We have officially been in Avalon for 4 days - this is day 5. We arrived late afternoon on Monday to an incredible welcome - so many people were at the boat dock to greet us with hugs, smiles an kind words. The rest of that day consisted of "nesting" in our new accommodations. And what accommodations they are! I had brought our air mattresses and sleeping bags, thinking we would be using them and "camping out" in a big room at the bottom of the church. Well, we were surprised by being given 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a "rec room" for relaxing in addition to access to the church kitchen. Way more than we expected! We are really very comfortable. The Dominguez family has been a joy to live in community with! Enrique, Santa, Rico and Azariah have been so gracious and we are blessed to be "house-mates".
So, day 2 in Catalina consisted of meeting (it seemed) a thousand people - ok, maybe 20 or so...anyway, alot of people! Every day we meet more - it's fun, but remembering everyone's names is gonna take a miracle. But the people have been amazing - so kind and welcoming.
Yesterday was a huge highlight. After schooling the children, they went over to where there was a skatepark - I say was because it has become derelict and run down and completely unusable. So, any of you who know Alex, know that he was on it right away! He, Mike, Derek and the kids began to move ramps around and clean up the place - it took hours and slowly, but surely, it began to look like a skatepark again. A few people from the community heard what was going on, including the owner of the property. Instead of getting upset, he actually asked Alex to draw-up some plans to design a whole new park! Wow - that was cool and unexpected! It had only been cleaned-up for a few minutes before about 30 kids were all over it! What a blessing and what a huge need for this community! Alex, Mike and Derek had a great time hanging-out, beginning relationships that will hopefully grow into opportunities to share Christ.
That evening was a church service. Mike led worship and Andrew gave his testimony, challenging the people on taking risks in order to test their faith. It was a wonderful service! The room is small, so the sound of people singing resonated loudly making for an awesome time of worship. The people were receptive and challenged through the testimony. At the end, they all came forward and laid hands on our family and had a powerful time of prayer. What a blessing!! It was so special and reminded me much of our send-off as people had gathered around our family in the youth service at Pathways to do the same thing. So, here we are, circled and lifted in prayer on both ends of our journey, not to mention carried along on the wings of prayer through our entire journey here. It was such a fitting end to an amazing day and we are marveled by God's working in our midst already!
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers...we love you!
The Hobbs Family
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Well, we're here!! It's hard to believe that we have traversed the entire country and all has gone as planned. God has been SO incredibly gracious and has answered so many of YOUR prayers and ours! We felt we were carried along by His hand the entire way - good weather, safety, beauty, fun - we really enjoyed every blessing and mercy of His hand poured-out on us. Today we unloaded the U-Haul truck and trailer, put some of it in storage, some on the barge to Avalon, and here we sit in my sister and brother-in-law's beautiful Laguna Beach home, safe and sound. Honestly, as Harrison said in the car today, we still feel like we're on vacation - the reality has not quite sunk-in yet that we are not returning to Florida, to our "home". But we continue to trust that God is bringing us to our new home - although we have yet to step on the boat and make our way across to Avalon- that will happen Monday (today is Thursday). So we thank all who have upheld us in prayer and ask that you please continue - pray for continued safety, for rest as we recuperate from the long journey, and for continued strength as we face many huge decisions in the immediate future. Of course, please continue to pray, too, for our ministry as we get together with leaders on the Island to plan where to start with the vision God has laid on our hearts. We are so grateful for all of the kind texts, facebook messages and emails you have sent us - it has encouraged us much. As much as we have enjoyed this trip so far, there have been moments of sadness and some tough days, especially emotionally. So with that thought, I am reminded of what an old trucker said to us at a gas stop just over the California border - "just remember, nobody said this would be easy" - it was as if God Himself were reminding us...following Him is not easy, but it's good!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Wow! That word has been in frequent use the past few days as we have made our way across this beautiful, diverse country. Since wi-fi has been scarce, I have not been able to update this blog like I would have liked, but here we sit on day 9 of our adventure - all the way over in the Grand Canyon! We travelled through New Orleans, crossed the Mighty Mississippi to stay the night in Baton Rouge, LA on our second day. Day three took us through the soggy south into Texas, where we spent the majority of our travel days - wow, what a huge state Texas is! We were able to spend an entire day touring the beautiful city of San Antonio, a high-light for sure. We passed through El Paso and stopped for some amazing mexican food, then on to Tucson for the night. It was interesting to be in the very city where such a tragedy had taken place the day before. We prayed for the lives of those injured and for the families of those whose lives were lost. But it was a quiet night and we were up the next day to travel on to Sedona, AZ. We were taken by surprise at the beauty there and after a good nights rest, had a blast hiking to rugged, red terrain of the amazing rock formations in Sedona and surrounding areas. We left in the afternoon to make our way to one of the seven natural wonders of the world - the Grand Canyon. Worth mentioning, though, is the incredible scenery between Sedona and the Grand Canyon - very unexpectedly reminiscent of Colorado's Rocky Mountains. Anyway, we made it to the Grand Canyon just in time for the sunset - again, we all exclaimed, WOW! Maddi and Harrison kept saying "is it real?". It was so unbelievably majestic, it almost felt like we were standing in front of a life-sized screen watching a movie. Except for the freezing temperatures, that is! We awoke this morning to a temperature of 9 degrees and by lunch time it has warmed up to a warm 15 degrees! Yes, we are SO cold - that is why I am sitting here writing this instead of taking-in the breathtaking beauty right now! If it were a bit warmer, we would surely be hiking as far down as time would allow! That was the plan...but we are thankful for just being here! So, I'm gonna get off here now and venture back into the cold!
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Well, it was a difficult morning of tearful goodbyes...or "see ya soons" as we preferred to say. Leaving our house of 12 years, the only house the kids remember, was hard. More than anything, though, leaving our loved-ones was very hard. We had our family and a few close friends help us load the last minute things and close-up the truck and trailer. We had an awesome time of prayer and then we hit the road! Our first "crisis" happened about 2 hours into the trip when Frank (one of our three cats with us!) pooped in his cage and we couldn't handle the smell, so we had to make our first stop. We pulled off in Ocala, washed-out the cage and cleaned-up the cat. We made peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and filled-up our gas tank. The traffic was bumper-to-bumper and we heard that since we had pulled-off the road, there had been 4 accidents between Ocala and Gainsville. We immediately gave thanks to the Lord for the timing on Frank's poop! Ha, Ha! Could God have used that incident (as smelly as it was) to keep us from an accident? He sure does move in "mysterious ways"! One more cool thing...we had to stop at the Agricultural Department up here near Tallahassee and they made us pull over to check the U-Haul truck. Of course, Andrew had the chance to share about our mission and where we're headed and the officer was stunned. He gave Andrew a big hug and some incredibly encouraging words - he was a believer and his encouragement came at a very crucial time as Andrew was feeling particularly lonely, missing his family. So, again, God sent a little blessing our way as to say "keep going guys, you're following Me, keep your heads up". God says to "count the cost" when we choose to follow Him - every day we are doing this and yet there are believers around the world that are losing much more, including their lives, are we willing? Thank you for your prayers, we love you guys!!