Mar 29, 2018

Our Last Days On The Road

Our last four days on the road were full ones! with three different concerts across the state of Iowa.
Following our way through Missouri we stopped in at the Nonebar Cowboy Church in Newton, IA for a Thursday evening concert.

Cowboy churches are always fun to sing at! Lots of nice, friendly people who are all super enthusiastic about bluegrass music.

It's such a joy to minister to others in words of song!

Friday found us at some good friends of ours in Charles City, IA.

Even though it was a chilly 19 degrees outside we still gave the bus a good scrub down.
It never hurts to wash all that salt off!

That same evening was a special one! Not only did we give a concert but several other groups did as well.
The service consisted of four different bands, each playing for 20-25 minutes each. 

The Nolt family was up first.

Then our wonderful hosts, the James Zimmerman family.

Third up was another family with the last name of Zimmerman. ;)

And then we were up, doing the last set of music for the night.

What a joy it was to share our music to a large group of young people with their families. 
It was a treat for us!

Our last concert took place at the First Baptist Church in Seymour, Iowa.
Again, we were very blessed by the kind and generous people who attended.
Thank you all so much!

And look who we found!
It just so happened that there was a family who had puppies for sale at the last church of our tour.
Our family's been talking a great deal lately about getting a puppy, but the timing just hasn't worked out. This time though it all seemed to be just right and we found ourselves coming home with an Australian Shepherd/Collie Mix!

This little guy ended up riding out the last seven hours of our journey home with us!
 Surprisingly he did very well, sitting in our laps not making too big of a mess. ;)
We've named the little pooch Arlo. 
And yes, we are definitely enjoying our time spent with him so far! 

"Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: 
thy spirit is good; lead me into the way of uprightness."
Psalm 143:10

Mar 19, 2018

Keeping Up the Travel Pace

Panama City Beach, Florida:

Following our stay in Alabama we headed down to Florida for a concert in Panama City Beach. It just so happened that we had no concerts for the few days following which allowed the family to spend a little time out on the beach.

The Gulf of Mexico.

Ready to have some fun digging in the sand.

The seagulls came in droves once they started discovering we had food for them.

Sometimes feeding the seagulls can be a little risky though. Getting splattered from one of the gulls is never a good thing! But thankfully there was plenty of water around to at least get most of the birdy residue out of Laurissa's hair. ;)

 One of our many "home away from homes."
The Walmarts down here look a lot different from the ones up north!
And inside is different too! Nothing quite like having a whole section stocked full of big fishing gear, tackle, and huge live bait.
It's too bad we didn't have our Florida fishing license.

It looks like these girls found themselves a new friend! ;)

Starting to make our way up north again! This time we sang at a neat little church in Macon, GA.
The people there are always so friendly and kind to us.

Thanks again, Church of the Wildwood, for giving us the opportunity to minister at your church. Y'all were a blessing!

Gospel Express Ministries:

Once again we attended the Gospel Express Prison Ministry held in the state of South Carolina.
What a blessing it was to all meet together for a special service and orientation Sunday morning!

Like the crusade in Alabama it was a packed, full + intense four days of ministry in various prisons across the state. 
Each one was SO special in its own way!  Every single prison had many people hungry and thirsty for the word of God and His teachings. We all came away very humbled and blessed.

Heading North:

On the road again; and this time we're headed to Kentucky!

Along our travels we came across a huge dam.
Stopping the bus we hopped out and did a little exploring.

Making our way across the dam.
Even though the whether was a wee bit soggy we still had a lot of fun.

Looking down the HUGE waterway. 

In Elizabethtown, KY we had an opportunity to sing at a soup kitchen for the homeless.
The room was packed full!

The time there was really good! Such a blessing to give a "cup of cold water" to those who are thirsty. It reminded all of us to never take for granted the blessings we so often take for granted; family, our music, time with each other, a place we can call home to go back to. So many things to thank our loving God for!

Making our way through Jefferson City, Missouri. 
fIt just so happened that the GPS took our bus right by the capital!

Sometimes we just need to take a break from traveling to get out and stretch our legs. 
One of these places was at a little antique town in Missouri where there was an old train station. 
All of us had a great time watching the trains go by (especially Dad, who's loved trains ever since he was a young boy!)

Another place we stopped along the great Missouri River. 
The water looked so cold!

We all had fun tossing rocks in and trying to hit the mini ice burgs floating down the river.

Until next time...

"Receive my instruction, and not silver; and wisdom rather than choice gold
For wisdom is above rubies; and all the things thou mayest desire are not to be compared to it."
Proverbs 8:10-11

Mar 2, 2018

Southern Travels

Hey Folks! I know I'm a little late posting this, since by now we have made it back home safe and sound. But I thought I would continue posting about our winter tour. 
So... Here is an update on what we did the 17th - 27th of January.

On our way out of Oklahoma we made a stop at Bishline Banjos in Tulsa, OK.
What a nice little shop they have there! Good quality instruments, friendly service, and some pretty awesome deals. We suggest to anyone out there who's looking for a nice banjo to stop in and go check out their product. Their banjos sound amazing!

They even custom make banjos for you right there in the shop!

Our banjo picker, Naomi, had so much fun picking and learning tips from this guy.

And she bought one! Her very first banjo to call her own.

Smiles with Rob Bishline. 

Our next stop was made in Arkensas for a concert.
Everywhere we went people fed us so well and were so kind and generous. 
A huge thank you to all who hosted, fed, and served us along our way!

Here we are enjoying a yummy meal before one of our shows.

And more driving! This time we're headed down to Alabama.

More often then we'd like things like this happen while we're traveling. 
My guess is either the container broke or the cover came off. Either way, the contents decided to make their way out of the glass and onto the floor. 
That's bus life for ya, folks!

Sometimes on those long days of traveling we would pull out an 
instrument and get some practicing in.

There's always something we could practice! ;)


Driving right through Memphis, TN we made a stop at the huge Bass Pro Shop Pyramid. 

It was pretty cool inside!

The Elevator! 
The youngsters decided to take a ride to the top.

The view was pretty amazing! 
You could see just about the whole city from up there!

The love of siblings is like no other. 
Oh, what a joy it is to be together!

One of the main reasons for our southern tours is for the prison crusades that happen in Alabama and South Carolina. Every year there is a week specifically set aside in order for singing families, evangelists, and volunteers to go in and minister to the inmates inside the facilities. 
It is always a highlight for our family! The need there is so great, and the time spent is so sweet! 
WeCare, (the Crusade in Alabama) took place January 21st - 25th. During those five days days of prison ministry there was a full day of orientation, which took place on Sunday, then four nights of concerts in various prisons taking place across the state.

Worship time on Sunday is always so special! 

Due to the fact that we are not allowed cameras or phones into the prison facilities, we don't have any pictures of us ministering inside. If we could have though, we defiantly would've got some to share with y'all!

Every day we enjoyed having devotions with the group of people we were stationed with.
Then we would have the rest of the morning and afternoon to kill, since most prisons didn't have their chapel service until the evenings. During that down time we managed to get some projects done, one of them being giving the bus a nice good scrub. 

Ready to do this! 

Daddy scrubbing away.

We also managed to get some play time in as well. :)

One of the best things about traveling around the country is meeting new people and making life long friends. A particular example would be our friends in southern Alabama. 
Such great hosts, always making us feel so welcome. 
We had a wonderful time visiting the Byrd family.

Our friends are blooming musicians! 
It was fun jamming with them.

Playing some baseball. 
We're always so happy when we can run off some energy!

We decided to have a little adventure and all piled into the back of this pickup for a ride.
No worries folks! Our destination wasn't very far. ;)

A late night game of Apples to Apples topped off our day.

Once again, thanks Byrd family for hosting us for those two fun filled days with y'all!
You are a blessing and appreciate your friendship very much.

Stay tuned for some upcoming blog posts of the month of February!

"He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
Mark 16:15-16