The Wayfaring Family

Social media is a basic necessity for us in our travels. It is a lifeline for staying connected with our hosts, venues, fellow travelers, and friends. We use WordPress as a journal/newsletter about our travels, bus life, healthcare, homeschooling, spiritual insights and the inner workings of our family life. We use Facebook to communicate about our music. We also have a private group there that we can share our most intimate prayer needs and requests. We have an Instagram that we share daily pictures of our adventures, and a Twitter that we use in tandem with them all. We have found our Instagram and Twitter great places to connect with fellow travelers, homeschoolers, food science, & social justice minded kinfolk. The Wayfaring Family is no exception. I met Anne via Twitter and with in our first few interactions we were plotting out a visit.

The Wayfaring Family’s profile reads, “Encouraging family travel, Just returned from a Round The World trip. If we can do it so can you!”

They¬†are The Helmer’s, a typical American family of four. They are small business owners, hyper scheduled, over involved in sports and school activities. And they have a four pound dog and two cats to care for. How could they possibly up and leave? They dared to dream.¬†Things all worked out and everything was there when they got back.

Their adventures are detailed on our their blog but a quick run down is they drove across the USA, Rafted the Colorado River, sold our their car in LA. Flew to Guatemala. Lived in Antigua for a glorious Month. Flew toPeru. Visited the Amazon for two weeks, Machu Picchu and Lima. Flew to Fiji. Then Three weeks in New Zealand. Six Weeks in Australia. Bali for Christmas. Kuala Lumpur, Borneo for several weeks. Singapore, then Thailand and then on to Africa. Dubai then Spain. Six weeks in Italy, then Austria, Germany, Holland, France and England.

You can read their full story:
http://www.andtheyreoffblog.com

IMG_9531We were super excited to meet them and this past Tuesday pulled into their Lexington driveway for a one night stay. We were greeted by Anne, her 12 yr old son Lee, Random and Mia, the cats and their nine pound living legend, Buddy the dog.

Anne offered a cold glass of water which was graciously accepted and we hit the ground running. There is an instant kinship that happens when we meet fellow travelers, specially families who have live outside the norm for any period of time. The two boys immediately hit it off and within the hour announced that they were brothers. We talked about they dynamics of raising children on the road, moments of struggle but mostly the victories we saw when our children’s eyes open and minds expand. We talked about logistics because everyone does it differently and there is so much to¬†learn from our fellow travelers.

Later, Anne’s husband, David and their 16 yr old daughter Laney arrived and jumped right into conversation. David shared about his job as a lawyer and desire for a change. The travel was just the catalyst for that change and as soon as they arrived home he got busy with a few start-ups, including a mediation business. He really lit up when sharing his desire to use his talents and experience volunteering with a justice project that focuses on mediation within his city, helping to bridge the gap that comes when a neighborhood that was once deemed less desirable becomes the target of capitalism. It was encouraging to hear how travel had inspired them all, infusing them with purpose and a compassion for humanity.

Later that evening, the Helmer’s hosted a gathering, inviting many of their friends down to David’s office where we performed a Hollands! set, enjoyed local pizza and conversation. It was our first performance with our new travelers/bus riders, Rhys and Sylvia. They did great job filling in on vocals and bass, and jumped right to community life, connecting with those who came to hear and meet us. It’s in these sorts of moments that I sit back and I am in awe of how we got here. Just one little tweet and here we were meeting this amazing family and singing sweet songs to them.

The next morning offered breakfast, more conversation, and a quick stroll around the neighborhood before we had to head south to Nashville.  Until next time Wayfarers!

The Wayfaring Family

The Real Raiders

Love Your EnemiesThe idea of visiting Oakland, CA. really wasn’t on our radar, however after a brief shout out on a group forum via Facebook we found a welcoming host, Josh Harper excited to have us come to his New Hope community.

Oakland, isn’t that the city we always hear about in crime reports? Highest murder rates per capita, gangs, drugs, sex trafficking, homelessness, orphans, violence, immigrants, and extreme poverty. I mean, who just goes to Oakland? And yet, as we learned from our visit, there are a handful of highly educated, doctors, lawyers, nurses, social workers and teachers that have moved purposefully from their exterior, safe, comfortable lives into this dynamic and dangerous neighborhood. They have moved here intentionally to live in community with one another and with those they feel called to engage, inspire, and protect. These saints are the crux of our story about Oakland. These saints are the “Real Raiders.”

Celu'havenThere is something intriguing that happens when we pull our big ol bus into a tight city block, it takes all of the neighbors efforts to make it happen. This means, that all of the normal ‘hello’s and get to know ya’s” have to take a back seat, because there is problem solving to do. And, so when we finally settled into our little nest of a driveway (let’s just say we had about 6 inches on each side to spare) we were already fast friends with our host family,¬†the Bekaert’s. They are precious people who just returned from four years in Guatemala. Nic, a frenchman and social worker, and his wife Mo, a nurse, Layla and Gabriel. Prior to Guatemala, The Bekaert’s lived in the New Hope community for about 15 years and are considered “pillars” of their community. They are wise beyond their years, they are generous and they are kind.

The Bekaert's The Harpers

Along with the Bekaert’s welcome, was the fella we had been corresponding with via the world wide web, Josh Harper. Josh is the ultimate host. He is an organized, highly social visionary and his wheels are always spinning. He’s the husband of Marjie and the father of Lucy ad Beatrice. He’s also the¬†National Coordinator of Urban Projects for a group called InterVarsity. However, you would never know that he’s the “big dog” as his focus is often on listening and meeting others needs. If not for his willingness to hear, we probably would not have connected in the deep way that we did. There are kinfolk and then there are “Kinfolk.” ¬†The Harpers¬†are “Kinfolk.”

Josh knew exactly how to plug us into his community. In the five solid days that we were with them, we shared a movement and song class with the pre-school that New Hope runs, and we offered a workshop for third-fifth graders on “Sound scape.” We also performed a house concert and shared our gifts of music on Sunday morning at Sacred Space. We enjoyed meals within the community, enjoyed encouraging and rich conversation and learned much about the history of New Hope’s vision to care for the “poor, orphans and aliens” by living and engage¬†in an area where there are obvious consequences.¬†Sometimes in life we feel stuck in the place where we are at. Here, in Oakland, with the New Hope Community, it felt quite the opposite. It felt vibrant and purposeful.

On our final full day together we shared an intimate moment where everything about why and what made sense. Sunday morning, we gathered to worship in unity. The morning started out with prayers. Specific prayers for this community, this neighborhood. It was tender to hear prayers for individual teachers from the local school, for specific people enslaved by poverty and hopelessness, for International Blvd. which borders the neighborhood and is where much of the sex trafficking in Oakland takes place. Their were prayers for specific neighbors, for local government, for peace to come over their neighborhood and for unity. It was deep, meaningful and reflective. During that prayer time, it all made sense, why 60 or so educated folks would move into this neighborhood, why they would risk safety and give us monetary gain. If not for their purposeful decision to engage, their prayers would have been second hand. Their is nothing wrong with praying for communities far off, but there is something profound about living out the message of reconciliation in and with those you pray for. To see the gospel manifested in a way where the sacrifice was apparent, humble and in it for the long haul. That inspires us! And, we look joyward to more times with these “Kinfolk.”

Hospitality in Los Angeles

Rest fell upon us in the most¬†incredulous of all places, Los Angeles. It’s not where I think to go to when I’m looking to relax. It’s crowded, fast and it takes forever to drive anywhere. However, our couple day stop at the Halula abode in Montrose, turned out to be one of the most pleasant and unassuming times we’ve had. We meet Jenica and Wes Halula at the Holland House Gallery night in 2007 and thought they were some cool cats. They run a production company called Happy Fun Time and they are the kind of friends we call “kinfolk.” We kept up here and there, on Myspace and then Facebook and who knew that we’d be camped in their front yard four years later. It was the most challenging drive way we’ve, or I should say, Craig has managed. But, with the help of Banjo and Wes, it was conquered and we set up shop.

Enjoying the warmth of the sun and the surrounding mountains, we were able to tackle some good school days, get some groceries and enjoy company with old friends, Michelle and Kevin. We also hosted our first dinner party with the Halula’s as our guests. It was such a pleasure to finally be able to share in hospitality using our space.

On a side note; we have been blown away by the constant provision from God, through those with compassionate hearts. Always in the neck of time too.

When we arrived in LA we realized that we were down to our last fifty dollars. It had cost us $1100 in Gas to drive these last twenty days. Needless to say, our hearts pattered a few beats as we realized that our gigs we’re still a week away and we had no income in sight. With in a day however, we had two spontaneous gifts given to us, that allowed us to refill the tank and get our groceries. We still can’t figure it out. Nobody knew, we hadn’t put out a prayer request or set up a fundraiser and we didn’t do some special service project or anything noble. It just happened or did it?

Now, there is the prosperity gospel and there is the poverty gospel, both of which we don’t aspire to. We just don’t believe in a “woe is me” manipulation so those around us feel sorry and give to us, and we surely don’t believe that we’re doing something so significant that we are warranted some great reward. We’re just living life. We are however, learning that this journey isn’t about us at all, that our needs being met isn’t even the point, but rather that we are apart of a bigger picture, we are one big “body,” like the “sea pens,” and our motion is connected to others motion. No, things don’t “just happen.” We really believe there is a beautiful tapestry being woven and we are all apart of it. So, as hard as it is, our focus remains on serving and trusting. And, although it has been humbling and hard to learn to receive, we have had such graciousness and mercy bestowed upon us that we can’t hardly wait to pass it on.