Imagine this: What if who you thought was serving you was transformed into you serving them?
I’ve heard it in the hair dressing chair many times over….those who are waiters usually don’t love their job. And yes, some do, but usually it seems to be because it’s darn hard to please every single person through the shift. Especially when they (we) put such high demands on them, only to leave you with an average tip.
On our trip, we’ve found (when the fridge is empty) it’s cheaper to go out to a sit down meal verses fast food. IHOP is having a ‘kids eat free from 4-6 this month’! Some would argue its better for you, I’d say it depends on what you are ordering.
Most often there is a quick hello, then order, eat and we are off. Well, this trip we have taken a different rout. And one I know over the years, I have failed at. Getting to know the waiters and those serving you, more easily done if you dine before the dinner rush.
Ask them how there day is, smile at them (even if they don’t.) Show them you realize this may not be their life long dream job, or somehow they got stuck in this position…. Show them, you see them. If you are a Christian….we should always take the opportunity while we have the time to really show our kindness, as they serve.
In the past, I have failed. But what if we took the waiters and waitresses and said. I see you. What is your name? How’s it going tonight? OR as my husband does, usually gives them a word, (always shocked) they seem to want to know more or how you knew that. It usually ends up in prayer and an exchange of numbers. In this exchange our kids usually give them big hugs which usually ends up in smile and tears.
We were at a small diner in Georgia. A young girl was having a meal before her shift. We didn’t know she worked there, but we did notice she had a cast from the upper thigh down to her lower ankle. Charles of course asked to pray for her. She was delighted and pulled up a chair explaining that she sprained it while dancing. As we started praying our waitress was bringing the drinks. We could see she also started praying in the background. As Charles was finishing up his prayer, she was in tears. She was so happy we took the time to pray. She felt tingling in her leg and it seemed to be better!!!! WOW. Does prayer really work? Well, the next day (Halloween Night) we went back. The two girls were there. Along with a Zombie married couple (a little older then Charles and I) who didn’t seem to want to get out of character and talk. It was interesting, but kind of spooky as well. As we asked how the girls were doing Charles asked if he could pray for a co-workers eyes. I wish I had gotten a shot of it, but I just felt the moment was for the Lord. Picture this. A Zombie married couple sitting down at the barstools to eat, watching Charles pray for this young mans eyes. Hmmmmm. It was a sight to see. Dillon’s eyes got better and we all left with smiles on our faces. Oh and the girl,……she did not have her cast on.
12ish years ago Charles and I went on a Honey Moon to Cozumel Mexico. We felt so very privileged to have this amazing all inclusive trip paid for so we could enjoy each other as one. However day 1 or maybe even day 2, we were like, “Is this it?” All the buffet food and luxury self pampering items were great, but in a way very unfulfilling.
He had just been serving our country overseas and myself fresh home from a missions trip to Africa when we got engaged and we knew our life would somehow always be apart of sharing God’s love. A trip can be entertaining until the sun goes down and after, but for us… there was something missing. What if every part of your life was like a missions trip or a trip with a mission? A never ending treasure hunt with God the Father.
We travel around from house to house and share God's love both privately and publicly. So we DRIVE. Literally in our case. As we take our kids on a journey of a lifetime that only two might remember. We know that cultivating a life style of being present, aware and intentional is taking root in our kids, even Hannah. Some might think that a 2 year old is too young to remember anything, but we believe she has something growing in her that will last a lifetime.
As we go here and there even little Hannah joins in on our conversations. She practically starts them all. As we talk with the people in our path, she always seals it with a huge exhilarating “Bye Bye!” or a hug, high five and or a pound.
We’ve slept at KOAs, random RV parks, friends side yards, Wal-Mart parking lots, etc. We explored malls, McDonalds, sites, churches, and friends homesteads.
There are many stories, but these are the few that stood out to us…
Although, there was no great healing in this story….I’d love to share. I (Charles) had a word for a girl working in a mens clothing boutique in Chattanooga Tennessee. She was so surprised and delighted that someone took note of her. Her eyes lit up as this random family walked in and shared something about her life only she would know (Only God could reveal). It was so special. We held her hands and lifted her and her questions up in prayer. That day was a turning point in her Faith and we blessed her and were off.
I (BreAnne) had the privilege to pray for a girl at a RV park. She shared with us her story. There was so much sorrow in her eyes as her mistakes were evident. Life can be full of shoulda coulda wouldas. She gladly held my hands as we cried out for healing of addiction in a desperate attempt to grab the good in a moment. This girl was brought up in a wonderful home, just dabbled in drugs a bit after, which led to a lifestyle of chaos and destruction.
One day I (Charles) had gone to McDonalds to get some work done. As I was attempting to seclude myself in the corner to be productive a guy named Jerome was almost shouting his story to the guy next to him his story. He was explaining how he had always wanted to be a Navy SEAL except for the fact that he didn’t have hearing in his right ear. Its funny how when you make yourself available to do God’s work, opportunities like this are highlighted all around you. So after punching the computer for 10 minutes I made my way over to the guy and quickly asked to pray for hearing to come back in his ear. He excitedly said Yes, please, and that he was a Christian too, and that he has been wanting to grow more in his faith, and that its crazy I asked him that, and what he just read in the bible and a few other things. So we got to praying, I must admit, I have never seen someone healed of being deaf, but that doesn’t matter. His hearing was restored halfway with one prayer, and with the second prayer he had full hearing in his right ear! Just then I felt like someone needed prayer for their right hip bone, so I asked him if his hip hurt, he said no. So we asked the employees behind the counter, they said no. Then behind us, a girl yelled, “did you say right hip?” I said yes and she said that it was her. So we prayed and her pain left. Needless to say that McDonalds had no shortage of excitement.
Our trip lead us to have a dinner with some family members of some close friends in Asheville, NC. It was a crazy connection across the United States and some good stories. Hey, we even learned things about our friends that we had never known before. Unimaginable things about them only family would know! But that's neither here nor there. We did get to use our new oil from God to pray for her recent illness and we are believing for a full healing! Small World it is.
Please join us this year as we share our hearts through this journey. We want to share God's love and we hope to stir up excitement in one's Faith, the one we are touching and the reader. We feel that we have been called to travel and our Country to touch, encourage and love the people who live in it. Our life's adventures has aloud us to take some time and do what some have called nuts, crazy, brave and some inspirational. We know that not all have this on their heart and the world would not go around it they did, but for now....follow us and do what you do best... make a difference where you are.
So often we just pass through these places on the Freeway and Highway and always wonder what it would be like to live there? Or who actually does live there. How would they live there? Are they not bored out of their minds? As our journey has taken us to these small towns, some by mistake and some purposely we have found a uniqueness in each one.
As Charles and I went up the switchbacks of RattleSnake Highway and down again only to go back up again it was getting dark. We didn’t make it as far as we wished so we decided to pull over and make our stop for the night. We actually didn’t know this, but the rest of the ride down was probably the most beautiful and safest part of our entire journey.
It entered into a town of 40! Yes 40 people. We passed through there looking for the nearest mom and pop breakfast shop. This was the cutest little town. Many people taking pride in what they own and what they do. They all seemed to be in a state of rest and satisfaction. We ended up at the Red Rooster Café. A lovely little place. We shared what we were doing with our waitress and she immediately started crying. The Spirit must have come upon her. A very precious moment we will cherish. It seems that people everywhere are eager to see America change for the better.
As we finally entered Idaho, we stopped by the home of a team guy friend from Charles’ Navy days. We shared stories, prayed, laughed and seemed to bring the joy of Jesus with us. We again fell in love with their three HUGE dogs and their son. We met their extended family and did church on Sunday.
I (Bre) ran after a woman in the WalMart Parking lot, after seeing her truck. A large picture of her son was placed on the back. Date of Death in war. SO sad. I prayed the Lord would allow me to bump into her naturally, and so it happedened. I was going in for what I needed and there she was. We exchanged stories, and prayed. She was a strong woman. She said she was not a strong mom before she lost her son, but she was now. She runs a non profit in Post Falls Idaho in honor of her son, who left the world in his twenties.
Woman who worked at the dump/gas station. I asked her about her life and specifically about her tattoo wrapped around her neck. She said, all of her tattoos are in honor of her husband who took his life. 12 years together, and three children. It happened three years ago, but to her it still seemed like yesterday… We held hands and prayed. Tears rolled down her face, as we both cried out for inner healing and strength to provide for her children and be strong for them.
We also had phone difficulties with Charles’ phone. It took us to the goVerizon store in Boise. As the guy who was helping us a word of encouragement came to me about his father. Since there were so many people in the room I asked him to come outside with me. When no one could hear, I told him that his whole life he has been seeking to please his father, but to no avail. Shocked he said, “I have never met my father”. So we got to talk about how God in heaven is our Father and the best example of how a father should be. Praise the Lord for trusting us with sensitive items like that. To keep things honorable we didn’t take a picture.
Small encounters in small towns. Seems to be we are here to be intentional to those who need internal peace along our way while we stay or just passing through in our day. As we travel with a heart for America, these encounters are what we are depending on to affect our country in a positive way. These stories are all around us. As we ask questions (and listen), it opens doors and hearts, to those who might just need a hug, healing, or just to know someone cares. There are people out there who won't go get help, we want to find them!
Don’t underestimate taking your time for small talk. Sometimes in that very moment - the one in front of you could have a great encounter, healing.
We’ve set out. Leaving it all behind. Our family, our friends, our business, our homeschool co-op, our church, our routine and way of life. All to seek and find what this new adventure is calling us to. To help those in need. To be the change we want to see in America (not just talk about it). To give hope where hope is needed, to give love where love is needed. One little starfish at a time.
So we walked through the empty rooms of our house one last time, said good bye to the sticks and paint we’ve lived in for 8 years and left. That was 7 days ago.
Since then we’ve experienced white knuckled driving, unexpected stops and the life distractions of not having a routine with 4 kids. Being missionaries to America is humbling. It reminds me of Jesus’ words, “foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” Luke 9:58.
Yes, we expected this discomfort. We knew a life of traveling wasn’t going to bring the comforts we gave up. We know that it would be replaced with a comfort of following a calling on our family. Like we told our friends at our going away party, “we are more scared not to go than to go.” If no one felt called to leave, we would all still be in Spain thinking the earth was flat. But to follow your calling in most cases will cause you to be uncomfortable and humbled by the task. In our case we are learning to slow down, be present and shed the layers of distraction from the important things. As we travel, we’ve giving items away realizing we just don’t need them.
The words of doubt surround us with each set back and difficulty in transition. Can you really unite America? Is there really any good you can bring to people when you have no material possessions to give? Can you bring others joy? Peace? Hope?
To be honest, it doesn’t feel like it. We have nothing but our house on wheels…. Jesus and following His mighty lead. He says that in our weakness then we are strong. So in this I will choose to believe. In Him I will choose to have my hope. In his presence will I find my strength, His Joy, His Peace and His Hope.
Do I believe that? Maybe it doesn’t matter whether I believe it or not. What matters is if I am where I’m suppose to be when I’m suppose to be there. That’s how you follow a calling.
We invite you to come with us on our journey. As an extension of the great nonprofit Misson Force, you can follow our blog at Charlesandbre.com or Instagram at places_we_have_never_been. Be encouraged! See you out there!
- Charles Crouch
In response we are on day 2 of staying at a beautiful home, parked out front on their paved flat driveway. Chickens running wild and a little orange kitten. This couple came running out to us in the Costco parking lot. They knew we were looking for a place stay the night boondocking at a Walmart or Cabellas parking lot. We were not sure if the one we were near was in a safe location. So we asked, them at the Costco food court…just recently moving to the area as well, they did not know.
This beautiful Mama of three ran out to our RV as we were leaving and asking if we’d like to come stay for a while, and of course we said yes. Her smile screamed safety and comfort for a few nights.
Charles doesn’t know this yet, but yes we actually are at this very home for a purpose. Charles gave a word to a friend of theirs that was spot on and totally encouraged them and lifted their spirits in hope for their Faith. I knew about this guy, but Charles didn’t and the Lord gave him a word and a sympathy pain for his left hand. I believe that we may have been here for him and this family as well. You see they are 4 weeks new to this town as well and needed encouragement in Faith and Friendship. That happened. The bond between our two families in such a short time is priceless.
Sometimes it might be a passing word or a prayer, but sometimes its a longer stay to find trust in the words we say.
You take one family, throw them out of their comfort zone. You take another family willing to share their comforts and you get invaluable time spent together. Meals, stories and children all around laughing playing and finding new comforts that bring peace to the Soul.
Openness and time (slowing down) are so valuable in lifting spirits and bonding hearts.
Written by BreAnne Crouch
Our house is sold and we are going! We are sorting through every single item we have ever owned! Which is SO very draining! Especially with four little kiddos! What do we keep, throw away and give to others. We will always know (from now on), that helping out with little ones while sorting your "stuff" out, is so important. If you know anyone that does not have that help be sure to watch their kids. It's amazing how much faster you can "get the job done." We didn't have that help, but we had some friends help move the big stuff around, which was super helpful. Thank you!
There were a few moments where I (Bre) felt numb to what actually had to be done. It's like I couldn't move or think. The task was to overwhelming for me. I'm not sure why because as a Mom we multitask "until the sun goes down."
There were a couple of friends during this LONG process that stepped in to get things moving, literally. Thank you.
There were those who offered to help as well, thank you.
Moving forward. We slept in the RV for the second night. The first night was for fun because we wanted to try it out. I (Bre) ended up back in our house, in bed. It's so weird,...all of our family snores, but one???? (wink) I know I do, but when you are the last to fall asleep, you don't, okay.
Last night was the second night we slept in our RV parked right out front of our (no longer) home. This night was a must. All of our sleeping arrangements are no longer available. I slept on the RV couch and Hannah and Daddy took up the entire bed. As we transition to mobile living we will all have to make sacrifices, mine just might be sleep.