10 Blessings & Challenges You Get on the Road
1. Experiencing gracious treatment
People tend to roll out the red carpet for you as a special guest. We’ve been able to experience a lot of gracious treatment that we may never have received if we weren’t constantly the “guests of honor.” We’ve received discounts, excellent food, repairs on vehicles, and much more.
2. Seeing much of the country(s)
We have been to 48 contiguous states, and most of them multiple times. When we hear about events on the news, we recognize most of the places they talk about! We’ve seen the best each state has to offer. It is a huge blessing, and we’ve got a lot of pictures to remember it! We also are beginning to see more international destinations.
3. Spending a lot of family time
We are together 95% of the time. We become best friends and enjoy each other’s company. In today’s world of rushing everywhere and having to split up to accomplish “life” we get to take things at a different pace all together.
4. Seeing God answer big prayers
Of course, this isn’t unique to a road traveling family like us. But we believe God has called us to do what we do during this part of our family’s life. To see God work in special ways to enable us to do what we do strengthens our faith.
5. Setting our own schedule
We don’t live on a schedule like most people. We can adjust to any time zone or lifestyle. We’ve told people who want to understand that we live about 2 hours later than most. In other words, what you are doing at noon, we are probably doing at 2:00. Getting up at 7:00 am feels like what getting up at 5:00 am would feel like to you! The main reason for this is our meeting schedule. Our kids never go to bed at 8:00. Our meetings are just wrapping up! Bedtime is 10:30 for the kids. Awake time is later, too. But we can change it around as we need to.
1. Constantly saying goodbye
This is a tough one because we move so much. It can get difficult saying goodbye to friends or family. We meet so many people and form good friendships. But then the week is done and we must continue.
2. Cannot teach systematically as much
I can’t really teach through a book of the Bible, because we’re starting over every week at a new church. Also, I have to work at teaching a well-roundedness to the kids because they will hear the same sermons many times.
3. Times of financial famine
Living on the road demands a higher “treading water” level. To simply keep going, there are the costs of fuel and food as well as the need to constantly be moving. You can receive four weeks in a row of love offerings that barely covered the fuel to get to the meeting, not to mention paying any bills. It can stretch you!
4. Misunderstandings and expectations of people
Since you aren’t around people for extended time (months, years, lifetime) the things that you say and do are magnified. I may say something intended to be humorous but it ends up being the only thing that person remembers until 2 years later when we return. We also go to a variety of places that vary in their personal standards and can think we are either too strict or too liberal. You can be easily misunderstood when people only get passing “snapshots” of you and your family. Maybe we get judged as lazy because we aren’t up as early as the farmers in the rural church we are visiting; but if we did that, the late-night folks would wonder why we don’t fellowship after church.
5. Churches that don’t prepare
No one likes to be an afterthought. Fortunately, we haven’t experienced this very often and we shiver at the stories other evangelist families have shared with us about bad experiences in this category. But it is a real challenge when a church hasn’t prepared at all, and you pull in with a large 5th wheel and they have no power, no water, etc. Our trailer is our home, and we can’t “just make do” every week or else it will not last. Being unprepared spiritually is even worse. How can we expect God to do something if we won’t be asking Him for it or making time for it?
These are some blessings and challenges we and folks in traveling ministry like us face on a regular basis. We praise God for the blessings, and we trust God through the challenges, just like you do in your sphere of life!