I’ve received a couple of emails and text messages asking what happened to facilitate all the moves and traveling we have done over the past month and how we ended back up in Florida.
So let me explain. Let me backup even a bit more…Ron has always said his parents were going to travel after they retired. Well that never happened as Ron’s dad passed away from cancer when he was just 59 years old. And we often would say “we didn’t want to retire to travel.” We had a dream to live in a motorhome and travel and work around the US. We both believe the country we live in as much to see and we wanted to see it. We had a dream job: work at a camp or campground with a Christian emphasis. With a few twists and turns we were able to buy a motorhome in November 2006 and live fulltime in it. For the first three years we bounced around Whatcom/Skagit county while we maintained our “regular jobs.” As our son Brandon likes to say “in my parent’s real life my dad was a plumber and my mom was a secretary.” And that’s exactly what we did until the economy tanked in November 2009 and our plumbing business closed. We like to eat and we have always had bills of some kind (don’t we all?) and so we needed a job. One day while driving through Bellingham we saw a carnival and said “that would be fun…work and travel with a carnival.”
In February 2010 with no plumbing jobs on the horizon, I (Ali) reached out to five carnivals in the Oregon/Washington area. We heard back from two…one said call him the middle of March. Rob from Fantastic Shows asked us to come to Portland for a job interview. And we did. Telling two people what we are doing: one who was taking care of Charlie Brown (our little jack russell terrier/chihuahua mix dog) and my best friend and telling others we were going to Seattle for an eye appointment. We did go to Seattle for an eye appointment but we went on to Portland, OR for the meeting with Rob Rhew. I remember sitting in the Suburban, praying with Ron and telling God – I don’t waffle, I don’t do grey, it’s either black or white, nothing in between ~ if we were to get the job let it just happen. And it did…we got a job offer 10 minutes into the interview. You can read all about the details here if you don’t know the story.
We began working with Funtastic Shows in March 2010. We traveled Oregon and Washington, met many people, some we are still friends with and began our traveling journey. One thought that has stayed in my mind and heart was what Pastor Charles told us the morning we began our new adventure “wherever you go is your ministry field…it doesn’t matter if you are in China or somewhere in the US – every step you take is your mission field.”
Our mission field has included the carnival grounds, while selling Christmas trees, managing campgrounds in D’Hanis, TX, Branson, MO, being caretakers at a Veterans camp, readying a motel to be reopened and then a move from Missouri back to Oregon where we were co-managers at an independent living community before heading back to Waco, TX where we were onsite foster parents to 8 teenage boys (total of 16 different boys in 18 months), then worked at a campground just outside of Zion National Park in Utah ~ where Ron had breathing issues, we were 6000’+ elevation, back to Texas where we gate guarded for a year, then home parents again at a small children’s home in Yoakum, TX and an emergency teen shelter in NC, houseparents at a large children’s facility in Florida, working for two different campgrounds in the same location in South Carolina and then took the leap to move again and work for Big Creek Missions in Kentucky. Our journey continued to New Jersey to work with friends at a mobile home park.
Each location holds special memories and we are so thankful for how the Lord has orchestrated our traveling journeys. So many opportunities to live and love others for Jesus. My verse for today says
Don’t get me wrong, over the past 13+ years we have faced some difficult times yet some wonderfully good times. In the midst of some of our travels the ugly head of depression reared fiercely in my life YET in we can see how the Lord would open and close doors as needed.
When we left South Carolina we were sad to be leaving Love Springs Baptist Church and the friends who had become family. At the time of our leaving there were many issues happening at the campground where we were working, rules would change from one day to the next, we were told that if people came to visit us we had to pay $10 per person “because they were visiting us” even though we lived on site just like the managers who didn’t have to pay to have people visit them ~ double standards, told we couldn’t visit with guests…what the heck, that’s part of the fun of living/working in a campground ~ getting to know new people and making new friends. We also had our hours cut when we didn’t agree with the managers (that’s how they tried to control us) and had been told our hours would be cut more as the winter months came on.
So we prayed for new employment. We saw an ad for workampers at Big Creek Missions (remember our desire to work for a Christian organization) and after many emails, text messages and phone calls we accepted the position and made our move to Kentucky. One more state we could mark on our map (view on the door of our storage unit on our trailer)…
…and so we made the move. The work of Big Creek Missions is to serve the community living in Leslie & Clay County. Most recently was the huge flood of July 2022 where many lost their homes to the raging flood that hit unexpectedly. We arrived on October 24, 2022 and jumped right in. BCM hosts groups & families from around the US who come to serve the local community from Sept to Nov and Feb to May and then hold summer day camps for the children of the community June to August. We met and loved on many people and are so thankful for our time there.
But things have a way of changing and that they did…it’s hard to explain but our expectations and the expectations of those we were working with seemed to change. I, (Ali) was feeling judged ~ nothing in particular happened, just felt like I was being judged. Old feelings, old tapes of “not being good enough” were running rampant through my mind and at the same time, friends (those we thought were our friends) offered us a job in New Jersey…the pay sounded good, the work sounded like something we would have no problem doing and I saw it as a way to leave the uncomfortableness that I was feeling. I will add here, Ron wasn’t wanting to leave BCM – he loved what he was doing both at the Mission and in the community. And then one night, there was an interaction between Ron and a couple of other employees that changed Ron’s thoughts. So we took the leap, gave our notice and made plans to move to New Jersey. Believing this was the right move for us.
And we began another new adventure ~ you can read about it here. As I’ve said many times, we trust the Lord even when we don’t understand…that adventure didn’t turn out how we thought it would BUT looking back over the past month we can clearly see God’s hand on our lives. We drove over 3200 miles between March 9 and April 2, 2023. We had six flat tires, Ron spent 4 1/2 days in the hospital, cried lots of tears, asked a lot of questions YET throughout even the toughest of days and moments we felt God’s peace, saw His protection and saw prayers answered over and over again.
Many conversations, text messages, phone calls, Facebook posts and emails along with tears and laughter, arguments and questions the decision was made to make one final move with our Little Home on Wheels and that was back to Land O Lakes, Florida.
The injury Ron sustained on March 9 and leading to his hospital stay led to being told by more than one doctor that Ron would be out of work for up to twelve weeks! Ugh we had just moved to NJ but if he can’t work where does that leave his job and our job ~ we were hired as a team, we heard of lies being told about us that could and did affect our living situation and God opened an unexpected door for us to return to Florida.
I remember Saturday morning, March 25th, saying to our daughter-in-love “was this a mistake to come here to New Jersey?” and she emphatically said “NO, you are in a place where Ron is getting great medical care. Who knows what kind of care would have been available in the small town of Bear Branch, KY.” And she said “You are where you need to be for this time. Let’s get Dad healthy enough to travel and go from there.” And we were in agreement, Ron was getting excellent care in New Jersey and we were so thankful for that. Ron had surgery on his leg wound on Monday, March 27th, discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, March 28th and given permission to travel as of Wednesday as long as we promised to have him seen by a doctor or in urgent care by the next Wednesday. Due to many factors, working in New Jersey no longer an option, we loaded up the trailer and made our way back to Land O Lakes, Florida.
Our kids, Brandon & Danalyn, found a cute little mobile home/RV park, Lake Bambi MH/RV Park for a very reasonable rent and is only 4 miles from their home. We arrived here on Sunday, April 2nd and have gotten pretty settled. Last Saturday morning, Brandon, Danalyn, Christopher, Treyson and Alexander joined us to work on and clean up our little yard.
In the past week, we have gotten our shade tent up, added more steps to our walkway and pulled up more weeds that were cluttering up the yard. We can’t wait to have a BBQ and have visitors!
And we are giving thanks for the healing of Ron’s leg…
(this was from March 24th)
(today, April 18th)
And we are thankful for doors that have opened for employment for Ron. That is a story unto itself. Last Friday night, Ron applied for a job with Amazon, got an email saying he had the job and it started on April 30th. Saturday morning the job was gone and Ron didn’t have a job…after numerous emails and chats he was told, just keep checking back. And yes, we were both feeling very frustrated and my anxiety was going sky high with worry about paying our bills and I was questioning God…why? why?
Sunday morning Ron saw another advertisement for another job at Amazon. He completed the application and got the email stating he had the job and would start on Sunday, April 23rd!! And orientation was scheduled for Monday, April 17th!!! One week before the other job was to begin!!!
To say I was feeling like a crazy roller coaster would be an understatement!
Emotions were running high and low, I was physically feeling sick,
I had an earache from he** and my anxiety was through the roof.
kept reassuring me, reassuring us that He was and is in control…His word has reminded me many times over the past few days, keep moving forward, keep trusting, believe He will provide and at the same time it’s okay to cry, sharing with God how I am feeling (heck he already knows!!) and so today I
3 responses to “Backing Up a Bit ~”
Ali, Praise God from whom all blessings flow; the faithfulness of God! As the enemy squeezes us at times, His scripture says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Thank you for your honesty, with what you were going through. You are a great writer!
Thank you Trudy! I have thought about you and David a lot the past few weeks, how you blessed us in such a way when things were tough and how I need to cling to what God has done and believe He will continue to care for us. My humanness wants to run to people, ask to borrow money (seems like money is a constant issue) and wanting others to take care of me/us. I am thankful that the Lord is beside me and that I have been encouraged by many friends. Love you and hope you and David are doing well!!!
My word you two have had quite a time! We were also in Florida when that recession hit and in an RV, it seems like a whole different lifetime now. You (two and God) are inspiring. 🙏💕