We have been on the road for just about two months and this past week I was experiencing my first pangs of homesickness. I wasn't homesick for our house, as our camper feels like home to me, but I sure was homesick for family. The first part of our trip was filled with visiting family in Florida and Texas. It wasn't until we got to Colorado and had NO family around us or near us that I began to feel homesick. Our oldest daughter Karin lives in Montana as her husband is an officer in the USAF. Being a military family, she has missed out on a lot of family get togethers because all of our family lives on the East Coast and the military life has always caused her to live out west. I thought of her and the sacrifices she and her family have made serving our country. I was experiencing the same feelings she has experienced over the years..the feelings of being so far away from our family on the East Coast. Don't get me wrong...I love Colorado and love having the opportunity to serve the Lord through Soaring Wings but at the same time, I miss my people! So...what does all this have to do with a Bright Pink Bag? At the beginning of our trip Ed and I prepared some colorful nylon bags to hand out to homeless people that we would run into during our travels. In these bags were some personal hygiene items, food, note paper, pens,a devotional tract on John 3:16 etc. The dark blue bags were for the men and the Bright Pink Bags were for the ladies. One afternoon I was walking around by myself in downtown Fort Collins while Ed was getting his haircut at a local barber shop. I saw a lady sitting on a bench...she had a box beside her and also a cat on a leash. She was homeless. I walked past her several times as that same old feeling of being uncomfortable approaching a homeless person remains with me. I didn't have any Bright Pink Bag to give to her as they were all in the truck and I didn't have the truck keys with me. Finally I ignored my feelings of being uncomfortable and walked up to her and said hi and asked her about her cat. She was quick to tell me all about him (I love how animals are such an icebreaker! That is why we will have animals at Soaring Wings!). I asked her if she could use some cat food for her cat and she said yes. I told her if I could find some to buy that I would bring her cat some food. She said that would be great. I walked around Old Town Fort Collins but couldn't find any store that sold cat food. I went back to the Barber Shop and told Ed I needed the keys for the truck so I could get a Bright Pink Bag out for a lady that I had spoken to. I got the Bright Pink Bag and took it to her lady. I told her I couldn't find any cat food but that I had this Pink Bag for her and hoped that it might help her out. She said thank-you and I told her I'd still look for some cat food for her cat. I took another route back to the barber shop and on this route I found a pet store. This pet store in Fort Collins had the most expensive cat food that I had ever seen! But I bought her cat two cans of cat food some cat treats. After Ed was finished with his haircut we took the bag of cat food to the lady. She was so appreciative and said that her cat would love the treats! A few days later, Ed and I were walking around downtown Fort Collins again and I saw the lady and her cat sitting on the bench again and this time she had a Bright Pink Bag sitting on the bench next to her. We were walking a short distance away from her but the homeless lady and I made eye contact with each other and we both waved with a smile and said a friendly "Hi" to each other. Ed and I later stopped and asked her how she and her cat were doing. She said they were both fine and that her cat loved the treats I had given her. I realized that I no longer felt uncomfortable approaching this homeless lady. I realized that I felt happy that she now had a Bright Pink Bag as part of her possessions. I also realized that I had made a friend in downtown Fort Collins and that my friend was a homeless lady with a cat. I also realized that reaching out to someone, in stepping out of my comfort zone and in giving a lady a Bright Pink Bag that my homesickness had been eased tremendously.
We are excited to be on our two month road trip! Ed officially retired on January 31st and we are taking this trip to visit with relatives, to give Ed a chance to transition from working full time, to spend time with each other, to grow closer to God and to purchase some property in Colorado for Soaring Wings Ministries. We have traveled from New Hampshire to Florida where we visited with our son and Ed's mother. After warming up in 80 degree weather we left Florida and traveled to Texas where we visited with my relatives. We are making our way out of Texas and will be in Colorado by the middle of this week. Our goal is to find a piece of property that we can purchase as a home for Soaring Wings Ministries. It would be wonderful if we could return to New Hampshire knowing where "home" will be for us and Soaring Wings Ministries. We plan to return to New Hampshire in April, get our house on the market to sell and permanently move to Colorado by the end of the summer. Being on the road together is a very wonderful experience...I love the adventure of it all and also the simplicity of it. While on the road Ed and I have been having a Bible Study together. We are looking at Bible Characters whose lives were changed from having a relationship with Jesus. After their lives were changed they were instrumental in sharing Jesus with others. Prior to knowing Jesus they were broken, lost and hurting people. We know that people will arrive at Soaring Wings broken, lost and hurting and our prayer is that while at Soaring Wings they will come to know Jesus. We believe that only Jesus can heal, only Jesus can save, and only Jesus can change lives. Please be in prayer for these people who will be coming to Soaring Wings. Pray for their safety. Pray that they will have enough food to eat. Pray for them to have hope and pray that their hearts will be open to knowing about Jesus. We know that Jesus loves them and wants to change their lives just like He changed the lives of hurting, lost people in the Bible. Thank-you for praying for us. Thank-you for supporting us. Your prayers and your support gives us strength to keep moving forward to Colorado and the work He has for us to do there.
Anita Rennells is the author of this blog. She and her husband have moved to Colorado when Ed retired and are in the process of opening a ranch to help homeless young adults.
Soaring Wings Ministries