Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The end of the Rally

I promised I would tell you about our final day at the Rally in Louisville over this past weekend. It was awesome!

Saturday was the Good Sam Club Meet and Greet day. All states have representatives that volunteer and they were all set up around a huge table where folks could come and meet them and learn more about the activities within their home state, or others that they might be traveling in. I have no idea how many people were there throughout the day but it was in the thousands.

Monty and I were set up at our own table to meet and greet those who might like to know more about what we do. It was incredible! For 6 straight hours we were talking with people. Some had questions about what we do, others had thanks to give, others had volunteered someplace and wanted to share their experiences and others were interested in how they could get involved. We were overwhelmed with the thanks and hope there will be some who will be calling or emailing as soon as we head out on our next venture.

As we left at the end of the day we were mentally recharged and exhausted at the same time. It was all still rather unreal and although we aren't about the publicity it is definitely a way to get and keep the word out there that disasters aren't over with in a short time -- even if they aren't on the news anymore.

We thank all those who stopped by to see us, all those who lifted our spirits without even realizing it and all those whose smiles, handshakes and hugs melted our hearts!

Sunday morning brought us to the worship service and from there we were headed home. A mixture of emotions flooded each of us and we used the drive to sort through them. Even yesterday we were still thinking about all the amazing people we met and still wondering how we managed to win such an award and enjoy such a blessing?!

Tomorrow Monty will be conducting the funeral for his grandmother's brother. Another honor and another blessing!

Until next time . . . thanks to ALL of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For everything!!!!!!!!! Susan and Monty

Monday, July 26, 2010

Special Notice

We are home from the Rally and I will talk about that another day.

For now --- just received a phone call from Janey (for those of you who have been following us it's Janey and Logan) and Logan passed away this morning. Janey said he had not been feeling well for the past couple of weeks and this morning was his day to go and join the Lord in heaven! Please keep she and the family in your prayers. We all know that Logan had been through some terrible health problems and we thank God for allowing us to get to know and love he and Janey.

Also, while we were gone we received a call saying a member of Monty's family passed away. The family has asked Monty to officiate the funeral this Wednesday. We met with the family this afternoon to finalize some details and also ask that you keep the entire family in your prayers.

We all know our days are numbered and we should all thank God for each day we have on this earth. Although it's sad for us when a loved one passes away we are to rejoice and celebrate their life and their new life in heaven!

Until next time . . . call a family member and tell them you love them! Susan and Monty

Friday, July 23, 2010

An Amazing Honor

These past 2 days have been like a whirlwind! As you know, we are in Kentucky at the Good Sam Club annual Rally where we won the RVer of the Year award.

Yesterday we were honored to be a part of the first days activities. A tour for all those who won "best this or best that"; like Cracker Barrel being the RVers favorite sit down restaurant because everyone knows they have special parking in the rear of their places for those of us pulling campers, the Flying J truck stop for best gas, and so on. From there it was off to appetizers and then a wonderful dinner where each of those listed above received their awards.

Then it was our turn to receive our award. It was so extremely humbling! We are not nor have we ever been about awards and to receive this one, hearing them describe our work, our ministry --- it was tough to hold back the tears. The showed everyone the video we have of Ms Faye and Mike (see March of 2007 for their full story) and by the end nearly everyone else was in tears. We received a standing ovation! What an awesome God we serve!

Immediately after the dinner we were wisked away to the stadium where we were honored once again -- this time in front of who knows how many people! The spot lights blinded us while we were on stage and I think that might have been a good thing! The video of us being featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams was shown to give everyone just a taste of our ministry. Camping World took the stage as one of the major sponsors and decided to give us a nice gift certificate -- we can now replace the broken down chair and couch in our trailer! Incredible! It also meant the world to us to have Monty's parents sitting right in front for the whole thing. My parents weren't able to make it as my mother is ill -- both of us broken hearted!

Right after the honors we were all entertained by Bob Newhart! We all remembered his TVshows and seeing him in person --- especially with front row seats --- fantastic!

By the time we arrived back at our room we were exhausted mentally and emotionally but still wound for sound -- a tough set of emotions to make sense of!

This morning we were up and back at the Rally bright and early. They had a dog show that I wanted to see and we all laughed at all the categories, the dogs and their owners. Since we were unable to bring our camper we left our dogs at home and today I really missed them. I know they could have won something!? :)

After the show we grabbed lunch and headed into the room where all the vendors were set up with everything imaginable -- and some not imaginable -- needed or wanted for campers! It was alot of fun.

By the time we were finished -- and we didn't even see it all -- we had to grab a bite for dinner so we could be back for tonights entertainment ----- Tanya Tucker!! And once again -- FRONT row seats!!!

As we traveled throughout this day we were constantly stopped by folks wanting to shake our hands, give us hugs, and thank us for serving God in what we do! We were prayed for and thanked and loved on all throughout the day and into this evening. Even after the concert we had people coming up to us and going so far as to stopping us in the parking lot as we tried to leave! This is something we are not used to and admit that although it is an honor beyond description it is a bit uncomfortable. All we are doing is following the call God has placed on our lives. Our mission statement isn't very long or detailed; "help the people" --- but somehow God has managed to work through us to allow thousands to see Him at work! THAT is more than humbling!

Tomorrow we are scheduled to be at what's called "Meet and Greet" where we will be set up at a table where people can talk with us or ask questions. We do have our business cards and I did make a letter of sorts to try and describe what we actually do when we are in the field. Please pray that God will give us the words and that all we do and say will be to His glory!

People are asking how to come and help -- they are giving us their cards -- they are praying for us -- they are smiling and thanking God for the work we have been doing.

The problem?????????????? All the work has been done by YOU ---- the volunteers who have come and rolled up your sleeves and done the work! YOU have rebuilt lives by rebuilding homes and YOU should be the ones receiving this award -- the thanks -- the hugs -- the smiles and the prayers!

But I guess we'll have to do what they do elsewhere --- "we accept this award on behalf of all of YOU who weren't able to be here!"

Thank you Good Sam Club!

Until next time . . . feel better Mom! Susan and Monty

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Louisville -- Day One

We made it to Louisville for the Good Sam Club RV Rally. It's the largest rally of its kind and today was the "early bird" day. It was great to finally meet some of the folks we have been talking with only by phone. They took care of getting us the hotel room and then getting us registered. We are now "official" with name tags and a parking pass!

We didn't have much time to do anything else but we did get a quick stroll through the building housing the most amazing RVs ever -- the ones you drive! Some of them are longer than our house!

There is so much to see and tomorrow is a very busy day for us. It is the opening day and we are to be in attendance for the opening tour of the grounds. From there we have appetizers and then dinner and then the awards ceremony. They had asked if we had any videos of disaster work and we provided them with two. They will review them in the morning and we'll see what they think. The entertainment to close out the evening is comedian Bob Newhart. Both Monty's parents and my parents are making the drive down here and we are so thankful that they will share this moment of honor with us. We are humbled by this award and pray everyone here will see the blessings that come from volunteering and how we are rebuilding lives by rebuilding homes! Publicity can be a good thing to keep awareness levels high but it's something we have never sought out. This entire mission we are on is NOT about us but about the Lord and letting him work through us and all the volunteers we work with! Pray that is the end result!

We did get a phone call from Texas as we were driving. Ben, the camp manager at the Presbyterian camp is back to volunteer again! It was so good to hear from him and it made me miss seeing him and his smile!

I also talked with our UMCOR supervisors in Texas yesterday. They tell me work has resumed at Rosaland's house and she should be done very soon. Ms Joyce is done -- except for Ben taking her special prayer bench and planning on rebuilding it for her --- which will be a dream come true for her!

We thank you for your continued support and please pray that we are able to reach the multitudes while we are here -- with the blessings of God that will touch their hearts and move them to reach out and help others in their time of need!

Until next time . . . blessings to all of you! Susan and Monty

Monday, July 19, 2010


If you look really close you can see one of our hummingbirds off to the left of the feeder. They swarm this one and the one in the back, not even caring if we are sitting out next to them -- one of the things that's nice about being home. Just one!

These early days of this week are being spent preparing for the RV Rally being held in Louisville, KY this week. Since we won the RVers of the year we have some responsibilities to fulfill. It was our hope and plan to be taking our newly rebuilt camper trailer and parking in the number one spot -- but sometimes plan B has to be put into motion. This is one of those times. Monty's '95 Ford that we use to pull the trailer has major front end and engine problems and will be in the shop for quite some time. It's what happens with older vehicles and thankfully we have a team of local guys who take care of our vehicles for us. They said it was a miracle we even made it back from picking it up at Elkhart last week! God is in the business of miracles so . . . thank you Lord!

Today I spent quite a bit of time at the church office copying a newsletter of sorts. We were asked if we had a brochure of any kind and since it takes money to do such a thing we decided to create a letter with basic information describing what we do and how we are supported. Since we have absolutely no idea how many people to expect during the "meet and greet" on Saturday I made about 2500 copies. It would be nice to run out in this case! Time will tell.

Thursday night is the Awards night and we have no idea what to expect. Both our parents are making the trip and we are honored to accept this award. They plan to show a couple of videos that we have to explain disaster missions. Should be a great evening and alot of fun even if we don't consider ourselves as "campers" or RVers.

Yesterday was alot of fun for me personally -- I was honored to preach the sermon at our home church! Pastor's daughter is in labor and we are all awaiting the news that this baby has finally arrived. With him needing to focus on family it was an honor for me to deliver a message. I think everyone must have been okay with "third string" as they ran out of CDs to make copies on -- or else they just had a few CDs on hand! :)

And yes, we are still awaiting word on this baby. It's their first and they made the decision to not know ahead of time if its a boy or girl. Whichever it is -- it is taking its sweet time and mom is being a real trooper in all this! Please keep all of them in your prayers!

Until next time . . . speedy delivery Lord, speedy and safe delivery! Susan and Monty

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Plan B

As some of you might know, next week is The Rally! Good Sam Club's largest RV rally in the US and the club that will be honoring us with the "RVer of the Year" award. It's being held in Louisville, KY which is only a couple of hours from us here at home. We've known about this since last Sept and didn't know for sure if we would make it.

Since it falls in our sabbatical time we have been putting things together to leave next week. With the awesome news of the camper being repaired beyond our dreams we thought we were set to roll. Think again! Now Monty's truck, the one that pulls the trailer, has major mechanical problems! Major! We knew it was going to need some "help" but nothing like this and not at this time. So . . . plan B is in effect. We contacted the Rally reps and told them we could not make it with our trailer. They stepped up and we will now be staying in a hotel nearby and once again our dog sitter is on hold waiting to hear when she needs to come and stay at the house! Isn't God amazing! He knew all along that we needed the "rest" that will come with not hauling the trailer, not needing to keep watch over the dogs and not putting the extra stress on the trailer!

So --- we are leaving next week and are looking forward to meeting thousands of folks and making some new friends! Please keep us in your prayers for safe travel and that God will use us to reach out and spread His plan for our lives!

In the meantime days go by along with the time. Yesterday I spent the day with my mom, a real treat! I need to do it more often and hopefully will! As usual, we laughed together and cried together -- God blessed us each with the gift of doing both easily.

Monty spent the afternoon with some guy friends from church and really had a good time! He needed that as much as I needed my mom!

He also spent time getting this computer ready for me. Mine died -- really died! We have it with one of our friends who will hopefully be able to fix it but in the meantime I have "confiscated" Monty's. It's amazing how we get used to our own and changing is tough! Of course that has nothing to do with aging!! :)

I also made a hospital visit yesterday while with my mom. One of our church friends took a terrible fall a couple of days ago and managed to break both arms! Yes, both! She had surgery yesterday to rebuild her shattered right shoulder and see what they could do with the broken left one. And all she was worried about was how she could still pray for her friend at church and who would pick up the bagels for Sunday morning! Now that's a heart of service and love for others! Please keep Jeri in your prayers!

We thank you for ALL of your prayers!

Until next time . . . bless another today! Susan and Monty

PS I got an email saying Collier and Justine's house is nearing a House Blessing! Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

God's Priceless Provision

14 hours after we started this day we are still in shock. We shouldn't be -- God promised us He would take care of us when He called us into this disaster ministry. He always has, He's never gone back on that promise. So why are we in shock?

Isn't a miracle just an answered prayer?

Isn't God in the business of sometimes answering prayers above and beyond anything we could imagine?

Today He did just that -- WAY above and WAY beyond!

If you have been keeping up with us you know our camper trailer was damaged in a storm while we were in Texas. The insurance company totalled it out as they said the damage was more than 80% of the value of the trailer - and then they cancelled the insurance on it. We had a couple of estimates and realized that they were way out of our ballpark. We weren't sure what we were going to do.

And then --- don't our Moms always have the answers? Mine did! She reminded me that we are the RVers of the year and that we might want to contact them and just let them know what was happening with us. Why not? One never knows.

Long story short -- they asked us to bring it to the plant which is located nearly 4 1/2 hours from us. We did that only days after coming back here for our sabbatical. It's been there for over a month and Monday they called to say it ready today.

We headed out early this morning and when we arrived we were shocked -- in a really good way. Ever seen the show "Overhauled"? We were overhauled!

Our much used trailer now has a brand new roof, complete with rafters and every inch caulked. That includes all new vent hatches on top and a new TV antenna. The ceilings inside are all new along with lights. They took care of every little detail -- way beyond what we could have imagined. The old nasty carpeting that we had removed months ago -- now new carpet has been installed. The damaged piece of siding on the exterior has been replaced with new. The broken window latch -- which is the fire escape window -- is no longer broken. Our tires and wheels won't be subjected to blowouts anymore -- new! The exterior walls and ceiling on the slide are also new -- no more leaks to be concerned about. There might even be more but I can't remember and when we got home it was dark so I'm excited to open it up tomorrow and start moving our things back in and see what else I find.

It was so exciting to meet the men and women responsible for all the work. It brought tears to our eyes and when they smiled and hugged each of us it only brought more tears of joy!

When we are in the field we live in this trailer 24/7 -- we don't "camp." When things begin to go wrong and need repairs we do the best we can. But when the big things start happening it gets extremely tough. What this company and these people did is priceless! Until we reached home on June 4th of this year we had lived in our camper day after day after day since January 2008! And now when we start out on the next adventure God has for us we will be able to go worry free when it comes to living!

I just can't find the words to express how I feel. When we go in and rebuild folks homes they try and thank us and can't find the words and now I know how they feel.

God is such an awesome God and we are so thankful to Him for His constant provision! Just when I think I've seen so many miracles He steps in and reminds me that He is all powerful and with Him nothing is impossible.

To those of you who have kept us and this trailer problem in your prayers -- we deeply appreciate each and every prayer and please know that God heard each one and acted on each one -- in a huge way!

What an awesome God we serve! How blessed we are to serve Him!

Until next time . . . may God bless those who made this possible! Susan and Monty

Monday, July 12, 2010

She's my youngest?

Tomorrow she turns 28 -- the age I was when she was born -- and she's my youngest! My how time flies -- but -- Happy Birthday Lindsay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Speaking of time -- these past days have been a bit difficult for me -- age isn't helping either.

If you are avid readers of our blog you remember a few months ago when I took a rather nasty fall from our camper trailer -- when preparing to walk my dogs they took a hard right out of the trailer door without telling me and I managed to fall down all the steps -- sideways -- turning a complete flip. And now . . . time has not helped me heal -- nor have my construction "habits." I saw the xrays of my neck and upper back this morning and it isn't pretty but it's not anything that weeks and weeks of chiropractic adjustments won't take care of. I guess that explains the excruciating headaches, feeling off balance, having blurred vision and some rather nasty pain. Thank the Lord for a wonderful chiropractor just around the corner! As they say, "time heals all" and thankfully we are home for some "time."

Yesterday was a treat for us as our neighbor, Shelley, went to church with us. We felt bad for not asking her sooner but it was all in God's timing. Hopefully she will be off work and able to go with us more often.

We are still keeping in touch with our friend, Jeremy, who is undergoing treatments for his brain cancer. Next time they are down here from Indianapolis we can hopefully get together and meet his wife and 2 children.

Wednesday we will be heading back to the Elkhart area to pick up our camper trailer. If you remember we had to have the entire roof replaced due to some storm damage while we were in Texas. It's been up there for nearly a month and we are excited to see the finished product. The thought of no more leaks is a good thought!

Each day of being home to get caught up on things around the house, see friends and family and squeeze in some rest is such a blessing! We thank those of you who continue to help us financially. In these tough times with our economy we realize it might not be easy to continue helping us but without you . . . I don't want to think about that! Thank you so very much!

Until next time . . . be blessed and be a blessing. Susan and Monty

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A meeting awaits

Referring to my last blog entry -- we've been in touch with Jeremy through email and are making plans to get together. He, his wife and their 2 children will be moving to Indianapolis to stay in a condo (donated for their stay) and will be making the hour long trip back and forth for his treatments here. We will be getting together as soon as their time allows and we look forward to that meeting. Somehow I think God is getting ready to expand our family once again.

Once again -- be sure and listen closely the next time God nudges you to do something that you wonder why in the world He is asking you to do that! He is definitely nudging you into a new found blessing.

Until next time . . . help a stranger, gain a friend. Susan and Monty

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

No Strangers

Yesterday Monty and I were headed to Columbus to spend the day with my family at a lot my brother and sister in law just purchased. It was going to be a relaxing day just sitting outside visiting with each other and enjoying some good food.

God stepped in very early in the day!

Normally I have been cooking since we've been home -- breakfast being alot of fun. Yesterday we decided to stop by Bob Evans for a treat. Nothing really special, just someone else cooking for a change.

God and His Almighty plans -- and Monty with his amazing obedience!

As we were sitting at our table we noticed 3 young men at the table next to us. We couldn't help overhearing bits and pieces of their conversation -- all mixed with thoughts of God and the Holy Spirit. Monty was sitting closest to them and now I realize he probably didn't hear one word I was saying as he had a discerning ear leaned over to those young men. He was listening to the urging of our Father.

At the end of our meal he just abruptly got up and took the one remaining seat at the table with the young men. He introduced himself and for the next nearly 10 minutes they were totally captivated by his words to them. It was amazing to watch -- it brought tears to my eyes and I didn't even know what they were saying!

At the end of their conversation he made sure they each had one of our business cards. He then said he wanted to pray for them. Four grown men sitting in the middle of Bob Evans, hands clasped together, heads bowed and prayer going up to an amazing Lord. I watched the heads of others turn and also bow -- and they couldn't hear any of the words either but the words didn't matter.

We left the restaurant and were in the truck driving out of the parking lot when the 3 young men approached Monty's side of the truck, smiling from ear to ear, saying they wanted to deeply thank him for taking the time to come and talk with them and how much they appreciated it. They all talked for a few more minutes when they asked if they could pray for him! And pray they did! Somehow God had tuned them in to exactly what to pray for -- and they didn't even know Monty! It was so powerful that I wondered if he could concentrate on the road enough to drive!

I once again found myself in awe -- at how well Monty listens to that still small voice of God when He tells him to go and talk with folks he's never met and who he knows nothing about! I also smiled inside as I realized just how that obedience had filled Monty with emotions that I hadn't seen in awhile -- I think the God ordered rest is helping!

And then came today when I finally got around to checking email! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One of the young men had emailed a thank you for yesterday. He explained that he was in the army and stationed in New York. The reason he and his friends were here in Bloomington, Indiana? He has been diagnosed with brain cancer and is here for special treatments!!!!!!!!!!!!

My jaw dropped to the table, my heart both sank and smiled!

"What if" Monty had not followed that tug from the Lord and not spoken to them?
"What if" Monty had not prayed with them?
"What if" whatever he said to them he had not said?

The Bible is very plain and very adament about telling us to reach out to others, to do what we can whenever we can, wherever we can.

Are there strangers in this world? No! Just folks we haven't met yet!

This was NOT a "chance" meeting! This was NOT a "coincidence"!
This was GOD!
We will most definitely be keeping in touch with this young man!

I now know why God told us to be home at this time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have you reached out to a "stranger" lately? Doing so just might change both your lives!!!!!!!!!
Until next time . . . I thank God for the husband I am blessed with! Susan and Monty

Friday, July 02, 2010

1 month already?

Yep -- this is resting!??
Monty worked on mowers and got them both working -- one of our neighbors donated a new blade and after he did some major repairs on the old back up mower and got it working he decided to "test it" by mowing the back yard today! The neighbors had to take a seat as mowing is something he does NOT enjoy and something I do! And when he even got the weed eater out and not only did ours and 2 neighbors but took to the weeds in the street cracks we all began to worry! :)
I have spent the past week sanding our decks -- using a belt sander to get through the peeling layer after layer of paint! This is the task I wanted to take on and thanks to some perfect weather it's actually been fun for me. The back one is done and the front only needs the floor done and they will both be ready for primer and paint!
We've been busy but we've been having fun getting things running and looking like someone actually lives here.
Last night we got to see the grandkids again when our daughter called for a decorating opinion which she and Monty were in total agreement on! The rug had to go! We all had a laugh over it and the kids are always fun to spend time with.
This evening we are headed to some friends who called with a major mold problem in their basement. Since she is pregnant this is a priority so off we go to assess the situation and see what needs to be done.
What we can't believe is that one month ago tomorrow we left Texas! The time has flown by and before we know it our 3 months will be up and off we will go -- where? Just listen to the hurricane forecast and watch what happens and you will know when we know.
In the meantime -- we've got a bit more work to do and a bit more visiting with family, friends and neighbors.
Until next time . . . have you helped your neighbor with anything lately? Susan and Monty