I normally post on Tuesdays but this week has been just a little bit crazy. As I write, I am sitting in our new RV living room/dining room/kitchen at Community First! Village in Austin, listening to Briana try to put Truma down for a nap through the paper thin walls (it’s not going well). I wouldn’t be surprised if they could hear the clicks of my keyboard. It has definitely been a challenging transition. Yes, going from a large house to an RV is a big change, but leaving friends and family behind and going into the unknown is what is really unsettling. At this point we still kind of feel like we are on a camping trip but when our program officially starts next week, reality will set in I am sure. We are excited to get to work but the actuality of staying here away from our home community for four months is probably going to hit pretty hard.
RV living is a challenge with a toddler and our dog Waylon. One of our puppies, Gambler, is staying with some amazing new friends since we could only bring one with us. They have been sending us pictures of him lying on the bed and eating ice cream and I have to admit I am a little jealous and we all miss him a lot. Meanwhile, we are learning the ins and outs of managing the cold weather: keeping faucets dripping, wrapping our exterior water hose in insulation late at night, and trying to run space heaters without tripping breakers so we don’t suck our propane tanks dry. Truma hasn’t adjusted to sleeping in her own bunk (yet) so we have all been squeezing into our queen bed at about 8:00 PM.
Yesterday we spent a lot of time outside exploring the village, checking out the animals, and playing at the playground. It was very nice! The temperatures dropped down into the high 20s last night so we have been inside most of the day besides a short trip to a children’s museum called The Thinkery, which is an awesome place for kids if you are ever in Austin.
We just learned how to light the pilot light in our oven and Briana made some delicious homemade pretzels with Truma’s help stirring and kneading dough on the shaky collapsible table that converts into a bed. We have had a lot of time together as a family but almost no time together as a couple. I know that once we get into a rhythm we will figure out how to do that. In the meantime, it is hard for me to know how Briana is feeling and what I can do to support her right now and I don’t like that a bit.
Sharing these small difficulties with a friend earlier, I was humbled and reminded that even though getting used to living in an RV is a challenge, I am so blessed to have shelter from these dangerous elements. Walking from the trailer down to the bathroom, I was chilled to the bone and I cannot imagine how it must feel to have no place of refuge from the cold wind. Now more than ever, I am convinced that Midland desperately needs permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless.
Some of our new friends here are headed out this afternoon for a “Street Retreat” where they will spend the next 24+ hours on the streets of Austin. We pray that the Holy Spirit will move in their hearts and that they will be and experience the hands and feet of the Body of Christ. It will be a cold time for them, but we know that the Lord is not bound by temperature and He works in all circumstances, especially when we have humbled ourselves and opened ourselves up to His will.
As we continue to settle in, there is a deep longing to get back home to Midland to begin the work to lift people off the streets with whom we have developed deep relationships. I think of our friends out in the cold right now and wish so badly for them to have a home. Not just a place to stay, but somewhere they feel loved and have dignity: a family. These four months here at Community First! are sure to be both an incredible experience to serve and learn as well as a humbling and challenging time for our family. We know without a doubt that God called us here and as we struggle to make this trailer feel like home, we feel his presence and his peace. We know that the experiences we have had and will have are by design to mold us into exactly who He wants us to be. We so appreciate all the calls and texts we have received this week to encourage us and see how we are doing.
Some specific prayers requests this week are as follows:
· Truma to get used to sleeping in her new big girl bunk.
· Our house in Midland to sell.
· Unity in our marriage.
· The upcoming week of starting our serve duties.
· Our friends on their Street Retreat here in Austin.
· Our homeless friends in Midland.
· Building relationships with residents here.
· That God would help us make time to focus on our spiritual health.