Very funny Texas, verrrry funny. This blog series is called “Give me some sunshine”, not, “Let’s pretend Texas is Antarctica!”
This is part 3 of this blog series, documenting our southern winter travels. We are a semi-nomadic family of seven, traveling for ministry. We make this southern trek every year in our 36 foot RV to avoid the Indiana winters.
In part 2 of this series, we were leaving Louisiana and making our way to Texas. I will continue from that point.
We arrived in Dayton, Texas (near the Houston area) on Thursday, February 4th. We were very excited to return to Old River Assembly of God where we would be having revival services starting on Sunday. We dropped off the RV at the church (where they have some great rv hookups) and made our way into Houston to run some errands/do some shopping.
We have been collecting supplies along the way for a necessary bathroom update. It is sometimes tricky to find just the right things for a bathroom that small. We had picked up a nice countertop back in Alabama but we were unable to find a tiny sink that would work. I saw this cute little sink on IKEA’s website so we decided an IKEA trip was in order.
IKEA is one of my favorite places, not just a favorite store, a favorite place to be. I’ve always loved magazines and as a kid I remember skipping to the end of my mom’s “Country Living” Magazine to look at the house floor plans and decide which one I loved the most, imagining how my future life would work in that house. IKEA is totally like walking through a magazine, and the little house setups feed my love of floorplans and furniture placement.
Our trip to IKEA was fun, we had swedish meatballs for dinner, strolled through the store, and in the end found a tiny sink(in the clearance section for $27.00!)
On Friday we did our regular school work, ordered some delicious pizza from Simple Simon’s (soo good), and watched a family movie in the RV.
On Saturday we did some much needed cleaning in the RV, gave the dog a bath, and spent some time outdoors on the church property playing basketball and exercising a bit.
The reason we came back to Dayton Texas was revival. We ministered here last year and felt a real connection with the pastor and the people of this church. They invited us to return, but this time for extended services – revival. It is in our hearts to see God’s people revived in their love for Him, to see people delivered from oppression, to see hearts won for the Lord, and to be a part of the beauty that happens when God meets people reaching out to Him. From Sunday, February 7th to Wednesday, February 10th we had revival services at Old River Assembly of God. It was awesome.
Familiar Friendly Faces
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” -Miriam Adeney
Sometimes traveling is lonely, but other times, it’s wonderful. I am not naturally outgoing, and traveling has forced me even further out of my comfort zone to get to know people from all over, and it is truly a rich and rewarding experience.
One of the best parts of returning to a place is the friends that you make over time. The people of Old River are friendly and welcoming. It is really such a gift to our family to have friends not just for the grown ups, but for my kids too, that they can visit and just hang out with peers. The people here showered us with love and fed us well too.
On the Road Again
After our great week in Dayton, we head out and make our way to the small town of Cayuga, Texas. We knew a winter storm was coming, but we thought, “We’re northerners, no big deal”. Perhaps we were overconfident. So, instead of stocking up on extra milk and bread like you are supposed to in the event of unprecidented winter weather, we made a stop at the iconic “Bucee’s” gas station to fill up the RV with gas and ourselves with junk food.
“Bucee’s” is a Texas thing, totally fitting that stereotype that everything is bigger in Texas. It is a huge gas station, about the size of a regular grocery store, complete with a bakery, deli, and fresh barbeque (How good can barbeque be from a gas station you might ask, pretty good as it turns out).
We left there and made our way up Hwy 45, where we were surprised to see a giant (77 feet tall!) Sam Houston and snow covering the trees and green grass along the highway.
Where is Cayuga Texas? It is on the eastern side of the state, about an hour south of Tyler, Texas, or an hour and a half from Dallas. This is our third year to return to this tiny town, and we arrived this time just in time for their Valentine’s Banquet on Saturday. They had invited us to join their family-friendly event when they found out we would be in the area for a service in nearby Toole, Texas. We had a nice time visiting with old friends and making some new ones. Mostly the talk was of the winter storm set to hit just about all of the huge state of Texas.
The church service here in Cayuga, and the one in Toole, where we were scheduled to be, were both cancelled. We knew ice and snow were coming, but we weren’t too concerned, just preparing ourselves to be cold.
Sunday, on Valentine’s Day, Matt preached at Cayuga for a live-stream service. Matt was already scheduled to speak the following Sunday, but since we were already here, parked right next to the church, the pastor asked Matt to speak. It was a laid-back Valentine’s Day, and we all enjoyed the chocolates that Matt bought for us.
Texas Ice/Snowpocalypse 2021
And then it got cold. Like, really cold. It started with ice. Ice covered everything. The windows started icing over on the inside. Honestly, this has happened before in Indiana, but this is Texas!
We lost power at 2am. I figured it was because of the ice. Then we heard that it was some sort of rolling power outage thing to conserve energy and that it should come back on in an hour or two. The RV isn’t insulated like a house, and so it gets cold really fast without our electric space heaters going, we have a propane furnace, but we would run out of propane if we blast it on too high for too long.
So, Matt braved the cold, plugged in the RV to our onboard generator and put a heater down in the underneath bay by the water hookups to keep our lines from freezing. We also set an alarm for every half hour to turn on the water faucets (we can’t leave them dripping because it would burn up the water pump).
Monday was cold, but the ice was pretty and we were thankful for the generator. By Tuesday we had gotten quite a bit of snow. Matt took the older kids and decided to brave the elements and make a trip into Athens Texas to try to fill up the spare propane tanks and make a Walmart run. He said that he has never seen road conditions like that. It made us extra thankful for the snowplows and salt trucks in Indiana. They weren’t able to find any propane and by that evening our generator was running low on gas(it shuts off automatically at 1/4 of a tank).
We decided to turn off the generator after dinner and bundle up and turn the furnace down lower to conserve propane. Because apparently that whole “rolling power outage” thing was not what we were experiencing. We camped out in the back with the kids – we have 5 bunks in the back of our RV, and just enough floor space for two adults and one dog.
It ended up being a snuggly adventure of sorts, without the tv to entertain us, we turned to books. I started reading a biography of Billy Sunday as we all were tucked in for bed, we all learned things we didn’t know about this evangelist from years ago, and my youngest especially enjoyed the story time.
The power came back on for about a day, and then off again for another day in the midst of this crazy week. We did school work when we had power, enjoyed feeding the local birdies, and mostly sat around wrapped in blankets. By Friday Matt was able to get some propane and some extra gasoline. It was a cold week for us, but much worse for many Texans, I am thankful we made it through without any damage to the RV.
Here Comes the Sun
The sun came out and it has been glorious! We went from 4 degrees to 80 degrees in about a week’s time, and I’m so happy for sunshine!
More Revival? Yes, Please
After all this craziness with weather, we were able to hold revival services at New Beginning Assembly of God here in Cayuga Texas as planned. The impact of the weather, and covid did affect the amount of people that came. But it was a great time for those of us who were there, and we are grateful for the time spent this past week with Pastor Thom Taylor, his wife Wilma and the sweet friends at this church. They really welcomed us like family and we love ministering to them.
Thank you for reading along with this blog series, all about our southern adventures, I hope you are all enjoying your own adventures!
If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministy.org