Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Break 2011

It's good to be home!  It's really good to have ZERO travel plans for the next month!!

Our trip to LA was a good experience.  We left at 12am on Fri the 18th, driving straight thru to Burbank, CA in about 19 hours. The roads were good going down and the drive was smooth.  Saturday, Andy and Drew helped serve at a homeless shelter in downtown LA. Saturday afternoon we went shopping at the Glendale Galleria  We spent Sunday morning at the church where they hosted a potluck lunch then drove to Hollywood.  Sunday it rained like a typhoon all day, so we bought ponchos and braved the rain while touring Hollywood.  While in Hollywood, we toured the walk of stars and saw a movie at the El Capitan theater.
Lego Store in the Galleria
In Hollywood with Shrek
El Capitan in Hollywood
Organist at El Capitan
Ready for the movie at El Capitan

Monday morning, Andy & Drew went with the group to a rescue shelter while the girls and I went to the Fashion District in LA.  What fun!  I bought about 100 yds of fabric...most of it was sold by the pound and I took home about 50 lbs.  We met back at the church then went down to Venice Beach.  The weather was much nicer - cool & breezy but blue skies.

The teens and men served at a rescue mission on Tuesday.  Wednesday, we spent 16 hours at Disneyland and California Adventure.  A fun, exhausting day!

Mama's Chocolate Cake!

Ready for the Toy Story ride!
Rain in Disneyland
Our trip home began Thursday morning.  The mountain passes were requiring chains so we took an alternate highway around the passes thanks to a tip from a fellow Jack-In-The-Box customer.  We were just getting back to our original route when the van broke down.  Dead.  In the middle of nowhere, Nevada.  Actually, the nearest town (20 miles away) was Hawthorne, NV aka John Day, NV.  It's at least an hour from the nearest town, only 3000 people in a county of 5000, high desert and a lot like the John Day area.  Not a good place to be stranded.

We were thankful to have cell service and were able to call a tow truck that could accommodate the van and trailer and 2 additional vans to shuttle all of us to town.  We called all 12 churches in the town trying to find a place to sleep but none answered.  One of the tow truck drivers helped us by calling her church & friends.  Just as the van & trailer were hitched, she got a call from her friend, Jennifer, inviting us to all stay at her house and asked "Have they had dinner yet?"  We arrived at Jennifer & AJ's house about 45 minutes later to find dinner cooking, beds made and welcoming new friends.  The next morning, after working all night, AJ took Andy & Brad to town to look for parts.  Hawthorne did not have the right parts, so he loaned Andy a car to drive to the nearest bigger town 1 hr away.  After the guys got back with the right part, AJ loaned Andy tools and helped him work on the van....after 36+ hours without sleep.  Andy was able to get the van running and we were on the road again about 1pm on Friday.  We were blessed beyond measure by this family.  It really was the highlight of the trip.  We had gone to serve others and ended up being the recipients of this kindness & hospitality.

After a stop for dinner in Winnemucca, NV, we drove all the way to John Day without stopping.  The ignition had been acting up all week and finally broke as we arrived in John Day...the van would not turn off!  They guys had to unhook the battery to turn off the van.  Another God-thing that we decided not to fuel in Burns...
Test driving the van
We were so amazed how God provided for us.  We avoided the snowy roads and ended up where a Good Samaritan family could take us in.  He kept the van running until we made it home.  God is good!

In the panic of trying to find somewhere to stay, none of the churches had emergency phone numbers on their answering machines.  Other people contacted just said no.  It's made me wonder how many times I've missed the opportunity to bless others because of inconvenience, laziness or avoidance.  Do we make ourselves available to help others?   Would I have taken in 13 strangers from another church? My gut reaction is to say no but after meeting Jennifer and AJ and being on the receiving end of hospitality, I want to say yes next time.

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