Bound for Tennessee
Another incredible week of Lost Bus living has slipped away. I know I’ve said it before, but my God, I love this life.
We’ve been living in Pisgah, Alabama at a Camp ToknowHim. It’s a Christian camp that hosts youth groups from all over the country. There is a really nice facility here on an expansive chunk of beautiful land—plenty of open space for hiking and climbing and swimming and exploring. Not only have we had the opportunity to live here for the last 10 days—we’ve been able to spend our time in the company of wonderful new friends. A group of eighty people came down from Lansing, Illinois to spend their vacation time here in Pisgah. They’re from Bethel CRC and they showed up here to be Jesus for some people who are really hurting.
The tornado that ripped through here last year killed 243 people in the state and left a wake of devastation. Everywhere you look the destruction is evident—houses with no roofs, huge swaths of downed trees, piles of rubble that once furnished homes, concrete slabs where houses used to sit. Just down the road from here there is a shovel stuck six inches into the trunk of a tree. One of the tornados on April 27 was classified as an F5, meaning the winds ripped at over 261 mile per hour.
Needless to say, a lot of lives were left in shambles—a year later that is still the case for many people here. We were able to do a small part of getting some families back to living a secure and comfortable life. Ever since the storm, people have been showing up and serving here—it has been a blessing to make a tiny contribution to the massive effort. We were able to work alongside our new friends hanging drywall, installing siding, building, and cleaning up some of the mess by cutting, hauling and burning downed trees. We got a lot of work done. It was pretty inspiring to see a group of 35 high school students dedicating their spring break to a solid 40 hour volunteer work week. The Illinois crew came here to work hard, and that is exactly what happened. There were lots of cuts bruises and sweat under the hot Alabama sunshine.
The group took us in like family and I’m so grateful for their hospitality. It was such a blessing to get to know y’all and be part of your group for that short week. You won’t be forgotten and I sincerely hope that our paths cross sooner than later.
The hardest thing about living on the road has been just these situations—consistently meeting wonderful communities of people and parting ways all too soon. I’m very thankful for these brief interactions—many times, amazing and lasting relationships are built during these short encounters. However, it is hard to always be moving on, driving away, or in this case, getting left behind. I love this lifestyle and I hate to see it coming to an end, but at the same time I am excited to become part of a community that I can engage for more than a week at a time.
For the last few days April (Chad’s girlfriend) has been living the Lost Bus lifestyle. It has been a lot of fun to have her around and I think she got a good glimpse of what this lifestyle is all about. The sad part about it all is that she drove down here with the intentions of taking Chad home. He starts a job soon and this is his last bus stop. Chad just packed up and will be leaving tomorrow. It’s an unbelievably strange thing. His 29 inches of closet space is empty and it is really sinking in now that this tour is coming to an end. Derek and I will continue life on the road for while, but it’s inevitable now—this amazing chapter of life is wrapping up and the next one is beginning. It won’t ever be the same now that Chad is stepping off the bus. Whoa.
It’s been amazing and I’m thankful for it all. Feeling blessed—life is so very good. We'll be Tennessee bound in the morning.