Sunday, June 5, 2016

Our beginnings...and our new one!

James exhorts us, regarding faith:
“A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

“Gospel Music” is what we’ve always wanted to focus on.
(We’ll define what that term means to us, later, as we go.)

Upon our decision to take a house out of the budget and begin homeschooling, an opportunity to serve in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew arose.  We lived in a big army tent in Homestead among 30 young Guatemalan evangelists and a handful of gringo youth pastors, homeschooling our girls while the Lord schooled us.  Whitt’s former experience (including starting the first food bank in Tucson) made him helpful to the big relief agencies working in the area, which attracted the attention of an erstwhile food bank ministry in Michigan.

We ended up, as events unfolded, as fulltime volunteers, living on donated property in a large, nearly finished house, administrating the non-profit affairs of the corporation, and caring for a widow living in a house on the other side of the 39 beautiful acres of woods and pastures.
We experienced real country life and served alongside a number of true believers as we operated and established church-based food banks around the state.

We began The McKinney Family Washtub Band as the practicum of our daughters’ homeschooling in the area of music and performing arts, performing at churches, outreach coffeehouses, and public gatherings in a part of the country where “gospel music” was widely welcomed everywhere.
Through the kind indulgence of a friend we booked a city park concert series out west and worked our way there playing Christian coffeehouses and churches.

Then our lovely jewels went their various talented ways, as bright children with minds of their own will do.

The Two of us continued, expanding our repertoire, working out a way we could live compactly and earn our way to various family events, seeing old friends along the way.  No matter how far they fled, we could chase our various children down!

We saw the majority of our work as “tent making” in the sense that it provided a means for us to be more available for ministry to long-neglected relationships.

To make our way as a duo, affording our travel to weddings and visits with scattered friends and family, we developed a repertoire of clean, positive songs and comedy that proved very popular. 

Along the way, as time and route would permit, we have always offered our gospel program on a love offering basis.
We’ve done hundreds of shows in 19 states for nine years.  During that same time, we performed at a few dozen churches, across a range of denominations.

We did that for six years, on the road, living in a van.
Then, exhausted and seeking some respite, we stayed “ashore” for three school years, while Judy served as Dean of Girls at a Christian private boarding school.

Then, exhausted and seeking some respite, we went back on the road.
We thought we might settle in Oregon, to be near our daughter and son-in-law, and intended to work our way there (from Michigan) by our usual means.
Having only worked the summer season in Michigan and Indiana for three years, we hadn’t been aware of cutbacks in our two “day jobs.”  By the time we had addressed the Tucson area’s “opportunities,” we could see our goal shifting from arriving safely in Oregon with some money to resettle to making it to Oregon with what we had.

The only kind of music we can afford to bother with, now, is that which might glorify and/or please God and sow/minister to His Kingdom.

When you’re traveling and working, you’re self-employed.
When you’re traveling with no gigs in sight, you’re homeless.

Whitt’s first experience in ministry, 40-odd years ago, was an outreach coffeehouse which grew to include a twice-weekly free meal, a free store, and Tucson’s first food bank.  Then, the fifteen years from Hurricane Andrew to hitting the road, and we have closed the circle by becoming part of the rather large homeless “community” clinging to the edges of Eugene, Oregon, all at one stage or another in the homelessness process.

It’s illegal to sleep in your vehicle, motorhomes included, on any street in Eugene.
We have been blessed, through a chain of acquaintances associated with a church, to have had a place to park and stay every night since we’ve arrived.  Two have included electric plug-in and a bathroom and shower to use nearby.  Unless you’ve tried to live this way, it’s difficult to understand what a huge advantage such thoughtfulness supplies.

So, we begin to search for a new living, and a place to do it we might come to think of as

We’ll let you know how it goes.