What does a typical day look like for our family? We left our home in San Diego and are living in our 29 foot travel trailer, with our family of nine. Believe me when I say there IS no typical day. Each day is different, and usually pretty unique, and always busy.
We are currently getting ready to move out of South Carolina, making some stops in Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana before planting ourselves in Mississippi for a couple of weeks. We have been here in the Greenville area for nearly a month and have thoroughly enjoyed the warm Southern welcome from the churches in the area, our campground with its fishing pond and forest right outside our door, the beginning signs of spring, the Southern history around us and being in one place for a while, allowing us to have some routine. Our family has been building some precious memories.
But there are some struggles as well. On one hand, when it is time to pull the trailer behind our Ford Econoline on the road it feels quite large. But after all of us living in it for a few weeks, it feels quite small. It has a master bedroom at one end for Ray and me and the baby. In the back there is a children’s bedroom with 4 bunk beds. That leaves 2 additional children. We convert the dining room table and the couch into beds every night to fit the additional children. So each night we clear off the table from the things that must be stored there–our fresh fruit and the 9 water cups, one for each person. You see, the almost non-existent kitchen counter space just can’t fit those items. In the morning it is time to convert one bed back into a table and the other back into a couch. If breakfast is to be made the table must be put back together, because with the nine cups and the fruit, there is literally not enough space on the kitchen counter to make any preparations. So yes, there tends to be a high irritation factor. We have to accept that there are frequent spills, that people will get in our way and that we can’t tell them to go somewhere else because there isn’t anywhere else to go. On sunny days we often eat, do school or play outside. On rainy or very cold days, we attempt to find ways to keep our sanity intact while staying inside.
“Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing.” (Prov. 27:14)
Traveling with a large family takes time. I compare a large family with a large ship. A small boat can change course and maneuver on the drop of a dime. A large ship may be able to speed along just as fast when it gets going, but changing course can be quite a production. So it is with our large family. In the 8 weeks since we left California, we have experienced 3 different viruses circulating through our family. In addition, there have been a couple of near disasters with the van (backing into a tree and breaking the back window and getting stuck in a ditch). Living in a trailer in always changing environments means that living takes longer. When the trailer needs maintenance, it has to be attended to promptly, even if that means Ray not doing his other work. There is very little space, meaning we have to go grocery shopping more often. The trailer has no office space for Ray, so that means he needs to find a place and get set up in each new location we go to, as full time support raising is a full time job, alternating office time with appointments and speaking engagements. And Ray and I find ourselves fighting fatigue and home sickness, just like happens when we move to a new place, because meeting new people and being in new places is tiring. And this latest trip has the added challenge of trying to work with Ray’s corn allergy. Corn is hidden in most prepared food in America, and trying to avoid it while also connecting with people over food is at times impossible, leaving him feeling run down physically.
So, here it is, the good, the bad and the ugly of our life right now. We at once find ourselves feeling incredibly blessed by the Lord while also being at times frustrated and home sick. We are acutely aware that we are upheld by the grace of God each moment. In the midst of what sometimes seems like a storm around us, we look to the Lord – remembering that the pleasant things as well as the unpleasant come from the hand of Him who rules all heaven and earth. We pray that we continue to lean on Him and trust in the Lord, not being like the children of Israel in the wilderness who accused God of taking them out into the desert to leave them to die. No, God is faithful and is more gentle with us that we deserve. Please pray that we will feed on His Word – the daily bread that points us to Jesus and sustains us in our sojourn.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 118:29)
We surely pray each day that our support will be raised up quickly. We are currently at 76% and are still hoping to be able to leave for Uruguay in July, if the Lord would allow. We invite you to pray for us as well, that our support comes in, that we would be a blessing to the churches we visit, and that we would glorify God no matter what our circumstances.