Choosing to live minimal and embrace alternative lifestyle may be a silly, quirky or weird idea for most. Tossing away America’s “white picket fence thinking” to serve in missions in a bus, often is dismissed as a passing fad for some or labeled as “those people” for example. Yet for my husband and I along with our two and a half rescued dogs, this journey into bus living and missions means far more then a fad 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 six years ago. Before my husband and I began dating after 30 years of friendship we both overcame what would be narrowed down as “hardship or hurtship” in life only to live simple again and value what counts even deeper. Meaning our family, friends and God above. From life long friends to a decision to date which quickly led to a beautiful marriage after 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 God 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. The thought of minimal living has been something I 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. Going tiny 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 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. 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. 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. 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