Three years ago, God put it on our heart that we were to move into a camper as “full-timers”. We didn’t know much about this particular lifestyle, but we were excited to discern Gods leadership in this direction. And so, our journey began. We purchased a 26 foot Dutchman Travel Trailer with a super slide. Having grown up camping in tents and a 6’X 9’ pop-up 1960 Nimrod camper, we thought we were moving into a “mansion”.
Our first year was an adventure. We laughed about the night we flooded the camper because we had closed the gray water tank accidentally. We laughed when the night temperature dropped to 25 degrees and we ran out of propane. We laughed at ourselves as the seasoned full-timers discovered some of our “new to the life-style” mistakes. It was all an adventure, and God kept our sense of humor sharpened.
During our second year we felt seasoned in the ways of the camping experience, and began to enjoy the status of “belonging”. God opened many ministry opportunities as we made friends among the other campers
who came and went here at Williston Crossings. We were among the very few who stayed year-round, and so we became “fixtures.” This meant we were available when a family came to stay while their new-born infant was being treated at a local hospital. We were able to assist a family when their home burned and they stayed at the campground during repairs. God allowed us to meet, pray with, and encourage many couples who came for 6 months at a time while one of them underwent cancer treatments at local hospitals. There were those friends who came to our park having been married many years, but left after the death of a beloved spouse. God allowed us to be instruments of His peace during those difficult times.
Year three began with anticipation of new things ahead. My husband retired from full-time pastoral ministry, we both were teaching at a Christian school down the road, and we began to travel more often, visiting in churches all over the state of Florida. We sensed that change was in the air…and our camping adventure was beginning to conclude. Restlessness began nettling our hearts that perhaps it was time to move into more conventional housing during the up-coming school year. We began to refer to our camper as “the box” and knew that our full-time status was soon to conclude. Still, we worked on our flower gardens, landscaping, and little place in the woods. There were yet things we needed to understand about our full-timer experience. And so, we continued until we had completed our third year.
Today is our last day here in our camper. With confidence, we know that God will use this experience in our future ministries. But for now, we will be leaving the beautiful Williston Crossings RV Resort to live temporarily in a small apartment in Dunnellon, Florida. We are referring to this apartment as “our big camper.” We can only guess what God wants to do in our lives in this new place we will call home.
When the Bible instructs us to “Trust in the Lord with all [our] heart and lean not to [our] own understanding, in all [our] ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct [our] paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6), we can depend on Him to do just that. So stay tuned on the new adventures of Hales in Ministry in Dunnellon, Florida.