January 2017: Ninth Month
A new year–and with the new year comes a new place to stay. We left Evangel church on New Year’s Eve, but not wanting to spend the night in the car, we went to a motel in Mequon. As we made our way there, the heater in the car began to give off an awful smell, so we had to make due without it. We spent two nights at the motel, and this stay gave Bob a chance to look at the heater. He put some kind of expanding filler of some sort in the radiator, hoping that it would stop any leaks that may be happening. Come Monday morning, it was time to leave the motel, but we also had to take Colleen to work in Germantown. We weren’t sure where we would be come nightfall, but we focused on what we needed to do during the day, taking it one step at a time. After we dropped Colleen off, we decided to get something for lunch at the McDonald’s that was right there. The temperature began to drop as the clouds rolled in, and the heater still seemed to be the same, and so we had no heat. After taking care of some laundry, we decided to hole up in the parking lot of a McDonald’s down the road while we waited for Bob to get off of work. We met him and discussed our situation and tried to survey all of our options. The temperature kept dropping, it was raining, and everyone, after sitting for six hours, was beside themselves, and this included the cat who was all wrapped up in her blankets by now.
Now, you may be thinking that we seem like we don’t know what we are doing, and you are right. God spoke to us months ago and told us that He was going to do a work in us and that He wanted us to completely trust Him. He told us that we were going to live day by day, minute by minute, and even moment by moment, and He wasn’t kidding. All throughout our travels we had prayed months ahead of time to figure out where we would be and to get our reservations at the hotels, but after God spoke this to us that all changed. He has been in control of our lives and we have had to learn to let go and trust Him. It has been a complete walk of faith, nothing quite like we have ever experienced before. But God has been faithful.
So as we sat in our cars and prayed and thought and prayed, we felt that we needed to go back to the hotel we had stayed at before going to Evangel, because we felt that God still wanted us in this area. But this time, instead of having two rooms, we now only booked one–all five of us and the cat in one room. This was going to be a new challenge! Even though we lived in a house together for twenty-plus years, we never all lived in one room before. This was going to either make us or break us. God was really doing a work in us.
Well, the week came to an end and we headed for Life Church in Germantown. We ran into old friends, and they were excited to hear that we were teaching the Jewish roots because after a trip to Israel, they became very interested in Messianic Judaism and began reading up on it, and so they wanted to hear more about the Jewish roots of Christianity. This church has about 1500 people attending it, and so we only had a short time to visit with the pastor and give him some of our brochures. One man we spoke to said his parents were in real estate rentals, and he said he would speak with his parents to see if they had any openings.
As we started week two, we extended our stay at the hotel and Bob got the 24-hour flu. Now that was fun. Five of us with one bathroom, and he has the stomach flu; but we survived. As the week continued, we continued seeking God. Faith is a commodity that doesn’t come cheap. It is something that you have to grow and nurture, and to grow it, you must be in a place where you are dependent upon it and have no choice but to use it. You must have all your life supports taken away from you: no life jacket, no life ring, no rope, not even a boat. It is just you and the deep blue sea, and then you find out that it is just you and God, and it is He who is keeping you afloat. It really is quite a revelation at that point, and either you are going to trust Him or you are going to sink. But we know that to go on with our journey and to do the work that God is calling us to do, we must be able to trust in Him for all things.
When we went to church on Sunday, the man that was going to check with his parents about a house forgot to ask them. It seems to be the story of our lives lately–delay, delay, delay. We extended our stay at the hotel to a month, and we continue to wait on God, not knowing if our winter stay may just be living in one temporary place after another. Whatever it may be, we are thankful just to have any place. Time seems to be going so fast, and yet so slow.
We find ourselves at another weekend, but this weekend we find ourselves relating to a man that was outside of the hotel on Saturday. This man had not eaten for 24 hours and asked for money for lunch. Being that there are restaurants near the hotel, we took him over so he could eat. He told us his story and about his family. We prayed with him and talked with him about what he could do to help his situation. Then we put him on the bus so that he could get to where he needed to be. The thing that hit us the most was that he was homeless, and we know just how that felt. God’s work is not in vain, for unless you have slept in your car and have no place to go, you really cannot have empathy toward another who is in that situation, because you feel like you are all alone in this great big world.
The next day, there was another man who asked for money to get on the bus, but instead we drove him to where he needed to get to. This gave us a chance to talk with him a little more, and we had a great conversation with him. He was having struggles of his own, and once again we found that our experiences over the past few months have given us a deeper connection with people. We had gone to church early Sunday, and we met new people and found that there were still other people at the church who were interested in the Jewish roots of our faith. Little by little, we get to spread God’s words and we get a chance to minister to people in church and out of church, in the hotel and out of the hotel, for God will use a person wherever they are.
It’s the last week of January, and our month at the hotel is coming to an end. The Bible study we were writing is done. We had three brochures on Paul done, and we had a chance to call many of our friends that we had met along the way. The van still doesn’t have heat, but Bob and Colleen both received pay raises and were elevated to full time work. God never fails!
As the month comes to an end, we find ourselves still without a permanent dwelling. But God has not closed every door…