We bought our minivan 11 years ago, shortly after our daughter turned one year old. We wanted to have more kids, and knew that a larger vehicle (besides our Ford Tempo and Honda Civic) would be more practical.
We had lots of good reasons for wanting to buy a minivan. With seven seats, we pictured driving around our kids, and their friends. We imagined packing up the vehicle for a week’s vacation at the beach, and we dreamed of visiting family, as far north as Indiana and as far south as Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
We had a lot of plans for this vehicle. But we didn’t expect the costs, and we sure didn’t expect the many, many blessings.
The Long Hard Road
We purchased our
maroon purple 1999 Plymouth Grand Voyager used, with 29,000 miles on it. Until the end of December 2010, we averaged about 1000 miles per month – fewer initially, and more as we used up airline miles and plane tickets became more expensive.
But, starting in January 2011 — when we started our adventure in Allendale — we now put almost 1500 miles per month on it! That’s 52,000 miles on our minivan in less than 3 years (it now has 173,000 miles on it).
All that wear and tear means more maintenance, more frequent tire replacement, more gas, and ultimately it costs us more money.
A Great Road Trip
Mostly, we’ve put so many miles on our vehicles because we live in The Middle of Nowhere. Most shopping requires at least 100 miles of round-trip travel. And we’ve been intentional to get out of town regularly as a family (or just my wife and I), in order to reconnect and recharge.
But some of these 1000’s of miles are because of ways that we’ve been able to lovingly serve kids and students.
- We’ve taken kids on day trips to the movies, parks, the beach, and more.
- We were part of a caravan of cars headed to a Valentine’s Day dinner.
- We’ve taken teenagers to the mountains, college visits and recruiting trips, and football camps.
- And we were able to help some elementary kids experience sleep away camps in Greenville and Aiken.
And we will never forget the college intern who helped us at our first summer camp. Every morning, she drove our minivan to pick up four black children and two homeless white children who lived far out of town — and who would have had no other way to get to the Club. (As a staff member, I was barred from driving members.)
When we bought our minivan, we never imagined these blessings. We never dreamed about the ways that God would bless us and others through something as simple as a purple vehicle.
We are thankful and humbled by God’s plan and provision.