So, I promised to write about our journey to Elkhorn, but in thinking more about it the journey has been longer than just a few months. When Paul and I got married 7 years ago (or 86 months ago) if you would have asked me if I thought I would ever be a Pastor's wife or living back in the Midwest...I would have answered no to both questions. I thought when we moved to PA that was the last time I would be living "close" to our parents. And since Paul always told me he didn't want to be a pastor I had no trouble saying no to that question. If you would have also asked me how many kids I would have by now (or on the way) I don't think I would have told you 3 kids with one on the way. I am so thankful that God's plans are not always revealed to us right away! :-) I am so blessed to have a wonderful, loving, Godly husband and three wonderful kids (with another wonderful one on the way)! It is so neat to look back on the last 7 years and see how God has been preparing us for the next step each time. And He was even preparing us for this step starting back then. When we moved to NM we had a goal in mind....to pay down debt so we could go to the mission field and not have the debt holding us back. Our goal was to pay off everything except a car payment and my 2 student loans since we knew that it would be a long time before getting all those paid off. After 4 years in NM we were able to pay down all the debt except a car loan and the 2 student loans! This was also with adding 2 more kids! Then God called us to move to WI where we are now able to do more because of the debt we paid off! We are not on a foreign mission field (although maybe foreign to some) but we are on a mission field in Elkhorn, WI! We are also where God wants us to be. The last couple years have been very interesting. I tell people that I knew before Paul that he was going to be a pastor, but I really think that is true (whether or not I really believed it). No, I didn't have a dream or vision, but I just saw the way God was working in his life and just thought one day he is going to "give in" and become a Pastor. Just within the last year really is when he started realizing where God was leading him. I talked in my last post about how the call to Elkhorn all worked out so I won't go into that again. But, we can definitely see that it was all in God's plan and timing!
Now, for the story of the actual journey here.....
Of course, I was pregnant and still taking care of 3 little ones and then trying to pack up a house. It was slow, but finally all came together. Paul was there to help also since he didn't have a job. When we got back from vacation we had a month before we would be moving. We obviously couldn't do too much at first so it got pushed off to closer to the moving day. We lined up a truck though with Budget a few weeks before the move. The week of the move our neighbor's brother died so the Thursday night before packing the truck on Saturday we were at the funeral and then Friday spent a couple hours talking with our neighbor. It was hard because we wanted her to know we cared, but we still had A LOT to get done. Friday night Michael and Grace went to their first sleep over at a friend's house. Then Saturday Michael stayed at the friend's house and Grace came home to go with Lydia to another friend's house. We had a lot of good help in loading the truck. Oh wait....I have to back up a day. On Friday we were supposed to pick up the truck at Budget around 10. We get a call from them at 9 telling us they don't have a truck for us. They are trying to find one within a short distance, but they'll let us know. So, after a couple hours Paul finally calls them back to find out they have a truck somewhere, but they don't have a way to get it to us. So, we had to call up U-Haul and go with a truck with them. It was a foot bigger (which actually worked out better) but was $100 more. Oh well, we had to get a truck. So, back to Saturday. We get the truck loaded up, but we can't load the van till Sunday afternoon or night because we still have to have a way to get to church. We are looking around after getting the truck loaded and realize we are going to have to leave some stuff behind....there's not going to be room in the van even with just me and Lydia in it! So, Sunday afternoon the van gets loaded and then Sunday night we finished with a few more things. Yep we had to leave things behind....but things can be replaced. :-) Monday morning at 4 am we pulled away from our house in NM. Paul drove the moving truck with Michael and Grace. Lydia, Ruby and I were in the van. We met Paul's parents at lunch time in Amarillo, Texas. Then the kids moved around at different times to different vehicles and Carole drove for a while so I could rest. It was such a blessing to have them along! We were planning to stop in Oklahoma City for the night and already had hotel rooms booked. A little over an hour outside of Oklahoma City Paul calls me to ask if the tires look ok (we were right behind him). I said the back ones look fine. He thought he heard a noise from back there and thought maybe he lost one. We started to pull up to check the front ones, but he said he didn't think it was a front tire. Not even 5 minutes later we were pulling over because one of his front tires had blown. Thankfully, he pulled the truck over with no problem. He called U-Haul and found out it was going to be quite a while to wait for help and then also realized the other front tire needed to be replaced. We decided that the side of the interstate was no place for the kids so Paul's parents, the kids and I all went ahead to Oklahoma City to get supper and go to the hotel. Paul made it to the hotel about a 1/2 hour after we did. Everything worked out fine, but the guy that replaced the tires thought he should have the truck checked the next morning at the maintenance place for U-Haul which was located in OK City. So, the next morning Paul and his dad take the truck over to get it checked out. They did some work and sent us on our way. It was about 10 am (or maybe later, I forget now) when we left. We were hoping to get out by 8. We got to my parents' house about 10 pm that night. We missed out on the 25 lb turkey my mom made! :-( Well, I guess we didn't really....Paul had a sandwich that night and they brought some to us that weekend! :-) Anyway, we got the kids to bed and were all getting settled in for the night. My dad had let Ruby out, but he couldn't get her to come back (which was unusual). He thought maybe she went to visit the dogs down the road. So, Paul and I went out trying to get her back in. She finally came back but ran to the other door so my dad let her in. When she came downstairs I smelled her immediately and realized she had been sprayed by a skunk!! I had always heard that a tomato juice bath would take the smell away. I looked, but mom only had tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Well, Paul tried the tomato sauce and to our surprise IT WORKED!! Unfortunately, I could still smell it in the house. The next morning we ate breakfast at the Ramsey Cafe and then headed to WI. We got to WI to the house about 3 pm. We pull in to a lot of cars and think the people are there to help unload. We quickly realize they are not here to unload, but they are here trying to finish up some of the work! We are so grateful for the work that was done on the parsonage!! It is beautiful!! We waited a little while and then decided to unload the truck and van and put stuff in the basement and the kitchen/dining room area. The church ladies had then prepared sandwiches at the church for supper for everyone that night. The next day my parents came up and helped us start going through boxes and getting things organized. It is so great having our parents so close!!! My parents spent a couple days here helping us and spending time with the kids. Then that Sunday was Paul's first Sunday in the pulpit at Emmanuel Baptist Church!
We have had such an awesome beginning here! We are enjoying getting to know the people in the church. And today I found a midwife!! I have to drive 1 1/2 hours for my appointments, but she has agreed that if I drive for the next two visits then she will come here for the rest! She is such a nice lady and I can't wait to get to know her even more!
Again, this post is really long so I will have to do another update later on what's been going on with the church. I hope this has all made sense since it was about 10:30 when I started writing it.