Thursday, March 18, 2010

Life on the Road

Many of you have been asking for a documentation of a typical day on the road. We have arrived home from our Feb/March trip and are enjoying the home time. But in regards to our 'typical life', we figured out that since the first week of September we've been home a collective total of 5 weeks. So obviously, road-life has become a more routine form of life for us in the past year.

Before we arrived home, we did take time to document a day 'on the road'. However, since we left Bethany's nice camera with her in Virginia [she was so kind to loan it to us for the first part of this trip] I was a little puzzled at how to capture the action without a camera. God provided in the form of our good friend, Anna, who traveled with us the final week of our tour. She has a small 'point and shoot', thus the slight difference in picture quality. But she did a fantastic job following us around and capturing these moments for us. Thanks Anna!

So, thanks for your requests for a peek into this part of our life. I hope you enjoy!

March 8, 2010

Much of bus life can be described by "Plans vs. Reality". This morning was no different:

Plans: Rise early and drive the 3 hours to Holmes County, Ohio, where we hoped to take Anna to tour some of the unique Amish attractions in the area before our evening service.

Reality: Susanna's birthday was the previous day, so we had a small birthday party in the bus complete with a surprise visit from our cousin whom we haven't seen in years. This resulted in a fun, but very late night for everyone. Thus, we didn't get a very early start to our day.

Plans: Ruth, our early riser, usually makes breakfast. This morning she chooses fresh pancakes -- one of our favorites. Yum!

Reality: With only a half-dozen pancakes fried and ready to go, Dad reminded us that our current generator is out of order, so we can't run the skillet as it'd drain the bus battery. So no pancakes for breakfast.

Plans: As soon as breakfast is over, start driving towards Holmes County.

Reality: The tire on our trailer was flat! Thankfully we're parked at Walmart, so the guys quickly jumped in to get the tire changed.

Meanwhile, since we weren't hitting the road early anyways, Dad pulled out our little generator and hooked it up -- so we could go back to frying our pancakes after all!

Around 8:00 in the mornings we usually have our Bible reading and prayer time. We're currently reading through the book of John together, typically a chapter each day with time for discussion and ideas for practical application.

And then -- breakfast!

One of our favorite uses for yogurt is eating it over pancakes. Drizzle with syrup, pile with yogurt....Mmmmm!

Then, with the tire fixed, we're back on the road for three hours.

We love traveling together.

Usually, travel time is filled with school studies. If everyone gets their work done while the bus is truckin' down the road, then we have more time to get out exercise once the bus arrives at its destination.

School games in the bunk area


In addition to textbooks, we do try to bring along lots of books for reading.

Around 2:00 in the afternoon we arrived at Lehmans -- a unique ol'time general store with a seemingly endless supply of gadgets, tools, and toys. We spent about an hour browsing through their unique inventory.

Literally hundreds of cookie cutters!

And we arrived for our evening service with about 30 minutes to spare. We were thrilled to discover a bulk food store within walking distance, so we ladies took the opportunity to do some shopping.

Then it was time to unload and set up.
We girls usually unload the instruments...

...while the guys transport the heavy stuff.

Tonight we're sharing at our last fundraising banquet for the We Care Prison Ministry. It's been such a blessing to work with their team over the past years. They have such a heart for the Lord and for discipleship.

Setting up equipment

Preparing instruments

Re-stocking the CD table

And then we head back to the bus to get ready for the evening. We usually try to ready ourselves in shifts...the younger girls use the mirrors while we older girls are doing the sound check. But every once in awhile we'll have a time crunch and THEN preparations on the bus get very interesting! The tight quarters often make us laugh, so we've made lots of good memories trying to make 2 mirrors supply the need for 12+ people!

The practical details of life!

The above picture is candidly accurate -- we often have about 3 people working in this space at a time! As I mentioned earlier, we've learned that patience, flexibility, and lots of laughter go a long ways when working in close quarters.

Elizabeth usually works with the younger girls' hair.

And we arrive a bit early for some prayer time with the We Care Staff [sorry-no picture]. We find our places for the meal, and greet the people as they arrive.

It's such a blessing to have this opportunity as a family. Music can be such a powerful way of ministering encouragement and life! As we share together, its truly our prayer that the Lord's Spirit would be at work through each opportunity.

After each service, we always enjoy visiting and fellowshipping with believers before tearing down the sound equipment and packing up. We usually have quite a bit of conversation as we're winding down and --again-- taking shifts through the bus bathroom as we all prepare for the end of the day.

Its a full schedule requiring flexibility, creativity, and a sense of humor.

But what a joy to have met so many of you dear blog readers from across the country. To see how the Lord is working in the hearts of His people all across this nation. We're very blessed. Again, thank you for your prayers, and I hope this gives you a little glimpse into our family's life on the road.

"...speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord"
Eph 5:19


Julie said...

It's interesting to see a 'day in the life' perspective. I've often wondered how your family does it.

Our Army of Six said...

Thank you so much for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

You were in my area, I live in Holmes County, Ohio and have been to Lehman's several times with my parent's and family!


Jenna said...

Amazing how you can "make do" in the small space, isn't it?! I can imagine what it's like (a little bit!) because there are 10 of us who fit in a *tiny* camper for a week at the fair...we always have lots of fun, and giggle at the "line to the bathroom":)

I can't wait to meet you all when you come to Michigan!!!


Kaylene said...

Wow very interesting! Thanks for sharing. God bless you all. Kaylene

Abigail said...

That was great! Thanks for sharing a peek into one of your days. Obviously you all really love each other and are able to work together so well. That is an amazing testimony for the glory of God. If you all are ever in MS, we'll be there to see you!

Lily said...

Yay a long post! It was very interesting--I had a couple laughs. You know I was thinking as well that two mirrors really aren't enough for the 15 people you all have in your family as they're all getting ready--that must be crowded and crazy! But you all seem to handle it well, with alot of patience too. I don't see how I could do it. :)
And how funny, I'm going through the book of Jonh as well!
Thank you 4 sharing.

Charity said...

I'm sure you girls loved the cookie cutters!! :)
What a cool post- I love knowing what it's like! Those mirror pictures are very funny... and very familiar. ;)

Anonymous said...

Wow, your family is such a great witness for Christ. I wish my family had such a respect for each other, enjoyed being around each other, and had such a passion for the Lord as yours does. Keep up the great work. Your blog is so encouraging.

Erin said...

Great pictures! Thanks for sharing with all of us.


JoyfulJewels4Jesus said...

Rachel-Thank you for sharing this post so very much! It was neat seeing photos and notes of things you do everyday! Blessings!
Joyfully in Jesus,

Annie said...

Wow! What a busy day! LOVED all the photos, thank you very much, Anna! :)
Rachel, your hair is so *lovely*! Do you curl it with a curling iron or is it natural curly?

Kenna said...

Thanks for the "Life on the Road" post! Loved seeing what your road life consists of.
Loved seeing the pictures!!!!!!
God bless you all! Hope your weekend is great & fun filled (with TONS of laughter) :)

~Mindy~ said...

Thanks for all the pictures I enjoyed seeing clips of your day. ~Mindy~

Julie said...

How interesting! Still curious how you manage to cook for such a large family in such a small space? Do you have to shop frequently because of a lack of storage space?

Nancy said...

I loved reading about your plans/ likeable and real...

Thank you for being such a blessing to so many in just the way you approach life and ministry.

Please pass along to Gloria that I rec'd her lovely note.... :)

Nancy Martin, :)
Calvary Baptist in Mt. Pleasant, IA