Life on the Road: A Church Planter's Perspective
By Carl Spruill
As I sit here in the corner of my hotel room where I have carved out a quiet area to make phone calls, desperately seeking itinerant services, I see my daughter restlessly watching television. She is restless because she wants so badly to be outside, or to play with her brothers. But her brothers can’t play; they are huddled over a hotel desk doing schoolwork. In another area of the room, my wife sits on a bed with schoolbooks and lesson plans spread in front of her while she is busy writing numerous thank you notes and tending to countless other tasks.
This scenario has become our daily routine. As I consider this new normal, I often find myself pondering a couple of questions: Is this going to work out? How will we ever raise all the monthly commitments we need? Are we doing the right thing? These questions are not unique to me or to my family. They are questions we all tend to ask when we must rely on faith. The step of faith we have taken honestly feels more like a giant leap.
Our journey to Kan?ohe, Hawaii, has led us to make some difficult decisions after much prayer and evaluation. We pulled our children out of traditional school so we may remain together and travel as a family. My wife quit her job to homeschool our kids. We have sold nearly everything we own to hit the road, raising support for a call we sincerely feel God has placed in our hearts.
We own five suitcases, a small storage unit of boxes, and a minivan. We live on the road and stay with family as often as we can. Otherwise, we move from one hotel to the next. While we have been criticized for this, we truly feel it is right for our family, a part of the process God has asked of us. We do this to raise awareness of the desperate need for the gospel in the Hawaiian Islands. We do this to raise financial support to get there.
Although we have put together a team to plant churches in Hawaii, we don’t exactly see each other often. Being away from teammates, families, and friends has sometimes left us feeling isolated. Yet during this time of isolation, God has taught me—and is still teaching me—we are never alone. We do not do this alone, nor can we do this in our own power. God reminded me of the Hawaiian word kakou, which means we are all in this together. It has been a comfort to share our endeavors with churches and individuals because of their support, encouragement, and prayer. We have family and friends with us wherever we go, because we are the Body of Christ. This truth is all the love, fellowship, and family we need.
Along with this peace and comfort, the Lord reminded me of the very core of missions while I was reading Romans 10:15: “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.”
We are the Church, and we are in this together—one Body, one Family. No matter where we go during our life on the road, we are never alone. You and God are there with us.
About the Writer: Carl Spruill is grandson of Luther Sanders, now deceased, who planted the first Free Will Baptist church in the Hawaiian Islands. The Spruills are currently raising support to start a second church on the island he calls home. Learn more about the Hawaiian team at www.fwbnam.com.