Choosing to live minimal and embrace life, love and service vs material gain may be considered a weird idea for most especially by today’s material standards. Tossing away America’s “white picket fence thinking” to serve in an old school bus converted into a mobile supply mission often leads people to label us “those people” and often leads to the perplexed question of “why?”. As for my husband and I along with our furry children otherwise known as doggies, our journey into a more simplistic living and mobile bus outreach means far more then a passing phase of life or a chance to step outside the norm, the meaning behind our life choice is deeper than what most may understand.
Our story begins for us both about seven years ago. Before my husband and I began dating after 30 years of friendship, we both overcame some deep rooted “hardship or hurtship” in life only to reset and embrace living simple again. Clinging to what truly matters. Purging the past and the toxic people that steered our lives before, laced with broken choices with naive hearts, the true value of peaceful life with deep meaning and joy became our mutual goal for our own personal life’s journey. For us both our faith in Christ deepened in a life changing way which led to a shift in what truly matters and how anything or anyone negative no longer was allowed a roll in our lives. Even though my soon to be husband and I were not dating as of yet, we both were in unison within our newly arrived positive and peaceful life stance. Our priorities and experiences were completely in sink. Something we would soon after connect upon over tea on my bright orange sofa both in laughter and in tears as we rekindled something that was once there so many years ago.
From life long friends to a decision to date which naturally led to a beautiful, passionate marriage two years later. Each of us look back at all the years with amazement that it took such a long hard journey to find true partnership and depth in lasting love. My husband proposed to me in the Emergency room where I almost lost my life to a unknown blood disease that clotted my lungs and legs. Praise Adonai, I am one of the 33% that live to tell the story of how valuable life truly is and what truly, truly matters. With the knowledge now of having what the doctors call a “life long condition” one that has no cure, rare and with very little treatment with a need for constant monitoring to keep me out of stroke or death…leads my life into a spiral of personal evaluation of what truly matters and the thankfulness of each given new day.
Traveling back from India from a mission trip, life hit me personally behind the ears as I realized even more the value of life and even deeper, saving life within my own reach. Owning a non profit where we serve over 4000 lives a year, I have seen through the 13 years of service three kinds of people, those that hurt & take, those that help out of convenience, religion or amends & ignore the majority and then there are those that work diligently to change what is within their own grasp with deep devotion for a lifetime. I was not born with a silver spoon in mouth, I have fought the good fight to maintain, grow and keep what I have worked hard to create and have. Minimal living has been apart of my life since childhood. Both of our parents and childhood lives were traditional, penny saving lifestyles like growing gardens and harvesting food and working at a young age to earn on our own what we desired and giving to others not just ourselves. Material gain has never been a common thread for either of us. We love big, give big and live each day as it comes. Yet seeing, touching, loving, crying and serving beside people that do not even have a crumb has grown my heart and my mind knowing that there is always more we can do together for each other. We may not have silver spoons but our Faith in God and ability to choose creative methods to rise above and help furiously and live passionately for change is exactly the focus that has centered our lives. Minimizing and debt free living outside of a roof over our heads and cost of living expenses, would allow us to save, send and build, living simple for a greater purpose.
At first we thought long and hard of building a tiny house one that looked like a house. The fad in America with Tiny House nation is taking the wave of tiny to an new direction. For us, we weighed the pros and cons and finances with our lack of know how and decided bus living would be the best way. As it stands it has a frame and is already mobile. Neither one of us has any carpentry trade to back up this new venture yet we are computer geeks, artists and thrive on DYI. With our non profit we are green thinkers and upcycle old pallets and make furniture out of it and sale it at the Upcycle store in Bend Oregon which creates funding for the needs of the people within our non profit along with my art. Also we cut the pallet wood and put in bundles for year round free fire wood for our community. We have even turned this system into an accredited community service class for high risk youth. The process of turning something from nothing into a well thought out beautiful witness is pretty dog gone cool and we are masters at that now from trial and error. So putting together our mission bus is a challenge we are both willing to take on.
When we started “bus surfing” we realized it was best to buy from a school district as they consistently update and care for their buses. At the desk for a few weeks we mastered how to purchase buses, this was a lesson all on it’s own. We found two buses already set up in propane and decided not only will we build a home bus but build another for a mobile outreach office. Our story of conversion begins on the drive home from two trips with my husband driving one bus at a time and myself and our dogs following behind. We both felt free and overwhelmed with excitement, that feeling has only grown even in the days of challenging conversion. The process is challenging, we are convinced that there is a daily need for a lesson somewhere somehow that is related to life with the bus project being our teacher. Our faith and marriage is weaving even tighter as we experience this journey on a deeper hands on level. Abba God is with us throughout, we can see His mighty hand upon us with every step we take. There may even be a series of buses converted in the long run in order to share with those that need a home of their own, surely we will openly teach the simplistic, up-cyled methods to live life out loud instead. . The life of non profit owners is one that has no prediction it is as God would have it on each new day, however we enjoy peaking into tomorrow even though it may turn a new road once it comes. As for today, we are blessed to learn and to live and to give. Thanks for traveling with us today….love to all