member there. She asked if I knew her sister; when she mentioned her sister’s name, I recognized who she was right away. I knew then, that God was up to something, and this was a “divine appointment” that He has set up for us.
I went to get Adriene from inside the coach, I made introductions, and we began to share the Love of Jesus with her. She had been emotionally hurt, and experiencing the “fallout” from a failed marriage. She afforded us the opportunity to pray with her, rededicating her life to Jesus Christ. She then shared with us that her daughter was also experiencing a “prodigal daughter” experience, and too needed to be reconciled to the Lord and the church. She shared with us that her daughter was gifted in the area of music. We told her that we would be praying for her daughter’s restoration; we celebrated with her for what God was already doing; I went back to finish up my “dumping duties” and Adriene went back inside. After finishing up, I was getting ready to pull off, and the lady was walking in front of the coach to “wave us down”, so we stopped to see what was going on.
While we were preparing to leave, she had called her daughter to see if she would come over to the campground to meet us; her daughter agreed, she was only about 15 minutes away at the time – yes, that was God too. I asked her if the campground provided any type of church service, she said “no, but that would be really nice”. While Adriene continued to minister to her, I went inside the main office to ask them about us providing services to the campground; they were unable to make the decision themselves, but they were receptive and took some of our cards and said that they would pass the offer on to the campground owner. They told me that another campground resident had just asked about a chapel service the day prior. God was really making His presence known to me as I left the office; I parked the coach on the side of the entry road and headed over to a small pavilion where Adriene and the lady were waiting.
Her daughter arrived with her boyfriend, who wasn’t feeling well at the time; her mom introduced us to them. We began to share with them, and tell them about the youth ministry that was offered by our church. We told them that we would put her in contact with our daughter (Alisha) that is now one of the staff members. It was about 5:45; 15 minutes before the youth met, so we invited them to go and visit – they had time to make it. The boyfriend wasn’t feeling well, but he said that he would drop her off if she wanted to go. They decided not to go, but said that they would go another weekend. We took the opportunity to build and altar, and turn that little pavilion into a “house of prayer”; we joined hands and I prayed for the healing of his body, and the healing of their souls. The mom was so excited about what God was doing in her own life and the life of her daughter. We exchanged contact information, and we headed back to our rig, and on our way. That encounter reminded us that when we yield ourselves to God’s work, He will always give us opportunity to share His love – “even at the dump station”.
The young lady went to the youth service the following weekend, she connected with our daughter, and is now going to services faithfully, with a desire to serve the Kingdom with her gifts and talents. The mom had also informed us of the health challenges that her sister was experiencing; Adriene has since been over to visit with her sister as well.
We got back to our storage facility and our “neighbor” was backing his fifth wheel into place. He was by himself, so I went over to introduce myself and offer assistance. I told him that we had just returned “home” from a ministry trip; he asked, “What type of ministry” you guessed it; I shared our ministry with him and he told me that he was just coming back to be at his service at his local Lutheran church for Easter morning. I gave him Easter greetings, and gave him a couple of our ministry cards.
God has been faithful, and He has shown us that if we make ourselves available, He would use us – anytime, and anywhere …
Until next time …
Good Morning from the “Newton Estate” in Mt Pleasant, Texas. We had really great night’s sleep. We almost melted in the comfort of that bed; I wondered if I could get that bed to fit into our coach Our room was greeted by the aroma of breakfast sausage coming from the kitchen; it was time for us to pull ourselves together and join with our hosts. The Newton’s always make us feel like family when we are with them; we have connected really well over the years.
After a fantastic breakfast, and continued fellowship from the night prior, Jimmy and I headed over to a property that he was refurbishing. As expected, he had done some high quality work in the property, preparing it for new owners. He is not that much older than I am, but when I am with him, I am like a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge that I can. I have always been envious of his accomplishments in the world of real estate investing. He showed me around that property and shared the plans that he had to finish it up. I also met a gentleman that does a lot of work with him. I had seen some of the cabinet work that that guy did, and I was already wondering if he could build us a custom desk for the coach. If we were around for a while, I have no doubt, he could do it.
It was getting close to lunch time, so Jimmy and I headed back to his house and with the ladies, we “unanimously” voted to go to the catfish place. We had gone there the last time that we were in town, but we didn’t remember the name of the place; all we knew was, we wanted to go back for another visit. The only problem was that, according to the sign, we got there a day early. The sign said “Free Fish Tomarrow”); yes, it was spelled like that. It was a “cute” sign, but we got the point. We spent a little more time at the counter than we really needed to decide what we wanted, but it was well worth it. I knew that we would be getting catfish, but there were so many other options to go along with it. I think we all ended up getting a salad because they had an open salad bar, and it was “stocked”. If we were not careful, we could have certainly filled up on the salad bar, but we knew that the catfish was on its way. That was really good; I’m certain that we will stop by that place every time we are in Mt Pleasant.
After lunch, we rode around town a bit; our first stop was over to Jimmy’s’ brother’s house. Both Jimmy and Laura grew up in Mt Pleasant, so they both have a lot of family still living in the area. His brother has quite a bit of property as well; we were checking out the new Yamaha “Mule” that he had just picked up. We didn’t stay very long, and we were back in the truck enjoying a tour of the area where Laura and her family grew up. It involved driving down some winding back roads, but Jimmy drove those roads like it was second nature. I probably would have been “creeping” through there. Going back to Laura’s old “stomping grounds” brought up a lot of memories for her; showing us where all of the family members used to live.
We went back to the Newton home to relax and enjoy some of the NCAA tournament that was still ongoing. Later in the evening we decided to go out for ice cream; we ultimately agreed to go by the grocery store and grab a gallon of vanilla and some flavored condiments, and made our own ice cream sundaes. What a great day of fellowship …
The morning came; we had decided to get an early start on our long travel day back to the Lone Star State of Texas. At sunrise, we started running our “departure” checklist; I headed outside, and Adriene started inside. While outside, I took to opportunity to “Build An Altar”, an altar symbolizing the presence of God at our site, and a landmark for others to see as they arrived. I finished up preparing outside, and Adriene had prepared the “mobile mansion” for travel on the inside. It was time to “start our engines”; we took the opportunity to pray for God’s blessings over our day; we were soon pulling out of campsite #58. As we were pulling out, we stopped a couple times to share Easter greetings with other “early risers” and to give them one of our cards. We hand out lots of ministry cards because, even if we don’t spend an extended amount of time with someone, the cards have our website address on them, and the website will lead them through the Plan of Salvation; allowing them to build an altar of their own.
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 …
We were up an about, enjoying the view from our front panoramic windshield. That was a very nice little lake/pond that was accented with a water fountain. The fountain wasn’t on the day prior, so it was a pleasant surprise. I grabbed our bag of trash and headed to the main office so that I could pay for an additional day. While there, I was able to share our ministry with the new owner of the park; I also left come cards with him and he thanked me for what we do. Before leaving, he said that I could throw the trash in the back of his golf cart. I still took the long way back, because that is the time that I take to pray for the residents and look for ministry opportunities. No one was out, so I took the opportunity to get a few pictures of the park.
When I got back, Adriene “whipped up” a great breakfast for us, then we headed outside for a while, doing a bit of a “photo shoot”, with the help of our “trusty tripod”. Our tripod has served us well as we travel. Dad was going to be a while before he arrived; we expected him around noon or so. A few other families had arrived into the campground that morning as well. When I see motorhomes pull in, I see new opportunities for ministry. Adriene asked me if I was “stalking” the new neighbors. I don’t “stalk” neighbors, but I am always conscious of the fact that they may need us to come over and “Build an Altar” at their site.
Dad called and said that he would be arriving a little later than expected; he was helping one of his neighbors with their pets while they were out of town. Dad had also misplaced his cell phone for a while during his traversing back and forth from home to this neighbor’s house. He was doing some backtracking on his neighbor’s property; come to find out, he found his phone in his own home after all.
Dad arrived and he came “bearing gifts”; he brought us a dozen fresh eggs from the chicken coop that they have on their property. Not only do Dad and Carolyn raise chickens, they have goats, and they foster dogs as well. They have fostered many dogs over the years; finding great new homes for them and keeping a few of their own. Carolyn couldn’t make it; she had to work, but we “hung out” outside for a while before we all agreed to go out for lunch. Over lunch, we continued to reminisce, and enjoy our time together. After lunch, we made a short trip over the local Walmart Supercenter, to pick up a few things. We then jumped back in Dad’s “cruiser” and before I realized it, we were on one of the back roads heading towards their house. Our campground was about 20 minutes from their house, so we had a nice ride. I sat in the back seat, so Adriene could sit up front with her dad; she loved it, and I was in the backseat snapping pictures.
We actually ended up passing his property, and headed towards the Mennonite community and General Store, that specialized in homemade “everything”. We had been to that community before, and we love it every time. On the way, we passed by the nicest “cattle fence” that I have seen; that owner must have invested millions in that fence; he must think very highly of that cattle, or maintaining a reputation of being “over the top” – Wow. I did leave one of our ministry cards on the bulletin board at the General Store; the Mennonites live a wholesome lifestyle; much like the Amish community, but you never know what impact you could make on someone’s life; every community has prodigal sons and daughters, so I embraced the opportunity. On the way back, we did stop by Dad’s house, so that he could take care of something before we headed back to campground. I have great memories of our time staying with them on “the farm”. My most prominent memory, is when I stayed in their “cabin”, beside the main house. There was no cell phone service, no internet, and no TV. That is where I spent a lot of quite time, and was introduced to my love of writing; I have been writing ever since. I will have to put a picture of that cabin in the first book that I publish; it was the perfect “hideout”, and the venue that launched my newfound passion.
We headed back to the campsite at Springlake RV Resort; hung out inside for a while, as we opened the door and windows while a nice breeze was passing through. Dad began to share some health challenges that he was experiencing, so we took the opportunity to pray with him, knowing that we serve a God of divine healing. Dad is a retired “Navy Guy”, so we know how resilient he is; health challenges won’t keep him down for long. He is the oldest of all of his siblings, so we were loving to hear stories of family members that we hadn’t seen or been in contact with for many years. Dad can be really comical, so we had a few burst of laughter along the way.
It was starting to get late in the evening; after seeing the road that Dad would be driving on had no street lights, we knew that it was close to the time that Dad would need to be leaving, and bringing our reunion to an end. We had a great time with Dad and were already looking forward to the day when we would see him and the family again. Before he took off, we joined together in a word of prayer. After hugs and kisses, we thanked him for joining with us and he was back in his “ride”, making his way back home. We settled in for the evening and celebrated the fact that we were able to stop in for a short visit.
Well, Mom was heading back to work (the church), and we were preparing to head down the road. After we got all of our things packed up, we had our time in prayer with Mom. That is always a bit difficult when my visits come to an end; not knowing when we would see each other again. I loaded everything in the car, and we were on our way back to “Showers”, and our “home away from home”.
When we got back to the “rig”, we loaded all of our things back inside and prepared for “take off”. I did my usual walk-around, pulled in the slides, and cranked her up. While the engine was getting to proper operating temperature, and the air pressure adjusting to “drive mode”, we headed into the church because Mom was going to give us a quick tour of the church. “Showers” is a beautiful facility, and I know that God is pleased at how it is maintained and presented. We finished up our tour and it was “that time” for big hugs and kisses for Mom. Our time for departure had come. Mom had been such a blessing to us during short stay, and we are eternally grateful for her love and support. Mom took some of our ministry cards, because the Pastor and other members wanted to know more about what God was doing in and through our ministry. We will certainly be back to Showers, but we will likely park at a local campground next time, rather than the church parking lot; “Destiny” created a bit of a “buzz” parked “over there” :-)
As she normally does when I am leaving her house, Mom stood at the front door waving and blowing kisses as we pulled off. She always stays there until we are out of her sight. I know Mom was shedding tears as we left; she has been doing that as far back as I can remember. I’m so blessed to have a Mom that loves God first, and cherishes her family. She was my first example that led me to Jesus Christ; I now rise and call her “Blessed” (Proverbs 31:28)
We jumped on highway 64, heading west. It was time for us to make our way to Tennessee, so that we could spend a little time with Adriene’s Dad (Forrest Powell) and family. We were on our way to Crossville, Tennessee; which is not too far from where they live in Monterey. I have very fond memories of our last couple of visits to their “hideout” in the hills of Tennessee. The first time was during the winter months with our entire family; that is when I really identified my love of writing (more on that later). The second time, it was just Ariene (my oldest daughter) and I, passing through in a rented Cruise America RV, pulling her car on a U-Haul trailer. We were on a “College Road Trip”; I was taking Ariene to Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. She was in pursuit of her Masters Degree.
I think this was our third time visiting Adriene’s Dad in Tennessee; I’m always excited about spending time with him, especially now that my Dad is no longer with us. We put in a full day of driving that day. After a short time on US-64, we jumped on Interstate 40 west for the rest of the travel day. It was a long 8 hours of driving from Rocky Mount, NC to Crossville, TN, but it was some beautiful scenery along the way; particularly when we got up into the mountains of Tennessee. We usually don’t drive for extended hours these days, but we wanted to get the Tennessee that night so that we could spend as much time as we could there.
After a little research, we decided to stay at Springlake RV Resort in Crossville during our stay. We are always praying that God would direct us to the campgrounds where He wants to use us. We pulled into the campground during the afternoon, so we still had plenty of daylight hours for getting settled in. After getting checked-in, the campground host guided us to our site (#58) in his golf cart; he even helped me as I backed my way into our site. Surprisingly, the campground wasn’t too full. After we got settled in, we contacted Adriene’s Dad and told him that we were in town; it wasn’t long and we saw Dad pulling into the campground and winding his way around the lake, heading for our location. We didn’t recognize that it was him until he got close because he was in a new vehicle that we hadn’t seen before. I was thinking “Nice ride Dad, this would look great being towed behind our motorhome” :-) We are still in the market for a “dingy – tow vehicle”, so I’ve always got my eye open for the right vehicle, and a great deal.
It’s always good to see Dad, we were surprised that he was by himself; we were expecting the whole family. We still had a great visit that evening; we decided that we were going to stay an additional full day so that we had plenty of time to “catch up”, so Dad hung out with us for a while, then headed home for the evening. We had already planned to get together again in the morning, so we were looking forward to it.
Monday is Mom’s regular day off now, so we had the opportunity to spend the entire day with her. She is always up very early in the morning, praying and in God’s Word. She is a diligent follower of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, so she is able to catch his broadcast in the morning as well. By the time, we got up, Mom had probably been up for 4 hours.
Mom has been retired from government service for years; now she volunteers as an administrator at “Showers” the church, working diligently on her own ministry efforts, and writing books. Yes, she likes to write too J, it’s no surprise that I enjoy writing now.
A few of her books can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble:
Master the WORD of the MASTER
Good News Daily
The TEXT Book (A-Z Salvation)
Biblical Texting - A Word From God – AS IS
Usually when I come to visit Mom, she knows that I am coming, so she will have a little “To-Do” list waiting for me on the refrigerator. Since this visit was a surprise, there was no list, so I spent most of the day helping her with whatever she needed. I did take the opportunity to go and visit my Pops’ gravesite; he went to be with the Lord in September of 1996. I always go by for a visit when I come to town; I am a living legacy of all that he imparted in me, so I’m certain to go over and spend a little time celebrating his life when I’m in Rocky Mount.
Later in the afternoon, we took a trip over to Olive Garden for a late lunch; we ran into one of the church members from “Showers” that works there welcoming and seating the patrons. That was a great meal; I had an Italian style chicken potpie, Adriene had a soup and salad meal, and I forgot what Mom had, but I do know that we had plenty of take-out containers for late night snacks. Before leaving, we shared our ministry with our greeter and left our card with her, as well as on our table for our waitress. I always wonder of the impact that we have as God works through us; I’m just glad to be a willing vessel. We headed back to Mom’s house to enjoy the evening.
Mom thought of a couple other things that I could help her with around the house, so I made a trip over to Lowe’s to pick up a few supplies. I was wearing my “God’s Got This” T-shirt, which often spawns a conversation with people. I had the opportunity to share of God’s goodness in Lowe’s, affirming that God has it all in control; then headed back to finish my tasks at Mom’s house.
It was starting to get a little late for Mom, so I checked to see what time we needed to be ready in the morning. She was heading back to work, and we were continuing our travels (8 a.m. it was). Mom went to bed; we stayed up a while longer, relaxing, and watching TV until the pillow started calling our name …
Well, the morning started being awaken by a car horn blowing outside of the coach. Then there was a second set “horn blowing”. I went to our “living room” window and lifted the shade and window a little, to see who it was. I didn’t open the shade much because I wasn’t exactly dressed for church at that time :-) It was about 7 a.m. and one of the church Elders had arrived early, seeing this “random squatter”, parked in the church parking lot. I yelled out to inform him of who I was, and that I had permission to be there. The conversation went something like this:
Elder: We will be starting prayer service here in about an hour (expecting me to pack up and leave)
Me: My name is Robert Allen. I am Cora Allen’s son and I am here to surprise her; the Pastor knows that I am here. Please don’t let my Mom know that I am here “It’s A Surprise”.
Elder: OK; Robert Allen, and the Pastor knows that you are here
Me: Yes Sir, It’s a surprise
Elder: OK (with a thumbs up)
Me: Sir, what time does service start?
Elder: Prayer starts at 8 o’clock, and service starts at 9 o’clock
Me: Thank You (he then drives off)
As my Mom tells it, this is how it all went down:
My Mom volunteers at the church a few days a week as well as on Sundays, so she too arrives early. She told me that she was speaking to the Elder and asked him if he had seen “that motorhome parked over there”; “they had better get out of here before service starts, can you go over there and see who it is?”
Elder: I went over there, he said his name was Robert Allen, and the Pastor knows that he is here.
Mom: His name is what?
Elder: Robert Allen, and the Pastor gave him permission to be here.
Mom: “ROBERT ALLEN; THAT’S MY SON”
The excitement started and the “cat was out of the bag” (maybe 10 minutes after I said “It’s a surprise”). Mom said that she was trying to “keep her cool” because prayer was starting in the sanctuary. She said that she went in the sanctuary and the Pastor was speaking about how blessed people are; then she hears:
Pastor: “I know Sister Cora is blessed, her son came to surprise her”
Mom said that she got up, turned around to see if she saw me (not knowing if I had come inside yet); when she didn’t see me, she took off running out of the church.
Greeter: Sister Cora, where are you going without your coat? (they are very protective of my Mom)
Mom: “I’M GOING TO FIND MY FAMILY”
Next thing I knew, I hear a “pounding” on our door; then another “pounding”. I opened the curtain to the door, and there she was; out of breath and ecstatic. I unlocked and opened the door to help her up the steps and into our rig. Listening to her tell this story, while in shock and catching her breath was hilarious and exciting at the same time; I couldn’t get her to sit down. The “Surprise” didn’t go off like I had planned, but this was even better, and more memorable.
After a short visit, with hugs and kisses for Adriene and I, Mom ran back into the church and all the way up the pulpit steps as she celebrated. Once Mom left, we picked up our pace so that we could get in the service. When we got inside, the usher escorted us up the aisle; Mom had already reserved us some seats on the second row. We arrived between the services, so we were awaiting the start of the 9 o’clock service.
After a fantastic Praise and Worship Service, the Pastor and his wife acknowledged us a couple of times after the announcements, then he preached a masterpiece on “Patience – The Partner of Faith”. Following service, we greeted the Pastor and First Lady, took a quick photo, and thanked him for allowing us to park in the parking lot overnight. As tradition would have it, we were ready to go and get something to eat; we decided that it was a Golden Corral Day (one of Mom’s favorite spots); we hopped in Mom’s car, and off we went. After “loading up” on some of everything at the buffet, we left a tip and a ministry card, and headed to Mom’s house. We were planning to stay in the coach during our stay in Rocky Mount, but Mom wouldn’t have it. Later in the day, we went back over to the coach to pick up a change of clothes and some overnight things and went back to Mom’s house for the evening …
Mom is off on Monday’s, so we decided to stay until she went back to work … What A Day! …
Blessings Everyone ... I'm Robert Allen, and my wife is Adriene Allen; we are the Founders of Altar To Altar Ministries, and we love to travel and share our travels with others. Join us on our journey, it's going to be a great ride.