Well, we finally left Wisconsin near the end of August.
It took us much longer to actually leave than we anticipated because
- Our daughter broke her arm.
- The brakes on the bus caught on fire.
- We took our van in for a simple alignment and found a host of problems that resulted in getting the entire rear end replaced.
- Anne’s computer broke — again, but this time for good.
It felt like everything was going wrong and yet — we prayed each day that YHWH would guide us and make the way obvious. You can’t get much more obvious than broken arms and broken vehicles that His timetable was different than our own.
Finally everything was ready and we left Wisconsin. We took three days to travel slowly through the upper peninsula of Michigan, stopping for a day in Mackinaw City, Michigan, for some family time together.
We ended up in southern Michigan, near Lansing, and stayed with some friends. They graciously allowed us to sleep in their basement, and we set up our kitchen tent in the backyard. While working on the electrical of our bus and also beginning to build the frames for furniture in the “living room” and “kitchen” of the bus, we also had time to go to a family reunion and see other family members.
A highlight of our stay was being able to visit with quite a few other families who share our beliefs in the Bible. We met with them on two Sabbaths as well as many hours during the week, and we had such a great time. However, none of these families has a congregation of people in this area with whom they can meet weekly. Over those two weeks, almost one hundred hours was spent in Bible study together. It was amazing.
One day, our friends’ landlord called them and expressed concern over the number of people living with them. They had gotten permission from their landlord before inviting us, but yet, with our two families combined, twenty-four people were staying in the house. Any landlord might be concerned!
We didn’t want to cause tension for our friends, so we decided to drive the bus to western Pennsylvania and stay with Anne’s parents. They graciously offered to let us stay in their finished attic and to park our bus in their backyard. It was a precious time to see Anne’s parents and be able to let the kids play with their grandparents, especially since we don’t get to see them very often.
However, two things were bothering us. First of all, winter was coming. The days were getting colder, yet our bus was far from ready for us to be able to live in it. A summer of set-backs and a steep construction learning curve were keeping us from building as quickly as we thought we could.
Secondly, our hearts kept going back to the families in Michigan, families who wanted to gather together to study but had no one to teach them.
We prayed and asked God if He might be wanting us to stay in Michigan awhile, slowing down the construction on the bus to “hobby” speed while we helped these families get organized and grounded in the Word of God.
Earlier this week, we left our bus behind and drove back to Michigan. We’re in our friends’ basement again for a few days as we look around for a rental home. We have several leads on homes, so we’re just waiting to hear back on the specific house. If this is indeed what YHWH wants us to do, we’re again praying that He will make it obvious. We’re guessing that we’ll go back to Pennsylvania to get our bus and our things next week, and that we’ll be moving into a rental home within the next few weeks.
So What Have We Learned?
- We’ve learned that even “bad days” are good. “This is the day which YHWH has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Our pastor in Wisconsin reminded us that all days are good, although some days might not feel as good as other days. Regardless, throughout all circumstances, all detours, YHWH wants us to rejoice and trust in Him.
- We’ve learned that sometimes we go on a detour because YHWH cares more about people than our to-do list. He might have someone He wants us to talk to or minister to. Many times God took His prophets and apostles on detours just so that they could have a “divine appointment” with a person.
- We’ve learned that there are a lot of people in this country who have no congregation or anyone with whom to fellowship. Especially for those who are believers in Yeshua (Jesus) and seek to obey God’s commands as given in the Torah, they might have had to leave behind churches, family, friends, and even jobs. We have a dream of ministering to these people and helping to shepherd them.
The whole thing reminds us of this story in the book of Acts:
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Yeshua would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them (Acts 16:6-10, NIV).
So for now, our bus Tex is going to park for the winter as we live full-time in a house. However, the Expedition continues as YHWH keeps showing us where to go next.