Our family has been involved with Labor of Love since before it had a name, when it was just a dream. It has changed our life in ways more profound than words can express. We have three children, now 10, 11, and 12, whose perspective on their responsibilities, their capabilities, and their opportunities in life are rooted first in our faith, and second, in the association we have with our Labor of Love, Red Bus A friends. When we serve others, we serve God, and we come to know ourselves and our countrymen at our best.
Two years ago, in August 2011, I went (on my own with the blessing and encouragement of my family) to Israel for 10 days, where I met a group of people aboard Red Bus A whose continued involvement in our lives I cherish. Together, we walked where Jesus walked, and we ‘stood with courage’ in support of a cause we believed in, and we experienced miracles together that created a lifetime bond. It could have been just a trip, a vacation half-way around the world, but it was meant to be more. I went there praying to have a clearer understanding of what we could DO to affect the world and our life for the better. What evolved became Labor of Love.
Shortly after returning home, a friend from Red Bus A, Shelley, and I began promoting the idea of a reunion – somewhere that we could bring our families and extend and renew what we had felt. We had and seized opportunities to expand our network to others who had been in Israel at the same time as well as others here at home of like mind. We thought perhaps we could find somewhere that we could serve others. While on the way to Missouri to visit elderly in-laws, we drove through Joplin at midnight, and were stunned, in the dark of night, at the devastation a full 6 months after the EF5 tornado. The idea of Labor of Love Joplin was born.
When we met again in April 2012 in Joplin, in addition to nearly a third of the original Red Bus A clan, we were joined by family members, friends, and to our amazement, people who drove hundreds and thousands of miles to join us in service who had never met us, but felt that they should be there. Their initiative, good hearts, and willing hands make them part of Red Bus A as if they had been there from the beginning.
Two years later, we have now met together many times, in small and larger groups, and our vision has become more clear, line upon line. We serve others, person to person, making a difference in whatever way we can. We make friends who feel like the best kind of family, and act like it both when we are together, and during the times in between – they are people we can count on, anytime, anywhere. And, in the midst of a challenging, turbulent time in the world, we, again and again, renew our faith and energy, and understand deep inside that committed individuals, working together, can and will change the world. Our children grow up knowing that they will make a difference – we expect the very best from them, and will do our very best to pass along traditions, principles and a nation worth honoring.
May God bless our efforts, and, if you read this and feel something stir in your heart – please consider joining our family on this journey.