One of the perks of our job is that as we travel the country we get to visit cool, historic and fun places. We have had the opportunity to observe the amazing country side from the comfy seats of Truck Norris and many times get out and explore God's beautiful creation and learn about the people and places that have helped shape the world we live in today. On our most recent road trip, we had planned out a route that was taking us through Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Oklahoma. Michelle is amazing at looking at where we will be and what there is to see or do in the area and had planned several fun excursions for us, but there is one I want to focus on today.

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One of Michelle's life long friends, Jenny, introduced Gabi to the Little House on the Prairie book series and she has been reading them on this trip. Well, not just reading, devouring these books. She loves to tell us about Laura and Ma and Pa and all of their adventures. As Michelle mapped out our trip she found out that we could make a little detour through Missouri and visit the home of the real Laura Ingalls Wilder. The place where she wrote the books and lived for over 50 years! This was going to be a surprise for Gabi and a special treat for Michelle because she grew up watching the TV series and loved the Ingalls family!

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We arrived and it was amazing! Seeing the house and farm and hearing the story of Laura and her family was so inspiring! We all loved every minute of it, but that is not the point of this story! While we were waiting to tour one of the houses Gabi saw another little girl about her age and asked if she could go meet her. They were both wearing their Laura Ingalls sun bonnets they got at the gift shop and became fast friends from the word “Hi.” We of course had to meet the parents of the little girl and as she and Gabi frolicked through the field of Laura Ingalls Wilder's home. We told them what we do and found out that they live in Indiana and have helped lead worship at their church and work in the Children's Ministry. We connected right away and started sharing stories and ended up sitting at a picnic table and talking long after everyone else on the tour had left. During our conversation Shannon, the mother, had mentioned that she had reworded “Let it Go” and sang it for their church on Easter Sunday. Well, with a little coaxing from her uncle, who was with them, she and her husband pulled out a guitar and sang it for us right there under the huge black walnut trees! It was awesome! Then, knowing what we do for a living, they asked if we would share one of our songs with them. I borrowed Brent's guitar and Gabi belted out “Happy to be Me!”

As we finally were saying our good-byes we realized that God had brought all of to Laura Ingalls Wilder's home on that day for a reason, someone commented that this wasn't a coincidence, but that God knew what He was doing. Shannon's uncle told us, “A coincidence is just God's way of doing something anonymously.” We hugged, shared our email addresses and headed our separate ways, but as we left, we all felt so encouraged and were smiling ear to ear!

Our trip to Laura Ingalls Wilder's house was a great reminder that God is in control and if we are willing to open ourselves up and be used, He can do amazing things in us and through us! It doesn't always have to be a big, grandiose gesture, it can be a simple “Hi! What's your name?” that opens the door. This week I want to encourage you to be willing to be open to God's prompting. Look for the “coincidences” throughout your day that give you the opportunity to share God's love, then comment below and tell us your story!  

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AuthorJustin Graves