Family Ministry Trip – 2016

On the pier, Bradenton, FL 2016

We’ve had an amazing time on the 2016 Family Ministry Trip!  This year, thanks to the Gray / Ready Family, we anchored our stay in Bradenton, FL. We appreciated your generous hospitality!

The Family Ministry Trips began about three years ago.  We wanted to create an avenue for our daughters to visit and serve in other churches and ministry settings, sharing music.  Though we do music in several settings with Harvest Ministry, we decided to invest a couple weeks each Spring setting up similar ministry events for the whole family.

Our first stop this year was in White House, TN where we led music for an Awana Closing Party.  It was a great, energetic evening of music, devotion and fun.  Ruby played mandolin and did motions and harmony along with me.  Suzanne and Macy played games and helped with the media during the presentation.  We appreciated the hospitality of the church and Francie Trostle!

Also, during our brief stop in Nashville, TN, we toured the Gnome Studios (Thanks, Chase), ran into Remedy Drive Band and visited Blake at Belmont University.

Singing at Magnolia Manor in Macon, GA 2016

The next day was a long one – we left early in the morning to make it to Macon, GA for an event that afternoon.  The people at Magnolia Manor were incredibly hospitable and warm!  Macy helped do some of the songs, Ruby sang, played mandolin, violin and bells along with me.  Afterwards, we talked with folks for about 30 minutes before leaving.

By this point, the most often asked question was about school.  One of the many benefits of home education is the flexibility.  They worked extremely hard to complete most subjects and come to a good stopping point before this trip.  Additionally, we brought some school work with us to do during our days off.  However, probably more important than books is that of traveling, learning, and growing in connections with people and the church.

We arrived at the condo that evening – after a long day of driving.

The next day and a half we explored the area and spent time at the beach.

Singing at Terra Ceia UMC – Terra Ceia, FL

On Sunday morning, we sang at the church in beautiful Terra Ceia.  This small church has been led by Pastor Don for 30 years!  It’s a wonderful congregation that reaches out to those who live in the historical and quiet Terra Ceia Island. People pulled up to the church on golf carts and they were so friendly. Every single person welcomed us, the pastor’s wife walked around with a really calm service dog who greets everyone, and they gave both Ruby and Macy stuffed bears.  It was a wonderful service.  Ruby sang, played violin and bells along with me.  We had a great lunch at Norma Raes with a family who was originally from Benton, IL.  Thanks Pastor Don and to the congregation – we appreciated your hospitality and generosity.

The Family Ministry Trips are a mix of fun and serving – and really, that’s what life should be.  Since we were so close, we took a day to travel over to Magic Kingdom.  It was perfect weather and we got to see my brother, Jedd.  It was also good to connect with Marlie at Chef Mickey’s!

Worship in Wauchula, FL
Worship in Wauchula, FL

Wednesday morning was regular schedule with school work, office work and lunch in the condo.  That afternoon, we headed to Wauchula, FL to sing. Wauchula is a wonderful little community in central Florida that was hit hard by a hurricane in 2004. Many of the businesses and homes that were destroyed were never rebuilt.  The church stands in the middle of town and reaches out each Wednesday evening with a free meal for anyone who would like to attend, followed by classes and groups for parents and kids.  That evening, we did a concert following the meal and it was a wonderful evening of worship and connection.  Thanks, Danielle, Stuart, and the Wauchula congregation!  Keep up the good work.

The following day included a trip to the DeSoto National Park and some down time.  On Friday, we sang in two retirement communities in Bradenton, FL. It was great to be with the folks from Waters Edge Resort and The Woodlands.  Thanks for inviting us, Lisa and Chris.  During these events, Ruby and I sang several songs and Macy joined us on motions for a couple songs.  The people there loved having kids share music – something they don’t see very often, evidently!

Water Edge Retirement Community, Bradenton
A picture of one of the posters at Water Edge


Saturday was spent at the Mote Aquarium in Sarasota, lunch at the Salty Dog and looking for sea shells.

On Sunday, we led worship and preached at Braden River UMC in Bradenton.  Thanks Pastor Jeff for inviting us to be a part worship on Mother’s Day.  It was great to be with you and your congregation.  Thanks for your generosity and hospitality.  Following worship, we had a Mother’s Day lunch back at the condo and that evening, connected again with Uncle Jedd for supper.

Monday and Tuesday, we wrapped up the trip with some free time at the beach, bike riding and packing.

I give God praise for His faithfulness as we got to experience ministry together in this special way!

Click to see several Facebook pictures here…

Ruby at Disney Springs.
Music in White House, TN
Magic Kingdom trip
Anna Maria Island
Ruby and Macy on the beach
Swimming, Bradenton, FL


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