Unless you have been in a coma you are aware of a certain angry young woman named Sandy. She and I almost met personally since I was in Connecticut and Rhode Island when she decided to visit. However, I’m no fool. I’m from Louisiana. I KNOW when it’s time to leave! So…I packed my bags, loaded my car and headed home three days early.
Sandy, no matter how scary she was, was only a small part of this trip. There were people I met along the way; places I discovered; kindnesses shown; experiences had and beauty each step of the way. I told you all in my last blog entry that I had found places to stay along the way and while I was in Connecticut. These places were an important part of this journey.
My first stop was in Benton, TN at Camp Agape. This place is surrounded by beauty…mountains, a lake, trees. Erick Swallows is the camp director and I appreciate him so much! He put two cots in a spare room in the welcome center just for me. I had everything I needed and was pleased that I had made a new friend and contact as well.
I arrived at Camp Shenandoah Springs in Madison, VA right before sunset. To get to this facility you take a small dirt/gravel road that seems like no more than an old trail. Then you get to the gate and realize that you have arrived.
The owners and directors of this Christian campground are a wonderful couple named Doug and Anne Farmer. I enjoyed their company and their facility. They offered me an apartment above the office.
It was perfect! A bunch of stairs but perfect none the less. 🙂
The next morning I set out to see some of the sights. Anne had told me about an Apple Harvest Festival right down the road so off I went.
Virginia is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been..especially the Shenandoah Valley. Of course I took a drive to see as much as I could.
I happened upon a road that caught my attention. It was a smooth drive on nice black top…at first. As soon as the black top ended I saw a sign that proclaimed that the county did not maintain this portion of the road. It didn’t look too bad so I kept going. As I drove further and further up the mountain the road got rougher and rougher. I was having so much fun taking pictures and I ran into someone who told me my car could handle what was ahead. He lied. This so-called “road” couldn’t have been much more than a pig trail. It was beautiful…
…but the ride became…challenging. The road got rougher and steeper. Then it started to have mud holes…some that covered the entire road. The further I went, the worse it got. Conestoga wagons drove faster than I did on that road. I rarely reached 5 mph. Why did I continue you ask? Because I’m obviously not the brightest bulb in the box.
I can’t tell you how many deals I made with God on that road. My one consolation was that I wasn’t going to have to go back the same way I came in. The guy I ran into told me it kept going until it got back to black top in the Shenandoah National Park. He lied…again. I reached the end only to find that the road into the park was barred. So…I turned around and went back the way I came. Later, that same year, I was back on black top and thanking God that my car still ran.
The next morning I headed out once again on the final leg of my journey…and by the middle of the day I would have gladly driven on that pig trail again. You see, I’m used to driving in the midwest, the southwest and out west where the roads are traffic free and the spaces are wide open. I wasn’t in Kansas anymore! Take a look at the comparison.
Awful…and expensive. I took the toll roads because they were supposedly quicker. I found out later that the route I took using these toll roads only saved me 15 minutes and they cost me nearly $50! To add insult to injury my GPS said to take the next exit to the left and when I did I ended up in the Bronx. I was not impressed and the deal making with God started anew.
I arrived in Connecticut at dusk. The house I was staying in is owned by a church in Connecticut and is located on the Willimantic Camp Meeting Association property in Willimantic, CT. It was a blessing!
It was way more than I needed but so nice to have. 3 bedrooms, a screen porch where I had breakfast in the mornings, a washer and dryer, fully stocked kitchen…it had it all.
I spent the next several days meeting with different people about the possibility of reaching out to the Native Americans there. To read about that you can go to the page marked “New England” on this blog. I also had the opportunity to give a presentation to a group at the campground where I was staying.
Besides the meetings and contacts I was making I also went to Rhode Island to visit with old family friends, Ronny and Sug Grant, and that was such a pleasure. I did a little exploring while in Connecticut as well. You know how much I love cemeteries and you can’t drive 10 feet without coming across another one while in New England. And they are ALL old!
I got a chance to drive to Mystic, CT. Mystic is a town that revolves around its seaport and was featured in the movie, “Mystic Pizza” starring Julia Roberts. And yes, I had a slice and it was pretty good. 🙂
The colors were fading but the ground was covered with leaves…
The architecture in New England is beautiful and very…well..very New England.
I got the chance to go to Kent Falls State Park, a little piece of land in CT with a beautiful waterfall…
I also got a chance to go into historic Litchfield, CT. It was a beautiful day. The wind was blowing and the sun was shining. Here is an old church in Litchfield…a Congregational Church….very popular in New England.
Decorations were as plentiful as leaves. They ranged from beautiful…
Everyone I met was especially kind and welcoming, which kind of squashes the theory that New Englander’s are unfriendly! And…while I was the one with the accent to them, I could have listened to them all day. One gentleman sounded like every Mark Whalberg movie I had ever seen.
New England is quaint, historic (for America), beautiful, crowded and small. No matter where I was, it didn’t take long to get anywhere else…even other states! But even with that fact, I did alot of driving and I must admit, I’m a bit tired of it and I’m glad to be home. I’ve put almost 20,000 miles on my car just since April! But there is one thing I know for sure. God’s Holy Spirit is in New England. I experienced Him in His people and I am a better person for having gone there.
The next few months are going to be dedicated to speaking in churches, raising funds for next Spring, Summer and Fall and working on schedules, programs and groups for the different areas I am going to be serving in. I am also headed back to the Lac du Flambeau Reservation in Wisconsin the week after Christmas. We’ll be bringing shoebox ministry gifts to the children there at an “After Christmas Party” at the Lac du Flambeau Bible Baptist Church.
I appreciate all of your prayers and contributions. God is so faithful through each one of you and I couldn’t do any of this without you! I hope I’ll get the chance to visit with you while I am home for the winter. God bless you all!