we'll be taking the bus back

Last week I briefly mentioned that housing space has opened up at Plow Creek farm, so we're thinking of returning there soon. There's more to that part of the story. When we left the farm in July, their housing space was completely full (since our wedding we'd been staying with another couple, in their guest room). So there wasn't room for retreat work, and we didn't know when there would be. We were hoping that space would open up by the spring, when we planned to return, or we'd at least have an idea by then when there would be an opening.

We didn't have a good plan for the winter, though. I'd had thoughts of walking down to the Florida Keys, as I'd done years ago, but this time offering presentations to churches dealing with homelessness and our experiences with street churches on our walk. Not a bad idea, but quite a long shot. Churches aren't too receptive to unsolicited offers of presentations by unknown (and unaffiliated) people, I'd guess. And did we really want to start walking again, after three and a half months on the road?

As it turned out, two families decided to move from their places on the farm near the end of October, just as we were ending our walk. And now it looks like the best idea is to go back in a couple weeks. That way we can take part in the discussions about use of the newly open space, and then spend the relatively unbusy winter making preparations for the retreat work.

Oh, I don't think I mentioned how we could afford to move into a new place and pay for the early expenses of preparing guest rooms, etc. There was some money from wedding gifts and a gift from the Plow creek community, which started a church fund for the retreats. But the biggest surprise was a gift from Heather's grandparents. As missionaries they had once been given a very large legacy, more than they needed, so they decided to pass that on to their grandchildren. Heather didn't know about it. Her parents sprung it on us around the time of the wedding, and it seemed like just what we would need during the retreat preparations, before others knew about the ministry and could help. Now it allows us to go back this winter and get things started.

I guess all this is just another way of God providing a way forward, very much like we experienced on the road. I'm praying we can maintain the same spirit of complete dependence on God that I've learned through my many pilgrimage experiences. I know it will be somewhat different as our situation and needs change, but the early signs are that it may not be so different...