Today has been an interesting day for me. On three different occasions I was able to share about our job here in Southport, being Home Parents at an Emergency Teen Shelter. Each person/couple I was talking with gave us such praise for the work we do and each time I found myself saying “no, it’s not me/us, it’s definitely a God thing!” And it got me to thinking about being in ministry.
I remember when Ron and I began our journey of working and traveling with the carnival (begins here) and often thinking of things Pastor Charles said to me before we took off. One of the things he said to me and which has stayed with me over the years (can you believe it has been 11 years since we worked with Funtastic Shows?) and that is “Wherever we go it is our ministry field. We don’t have to go to a foreign country, learn a new language or eat different cuisine…our ministry field is wherever we are! And I have carried that over in my signature line of my emails and even on this blog “Love serving where the Lord plants us!”
And oh the places we have been
- working for a carnival for a season, the friends we made along the way both in the RV world but also with our traveling carnies!!
- selling Christmas trees ~ 252 trees sold in six weeks, the poems written by friends, the lady who came at least 8 times before buying one of the first Christmas trees she had touched, YES touched!
- moving to Texas (the first time in 2011) and learning/not learning how to deal with politics and 150 bosses in one campground!!!
- a three week forced vacation and leaning and trusting more in the Lord!!! Being reminded that HE is with us every where and every day even when we can’t see it!!
- managing a campground in Branson for a year
- working for Amazon camperforce (well Ron worked and I cooked food and babysat for another couple who worked there)…loved getting to be Grammy to a little boy who just needed to be loved!!
- traveling back to Branson to manage the same campground with a whole different feel
- being on the ground floor of the beginning of GUMI Camp – a place where we saw us being for years and reality was it didn’t last 8 months no fault of our own
- working for a month cleaning and readying a motel while the Lord opened a door back on the West Coast
- Co~managed a 55+ community – how strange to be the same age as our residents! Getting a different flavor of politics or “Kissing A** education ~ the benefit being we got a year being close by to our son, his wife and our four grandsons!!!!
- And then back to Texas ~ this time to be Home Parents at a Boys Ranch; 8 teenage boys at once is a challenge for anyone and I thank the Lord that I can look back and see how much I have grown since those first days/months and realizing kids are kids no matter where they are. Some need a mama, some need a babysitter, and some need a swift kick in the butt ~ too bad I wasn’t able to follow through on that one!
- then another forced six week vacation, a trip to Arizona, a special two weeks with our grandsons while B & D traveled for their jobs
- a move to Utah ~ and realizing the job is not always what they say it is! And learning to stand up for oneself even at the age of 61 ~ that sometimes its good to cut the ties even when you don’t know if that will just cause more unraveling!
- then back to Texas! Man is it hot in Texas! But it can be cold too…even saw some snow a few days. Met some great young men who were just trying to provide for their families. And seeing how the Lord put us in a place where we had good work but it wasn’t strenuous and that doctors were readily available to take care of some serious medical needs! It was another time we give great Thanks for the healing of Ron’s breast cancer ~ he is almost to the beginning of year 3 of being cancer free!!!
- and then a move farther south in Texas where we made good friends, got to love on some littles, who needed a Mama and a Papa to encourage and love them just the way they were and to watch them grow and love in relationship with Jesus and their siblings
- and then again, things happened, well we were told things were going to happen and once again we put out the fleece to see where the Lord would lead us…and that is to today
- where we are home parents to kids who just need to be loved and listened to, kept safe and have a place to rest their heads and eat!! A place where we laugh and listen, make the same dish every other week for six weeks because the kids change but they each like the enchilada casserole taught to me by my bestie!
And as I look over this list I see where the Lord has allowed us to do what we do best…love and nurture those who need it ~ those who come into our ministry field or we move into theirs ~ and I am truly thankful for the ministry of serving the Lord by caring for those who need a listening ear, a good meal, sometimes a trip to the place that shall not be named (Dairy Queen for those who don’t know), sometimes watching Paw Patrol over and over and being able to share my love for being near the water and going to the beach with multiple children!
So today I give thanks for being able to serve the Lord wherever He plants us!