Mission Log: 2014/02/24
MISSIONBUS 2013 Q3-Q4 Update
In my opinion, (this is Kimberly writing), 2013 has been the most different year for our family TOGETHER. In past years, we have traveled across the states loving on countless people that Jesus has brought into our lives and across our path, as we seek to follow where His Spirit leads. However, for 2013 His leading has been more HOME based and focused; relationships within our own four walls.
I'd "like" to report numbers and statistics about how God has used the 9 of us this year to "impact others for Christ on the streets and in our community" and give testimonies of "how lives have been dramatically changed by His love." Ummm, I can't. But what I CAN testify of THIS YEAR, is that God has INDEED been at work WITHIN OUR HEARTS AND HOME. Revealing to us WHO He REALLY IS and NOT who we've THOUGHT or UNDERSTOOD Him to be. He is INDESCRIBABLY BETTER and GREATER than I have words to express. As a friend says "words FAIL me". I love that! However, HE does NOT fail!!! HALLELUJAH!
At first I was HYPER anxious about what others may think - that we aren't on the streets as much as we have been in the past, fearing they may think we lost our "focus". Now as the year draws to an end, I honestly and truly cannot PRAISE Jesus enough for what He has done through this year of reinforcing and deepening our immediate family relationships. These relationships, apart from our relationship with Jesus personally & individually, are THE MOST IMPORTANT ones. I treasure the gift He has given me, and each of us, with EACH OTHER; and I marvel at what I have learned this year about my relationship WITH Jesus as my Creator, Savior and FRIEND! I truly treasure the time He has given to me as a wife and mother. Above ALL ELSE this year, I have learned the preciousness of TIME. We never know how much more we will or will not have. So living EACH DAY and communicating openly and honestly, hugging, encouraging, listening, growing, watching and doing TOGETHER has been God's purpose for THIS year 2013.
In a way that can ONLY be described as SUPERNATURAL, Jesus has lovingly revealed His heart to me/us that He cares about not ONLY about the "big" areas of life... eternity, salvation, forgiveness of sins, finances, health, etc but ALSO, the LITTLE things and areas we almost are embarrassed to admit that we spend our time and focus thinking about. The area I am speaking of is orthodontic BRACES. With the choices we have chosen as a married couple to make; for Marc to work from home & be self-employed, to be together as much as possible AS A FAMILY, with the flexibility to travel when & where His Spirit leads, to teach and train our children at home and for me to care for our home & relationships WHEREVER we may BE "physically"; instead of Marc "commuting" to and from work and being AWAY from the family as he use to do MANY years ago. This works for OUR FAMILY (being together 24/7 ;-)) and when considering making changes or adjustments to these things, I realize how truly content and at peace I am for our "simplified" way of life. This is a BIG HALLELUJAH for me! With this said, we realized that there was NO WAY we could cover the cost for our kiddo's to get the "braces" WE ourselves were given as children. And YET, Jesus MADE A WAY!!! Completely unexpectedly, He placed us under the care of an AMAZING Orthodontist and GRACIOUSLY bestowed upon our 4 oldest children (Timothy, Abigail, Zachary and Faith) BRACES through an organization named "SMILES change lives". And boy o boy, have we been BLESSED! So this year we have made pleasurable trips to visit our Ortho FAMILY (they love on each of us AS IF they truly WERE our family!). I simply stand in AWE of His heart and compassion towards the LITTLE things in life. All the while, EACH of our kiddo's have witnessed His deep and personal love toward us as individuals, and as a result, deepened our love for Him and ability to trust Him, even more, with BIG and LITTLE desires within our heart. PRAISE Him!!!
Jesus ALSO made a MIRACULOUS WAY for us to PURCHASE a homestead property of our own! HALLELUJAH to see and know how He worked out His perfect timing AND provision for such a BLESSING! Now we have a place to PARK, live and call "home" when we are NOT on the road traveling!!! As I mentioned about our "simplified" way of living... well I LITERALLY am talking about THE BASICS of "survival"!!! As we traveled around & across the states, we experienced the reality of life WITHOUT the "basic necessities" ie 1. LAND (a place to BE without being asked or expected to MOVE). 2. SEWER/SEPTIC Ok, I realize that the MENTION of such an area or topic MAY have caused you to cringe or think "REALLY? did she REALLY just say that?" And YES, I did! ;-). Because the reality is, we ALL HAVE IT, whether we want to acknowledge it or not! To be honest, I have learned that, I just took it for granted that I would always have a place to BE and never thought TWICE about throwing stuff away or flushing the toilet; that is, until we had to SEARCH and PLAN for such provisions. NOW, we have our very own SEPTIC TANK that I PRAISE JESUS FOR!!! 3. WATER. For the most part, an "unlimited" supply through our very own WELL!!! Can I hear a HALLELUJAH? 4. POWER - to be hooked up to without the need for a generator!!! And 5. A PLACE FOR OUR KIDS TO BE KIDS!!! Room to build TP's, jump on a trampoline, play basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, do cartwheels, push each other around in a wheelbarrow, swing, paint, sew, workout/exercise, build and construct TO THEIR HEARTS CONTENT!!! We are not parked in a parking lot with cars and customers around NOR are we at an RV park where "vacationers" are "vacationing" which may or may not be used to having the energy and life of SEVEN children around ;-). Needless to say, my heart REJOICES for this piece of LAND which Jesus MADE A WAY for us to buy!!!
God has used the book "Jesus is _________" by Judah Smith to be part of His "lesson plan" and "year end report" for MY heart AND our HOME. Truly evaluating WHAT we know about Jesus (logical knowledge, tradition etc.) and WHY we DO or DO NOT fully grasp His HEART (traditions of man, MISunderstandings about who He is and His true purpose, message, hope and REALITY for ALL who "get (understand) Him"). May I lovingly encourage you... GET THE BOOK. READ IT.
I have witnessed much loss this year regarding life AND relationships (marriages & families). Within the span of seven weeks (Feb-April) 4 people passed away (completely UNexpectedly) either who I knew personally and their lives impacted mine deeply, OR they impacted the lives of people I DEEPLY care for. I learned of three marriages that ended in divorce. And too, I became aware/part of a new "journey" in life; one consisting of "diagnosis, fight, recovery, still fighting" for 9+ individuals and families (similar, different and “yet to be determined” health circumstances & trials of life) whom again, either I know personally and their lives impact mine deeply, OR they impact the lives of people I DEEPLY care for. My earthly Daddy included. SiriusXM "The Message" has a phrase they say "What if... you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked JESUS for today?" WOW!!! I am sincerely learning to truly appreciate EACH moment. I (or we) don't know how MUCH or how LITTLE I (or we) have "left". I'm learning to be intentional with and appreciative for each BREATH, DAY, PERSON and EXPERIENCE.
To sum it all up, this year has been a year of counting my blessings, one by one and realizing the TRUTH of "we CHOSE this" AND, TRULY, TRULY, BEING CONTENT and AT PEACE with "WHAT we have" AND, "WHERE we ARE in LIFE". TGBTG - to God be the GLORY!!!!!
I am not sure what 2014 holds for "The Fred's", but I DO know The One who holds it!!! Regardless of the time I/we may have, my heart desire is this… that HIS NAME be lifted up and proclaimed ABOVE ALL ELSE. HALLELUJAH!!! Acts 20:24 ESV "But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, TO TESTIFY TO THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD."
May this greeting find you covered in His
Ever TRUSTING Jesus,
Marc, Kimberly, Timothy, Abigail, Zachary, Faith, Hope, GinnyLove & Joy FREDERICK
aka “The Fred’s” ;-)
MISSIONBUS 2014 Q1 Update
Brief update on Mission House
Progress on the roof has been stalled since Nov 2013, due to cold or wet weather, travel and waiting on God's timing for resources. We have made recent progress and hope to finish the roof in the next couple of weeks. See the photo gallery for photos.
This timing works great for our Spring Northern Mission. We plan to leave April 15th for approx 2 months. The mission will take us to 7 cities over 5 states...Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.
We will continue MissionHouse construction on our June 1-10th return.
Watch for more details on this.
Posted by: Kimberly
Mission Log: 2013/06/06
MISSIONBUS 12Q2-13Q2 Update
MISSIONBUS has been quiet for the last year...but that does not mean many great and amazing things have been happening in that time. I will begin where we left off in June 2012 leaving Las Vegas, NV. Feel free to print this and skip around, I’ve title each section to assist in finding timelines.
Grand Canyon - June 2012
We left Las Vegas to meet family in the Grand Canyon, it was time for resting and so we did. We enjoyed some of the most breathtaking views available in the US. We spent 7 days in the GC state park...nice place. After a great time with my mom, we parted ways and returned to our journey.
Albuquerque, New Mexico - June 2012
What started out as a 3 day mission turned into an extended stay. Some great friends that we’d known in Marietta at Eastside Baptist Church became an unexpected blessing to our family. The Lanam family welcomed us in and our family made some new best friends. We took a trip downtown to love the people on the street. It was not hard to find them. We just drove to the inner parts of the industrial sector in downtown ABQ, they were pacing the streets. No one stood on street corners, because of city ordinance passed by the major that outlawed standing around...an obvious move to keep out or move homeless out of the district. Despite the ruling, people just kept on the move. Our team was able to just exit the van and greet people as the passed on by on what seemed like a trail of tears. The beaten path was visible through a field that was traveled continually by the residences of the street. The love of God was poured out onto half a dozen people that day that would stop and talk with us. Fruit was our gift and Love was our message. Prayer and encouragement was the miracle we shared from the grace of God. Our visit in ABQ was pleasant thanks to Hoffman Town Church as they hosted MissionBus and provided power and water for our stay. Worship was nice and followship with our Lanam Family forged great memories for us all. During our stay I was able to make some additional changes to the WVO system on MISSIONBUS. This would show to be a great thing as our funds were almost depleted and fuel costs were up around $4.25/gal for diesel. We left ABQ with our eyes now pointing to the east. Home was 1200 miles and 3 more mission cities away, but we knew God would deliver us and show His great wonders.
Oklahoma City, OK - June 2012
Just 541 miles to OK City from ABQ. The system adjustments are proving to boost the power we needed to climb hills and the elevation changes were getting more suble. Another 250 miles on veggie with no issues. Lots of hill climbing also, which has been the trouble. Pulling the WVO through the filter with a 12v electric heavy duty oil gear pump did the trick. We had half a tank of diesel so we were able to make the rest of the trip from ABQ to Oklahoma City. Now we’d need to source more fuel for the return journey. But first we’d do some mission work. The weather was hot and we knew cold water would be in need for people on the street. Our team prepared to do what we always do on hot days like this one. The faces of people on the street seem to blend together over the years living this love to them on the streets, I guess because they all seem worn and beaten down. The sadness and loneliness in the faces of men and women all across the country. That part of the this mission is rarely ever different. Some days it is hard to smile and say God loves you, but we keep doing it. You can see the encouragement in the faces when they hear the message. Another dozen or so people graced our path and we loved them. As we walked the streets giving out water, I saw men leaning against a building down the street. Our team approached them. One of the men seemed very distraught. I asked if i could pray for him...and he began to weep. He was crying out to God that he wanted to stop doing drugs and alcohol but just didn’t have the power to stop. I noticed some other men near by but they were in work clothes and they were picking up trash and cleaning the area. As I started praying for this man, he another man joined us in the praying...we were calling out to God and asking for healing from this bondage. After a few minutes a few other men found us and some were falling down on the ground with the their faces down and they to were weeping and crying out to God for deliverance from deadly lifestyles. After we finished praying I could not believe what had just happened. The Spirit of God had come down and met us....right there in the street. These men humbled themselves and cried out to God. I know He answered them that day. I pray for them still and know that some place these men are healed. I have to believe, because our God is worthy and able.
God did provide more fuel from Chikfila’s in the next three cities....enough fryer grease to get us all they way home and the fuel system worked great until we made it to Birmingham, i’ll share about that in the Birmingham post.
Little Rock, Arkansas - June 2012
We left Oklahoma City and traveled to Little Rock. New cities bring new faces and new adventures, we travel around as the Spirit of God leads to see whom He might have need for love on that day and that place. I prayed with a man that was dying from some internal medical issues. He was just wondering the street and seemed very disoriented. No one else was around I had pulled the van over as we passed him. He briefly explained his situation and I asked if I could pray for him. As I prayed, he seemed in agony barely able to stand but as I petitioned the Lord of heaven, something happened. The man lifted his hands to heaven and then opened his eyes looking upward. His countenance completely changed, joy filled his face and he smiled. Again, I was amazed by what God did before my very eyes....I can’t say this man was healed from any illness, but I will for just even a moment, God touched him and his pain left him. Another couple of guys on the side of the road one in a wheel chair and another one having troubles with this wife...we prayed for them both. We always lift up Jesus in our prayer so it is clear to whom we trust the authority of the words we are speaking.
Memphis, Tennessee - June 2012
Travels had been hard and Memphis gave us a unique opportuity for adventure and “seat ministry”. This refers to what we do when we need to love the person sitting right next to you. I’m amazed by my kids in the journey. Yes...I will say it, many people probably think it. This is my calling and my mission by God. My family follows. Much of what we do is old school disciple making. The job is not easy. A constant battle against the enemy to love and teach His ways to 7 incrediblity gifted and independent children that are growing into young people with their own dreams, calls and vision for God’s purpose in their lives. As we waited for God to provide more veggie, a short visit in the Walmart parking lot in west Memphis brought great excitement. Our team was witness to the end of motorcycle chase that ended with a man trying to evade police through the Walmart parking lot...then an exiting customer tackled him and the police dogpiled. I was quite a sight to see. As the police sirens approached we joked for a moment that they were coming for Zachary...then the laughing turned to spectating the activies. After we collected the veggie, we moved on the Birmingham.
Birmingham, Alabama - June 2012
Only 200 miles from home and ready to be home...we pushed through and stopped for the night. The hose that connects the veggie filter to the gear pump was in the process of collapsing. One stall left us on the road side for a brief repair to reinforce the line until I could replace it. We made to another Walmart where we stayed the night. The next day we pushed on and arrived back in Rutledge. Our friends let us park on their land behind their house, now it was time for rest. God brought us 1200 miles from ABQ almost exclusively on waste oil from Chikfila fryers. As we pulled into the new place that would be home for the next 6 months, our funds had completely dried up. God was at work. The next day i received two calls for projects that advanced funds to start sizable development work. God is good and His timing is amazing. We take steps in faith not knowing what comes next, but that’s how we let Him lead. If we get too far out in front, we can lose the way. Either He’s leading or we are. I long to let Him show the way....it is a process for me to let go but I am learning.
Ministry for Families - July 2012
As we began our return God started working on Kimberly and me to lead us into some new ministry opportunities. Some very close friends of ours were in great need and the Lord burdened our hearts to help them. I will post more about SAFE STATION family ministry in another post, but God began teaching us to love close to home. People on the street were once connected with family, but things happen in life and they get disconnected. The fragile strings that hold people from homeless and worse circumstances are held by God and God’s servants. We must open our eyes to help and love people all around us. The opporutnities are great but the laborer are few.
MISSIONHOUSE - Aug 2012 - December 2013
The SAFE STATION and MISSIONBUS training center projects needed a home. So In August 2012 we launched a campaign show God’s faithfulness. After looking at 2 places that we thought would serve our needs, God lead us to 2870 Centennial Road....only ¼ mile from where we’d been parked for 6 months. God provided the funds to purchase 2.25 acres with a house, well and septic. It was a foreclosure and He had many lessons to teach over the 6 months it took to close the deal. We kept the faith and He was faithful to provide a home for MISSIONBUS.
MISSIONBUS modifications - Jan/Feb 2013
MISSIONBUS took on some new modifications in January. Cooking, food storage and more cargo space. We added a stove/oven combo and full refrigerator inside the MISSIONBUS. Pulling 8,000 lbs across the country 10,000 plus miles was fun and all...not really. It was very straining, more than I realized. So the MOBILE KITCHEN will became a sudo-permanent fixture at the MISSIONHOUSE. It will be used as full kitchen and laundry until MISSIONHOUSE is finished with remodels and is able to take those jobs. 50 cu ft of cargo storage was added to the top of MISSIONBUS and we now pull the Minivan. This is a great benefit, reducing the fuel consumption and Kimberly can now ride with us. We will take our first test mission to Miami in March.
In February of 2013 we signed the final deal for MISSIONHOUSE. Since that time we've been working a little projects around to prepare the place and in June this summer we will kick off the construction campaign to do some major remodel to prepare the MISSIONHOUSE for the training center.
Miami, Florida - March 2013
We left for Miami another journey southward to the warm state to see and love many people in Jesus name. The trip to Miami included layovers in Douglas, GA, Jacksonville, FL and Delray Beach, FL. We had the opportunity to visit family and do some mission work with Words to Works, one of our partners in ministry. In Douglas we had a great time of reconnecting, time of fellowship and time of encouragement. In Jacksonville, we had the opportunity to do some ministry work and to also be an encouragement to our friend there experiencing difficult life things we don't understand circumstances and struggles but we trust Him always.
So many amazing things happen when your on the road and trusting God for everything. I’ll share just a few highlights.
Just a place to park
As we arrived in Miami, a place we’d planned to camp for the duration of our stay and mission work here declined our presence to the park. It seems based on the 2 other places I contacted after this rejection, that Florida has a problem with buses converted into motor homes. No explanation just, you can’t stay here. Feeling somewhat personally rejected, we moved to other place that was a private park. Over the phone they confirmed being a bus was NOT a problem. But on arrive there in the everglades, they too began to reject our entrance. This time I really called on God’s intervention. I explained that we were only here for a week and we were here to do God’s work. I pressed this point no less than half a dozen times between two different people...one of them was the owners daughter or wife...not sure. The question of, if we stay or go seemed to debate for about 10 minutes. The had plenty or room and I knew after my site survey that I would get in with no problem...i kept bringing this point also, but they insisted that we could not stay. My final pursue was in Jesus name, we just need a place to stay would we do God’s work in Miami. The Spirit broke her and she yielded.
Easter in Key West, FL
We happened to be in Miami on Easter. So I decided we should drive to Key West for the day and spend Easter sightseeing. It was an amazing day and we all made some incredible memories...southern most point of USA only 90 miles from Cuba, Fort Zachary, electric golf cart for 9 to motor around the island and the incredit Easter dinner on the Japanese Hibachi. Oh don’t forget the Key West free range chickens...hehe.
The Timothy Miracle
On departure, God’s grace fell upon my son and spared him great injury and potentially worse. As we now dolly the minivan on a car tow hitched to the bus, some new processes. Starting the process, a tour bus was passing us and then backed over one of the power pedestals at the RV park. This short distraction enabled me to lay the tow dolly over the hitch but NOT latch it down. Only a week prior, I had instructed Timothy NOT to straddle the tongue of the tow dolly as I pull onto it...for obvious reasons, this would be a bad place to be standing. So here we are, i’m pulling the van onto the dolly and something was not right. As I inched forward the tongue immediately launched into the air like a catapult coming into contact with Timothy’s right elbow as we had it lifted waving me in. This action immediately through him to the side from his reaction of the piercing pain of the elbow knock. God spared us both greater potential tragedy and my son handled it like man. I hugged him and praised God for His protection.
Miami Street Ministry
We spent one afternoon searching the streets and looking for a place to minister...then we found the street at the Miami mission filled with people we had the opportunity to pray to encourage and to love people that were hurting on the street.
50 people that day we encouraged we saw men and women waiting for food and a soup kitchen line. We thought many would be Spanish speaking but we were mistaken so many were just regular English speaking people on the street.
We had made shirts that said “I love Jesus and Jesus loves you” translated into Spanish. It was fine we got the opportunity to minister to people in stores in places that we went to shop and restaurants where far more people spoke Spanish.
Life on the bus brings many opportunities for growth not just in me but in the children and Kimberly. It can be difficult at times living so close together but by Gods grace we often learned many lessons. Loving people that you live with knowing them in all of their various different personality attributes and personalities.
God made a way for us as He provided for travel 1200 miles diesel costs and all our travel expenses. We received His provision and we give praise to God for all that He did.
I love traveling on the road because whenever we are away from home it forces us to put our mindset in a place where we are constantly relying on God... returning to Him and thinking of Him and loving Him all the way. Not just asking for help but just away from the norm, away from the routine, ready and willing to follow Him wherever He leads.
We returned home safely and excited to continue connected life we have with our home church Grace Family Fellowship. Reconnecting and loving them and worshiping together with them studying God's Word. Teach and learning what God has for us and how He's teaching us together as a family church fellowship.
in the midst of all these adventures and journeys, Kimberly has various friends, family and acquaintances that are struggling with various health concerns, potentially life and death issues...God is at work using her to reach out and be an encourager to the body of Christ and unbelievers. God is using her for a might work and I see much growth in her.
Raleigh, North Carolina - May 2013
Family is the strongest human bond you will ever have....Husband and Wife, Children and your parents...this cycle repeats continually. We should grow up but not apart, unfortunately, even in ministry we forget to keep our eyes on our family. It is sad to see so many families that don’t help each other especially families that KNOW Christ. We are to set the standard for God’s grace and mercy between family. Ministry is no ministry at all if you forsake your family and use the name of Jesus for justification to do it. I can see and understand how it happens but it is still contrary to the teaching of God’s word. Anyway, that is what our Raleigh mission was all about. Loving family. The intentional act of sacrificing your own time to help others is probably one of the most lacking activities in the Christian life. I’m not suggesting works salvation or anything like that...just fruit produced from what is on the inside. Letting the fruit of God’s transforming power result as something external to your own soul. Love is one of these fruits and there are many others. Service is another. These duties should be welcomed by any and all true believers of Jesus. So we had the opportunity to do lots of service projects over the month of May. Roof, Windows and door repairs, replace the decking in a decaying shed, landscaping and yard maintenance, even replace a water heater and a bunch of plumbing issues. Our team loves to do this kinds of stuff and it brings a blessing upon the recipients like only God knows. MISSIONBUS is always looking for opportunities for these kind of missions. This is the essence of SAFE STATION and MISSIONHOUSE ministries. MISSIONBUS is the vessel that connects them and enables our team to move and live anywhere anytime. I love it.
Things to come...
MISSIONHOUSE Roof Project - June 2013 (NOW)
We are trusting God to provide the materials to replace the roof so we can start the interior remodel to equip the place for our future ministry here. Praying for God to provide 4x8 plywood to replace decking, galvinized tin for the roofing, 2x6x12 rafters to repair and re-structure some of the roof. We also need two 4x6x20 beams.
God is leading us towards a trip to Mississippi this Fall. More details to come as He provides the details.
Local family ministry
]MISSIONBUS will continue to be aware of opportunities to love families and help them in difficult times with the purpose to display the glory and grace of God.
North West 2014
March of 2014 MISSIONBUS will enbark on a 10 state mission in the upper mid west, a journey to bring the love of Jesus to people on the streets of America. Three months on the road traveling city by city and street by street. Pray with us as God leads and prepares the path for us.
Mission training center for families
More to come...
Posted by: Marc
Mission Log: 2012/06/26
Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas -- City #4
June 8 – June 26
Last night in Phoenix we met a believer named Todd that was blown away by the ministry God was doing through us. Todd has had thoughts of doing such things and we encouraged each other as we testified at the things God was doing in and around us. Todd gave us support for diesel and we prayed together. Amazing how God brings His people into our lives to love and support this great mission.
Los Angeles, CA
Each new city we visit has new lessons and opportunities to teach our children. Los Angeles had its fair share of poverty present on the streets but it also had something else. This is a place where the Hollywood stars live and play. The homes and cars we saw as we drove the streets offers an eye opening view of what money can buy and lavish estates across the valleys of Santa Monica mountain ranges. We drove on Rodeo Rd and the familiar Mulholland Drive that overlooks the city.
San Francisco, CA
Our journey to San Francisco was building excitement as we knew the middle point of our travels would soon be realized. God was giving us strength and provision to get to the edge of the country. We have almost traveled 3000 miles from home in just a couple of months. Each segment of the journey God reveals new attributes of His love for us and demonstrates for us how to love others. This is a never ending school house lesson for anyone that decides to follow Jesus and deny self. Self wants to be the center of worship, no one can deny this. This is why God’s word says we must die to self continually else our flesh rules our spirit nature. The more we learn to deny the wants of our flesh and let God live through us, the more like Him we become and the more we can love others as He loves others. I realize this is totally easier to say than do…but God guides us in this direction because He know better than we do.
On our arrival to Oakland, CA on the other side of the San Francisco Bay, I discovered one of the trailer tires tread had almost separated and was just about to blow out. We made it to the Walmart parking lot and I was to change it before any hazard was experienced….God’s amazing grace follows my footsteps. Once again we found ourselves near our mission city and waiting on God’s provision and timing to move on His leading. I had planned before arrival to stay at a specific RV park in Pacifica, CA. You can see photos of this place as we did use it’s dump and fresh water resources while in San Francisco. We need about $700 to stay here and God used His people to provide half of those funds for us to stay where I had planned….however something happened that I had not planned for. The US Open came to town and most all RV parks anywhere in proximity to the city were booked for the first week of our arrival. So as God closed this door, I pursued other ideas that had been on my heart as we traveled closer to our next mission. Maybe no secret I have a great respect and admiration for Francis Chan. He speaks the truth of God’s word and is not ashamed of the God of Jesus. I’m not lifting him up above Jesus, but I believe Francis is a good role model in his pursuit of loving people like God loves people. So, I reached out to the City Impact. This is an organization that works with homeless and impoverished people in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco. I made contact and they were initially very excited about the possibility of us working with them. I expressed our needs to park during our mission time in the city and Michelle from City Impact offered several ideas. From these ideas one was the Embarcadero area on the Bay side of the city by the Stadium. I made contact with the director of parking and they agreed to let us park the bus and trailer for the cost of one bus space which was $35 per day for non game days. Guess what….our timing in the city worked such that the last game was the day we arrived and the next game was not for 10 days. The total cost to part was $350 and that is exactly what God had provided for us days before. Here I was thinking we came up short half the funds we would need for parking…but He provide the exact amount. I stand in awe!
The next call with City Impact was very disappointing but I know it too was another move of God. City Impact hosts mission teams from other churches in other cities to San Francisco. Michelle was so disappointed also, because they had so many teams coming these next two weeks that none of the team leaders had any bandwidth to interface with us. God used City Impact to guide us to parking but He wanted us to be available in a different area for a very different purpose. Once I realized this, I was filled with great peace and excited to see what was going to happen next.
Our first day on the street, we set out to prayer walk around the Stadium and ask God for Him to bring us to people in need or that He would bring them to us. The first man we came across was named Sam. He was from Buffalo, NY and came to San Fran looking for work. He had been away from his wife and kids for a couple of months and came up empty on the opportunities in the city. Sam was about to head home if nothing materialized soon. We prayed with him in Jesus name that God would provide work or travel for him to get back home. The next man we met was named Troy. He had no shirt on and was pushing two grocery carts of the aluminum cans and bottles for recycling. Troy came to the stadium to collect cans to make money. We asked him how we could pray for him and he said he was ok but that he could always use prayers. So we just prayed that God would reveal Himself and provide for all of the Troys needs. I prayed that Troy would know that God loves him and has not forgotten him even in these circumstances and season in his life. We finished walking around the stadium and walked back home for the day. Later that night a VW Touareg pulled up beside the bus in the one of the bus parking spots. The VW had a full width SF on the rear window, so I assumed maybe they came early for some Giants baseball event. We could see that the car had 3 adults and 3 pit-bulls. Being completely honest, I missed the queue that this family was in need. It was not until the next morning when we saw them eating out of tuna cans and really living out of this car that we realized they might be homeless. We were already set out to dump our tanks, get showers and do laundry in Pacifica, but I stated out loud that we should invite them over and cook out burgers on the grill. On our return to the stadium parking, the car was gone. We were so sad at this prospect that we’d missed them, but quickly turned our faith toward His perfect timing for all things.
We set out again to do street ministry and started walking towards the stadium. About a quarter of a mile from the bus, we spotted our neighbors VW parked at the pier. They were fishing and we were able to invite them for a cook out. We were all so delighted at the return of this opportunity.
Over the next few days we were able to meet the Jones family and really get to know there situation. They lost their home about a year prior and had been living in this vehicle waiting for housing to come available. The problem is they would not let go of these dogs. The type of dog and size of the dogs eliminated them from getting housing assistance. You begin to wonder about the logic of this situation and why this would be the case, but you never know the whole story. Never the less, this family was in need of encouragement and God brought us together for just that purpose. We had two different cook outs with them, once burgers and once hot dogs. The boys did an amazing job grilling and the girls catered to the other tasks to minister the food. One night we invited the family over to watch captain American the movie. The son did come over to join us. The Spirit prompted me to give the father a Bible. I asked if he had one and he did not. He was open spiritual things but not overly driven to pursue any sort of relationship. He accepted the Bible from me and I encouraged him to start in the book of John. This is a great place to start for anyone that has never really spent much time in the Bible. We prayed with them a number of times over our visiting and asked God for His provision for them as they waited for housing.
Travel to Las Vegas
Leaving California and headed to Las Vegas. We have a lot of miles to travel to meet my Mom and Dad in the Grand Canyon in about a week. The journey from California to Vegas was not an easy one, but God revealed His love and compassion on me as He sustained me and held me up through it. We broke belts on the bus that caused the engine to overheat. We were able to get off the highway into a Walmart parking lot just a few miles from the breakdown. I lost both fan belts on the high way so getting a replacement required two trips to NAPA. I had to buy 3 belts that depleted our fuel/travel funds need to make it to the Grand Canyon. We would not be able to make it without additional intervention of God’s hand. Another hundred miles or so between Bakersfield, CA and Las Vegas, we blew on the semi tires on the rear of the bus. We limped 30 miles or so to a small town where God guided us after 3 phone calls to a tire guy that would replace the tire for $200. This is miracle one. I was in need of help. I cried out for help to heaven and missionbus supporters. I told the tire guy, I had no money but that I was trusting God to provide the money to replace our tire. Within 30 minutes, one of the local churches from our home town sent $400 to encourage us greatly. Yes it met our immediate need, but also provide for fuel to get us the rest of the journey to meet family. When people give to support your ministry work, it does two things…1.) provides for the need, 2.) affirms your work that others believe in your call. Ok, so doubt does arise when trouble comes, so what do you do with it? Lots of options here…1.) quit, 2.) press-on in your own power, 3.) surrender all to Jesus. Well, I picked 3. Can’t say it’s always been that way, but wow when you do. It’s amazing. So the tire was replaced and we made it to Las Vegas.
There are lots of amazing things to see in Las Vegas. We traveled the city in search of the Holy Spirit at work. At a park in the suburbs, we met a man that was waiting to the surgery in his spine to fuse c3-c6, which was the same surgery my own father was just about to have, so I actually knew what he was talking about. This man seemed overly joyful as he was singing as he went and did not seem to have a care in the world. I asked to pray for him and he stopped me saying “I’m a witness”. I said that’s ok, let’ pray to Jesus. So I lifted Him in prayer and asked for the God to reveal the truth of who he was and bring healing to the man’s neck. After we prayed, he joy was amplified even more and now included a really big smile. Our family had a picnic then when back to the streets.
We pulled into autozone looking for 1” muffler piping for the new generator, as we pulled in a man named Rick came and asked for money. I gave him the change in my pocket and asked if I could buy him some food. He agreed and we left to get a burger from the McDonalds down the street. When we returned Rich was gone. So we drove around the neighborhood looking people to love. On the next street over behind the autozone, we found Hallie and Jose working on a pickup truck parked in their driveway. I asked if they wanted some lunch and we talked for a few minutes. Jose spoke English and Hallie his father was from Costa Rica. He traveled back there often and was about to go back soon. I prayed with them and for safe travels on his jouney.
Our mission in Las Vegas was complete. The streets were not filled with poverty and we did not see many people in need. We did see crowds of people exploring the Vegas scene in search of entertainment and presumably easy money. If one city could encapsulate self focused humanistic behavior, Las Vegas is it. We prayed for these people that our God would manifest Himself in there live and they would see Him. The life lessons we teach our children about loving others is counter-cultural to every activity available to man in this city…loving others or loving self. Don’t get me wrong, you must value your own life, but to feed all its desires is the path to self destruction. The Bible teaches if you give up your life you will save it. You will never fill or satisfy the longing of the flesh. Mankind has confused our need for the Spirit to love God with the longings of the flesh. We feed the flesh in order to satisfy this need to commune with God. It is an endless and fruitless pursuit that never yields peace until a person gives into the call of the Spirit to surrender their own will to the will of the Father.
Posted by: Marc
Mission Log: 2012/06/11
Phoenix, AZ – City #3 of Western Journey
May 28 to June 10, 2012
As we move west and the distance from home grows the excitement to reach the edge of the country increases. The team spirit remains high and unified. We have our days that seem like total disaster but it is amazing to see the growth that comes from even the lowest of days. Our journey to grow as people and to continue this process of learning to yield our complete will to His will is a never ending journey that gives us rewards and disappointments all along the way.
Our first night in Apace Junction just outside Pheonix was in a Walmart. We met a really nice “just retired” couple named Charlie and Flo that had a bus rv conversion that they’d purchased already complete. They have not traveled yet and wanted to get some words of experience The bonus here is that they loved Jesus and prayed for us before they departed. We spent about 25 minutes with them before they left. As they departed a young girl named Bethany approached us and we were able to pray with her and encourage her also that God loved her and that she should keep pursuing Him. She had some difficult experiences in “church” and we tried to encourage her to pursue Him and not let “church” people discourage her from that more excellent way.
Our journey to Phoenix left us ready for a few days of needful rest. Our move-in at the state park went very easy, the winter camp host spot was open and it was a 100’ pull through that looked like an oasis made for MissionBus. This would be an amazing place to spend the next 14 days as we acclimated to the dry dessert and oven heat that topped 115 during our visit.
During our days off, we were able to unload our failed diesel generator. We were able to purchase a replacement generator in El Paso, TX so we have a full size 8.7kw genset now that runs on Gasoline. I posted the diesel genset on Craigslist for $100 which is probably the scrap metal value at least. The engine turns but just will not start. I was done with it. The phone started ringing immediately and I received approx 15 calls. The first caller drove to the state park and picked it up.
After 3 days of rest I was eager to get out to the street, so I was praying that God would reveal Himself that we might join Him in His ministry here. One of our coping strategies to deal with the heat was to keep a chest of ice so we had plenty of cold water. On the third day, I set out to get ice. While driving to the corner grocery about 3 miles away, I spotted a man stumbling along the road-side with a bag of aluminum cans in each hand. As I passed I ask God to let him be there when I returned. I stopped for ice and a bottled water for the man. As I returned to the location, he was still there. I pulled to the side of the road and crossed over the road to meet him. I introduced myself and the man said his name was Tony. Tony had full beard that was well established and equally disheveled hairdo to match. His pants were torn in the back across the mid section that reveal his rear if he bent over too far. I asked if he knew it was 110 out that afternoon and he seemed surprised. We talked a bit and I asked where he was going. He seemed confidently confused but able to keep some continuity in conversion. Over the next two days, Tony’s story began to unfold. I asked him if he’d eaten and he said not for two days. I took him back to the corner grocery where a country bar and grill was still open. I asked the manager if she minded if I brought in a friend that had not showered and she asked if it was the guy that was stumbling along the roadside…I said yes. She said she’d seem him earlier but did not feel comfortable helping him since she was a woman, I encouraged her…you did the right thing not picking him up. You must not take risks like that as a woman. She agreed to let him come in. I brought Tony inside and he ordered a chicken sandwich after getting cleaned up in the restroom. Tony was a bright guy and seemed to have a wit about him. I gave thanks for the food and he devoured the chicken sandwich and fries.
The story on Tony was interesting, as it pertains to God’s providence to draw us into His work. Tony had been collecting cans earlier in the day some 30 miles away. He admits drinking too much and stumbling around a bit. One or two calls into 911 yielded a cop car to track down this man stumbling around too close to the road way in Scottsdale. The police picked him up and dropped him 30 miles away from home….guess where, yep - in my back yard. Does this sound familiar? Read about the miracle of the bird in San Antonio our previous mission city. I love you, God. I asked if he wanted a ride home, but he said he’d be able to make it back in 3 hours. I was surprised and doubtful of this response. I told him that I’d be back through about 4am to take my wife to the airport and that I’d be driving right passed where he lived. I told him to wait out front of the corner grocery there where I had dropped him. We figured out which Motel 6 he lived behind. The maintenance manager allowed Tony to live back behind the wall there.
As we woke in the morning I hoped Tony would still be there, but doubtful that he would have waited. As we passed the corner grocery, sure enough, there he was. The interesting thing here is that we’d not yet discovered the fact that most of Arizona does not observe daylight saving times so affectively we were an hour behind everyone else not know this….so it was technically 3am but Tony was already watching for us. I suppose this means he was up watching all night. At any rate we picked him up and headed for downtown. He had changed into the new clothes the police had bought for him on his departure from Scottsdale. After a quick introduction to the family, we headed for Phoenix. Tony was filled with lots of interesting and colorful stories, most of which made us all laugh. Tony could be someone’s really fun uncle or brother. He has a daughter somewhere and seemed to have a positive outlook on life. The day before I asked if he knew of Jesus, and his response was yes, but I don’t put much stock in that. He gave a testimony of faith in greek mythology and god’s like zeus. I told him that even the great Zeus don’t claim to have created man, they just rule over man. Tony agreed, and we talked about the Creator God. I told him that I would pray for the Creator God by Jesus and the Holy Spirit to reveal themselves to him in some way that was un-mistable.
We dropped Tony and then took Kimberly to the airport. We watched her plane depart what we that was an hour late, until later that morning we figured out about DST in Arizona.
The next day the kids and I set out for Sunnyslope, just north of downtown Phoenix. I’d found a recent article about homeless in a park there, that I thought we’d try to find. First we’d stop by Motel 6 in Scottsdale to see if we could find Tony since it was on the way. We entered the driveway and drove into the back parking lot. As we pasted the dumpster, Timothy saw a head poke up from inside the dumpster then drop back down out of sight. We pulled back around the dumpster and I rolled the window down to talk into the dumpster. I said “I’ll have a big mac, large fry and large coke” as you would say at a fast food drive thru window. At that moment Tony popped up and was holding two slices of pizza, one in each hand, that he was going to town on. With a mouth full of pizza, Tony said “would you?” I said “absolutely.” You want a burger and he said, “yes”. We drove down the street and found an In-n-out Burger and bought a meal for Tony.
As we arrived back to the dumpster behind the Motel 6, there Tony was waiting for us. We stopped and talked with him for a bit and I prayed for Tony. I told him he should consider letting his heart open for Jesus. He seemed willing. We left for Sunnyslope.
Sunnyslope was a bust, it was a pretty nice neighborhood and not much going on in the way of proverty. We reset the navigation for downtown Phoenix. I just picked a coordinate on the Garmin GPS that was a downtown park. After we parked across from a large grassy public park access areas, we carried our cooler that we’d filled with ice and water bottles to give out. It was 110+ that day. As we approached the park we noticed a small group of 4 people sitting together on the lawn consisting of 3 men and 1 woman. Mark and Tera were homeless and they lived near the Pheonix zoo. Mark said he had setup a make shift shelter with some landscape canvas he’d found on the roadside. He draped the canvas to make a sun shade to keep the sun off in the morning while they woke. They traveled to downtown to participate in a methadone program to help them break their heroin addiction. Mark was recently out of prison and they had married. He wanted to get a job and get her off the street and start a family. He was tired of the drugging and running lifestyle. Sitting on the ground were two other men, one named Perry and the other Gerald. Perry was traveling around the country and had been in Pheonix for a couple of weeks. He had his backpack, bike and worn travel look. Gerald was a well dress gentleman that lived nearby but made acquaintance with the 3 and was just sunny on the lawn with them.
I asked Mark if we could pray together and he agreed. I encouraged him in the faith and asked God to draw him and Tera closer that they might continue to yield there old ways and turn toward His ways. Mark was very encouraged and so was I. I mentioned the Strong foundation in San Antonio and he took the down the information and seemed very interested.
I asked if they’d eaten dinner as it was about 7pm at this point. They said no, so I offered to get pizza and they all agreed that would be great. The kids and I crossed the street a block over to the Pizza Hut and ordered 4 pizzas. We returned and had a great time on the lawn in the park there in downtown across from ASU and the downtown postoffice.
Before we ate, Tera seemed very unease about accepting the food from us in the first place but Mark coerced her to agree. She said she felt bad taking food from a big family. We assure her it was our mission to give and love in Jesus name and that she should receive it. It was visually hard for her to accept this gift. After we ate, Tera seemed anxious to get moving, she said they needed to panhandle to get bus fair for tomorrow. I asked how much they needed and she would not answer, Mark interjected $25. At this point Tera got up and walked away. Mark pursued her and came back. He explained her embarrassment of the circumstances and I assured him it was ok.
I asked if he had a Bible and he pulled from his front pants pocket and tattered and very well used Gideon testament that he received in prison. I said, I’ll get you another one. I went to the car and pulled one of the water proof Bible’s the Igarashi family gave for our street ministries. On return I put $25 in as book marker for the book of John. I explained as I opened to that book that this was God’s love letter to him and that he should read and abide in that book as a good starting place. Mark was grateful for the larger print.
As we left, my son Timothy, asked if I would go in 50/50 on buying a tent for Mark and Tera. I was so excited to hear his heart’s desire to help meet this need. We did buy a tent but we never saw them again. We returned to the city park after Kimberly was back in Phoenix. It had been 4 days since our last visit. Our second visit to the park was a bit different. We brought food to make sandwiches then after we finished, we walked around and asked people in the park if they wanted a ham or turkey sandwich. Rejected by a couple of people, we finally found one guy that was interested. The girls made him a sandwich and we returned with it. We also took him Reese’s cups. He was pretty excited about that. I asked if we could pray for him and he said, pray I’ll be hit by a city bus and end this misery. Sadness and a strange need to chuckle at this request, but he really did not want me to pray for that, He is just hurting and feeling hopeless. Pray for Michael as you think about him.
We left Pheonix the next day after stopping in Scottsdale once more so Kimberly could visit her cousin. The next morning we departed for Los Angles. We had 4 days travel to California.
The journey to California was exciting for everyone, it meant we were nearing the end of the westward journey and that we’d make our destination very soon. We would get to see the Pacific Ocean and then some time in the near future we’d start the long trek eastward towards family and the area of the world we know as home.
We arrived in LA and took a day to see everything in that very popular city. We drove through Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Dr and even saw the Hollywood stars on Hollywood Blvd. We drove the famous Mulholland Drive that overlooks the city high atop the mountain ridges. The views where absolutely amazing. The streets were filled with homeless in LA. You could not escape them from street to street. We prayed for many that day as we passed by them driving. God, your hand and your Spirit reach far and wide throughout the entire expanse of the earth, Lord protect your people and lift them up. Bring them into obedience with your word and provide for all their needs. We know not one of these goes unnoticed by your eyes and ears.
Our departure from LA to the north was a difficult climb over the mountains for the first 30 miles but after that it was very flat as we moved north. The temperature dropped and was so comfortable in LA but as we moved north and inland it rose again but not at all what we experienced in Phoenix.
We stayed a night in Los Banos and met a homeless man as we were having dinner at a Tacobell. His name was Jojo and he had a twin sister. He has asked for money to buy beer. He lived at the recycling center across the street and they let him sleep there. I encouraged him to pursue Christ and prayed with him. I told him I would give him $5 and that I would pray for God to direct him how to spend it. I told him that it was not what went into a man that defiled him, but rather what was in his heart. At that he said with eyes wide open, that what my sister keeps telling me. He was willing to go to church and open to pursue Jesus.
I am amazed at every turn of this journey how God brings people into our path to love. Simple acts of kindness and no judgment towards them can go a long way to displaying the true Gospel to a lost and hurting world. How would this world be if self-professing Christians could actually live love towards people the way Jesus loved people? It would be different, I guarantee it.
We left Los Banos and arrived at our destination in Walmart in Oakland, CA just 15 miles from downtown San Francisco.
The California mission log will come after we leave the city, we depart homeward bound on June 22nd. On our return we will do street ministry in the cities on our return path including Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Memphis and Birmingham. It is about 3000 miles return route on I-40 across the mid-west. Please pray in agreement that God will provide the funds for our travels, as we are in need now to see His hand at work.
Posted by: Marc
Mission Log: 2012/05/24
Austin & San Antonio, Texas - City #2 of Western Journey
May 4 to May 24, 2012
Travel to Phoenix
Once again, our plans are not His plans but His timing is always perfect. Our plan was to visit family for just a couple of days in Austin, but the Spirit moved on our behalf to let us speak and testify to a couple of groups about God’s amazing plan for our lives. Speaking opportunities kept us in Austin for a week. We saw a move of God to provide WVO, and lives encouraged towards homeless ministry. Our travels to San Antonio were without trouble and God’s hand was revealed in several miracles that can only be explained by a move of the Spirit of God. We meet many new people on the streets and showed them love from the overflow of Him in us.
We arrived in Austin and met a man in the Walmart parking lot that does mission work all around the world. This man named Russell saves his money up for mission trips then travels with his wife. He was thinking about traveling the US in an RV and noticed our small generator as I was refueling it, that is what drew him over to us. We shared for almost an hour in the rain and prayed together. Both of us were encouraged.
In the morning, my good friends Courtney and Allan Skinn took us to breakfast at Chic-fil-a. We had a great time catching up. Allan is a long time friend as he was in my wedding and we worked together at IBM in the early 90’s. We made a new friend, Jaime, that bounded immediately with Kimberly and the kids. Jaime does design work for my company and was introducted to me a couple years ago by Allan. Jaime had been on a mission to locate more waste vegetable oil for the bus but found many barriers and came up empty, time and time again. This difficulty she experienced was for a purpose that God was about to reveal. As we enjoyed breakfast with our friends and talking about the struggles to find veggie, Allan remembered his close friend Alex Williams that owns an Austin Chic-fil-a and well known by the other Texas restaurants. One call to Alex and he gave us access to the waste trap at his store. Closed on Sunday, which was the next day…he did not know when it was dumped last but gave us permission to take all we wanted. More to come on this….
At lunch, my sisters, brother, nephews and nieces came to visit and we all went to lunch. Great visit with the family which led to an afternoon school fair with bounce houses , climbing wall and tons of other activities, what a fun day. We spent the rest of the evening and late night with family before heading back to the bus.
We rose Sunday morning to have family worship before another visit from friends around noon. Greg and his family came to visit and we shared about our mission work and encouraged one another for His kingdom. Two days of great building up for our family. What a blessing to each of us.
After our visits, we planned to move to another Walmart on route to the Chic-fil-a for waste oil and then prepare to depart to San Antonio. We arrived at the Chic-fil-a to discover a full waste trap. We harvested 110 gallons of waste oil which would get us 700 miles towards Phoenix. Amazed and in awe, how God put this together. Praising Him all the while we pumped. Allan came over while we were pumping waste oil and invited us to come to their home so we could change the front brakes on minivan. My sister also made the offer but at that time, I thought we were leaving the city. The Spirit was prompting for us to stay longer in Austin because there were homeless everywhere. We talked to a few people as we stopped at intercessions but this was not the purpose for our delayed departure. Allan approached me about talking to a couple of groups of teen boys for discipleship and Bible study that he leads on a weekly basis. Through these two groups I had the opportunity to testify and share with 15 or so people including fathers and sons. One of the fathers that’s owns the restaurant we were meeting at approached me after the talk. He was very sincere and broken for what he could do to minister to the homeless. He shared with me that in his men’s group they had discussed several times what can they do and how should they get involved. I was able to encourage him to start simple and keep it simple. Loving people can be difficult when you don’t know what to say. The first time you talk to a homeless person, you might feel really awkward, but they are just people. They breathe and eat just like we do. Homeless have the same basic needs we do, simple conversion is how relationship begin. If you can just show someone that they are worth talking to for even a few minutes can restore some of their lost dignity. Yes, of course they need the gospel of Jesus, we pray with everyone and testify of the hope we have. This reveals to them the reason we love them and it gives them hope that His love is still reaching for them.
We arrived at the RV park in San Antonio….perfect place for us. The place was a bit run down, but quiet and easy to park our 65’ rig with water and sewer. Our first contact in San Antonio was with the director of a homeless organization named Stand up for kids. Janet Grigsy directs a group that reaches out to over 8000 homeless teens in this city. We hoped to work with them but their background check process would take the time we would be in town, but she recommended we call the Strong Foundation which caters to homeless families. I did not call Strong.
The next up was our first visit to downtown San Antonio. We met Silvia at Hemisphere park. Silvia was sitting on a park bench in the afternoon around 2pm. She had a grocery cart full of personal belongings and looked like someone’s grandmother. Silvia was well spoken and seemed very knowledgeable about things we asked about. She was a sweet woman and she had compassion for other homeless that did not have food. We prayed with her and moved back towards downtown. On our return to the square, I noticed a homeless man on the corner with this dog. I watched from the adjacent corner as we waited for the crosswalk light to turn. Numerous attempts to panhandle people on the street seemed to leave him very frustrated. People just ignored or had harsh words for him as he made his plea. I called attention to the kids what I saw and you could see their compassion for him as I had in my own heart. We crossed the street and the second street walking towards him I made eye contact and did not turn away as the others. We walked straight up to him and practically surrounded him on the sidewalk, in front of the corner McDonalds, as we so easily do because of the size of our group. His name is Johnny and his dog is Brownie. Johnny said he was a train hopping hobo that has seen the country. He’d been in San Antonio for maybe a month or so. He had a grandfather’s grayed hair in dreadlocks, was decently dressed and carried a backpack. He was clear headed and had a great love for his companion. He loved to tell stories and taught us how to jump a train. He said it’s more difficult to hop trains now as Brownie has grown heavier. When we offered to buy him dinner at the McDs he was quick to defer his own needs for his pup companion. I told him we’d come back the next day between 6 and 8pm to bring food for the dog. Johnny said he feeds him canned Alpo dog food with the gravy…we smiled. Johnny shared some stories and we prayed with him. Johnny knew scripture and testified that he trusted God. We encouraged him and hugged him and sent him on his way.
We had a late start the next evening but were able to get the dog food and make it to downtown by 7:30 but we did not see Johnny that night. I prayed we would seem him before we left so that he would not feel like made an empty promise. We often hear of homeless that tell stories of people promising to do things that they never do. I’m sure good intentions just not followed through or circumstances outside ones control cause a lack of reconnect. I just did not want this to be the case with Johnny. We carried the dog food and the van the remainder of our time in San Antonio but did not seem him during our street ministry.
On our going and coming from the city to the RV Park, we met a man named Larry at the first major intersection from the Park. We gave McDonald’s gift cards for food and the second time we stopped I asked him how we could pray for him. He’s response was unique from the many others that I’d asked the same question stopping at a traffic light. Larry paused for a second, looked me in the eyes and said, “A friend”. This response probably typifies the desire of most homeless we encounter but few are able to verbalize it. Loneliness is the greatest poverty of the homeless. That day and many days since I have remembered this prayer for Larry and for countless others that I know have the same need. Beyond the need for physical companionship, we know on this side that God can give us joy and fullness of life without friends but friends help God encourage us through the physical realm and it is good to have friends. If you have even one good friend, count this gift as a blessing from God and never take it for granted.
At morning we received contact from Leah a good friend of the Baker family we met in the New Orleans State Park. She contacted us via facebook and we planned to met them for dinner. Kimberly talked on the phone with Leah and relayed the events of the past days including the encounter with Johnny. Leah began to describe in detail the man Johnny, since she had met him weeks earlier around the same place but at the time she and her family talked to Johnny he had two dogs. We were amazed that this family would love homeless and that we’d both showed love to the same man. Just afternoon, we received a very interesting call from Leah. She needed to change the plans as one of her birds had been lost and someone had found the bird on our side of town. Now what I’m about to share is absolutely truth and probably one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. You know the scripture that God has his eyes on the Sparrow, if you need a reminder…Matthew 10:28-31. Over the next two hours we get all the details of this amazing miracle. Two days prior, one of Leah’s 13 birds in her aviary, a blue and white very uniquely decorated bird, name crystal flew out of the house unnoticed. Around 2pm this day, Leah received a phone call from a woman claiming to have found her bird. The woman found the bird two days prior hopping along the ground and she was able to catch it and she brought it home and feed it. At first the bird did not fly, but after having rest and food, it did fly again. The woman used the internet to search for a rescue organization to take the bird. In her searching, she found a post for a lost bird with a picture posted by Leah for a different bird that Leah had lost weeks prior. In the photo of the other lost bird, in the side of the photo was this little blue bird the woman had found. On a long shot the woman called Leah and described the bird. Leah confirmed it was her bird. So Leah called us and suggested we meet on our side of town for dinner so they can pick up the bird. At this point, I’m very intrigued and offer to pick up the bird for her. Honestly, I’m thinking this is not the same bird, but we will help her get another crazy bird ? Now, the address to Leah’s house is 30+ miles by road from the location of MissionBus. Leah text message us the address where the bird is located…and it is literally just over 1 mile from where MissionBus is parked. My mouth dropped in disbelief and again, this can not be the same crazy bird. So we set out to get the bird. We arrive and pickup the bird already in a small box. We did not open the box so it would not fly the coup again. For all we know it could just be a blue jay in the box. Next we drive to the Saiz home on the east side of San Antonio some 30 miles away. On arrival we are eager to see this bird and get confirmation that it is or is not the bird. WOW, this bird was so uniquely decorated, no other bird could impersonate her, this was Leah’s bird. For the next few hours as we get to know our know new friends, I just could not believe that God would demonstrated His words for me in such a way. How much more does He care about us than the Sparrow? Absolutely amazing.
Sorry to be so long winded in these details, but the presence of God just screams to be seen by our creator and such activity has been overlooked for too long. Another amazing move of God’s hand is how he next leads us to the Strong Foundation. In the first call with Kimberly, Leah shares that her family ministers to homeless families on Thursday night at a ministry called the Strong Foundation, which was first mentioned to us a few days prior by Janet Grigsby. They invited us to join them at Strong and this time we did. Our role was to keep watch and show love to the kids of the parents going through Rick Warren’s Celebrate Recovery program. Kimberly was privileged to sit in on the session while the kids and I played football toss, swing and skate in the Strong’s play courtyard. We met Jim Gibson that night and many other really caring folks that run the ministry. You can find out more about them on their website http://www.strongfoundation.com. They are the most unique homeless ministry we have encountered on the road…many organizations cater to men or woman but none that we have seen cater to the entire family including kids. This brings back memory of the Je Sus in the homeless camp in Lakewood NJ. He had two daughters and wife that he desperately wanted to keep together and off the street. Sadly, many men just give up like he did that last night we saw him. He took his own life by overdose. If the Spirit of God so compels you, please send financial support to the Strong Foundation as this ministry not only changes lives but changes entire families.
The Saiz family,[ Leah, David and 5 kids], have an amazing ministry. They are have fostered scores of kids having as many as 10 kids in their house at one time. Now God is calling them to start a woman’s recovery ministry using the Celebrate Recovery program. Having recovered from drug addiction themselves, Leah and David have a deep passion to help others break free from the bondage of drug addiction. They are praying on faith that God will provide a sizeable seemingly impossible donation to purchase the land and building already located for the ministry. The place is move in ready. They are believing God will move to provide and are just waiting for him to do so. They testified they could go “do it” on their own, but the Spirit intervened and gave them peace to wait on His timing. The ministry is called “Hope in our Community” will be able to house 20 or so woman recovering from drug addiction.
We had planned to leave the next day for Phoenix, but the Spirit was at work to keep us in San Antonio for another week. Jim offered for us to move the bus to the yard behind the Strong Foundation house which is a block from the center. The center houses 22 families in a renovated nursing home that was donated to the Foundation. The Strong house is the next stepping stone for folks in the center as they prepare to go back out on their own.
Kimberly and I prayed in full agreement that we would stay until Thursday. Our Phoenix plans included catching a flight bound for Atlanta for Kimberly to attend her youngest sister’s wedding on June 1, so we calculated the last day we could stay in San Antonio and still travel 4 days to Phoenix. This gave us 5 more days to do ministry work in the city. Moving to the Strong Foundation brought us 18 miles closer, we could see downtown from where we were parked just 2 miles to downtown. Jim already had 30amp power accommodations and water for RV’s like us. Our time at the Strong house allowed us to meet some really nice families that God was restoring and helping them establish their family in a safe environment. We made many new friends and encouraged each other in the Spirit of God’s love for us and each other. I praise Him for these seasons of being encouraged and encouraging others.
The next day, Jim called and asked if I would bring the message on Sunday morning…Oh how I love to teach.
You can watch the message here: Message at Strong Foundation
The Spirit was already at work with His message to share to the Strong Foundation families. We also had the pleasure to work on a back yard project with Jim at his house, a small construction project with 4x6 beams and foundation blocks.
Our next ministry call was on a hot day to give out water. As we sought where the Spirit would have us go, right in front of us where we had stopped to get ice from a street vend, was a corner bus stop. 6 people appeared to be waiting for the bus, but one had a cart so it was a good chance that they were just getting shade from the heat. We drove up to the stop and asked if they wanted ice cold water, of course they did. We all exited the car and distributed water and started conversation. That day we met Lyon, Vedta, Barry, Silvia and Gary. Several others we talked with were just catching the bus but Lyon, Vedta and Barry were out seeking refuge from the blistering sun. We listed to their stories and prayed with them, they were so thankful for the cold water. Lyon had been the victim of a drive by shooting, some guys with the pellet gun shot him while he was just sitting the bus stop. He was ok but pretty upset.
The final morning to depart from San Antonio, God revealed Himself again and answered my prayer. After we said our goodbyes and Jim made his last appeal for us to stay indefinitely (which he said was an open offer anytime) , we continued on our journey. The love of God’s people testifies of the hope we have in another time to come, not to distant future, we will all be joined together again. The next miracle to close San Antonio affirms our perfect timing to depart. I pulled out and kept watch for Kimberly, but did not see her. She drives behind me to follow to the interstate then moves to the front position. I called on the radio and nothing. I call on the cell and she did not answer. Finally, she called. The reason for her delay and slow response was that as we were coming through downtown, she saw Johnny and Brownie. She pulled over on the busy sidewalk and was able to give him Johnny the dog food still waiting in the back of the van to be delivered to the Johnny. I stand in awe of Him. We are so blessed to see God appointments like this so often, but it never loses its awe and wonder to know that God orchestrates opportunities to be Jesus when you make yourself available. I know we all live in a busy world filled with our own appointments leaving no time for flexibilities to be used like this, but that’s why we often miss seeing God’s hand at work.
Travel to Phoenix
Only 60 miles from San Antonio, I decided to switch over to WVO as the landscape seemed to be flattening out. We only made it 2 miles before running the engine dry. Again found myself on the side of the road. This time I was able to get all the way over, but in doing so, blocked access to my toolbox in the bus main cargo hold because I was right up against the guard rail. All I had was an adjustable wrench that was in the bus. I’ll be prepared for this next time. The Spirit previously had prompted me to change the veggie filter in Austin and again in San Antonio, but I never made time to do it. My first action was to check the veggie filter. Sure enough, the filter was complete blocked. This explains the immediate shut down on WVO. I replaced the filter as I had already purchased the replacements. Next, the normal routine to the purge the air out of the fuel lines for 45 minutes did not yield any success. The battery was running low from failed starter attempts so I just decided to have the bus towed of the roadway. I called several of our new local contacts and no one had a contact for a towing company. I cold called three companies and found one that could be out in a couple of hours. Then we waited. I put a call out to my master tech Greg and waited for his call. About an hour into our wait, Greg called. We walked through what was happening and I told him was going to get towed. Greg encouraged me to try once more. He suggested I crack the injector nuts and turn the engine over once with as many of the injector as I could reach. I could only reach 4 of the 8 with the tool that I had. Encouraged by my good brother, I set out to try again. You can probably imagine after having done this routine about 4 or 5 times now, I have a pretty good conversation with God during the process. The talk used to be a lot like the first part of the book of Job - with me asking a lot of questions, but in recent times it is getting more like the last part of Job – me just worshiping Him. After letting the battery recover for about 20 minutes, now the bus was able to turn over again without getting an external charge…or maybe the Spirit of God charged it. Either way, the bus started and we were able to drive 350 miles that day without being towed. I have a new policy that veggie gets one chance per day. On day two, I attempted the WVO again and was able to drive 50 miles, but once again, the pressure is just not high enough to feed the engine the veggie it needs to climb hills. The bus stalled to the side of the highway but I was able to bring the engine back to life so we could continue on. We stayed at Walmart in Fort Stockton Texas, El Paso Texas, Deming New Mexico and Apache Junction Arizona. The travel was hot through the Sonoran Dessert reaching temps of 106 in the bus on the first day. I realized the heater lines were still flowing inside the bus and this contributed to the high temps as the engine was running 195 most of the day travel. Closing the heater valves dropped the temps to mid 95’s inside the bus. I watched the engine temps fluctuate between 180 and 195 the duration of the 1100 miles from San Antonio to Phoenix, touching 200 degrees briefly only a couple of times. Very pleased and amazed at the performance of the bus and minivan across the dessert. The family traveled well and we all experienced God grace with each other during the 4 hot travel days. Our hopes to save fuel money by running on waste oil were not realized so we had to use our cash reserve to get to our Phoenix designation. During our travel days I have had lots of time to think about the fuel delivery system for the WVO and I have a couple of revelations and planned modifications to boost the pressure. Currently I’m getting just under 1 psi on diesel or veggie when on full climbing load. I really need closer to 5 psi. I’ve noted a loss of power even on diesel and I believe it is because the placement of the valve the switches from diesel to veggie. I need to move it lower so the fuel does not have to climb the hose…I did not think 2 feet elevation would have such a negative impact but at just 2-5 psi any climb can make a difference. I acquired a 12v heavy duty waste oil gear pump that I will add after the veggie filter. I’m also going to move the return circulation check valve to behind the veggie filter so the circulation is heating the veggie inside the filter…currently the contents of the filter are not heated that was an amateur design flaw, but I’m learning. I hope to make these changes in Phoenix.
One of the days at Strong Foundation in San Antonio our washer and dryer combo drum stopped turning. This has happened twice before and tech support suggested checking for a jumped belt which it was the first two times. This time the belt was in place, and after completely disassembling the unit a failed part was the cause. The part is a hardened steel shaft pressed into a cast aluminum spider frame that bolts to the drum. This part is now two pieces free spinning and they should be one fixed piece. The part is a poor design in my opinion. To make matters worse, they want $200 for the drum and spider frame assembly, however I can build a better part of all steel for probably $25 in raw materials. I will need to weld in order to fabricate the part. We had another problem, on our way to Austin while running our primary diesel generator for maybe 2 hours with the AC running, the generator shut down on its own. I found the oil was completely empty, but had been checked and filled prior to our departure from ATL. No diesel generator, no welding or AC while on the road between cities. What to do? I’ve spent so much energy and time on this diesel generator I’m ready to replace it. I found a replacement option that is gasoline and more power. Harbor Freight Tools has a special on their Predator line $100 off the regular price. The only Harbor Freight that even had one in stock was in Tucson, AZ, so we stopped in onroute to Phoenix and picked one up. Cash is tight but with the heat, I don’t want to be caught without AC. I know God will provide, He always has when we’ve been in need.
We will move to the Lost Dutchmen State Park in Apache Junction, AZ which is 40 miles east of Phoenix. This was the most affordable and easy access to the city and surrounding areas. Kimberly will be traveling to Atlanta on May 31 for her sister’s wedding on the June 1. We will do our mission work here in Phoenix as He leads and then depart for San Francisco around June 7.
Posted by: Marc