On April 14 we moved out of our home in West Fargo. It was the first home we built, something I never imagined us doing. We enjoyed our seven years there, watching the neighborhood fill with homes, roads be built, and many commercial properties pop up. We went from limited food and shopping options within five minutes to having many options!
We then lived in a 2-bedroom furnished apartment for seven weeks. What an adjustment—the beds, my office in the pantry closet, the close-knit feel—all while our family was quarantined. Our neighbors in the adjoining apartment were also in a temporary housing situation as their newborn baby was in the ICU. And of all places, they were from my hometown of Williston, ND. We struck up a friendship and enjoyed great conversation. The relationship started when I noticed they had a Williston Coyote sticker on their vehicle. Their house back home was purchased from a friend of mine.
And now, for three weeks we have lived in a hotel. It is quite the juggling act to coordinate our schedules for work, school, and video chats with our friends. Last Wednesday, I led a video training session for pastors in Northern Michigan. The call was at 8am and I wanted to set up at 7am. Houston, we have a problem! Neither my wife nor daughter were ready for commotion at 7am! I shared the situation with the hotel manager, and she let me use a conference room. Problem solved, what a blessing!
Our hotel has a spacious outdoor courtyard with 2 grills and a gas fire pit. Every evening we spend at least two hours there. We have visited with people from around the U.S. We have met the weekend warrior families traveling with kids playing baseball. We have met those making a living working on the road: electricians, manufacturing staff, FEMA agents, and salespeople. We have met people in town for a funeral, a wedding, and to visit a hospitalized family member.
One wonderful family, when they discovered we moved from Fargo-Moorhead, shared they had a family member in Fargo-Moorhead. When they told us his name and what he did, my wife and I smiled. They asked why we were smiling. We knew their family member through Prairie Heights Community Church; 600 miles away!
I met a dad of a Clemson University football player. He showed me pictures of Coach Dabo Swinney’s home from their recruiting visit. He said prior to the recruits and their parents eating their meal together, Coach Swinney asked one of the assistant coaches to pray. The dad told me the five-minute prayer was one of the most spiritually moving experiences of his life. When everyone opened their eyes after hearing “Amen”, there were many faces with tears rolling down. God’s presence through bold, passionate followers of Christ, impacts people greatly. After prayer, the dad and his son were all in on playing football for Coach Swinney. Both have significantly grown spiritually since.
God has unexpected connections and conversations throughout our day. And God’s presence can surprise us in unusual places. Daily, with boldness and passion, we have a chance to share our hope in Christ with others.
Today we move into our house. We made it…not to our destination, to another starting point!