We’ve now had over a year’s worth of Sundays on the road. However I still stumble over myself when asked, “What do you do for church while traveling in an RV?” It’s a straightforward question but the answer isn’t clear-cut. Come with me while I unpack the details of what church looks like for us while RVing.
WHAT IS CHURCH?
Both Trent and I grew up going to church on Sundays. It is part of our family history and something we value. We believe that the church should be important to us because it is important to God. He loved the church. He gave Himself up for it (Ephesians 5:25).
Yet, as I’ve grown, so has my concept of what the church actually is. As a child, church was the white building on the street corner with a cross on top. Church was something we went to and sequentially left each week. Church was a building, a place of gathering, and an icon in town with a cross on the roof. This is not what Christ died for. Instead, I believe Christ died for people. John 10:11 tells us that Christ is the Shepherd who lays down His life for his sheep (not their barn). Therefore, my understanding has grown to realize that “church” is wherever believers are gathered together, regardless of the day of the week or the location of the gathering.
This may seem like an unnecessary distinction to make; however, I believe it is important to start here. Without this clarification, it can be easy to wander off into unnecessary confusion when answering the question, “What will you do for church on the road?” Because there is a big difference between asking, “What building do you plan to go to on Sundays?” and “How will you stay connected with other believers?”
DON’T STOP GATHERING
The writer to the Hebrews warned the early church to “not stop gathering together with other believers, as some are you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming” Hebrews 10:25. I believe this has as much relevance now as it did when first penned. As believers we crave time with other believers and that time pays dividends of encouragement, accountability and spiritual growth. Continue reading “what church looks like for us while RVing”
It’s dark, early and cold. Our alarm chimes brightly urging us toward consciousness. My eyes open and a single thought floats to the forefront of my mind: hot air balloons!
We scramble to dress, quickly pulling items like coats, gloves and winter hats out of retirement. Stepping into the brisk, pre-dawn air, our lungs fill with a fresh dose of chilled oxygen. Endorphins igniting, excitement courses through our veins. Despite our shortened slumber, we are fully alert.
Walking to the shuttle bus, we are joined by other early risers, equally bundled and filled with anticipation. The bus delivers us to the entrance of Balloon Fiesta Park and here we join the sea of spectators collectively converging onto the damp, grassy field. We are all here for the same portentous* reason—to be wowed by gondolas, burners and envelopes—more simply: hot air balloons.
THE WAITING LIST
Thanks to the suggestion of my friend Melissa Moss, Trent and I are media pass holders allowing us complementary admission onto the field and access to the media tent. Here we grab warm drinks and breakfast burritos and I add my name to the balloon ride sign-up page. I’m told not to expect to be called for a ride on this opening day and I don’t. My name, scribbled on the top of page two behind many other hopeful people, is clearly too far from the top to gain attention.
Trent takes the kids and disappears onto the still-dark field while I hover around the heater and listen for my name that isn’t likely to be called. Forty-five minutes pass and two names are announced. I write off my chances but remain anyway, determined to see this opportunity through. Then, a miracle occurs and I hear my name over the speakers. I approach the table, heart racing with anxious excitement and pure shock. “Are you ready to go up?” they ask. “Yes, I most definitely am!” Continue reading “flying high | Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta”
We are up before the sun, dressing, eating, prepping. Our goal is to leave by 7:00 am. A long drive is on the horizon. We pull out of our site at 7:21. Today we say goodbye to Utah. It’s a bittersweet parting. While I’m filled to the brim with anticipation for the upcoming balloon fiesta, three nights in Utah has been far too little in my opinion.
As we begin our drive south, the rays of morning light slowly illuminate the iron-rich rock formations of Capitol Reef National Park. The ground sparkles with a blanketing layer of frost that captures the sun in a brief prism-like show of brilliance before surrendering to the warmth of the dawn. The Fremont River courses through its morning routine as steam rises to meet the cool air before bowing its head and returning to the moving water.
We pass no one, yet despite the absence of admiring onlookers, the majestic opulence of towering rocks, layered in color and adorned with strength, remains. Here beauty abounds from the earth in an exorbitant show of confidence.
I reflect on our time here punctuated by RV friends and vast vistas. Thoughts of exploring the land on foot and hiking to overlooks that took our breath away, wisp through my mind like clouds. Continue reading “breathtaking beauty | Utah”
About a year ago I started flagging places in my Google Map—places that sounded fun, unique or exceptionally beautiful. I am not building a bucket list, I’m crafting an itinerary of possibilities; mentally acknowledging that no matter where we are, there are amazing things to discover.
When I see an Instagram picture of a breathtaking scene, I create a flag. If I watch a YouTube video and see an amazing experience, I flag. I flag it and forget it until it’s time to create our next travel itinerary and then, like an airliner landing at night, those little flags help light my way.
My map is quickly filling in, populated by little green flags representing places we’ve encountered and others we’ve yet to explore. (Yellow stars indicate locations where I’ve found RV family friendly volunteer opportunities.)
Bruneau Dunes State Park is stop number one on our before mentioned travel map and was inspired by one of those little green flags in Southern Idaho.
Like so many western states, Idaho has many personalities. What you discover in the panhandle differs drastically from the central valley, and the valley is not at all like the southern region. Continue reading “my little green flags | Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID”
This is a transitional week. Mentally, I’m shifting from thoughts revolving around our shocking dental visit toward meal and trip planning. That last little blog post I wrote about being kicked out of the dentist office created quite the stir. Typically I’m thrilled to hear from a small handful of you in the form of a comment or email. I wasn’t prepared for the avalanche of thoughts, opinions and advice that poured in. Over 200 comments accompanied the 40,000+ page views.
I typically take the time to respond to each blog comment. However, I gave myself a pass on this one due to both the volume and, in some cases, the sheer lunacy shared. I have a hard time engaging in assaulting conversations so I simply tapped out on a few of them. Chances are, if you are still reading my blog now, you did not leave one of those comments. However, I did add a few notes of clarification to the dental post as there seemed to be some confusion over our motives. Feel free to click over to read the updates if you felt we might have been after fame or money (spoiler alert: we weren’t).
Finally, in an attempt to bring some closure to the topic, we were able to locate a dentist in the Phoenix area who comes highly recommended by a trusted friend. We’ve made appointments for all four kids (on the same day—hallelujah) and look forward to experiencing his laser (no shot, no drill, no anesthesia, no cursing–just seeing if you are paying attention) dentistry technique in a few weeks.
MOMENT OF SILENCE
Physically, we have transitioned back into our RV after a month of living with friends while warranty work was completed. Can we just take a brief moment to acknowledge the four families who willingly housed us over the last month? I mean truly, you know you’ve got die-hard friends when they let your dirty laundry intermingle with theirs and don’t mind when you walk into their kitchen with morning breath and bed head. Tschida, Hembry, McKee and Swan families: you win top hospitality awards! We are truly, madly, deeply grateful to call you friends! Continue reading “a place of transition”