We left my house at 4:30 pm for Wauchula which should have only taken us and hour and 45 minutes. Well, four hours later we arrived. I'm not kidding. Seriously.
We got Mapquest directions. NEVER AGAIN!
We followed them exactly but one important part was left out. We ended up near Kissimmee. (Stop laughing!) We drove for almost 4 hours straight aside from getting gas THREE (count 'em three) times. I am not kidding. I just prayed that my honorarium (if I actually arrived and got one) would cover the cost of my gas! (It did.)
So there Cathy and I sat after driving through some serious country, in front of a DUDE RANCH. Yes, a dude ranch. I called Larry and said, "honey, we are not in the right place. Please look this up on the internet and tell me where we are. He googled it and said, "ooohhhh babe, you are really far away..." I freaked. Service was supposed to start in 30 minutes and he said I was at least an hour away. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME IN 21 YEARS OF MINISTRY!!! I have never missed a meeting, nor been late. I was horrified.
We tried to call the pastor's wife and the church but got no answer. Larry didn't know how to tell me to get turned around to get there. We just started for the opposite direction that we had been coming and kept calling the church and finally got an answer. They gave us directions but it still took another hour and a half to get there! Service started at 7 pm, but we didn't arrive til' 8:30 pm. By the time we got there, they had done praise and worship, had their food and fellowship time, announcements, and they had introduced me (without me being there!) I walked in at 8:35, after having been on the road 4 hours, and got up and preached. (After profusely apologizing.) They laughed so hard when I told them where we had ended up. Amazingly not one person had left during all this time! They had stayed and were very hungry for what the Lord had for them and said, "we know God has something amazing for us with all that you went through to get here." They were right!
Service went awesome and they were such a wonderful group of ladies. God moved around the altar and women were really touched.
They gave Cathy and I amazing directions home that we only had to make two turns to get there although it took just a little longer than and hour and a half. We were both starving but we were out in the boondocks with NOTHING around, and certainly no food place late at night. We stopped to get gas at a place and got a sandwich out of the fridge there, sat at a little table in there and ate it before getting back on the road. And then we drove home, the majority of time on a dark country road with no lights, no houses, no companies, no NOTHING but flat road and darkness (and rain too...) We both remarked, "can you believe we have been to so many places like this in Florida? Who knew there were so many?" I mean places where you drive for miles and there is not so much as a gas station or anything in sight. Usually we see cows or something like that but tonight there weren't even any animals, I mean there was NOTHING, sometimes for 20-30 miles!
On the way home Cathy talked to Tom to tell him about our adventure and he said, "Do you realize you guys were driving so long you could have gone to Georgia? Or even the Keys? Well now that you put it THAT way I feel even more embarrassed about getting lost for 4 hours on what should have been a 1 and 1/2 hour trip! But it's all good. We had a great time in God and they said, "well Pastor Deanna, NEXT TIME you'll know how to get here!" The pastor's wife (Debbie Lecocq) said, "Next time you come, I'm giving you the grand tour!" I was pretty impressed that after being late, they actually want there to be a next time!
I can't wait to go back sometime...they are a terrific group of people.
I walked in the door at 1:15 am and heard Savanna say, "Momma, come in my room". She had been laying there for a few hours and didn't sleep real well, and heard me come in. "Come sit with me and hug me..." she said. (If Teeb didn't also need me, I'd have just snuggled up in her bed and gone to sleep...)