Monday, March 25, 2019

#LeapFrogs: A New Town and a New Ministry Idea

While we were in Carlsbad, we explored our next route and destination. We'd originally planned to continue west, but after the Living Desert experience, I found a fun listing on about some statues in the town of Artesia and wanted to check them out.

I fell in love with this town. Everywhere we turned, there was something new that seemed to connect with some aspect of our lives.

Art, architecture, books, history, westerns - everything just seemed to fit.

One of my favorites was this sculpture by artist Vic Payne that shares the story of the oil company these two friends formed over the hood of a Ford truck. So lifelike - I felt I could hear their conversation as I studied them.

Then we found the Vaquero:

On our drive to the library, we discovered this massive sculpture in the middle of the street. I was awed by sculpture as a whole, but when I got out and looked at it up close, I burst into tears - literally.

The fact that the town honors books and encourages reading this way touched me deeply, but then to find that each of the books was actually a book I've read - well, that's when the waterworks started.

When I saw the young girl above, I wondered whether the book she was reading was a real book, too, so I got closer. When I saw the title of the book, I sobbed with joy and amazement.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

If you haven't read it, you must.

Thank you, Artesia, for honoring writers and encouraging readers in such a beautiful way!

We continued roaming around town, and discovered another statue on a corner that created more waterworks for me.

If you've been following our LeapFrogs journey, you know that we're both huge Lonesome Dove fans and we visited the Lonesome Dove collection in San Marcos (you can read about our visit here). This statue in Artesia continued our Lonesome Dove experiences!

We car camped while we were in Artesia and while we were there, a ministry idea developed.

While we've been on the road, one of the most challenging aspects has been finding clean, safe, affordable showers to bathe. We've found several - thankfully - but not nearly as often as I had hoped to find since we're mostly using free camping sites or car camping. Some towns, but not many, have awesome options like YMCA, Kroc Centers, Salvation Army Community Centers, or even regular community centers, where we've found clean and safe showers at affordable rates. Truck stops also offer showers, but paying $12 per person is just not in our budget.

One night as I was going to sleep, my mind flashed back to all the homeless people we've encountered on our journey, and the homeless I've known back home. As I thought about them, I realized that they all had one specific need in common - all needed access to a shower, and very few had it. So then I started thinking of ways to meet that need, and I thought of Jesus washing the disciples' feet (John 13) and realized that the Church could do the same thing - provide clean, safe showers for anyone who needed them.

I'm still formulating the idea and working on a budget for making this an affordable ministry for churches, but soon, I hope to offer more substantial plans for what we are currently calling the LeapFrogs Safe Showers.

(What? You don't create a logo for every idea? Ha!)

I'm not sure yet how feasible my original idea is, so we're exploring other options, but my first thoughts are:

Churches could build a small shower house in a corner of their property that would be monitored and attended by volunteers from the church. The shower house would have two to four rooms in it (depending on budget and size of space). Each room would be a safe bathroom space with a locked door, full walls floor to ceiling, a sink with wide counter space, a large shower (perhaps one or two that are handicap accessible for wheelchairs), and a toilet. Churches could ask for soap, shampoo, towels, washcloths, paper goods, and toiletry donations from members and businesses in the town. The showers would be available on set days and hours, and an attendant would provide access and security.

Like I said earlier, I don't have all the plans spelled out, but that's the general idea.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. I've examined, heard - and understand - all the negative aspects. I'd like to hear your positive thoughts - can-do attitudes! :-)

Recent Posts:
#LeapFrogs: A Desert Experience
#LeapFrogs: Exploring Carlsbad's Treasures
#LeapFrogs: Settling into New Mexico
#LeapFrogs: Change of Terrain and a Midnight Visitor
#LeapFrogs: Covering a Lot of Miles
#LeapFrogs: Holy Ground in Kerrville
#LeapFrogs: History Comes Alive
#LeapFrogs: Johnson City and the LBJ Ranch
#LeapFrogs: From One Pioneer Town to the Next
Finally Heading West and a Glimpse of the Old West
San Marcos and Lonesome Dove
#LeapFrogs on the Move: Austin, Texas
#LeapFrogs on the Move: San Antonio!
#LeapFrogs on the Move: On the Way to San Antonio
#LeapFrogs on the Move: Rockport and Mathis
#LeapFrogs on the Move: Kemah, Houston, Wharton
#LeapFrogs on the Road: Fort Anahuac Texas
Technology on the Road
Crossing Louisiana
From Alabama through Mississippi
First Leg of our #LeapFrog Journey
Preparing for Camping on a Long Road Trip
The Beginning of a Dream Realized

Recent Posts from TMP Books:

Get your #LeapFrogs Merchandise here:


Suzy said...

Wow. I'm definitely adding Artesio to my "Someday" list. As for the showers, I think that would certainly fill a need. One option to consider might be moveable shower trailers. Several members of my church have been trained through the SBC's Disaster Releif program to man the trailers that are sent out to wherever needed. I believe each unit builds their own trailers based on plans provided by Disaster Relief. Another route may be to motivate churches w existing facilities to offer them to the public at certain times. I know my church has locker rooms that are rarely used for anything but storage.

Tracy Ruckman said...

Shower trailers! What a great idea. I'll have to check into that.

Yes, I had actually thought about the larger churches that have activity centers - thinking they might already have everything in place to offer this ministry. Wonder what else a church would need to know to start a ministry like this if they already have the showers in place?

Thanks, Suzy!