Yesterday we left Temecula, and made our way to Palm Springs. We had been invited to meet Ann and Carson a their church. It provided us with the chance to talk to Pastor Josh and his wife about the realities of life in the slabs. Carrie as I mentioned earlier is a child of the Slabs… so the people there are very dear to her heart as it is with a lot of other members we met today! But lets back track a bit 🙂
When we drove into town yesterday, it was a zoo! Traffic was unreal, and there were so many events taking place that it was literally a sea of people. We had called every RV resort in town and no one had room. So we thought we would drive around and see if we could boon0dock somewhere. Lots of luck. Then on a whim…Doug pulled into an RV site right across the church we were attending today and we went in and asked if my chance they had had a cancellation and room for us. The answer was N O ! Good grief… I walked back to the rig, and was muttering to God. “If this is where you want us, why on earth can’t we find a patch of dirt to park on!” (Shame on you Sherry… shame shame) As we were getting in to leave, the manager called us back and said she had found a spot that was open and big enough for a 42 foot unit. Sigh……….. oh yee of little faith! 🙂So this morning we made our way across the street to attend the Hosanna City Church. The moment we walked in, you could feel the energy of love, and great joy! We met Pastor Josh and he introduced us to many others who were unbelievably warm. The message this morning was exactly what we needed to hear. In short and without going into detail at this time….. Slab City is our Niniva… just as it was for Jonah. We were nervous a little about going into the slabs after everything we had read and heard… but we left with the covering of prayer and the confidence that the Slabs was exactly where God wanted us to go.
We had lunch with Ann, Carson, and their family. What wonderful people! In the short time we have known Ann and Carson Woods, they have become family. Their faith is so infectious and was a good shot in the arm for Doug and I. We LOVE their church!
After they had blessed us with lunch, they insisted on taking us shopping to buy 72 hot dog buns that we still needed to pick up for the bbq we are going to attempt to have for the children. On top of a few other things they had all ready purchased for us to take in for them, the kept adding to the cart. They were like kids in a candy store. “Oh the kids would love this…. and of course you should have some of this….” by the time we got out of there, with what they had picked up the day before for us, the back of our jeep was loaded with blessings for the people of the Slabs.
I also need to make mention that a couple of our neighbors who have RVs here, went into their own rigs and came back with bags of toiletries to give out as well. We just have no words!
As we have decided to do with all gifts we receive, we want to show you what we were given from Ann and Carson Wood. Its important to show you that we are sincere and doing what we say we are doing. Should anyone want to gift, it is important for people to believe in us. They gave us permission to show their pictures and use their names as has everyone else we talk about on here. When we got home… we emptied the jeep and just sat there in utter confusion. We had so many bags… so many boxes of food and gifts, and had no idea how we would possibly try to sort some of the things out to get to the right people.
After sitting there and pondering possible ways to manage everything, we decided that a good place to start was to make bags up for 40 children. Each bag has a diner, fruit, oranges, fruit snacks, granola bars, juice boxes and some candy treats. We can not add shoes, hats, and hair accessories for the girls. We will need to meet them to know how old they are and what size they wear. At least we got a start.
When we get there tomorrow, we will try to park the rig somewhere near the resident Pastor, and then we can start making up bags for the parents of children with shampoo, conditioner, tooth brushes, tooth paste, sun screen and wet wipes. (Carson says everyone wants clean hands and bottoms..lol). Then of course we have a fair amount of food, coffee and things they can use to make desert living a tad easier. We have enough to give to families, and will also have a lot of extra to pass out to those we find who need it.
Gee this is a lot of work huh?????? Really it is a full time job, but one that we are so happy to be a part of! We are anxious to arrive there tomorrow.
We have had a lot of good information to keep in mind. When we go in, make it clear why we are there and who we have come to help. THEN it is utterly important to respect their rules and the laws they have. We are going into their home community. To outsiders they may only see the dangers and forget that these are people who need to know they are loved and not judged.
We were also told to always wear good shoes because of all of the garbage and drug paraphernalia scattered everywhere. Our little Chicago can not run loose. The dogs there are more than likely sick and carrying diseases. We are to keep everything locked…. and to keep anything of value in the rig at all times. There can be theft there from the ones looking to make a quick buck to get drugs and such. Parts of the Slabs have become a bit of a tourist attraction and there are some that will think you should pay them in beer and smokes to be there. We are to keep firm yet loving. By doing so we will be accepted faster, and we will get to know the tender and gentle hearts of the residents of the Slabs. We will not tuck ourselves out of site with the snow birds. They are outsiders. We will go in with love, a purpose, an open heart and a great deal of respect for their homes. It’s all they have.
So I will sign off for now. We head in tomorrow. We have heard there is an internet Cafe there but cell service or contact with the “outside world” is sketchy at best. If things go as planned and we stay for a week or so, we will make an effort to drive out to where we have service and let you know we are doing ok 🙂 (We will be super careful dad! )
Saturday night they have a community Jam, and of course church on Sunday. I hope to take out my guitar and Jam with them Saturday night!
My greatest hope is to be accepted, to be able to bless a lot of people with the generous gifts we have received, and to gather stories that people are willing to share. Photography of course is a must, but I will take great care to get permission before photographing the people there. The art work is a no brainer. I can hardly wait to grab my camera and share the wonders that this patch of desert holds for the outside world to see 🙂
It will be fascinating to see how they survive with no power, water, or modern day conveniences. I believe in some aspect we will be walking into a world, where time for the most part has stood still.
We hope you are all well! Updates and photos will take a while to get to you. If you don’t mind your prayers would be appreciated.