We were due for a re-acquaintence with Highway 122. We loaded up our sweet ride and we hit the open road. The bright morning sunshine gave way to a thick misty fog that hung over the pavement.
I pointed the vehicle north and became one with the highway... man, metal, and asphalt blending into a beautiful road grit symphony.
Alison Krauss & Union Station played from the CD player as the kids fussed and Sterling sucked her thumb. We were on the first leg of a three church Sunday.
I floated along the familiar curves and bends that I know as well as I know my name. Our family and all of our dysfunction rounded a ridge and we looked into the face of Bambi.
Bambi was a bit more started than I was, but not as started as Kellie. As Kellie grabbed the Oh Crap Bar above her head, Bambi ran from the left, to the right, back to the left, turned and faced us, and then began to run straight down the middle of the highway away from us.
Our tight jawed faces surrendered to laughter as I began toot-toot-tooting the horn to quicken his pace. Bambi survived our encounter and we all seemed a bit more awake.
About 5 minutes down the road I drove into a bird. THUMP!
Two small birds... sitting in the middle of the road, seeming to be at some sort of game of nerve. One flew left, the other flew into the bumper of the Shepmobile. I'd say the winner is the breather.
Our safari was made complete with the sighting of not one, but two large hawks, a fast running squirrel, and what was either a piece of tire or a dead black snake. I'm pretty sure I saw the splatter of the squished out insides, and so I'm calling it a snake.
A mandatory country detour and nearly two hours later we pulled up to our destination, The First Church of God in Ansonia, Ohio.
What an incredible morning! They are sending 4 people to serve with us next week and they had the mission table set up and donations were being collected! We joined them for introductions and Q&A, and then jumped into the service. It was VBS celebration Sunday!
Sterling fit in well... the theme was Weird Animals. She seemed most content in the center of the stage. She had to wait her turn until after the multitude of kids completed their songs! The students knew their daily Bible verses and sang all the songs from the week. It was beautiful moment that ended with our family up front and prayer.
The best part about joining churches on Sunday is that church people like to eat! We dove in to foods that we just can't find in Guatemala: fresh sliced turkey breast, smoked ham, swiss cheese, honest to God homemade salads, mac 'n cheese, and little old lady made desserts! Heaven.
We made many new friends, and soon will welcome them at the airport in Guatemala. We look forward to an incredible week! Soon it was time to pack up.
A beautiful day, a beautiful drive, a beautiful church, and a beautiful lady at my side. This was a good day.
And so back down 122 we rode, with no more animal encounters and me the sole conscious human. I smiled as I dropped into cruising speed, avoided cops, and we made our way to the next two churches: Poasttown Church of God that blessed us with a donation, prayer, and even let me preach (brave souls) and then on to Breiel Boulevard where I peeked into their production of Weird Animals.
I ended the night kidnapped by my uncle and zooming back down some of those same country roads in his bright yellow Boxter, hands in the air...
...thinking that we'll be on a plane heading back to the mountains of Guatemala...
On the road again
Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again
And I can't wait to get on the road again
On the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends...
(Thanks Mr. Willie Nelson. BTW, you look really different now. It kind of freaks me out.)