GPS or Gods Positioning System

Lisa and I were determined to get plugged into a church while here in Hanover and so we set out to do just that this past Sunday.  I searched the internet for churches that appealed to us – preferably a southern baptist church.  Being away from home causes you to want to find something familiar.  Walk into any Wal-Mart and just smell and you will feel right at home.

We were up early and entered into our smart phone navigator the address of the church we had decided on – First Baptist of Hanover.  The electronic voice directed us without any trouble to the small brick church and we followed others into what looked like a century old building.  We were greeted warmly and before long the pastor came and greeted us.  It seemed to me his appearance was much different from the picture I had seen on the website but thought no more of it until Lisa directed my attention to the screen in front.  The slide said, “Welcome to the Trinity Church of the Nazarene”.  We had somehow been misdirected to the wrong church but it was too late to leave and so we braced ourselves for the unexpected.

What happened next took us by complete surprise as the music and message was an absolute breath of fresh air.  The pastor was phenomenal with an upbeat message about God’s love and the wonderful news of how our past is not only forgiven but completely forgotten in his eyes.  As he so insightfully put it – we pray to God about things in our past and he doesn’t know what we are talking about.  I loved that!

I found myself glued to his message and loved the way he interacted with the small congregation during his sermon.  It was a very relaxed atmosphere and needless to say we were pleasantly surprised.  At the end of the service a lady asked for prayer for a woman with back pain and members gathered around and prayed for her.  It was a pure and perfect example of the body of Christ in action.

I came away from that realizing two very important truths.  I am arrogant.  I was practically mocking in my attitude as Lisa and I got settled in our seat.  The musicians seemed unpolished and the sound system practically archaic.  They lacked a choir, fancy lighting and live band.  But Lisa and I were blessed – unexpectedly blessed.

The other truth I discovered is that God will put you where he wants you – even if your GPS is wrong.

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….,and then we drove away

I’m convinced that the best way to do something completely crazy and irrational is to just close your eyes and go.  If I had not been driving that is exactly what I would have done as we pulled away from our home and headed toward Hanover Pa. last Thursday (6/21) where Lisa had taken a traveling ultra-sound (Sonographer) position.  As for me – I was completely unsure what I would do – but having just retired – was ready for something new.  And this was really new.

For many years Lisa and I had talked about this day – me retiring and her working as a temporary travel tech which pays really good money and would allow us to see places we have never been and get paid at the same time.  The downside is leaving family and friends for extended periods of time.  But we were ready and our family in full support.

Her first assignment was secured a mere two weeks prior to our moving and it placed her in Hanover which is about ten miles east of Gettysburg.  As a history buff I could not think of anywhere better in that it is close to Philadelphia and Washington DC.  It seemed like a good first placement – small town with lots of things to busy ourselves with and avoid homesickness – which is inevitable.  Hanover will be our home for the next thirteen weeks at least and there is a possibility of an extension beyond that which could keep us here into December.

We left Owensboro without an apartment secured and only a hotel room in Zanesville Ohio reserved for our first night and a reservation in a sketchy motel in Hanover for the first week until we found a permanent location.  When we arrived in Hanover I began calling some of the contacts I had made for apartments.  Landlords are very reluctant to offer housing for short term leases and I managed to get names of only a couple of possibilities.  As we were nearing Hanover I got a call from a man who had a one bedroom efficiency apartment a stones throw from the hospital where Lisa would be working.  Sounded great and it was our first stop when we arrived. (Actually it was our second stop after peeking into the room at the motel where we had reservations.  Nope!  I have animals that I would feel bad about leaving there).

So after our brief stop at “Heroin House Motel” we met a man at the one bedroom efficiency.  I am not sure what constitutes an “efficiency apartment” but this is not what I had in mind.  This was a large walk-in closet – this was the size of our laundry room – I have been in Porta-Potties that had more room (and smelled better).  So that was a no – but he did give us the name of a local real estate agent  and suggested we pay him a visit.  After driving to his office we learned that he was out of his office but his secretary helped us find a hotel room at a place called the “Altland House” in Abbottstown which is about four miles north of Hanover.  This was a God-send.  The Victorian style mansion was a site for sore eyes after what Lisa and I had seen earlier and the staff were extremely accommodating.  I spoke to the owner and explained our situation and he gave us a great rate for the week or until we could find an apartment.  Praise the Lord!

Lisa and I were exhausted from the stress of that first day and had little trouble falling asleep.  Now what I am about to say next I need to say prefaced with – I usually don’t say things like this – but here goes.  During the middle of the night I woke up and had an idea that I am convinced was God inspired.  It made perfect sense – it was the answer to our problem of finding a place to stay and (in the long run) would save us money.  We needed to buy an RV – tomorrow.

Buying an RV has been our plan all along but Lisa and I had decided we would wait until after this first assignment and see how things go first.  Always ‘Mr. Cautious’ about everything – this idea that woke me from a dead sleep  was so out of character for me – it had to be divine.  I could hardly wait until Lisa woke up to hear my plan.  We would buy an RV – with money we had saved – and have who we buy it from move it to a campsite for us.  We then will have three months to find a truck to pull it home.

We set out on our quest early Saturday morning and had bought a fifth wheel camper by noon.  Now we own an RV and have no way of moving it.  Talk about getting the cart before the horse.

Finding a campsite that would allow us to stay three to six months was also no easy task. Most of the campgrounds we talked to were full due to it being prime tourist season around Gettysburg.  Finally we made contact with the “Conewago Isle Campground” in Dover Pa. about four miles from Hanover.  The place was beautiful and we put a deposit down on a spot.  The only problem was that it was an island (really) and prone to flooding.  That was not good considering we had no truck to move our RV if there was a flood and Lisa had to be on call some which meant getting to the hospital within a certain amount of time.  Flooding did not sound like a good thing here.  Finally after yet another phone call – I secured a spot for us at the “Round Top Campground” just a short distance from Gettysburg.  Tomorrow (6/29) we will move into our RV for the next few months and be real RV dwellers.

Already this experience has been good for us as we have relied on God in ways we have not had to for a long time.  Getting too comfortable in your life leaves little opportunity for reliance on God and others and we are so blessed to have met up already with some wonderful people and encounter again our wonderful God who loves us.

I hope you enjoy this new blog as Lisa and I will be sharing our adventures and keeping everyone up on our latest news.  Feel free to comment and let us hear from you.

We love you!