On Sunday morning, we were sad to pack up and leave our campsite, but we had more than two hours to drive to get to Omaha. (somewhere in middle America…)
Yes, we said that *every* time the name came up. Joe had introduced the boys to Counting Crows before we left for the trip – so the whole family was singing along now. 😉
Anyway, when Joe realized what day we were going to land in Nebraska, he started looking up churches in the area. We were surprised to find out that a pastor (and author) we really like in Oklahoma had just opened a satellite campus of his church in Omaha!! How cool?!!
All of the churches we had visited so far had satellite campuses…but each time, we were at the large, main campus. The campus of Life.Church we were headed to meets in a Middle School and had just opened in April! So we were really excited to see that side of things…
We were BEYOND impressed…even from just pulling in the parking lot. There were banners and signs marking the building and the entrance. In fact, after we started walking in, we turned around to look at the signs and realized we left Rigby’s lights on!! [big eye emoji]
That would’ve been a bummer!
When we entered the building, there were plenty of identifiable volunteers ready to greet us and usher us to all the right places. They noticed us right away and offered assistance. Sweet…
Their church (all campuses) are in the middle of a sermon series called “At The Movies” – where Pastor Craig uses illustrations from movie scenes as the basis for his message. It’s a series that they do every July as a way to reach farther into the community around them. This particular Sunday, he was using the “I Can Only Imagine” movie.
Quick note here: that is a very good and powerful movie! Joe and I had already seen it prior to this. There are some intense and gut-wrenching scenes in the movie. But it paints the beautiful picture – all the more – of redemption, grace, and forgiveness through Jesus.
Having said that, I really appreciated when one of the greeters let me know about the morning’s selection, when she saw us walking in with the boys. So thoughtful of her…
Aiden and Brady had heard about the movie on the radio and we had already had a few discussions about it. They love the band that the movie is based on too. I have to say, they’ve grown up a lot on this trip – through everything – so we thought they could handle it…and we would be right there to support them.
When we turned the corner, into the gathering area (outside the auditorium), they had coffee and tables – but also candy and popcorn to go along with the series! How fun?! The boys got a big kick out of that!
As we entered the auditorium, the service had just started – we were amazed at the stage set up – complete with large screens for lyrics, stage lighting, a full (incredible) band etc. Everything was cohesive and so well done! Good on them!
We so appreciated the worship leader’s passion and the community of people who were gathered there. There is so much I want to tell you about the rest of the service…but you just had to be there to experience it (and I don’t want to keep you all day). But one thing I must mention is their commitment to what they call “irrational generosity” – we were floored by this. Even the boys mentioned it afterwards. It was so inspiring listening to the ways their church has decided to practice it to the surrounding communities and even other churches!!
The service continued through announcements, etc. and then it was time for the message. We were shocked when Craig Groeschel, himself, appeared on the screens!! We’ve followed him for years through leadership seminars and have read several of his books. What a treat?!?!
Sometimes satellite campuses will centralize their teaching, but do it individually, at each location. We were ready for anything when we decided to attend. But this was certainly a blessing!
His message was so powerful. The boys hung in there with the movie clips and thankfully, they showed the ending – so the boys got to experience the whole story. I was proud of them and the experience led to some great conversations in the RV later that night. I’m so thankful for these moments with them. Lord, please burn them into my mind and heart so I never forget!
When the service was over, we were excited to go back out and take in all the details of their set-up that we missed as we were hurrying in. We were simply in awe of their commitment to go through this process – each and every Sunday – in order to give people a seamless experience. All the set-up and all the tear-down. Man… It was a TON of stuff, you guys, all over the school building! And I had the nerve to complain about packing and unpacking an RV a few times! 😉
As we were leaving, we drove around the back the of the building and there were two HUGE semi-trucks sitting there. Whoa!! I had to get out and snap a picture. While I was out there, the worship leader and his family came walking out the door. Amazing! I introduced myself and explained why I was there taking a picture. (Haha!)
They were SO gracious and stayed and talked for awhile. Joe, and eventually the boys, got out and we all enjoyed a special time together. Obviously, Joe and I had a ton of questions and he answered every one! ❤ Here’s a picture that his sweet wife took of us!
It turns out he is on staff there as the Worship Pastor. We shared with him our harrowing road trip story, explaining how we ended up at church that morning (being from Maryland)! There was still a lot of work for him to do, but he NEVER made us feel that way. In fact, even after spending so much time with us, he asked if he could pray for us before we left! Thank you for the hospitality, Adam (and family!) It was great meeting you!
From there, we needed to get gas and lunch. While at the gas station, I looked up some places for lunch. We were hoping for some traditional Nebraskan food, however, most of it was found in restaurants that were downtown and we had to get on the road to make it to our Boondockers Welcome host in Iowa.
But something did pop up, right across the street: The Corner Kick, street tacos and sports cantina. YES PLEASE!!
We were having salad in the RV for dinner, so Joe and the boys were ready to fill up on some hearty guy food for lunch. Haha! ❤
Obviously, we had to try the loaded papitas – YUM! Joe and I had tacos, but Joe only got one because he was planning to eat some of Brady’s enormous burrito, aptly named: The Messi 😉
And we could NOT pass up the cream-filled churro sundae for dessert!
We had a great time talking with our waitress about the area and the restaurant itself. She said it was a blast working there during the World Cup! They opened at 8:00 AM and even served breakfast and showed EVERY game. At one point, she went and got her phone to show me Facebook videos of the place when it was packed. What a fun idea for the community?!
With our gas tank and our bellies full, we made our way to Iowa. (or I-O-Waaaaaay) Oh yeah, we’re also huge “Music Man” fans! The boys got such a kick out of seeing all the names of the towns go by. In fact, they have a “Music Man” museum in Iowa, but it was too far out of the way for our time restraints. Bummer!!!
After crossing the border, we found a Welcome Center fairly quickly…but it was ALSO closed. 😦
However, we felt differently as we approached our host’s house when we saw this sign in his yard!
Clyde met us in the driveway and proved to be another generous soul. We talked for awhile and he told us he had read our blog! (Joe put it in our BW profile.) That gave us a lot to talk about! But we also enjoyed hearing about his RV journey. He bought an 1980’s Winnebago from an older couple that were putting their RV days behind them. He named it “Matilda” but someone pointed out that since it has a “W” on the side, it has to have a name that reflects it. So he settled for “Waltzing Matilda.”
Guys, did we all started singing the song…?? Yes, yes we did. 😉
Clyde showed us around his property and had even set aside a few things to share with us! From the blog, he learned that our boys love to read. He had a boxful of books to go to Goodwill, but he had pulled it out so the boys could look through it first! Additionally, he has a writer’s heart and had catalogued some of his stories from serving in the Navy for 20 years. He printed out a collection of them to give me. ❤
Across the street from his house was a park that he told us we could take the boys to play. I went in the RV to get some shoes and a minute later, Brady came walking in with a few bags. He said Mr. Clyde wanted us to put them in the fridge. It was some fresh Iowa corn, tomatoes, and STEAKS! What?!?!
We got a few balls out of the outdoor compartment and walked over to the park. This was great for the boys to stretch their legs after a long day of driving. It was a lot of fun!
Check out these skills!
After playing a while, we went back to the RV for salad. 😉 Joe and Clyde worked on getting Rigby all hooked up. He was so generous – yet again – to share his wifi with us! That’s how I was able to get two posts out in a short time. There was also a part of his yard where he set up campfire supplies for us, but after finishing the blog, we were wiped. We had another long day of driving ahead of us, so we figured we should get to bed…as much as we would have LOVED to hang around the fire!
Clyde, we are so thankful for your thoughtfulness and your unending hospitality and generosity! We so enjoyed our time together!
The day seemed to end as it began…with incredible examples of people sharing what’s been given to them to bless and inspire others.
|If you want to reach people nobody is reaching, you’ve gotta do things nobody is doing.|
– Craig Groeschel