Yesterday we drove 16 hours from Texas back to Minnesota. The annual Homestead Fair in Waco attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year, so we thought it would be a good place to host a Gather & Grow event and connect with our southern region newsletter readers. And connect them with each other.
The friendly folks at Homestead Heritage set us up with a gathering spot right in the middle of this festive weekend complete with barn raising, sheep herding, woodworking, sourdough baking, horse farming, fiber arts, concerts, food… And honestly that barely scratches the surface!
Most of what we did at the fair was walk from one great conversation into another great conversation. Our whole family had visited earlier this summer when Rory was invited to speak at their annual conference, so much of our time felt like sweet reunions with dear friends.
And good friends came with us too! The Puetz clan brought their RV down from Minnesota and parked it right on the fairgrounds.
We sometimes shared rides in our van, turning it into quite the clown car!
I think my very favorite parts were the concerts we took in. We have watched the Homestead concerts on YouTube before, but it was so special to be there in person!
On Saturday we held our Gather & Grow regional event in the newly rebuilt Cafe Homestead. We hear so often of newsletter readers who would love to make it to a gathering Minnesota, but are too far away.
This gathering was our attempt to help remedy that. We connected with families who are supporting the ministry as well as helping to connect like-minded families with each other. About 30 families came from all over: Colorado, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, and of course Texas.
The fair was wonderful, but the thing that makes Homestead Heritage so special are the people who make up this congregation. While there we stayed with a host family we had never met before. For seven days. Let that sink in! All eight of us lived in another family’s home for an entire week, and it was a joy. (And we think they would say the same!) The conversations were rich and dear friends were made. Here they made Cajun gumbo with potato salad that will not soon be forgotten.
We left with our hearts full and eager for the next time we all may meet again. We set out at 6am to begin our drive straight up I-35. The kids were fantastic, except for Abel who had a bone to pick with his carseat the whole state of Iowa. But we powered through, and everyone was tucked in by midnight.
And now the kids are upstairs playing Grovestead Heritage Fair. For a penny each you can split wood, shoot a barnyard animal, get your hair done, iron a hanky, stamp a coin and I was told while getting my hair done that tonight there will be a concert led by the youth choir.