It’s Cold, Give Me Some Sunshine, part 2

Backstory stuff: We are a semi-nomadic family of seven, traveling for ministry in our 36 foot RV. We are in the Midwest for most of the year, but we do make a trip down south, (snowbird style) to avoid Indiana’s cold, not-so-rv-friendly winter. This has become a pattern for us, beginning in January of 2017.

In part 1 of this series, we ended in Clanton, Alabama. This spot has become familiar to us, and we truly cherish the friends we’ve made here, and the churches where we minister. From Clanton Alabama we headed even further south, longing for sunshine, sand, and the beautiful gulf shores of Alabama. We only had a couple days to spare, as we were to be in Mississippi on Sunday for service.

Gulf Shores Alabama

Upon our Gulf Shores arrival, we checked into our campsite at Gulf Breeze RV Resort (I would recommend this RV park, it was not too pricey, had an outdoor and an indoor pool, full hookups, and laundry facilities). It was a rainy Tuesday evening, and we decided it would be a good time to take advantage of the rather large Tanger Outlet Mall, several of the kids had grown out of their shoes, and I am always looking for an excuse to shop. We ate dinner at the Shrimp Basket, where an adorable baby at the table next to us became our new best friend.

It was just one day, only a few hours really, but it was 70 and sunny and wonderful. I could live on the beach, just set up a tent on the sand, and I would be happy. We walked along the beach, with the distant pier as our goal, it ended up being about 4-5 miles and we felt it the next day!

Matt took the kids swimming at the indoor pool while I cooked dinner back at the RV. After dinner, Matt and I took advantage of the laundry facilities while the kids hung out and got cleaned up from our day at the beach. The long-term campers at this RV resort were very friendly, one older gentleman came in while we were doing laundry, he saw our Indiana license plate and told us that he was also from Indiana. We were able to pray with him before leaving, it was a special moment.

A quick stop in Mobile

These pictures of the sunsets along Mobile Bay are along one of my favorite scenic drives. Sometimes people ask us if we have a favorite state, and I have to admit that Alaska was probably the most spectacular. Really though, I feel like I have favorite spots, or certain moments that I will never forget. So, this is one of my favorite spots – Mobile Bay.

Mobile, Alabama, or more specifically Tillman’s Corner; I will forever be grateful for this place. This was our first “snowbird” location back in 2017. A pastor here graciously welcomed us to his church here as well as gave us a place to stay at his RV park. In those early days of traveling ministry, it was difficult. But the people of Tillman’s Corner became like a second family to us. Although we didn’t spend the same amount of time here this winter, we were able to stop in and visit some friends, and I wish I would have gotten more pictures of the days with our friends.

Ministry in Mississippi

From Mobile, we drove to Crystal Springs, Mississippi for ministry at First Assembly of God. The pastor and his wife were super friendly and welcoming. They fed us well, we all watched hilarious Tim Hawkins videos, they had a little girl Sophia’s age and they became great little buddies, and we just had a great time together. Sunday service was super amazing, I look forward to going back in the future.

Happy Birthday Mr. Caleb!

A typical question for our kids is “Where will we be for my birthday?” Their first choice is to spend the day with friends or family, but if we are traveling far away from family and friends we spend the day doing something special in a new place. So, we looked at the map to discover what was in between Crystal Springs Mississippi and Dayton Texas(our next ministry destination). Lafayette, Louisiana. We have driven through it but haven’t really spent much time here. We decided on this spot because of the abundance of tasty restaurant options.

So, we stayed at Cajun Palms RV Resort. If only it had been about 20 degress warmer, then we would have taken full advantage of the spectacular water park at this RV resort! We did use the nice weight room, play ground, and laundry facilities.

While looking at things to do in the area, we discovered that there were several swamp tour companies in Lafayette. We went with Champagne’s Swamp Tours. We decided that we would not risk ruining the tour with the members of our family that are prone to motion-sickness, and so I made my own “driving tour” around the lake while Matt went with the birthday boy and two of his lovely sisters.

It was a fun time, a beautiful sunny day, and the swamp exceeded our expectations. We walked a short distance down the levee trail before we turned around because we were feeling afraid. We did spot two smallish alligators while walking the trail, just off the shore. They spotted larger alligators during the boat ride (the tour guide told them that no alligators have jumped in their boat yet, but that they could – yikes)

Did I mention the swamp was more beautiful than we expected? It was. Jessica took this amazing shot while on the boat tour. The other two pictures were from the shore, it was just a really neat environment.

Photo Credit: Jessica Eckart

To be continued…

We left Lafayette, Louisiana, and made our way to Texas, noticing, sadly, the hurricane damage in Lake Charles Louisiana along the way. I will pick up from here next time, telling you all about our adventures in Texas.

Thank you for reading all about our snow bird adventures! I hope you all are enjoying your own adventures!

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org

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