Presbyterians Today

JUN-JUL 2018

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | JUNE/JULY 2018 39 to the inside walls of the camper. When we entered the camper, the snow that was stuck on our shoes would freeze to the floor. The humidity in the camper built up and damaged our textbooks. The urine inside the chamber pot had a thin layer of frost on it from just sitting overnight. We laughed — and at times grumbled — our way through the struggles. I channeled my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder and prayed that time would fly. Our church family helped make the harsh winter pass by quickly. They invited us over to have dinner, or to just hang out, or to attend com- munity events and sometimes just to use their internet or watch TV. Our frequent visits to their warm homes provided enough stamina to get through the cold nights in the camper. Kyle and I kept looking forward, acknowledging that this was only a short-term living experience. We stayed positive and grateful for everything the church had provided us with. The Dailey Ridge sanctuary is heated by two woodstoves that have a unique chimney design expanding over the pews to distribute the heat. It is up to the members to wake up early and get the stoves going for the sanctuary to be warm by service time. The dedication and motivation of the church family at Dailey Ridge are fervent. When many churches had to close their doors on Sunday mornings due to the cold tempera- tures and inability to keep their sanc- tuaries warm, Dailey Ridge remained open. Chaco especially enjoyed the woodstoves, spending most of her time during the church service curled up by a stove. Aside from soaking in the heat, Chaco loved to greet each member in their pews. She knew where everyone sat and would look for them on Sundays when they were not in attendance. Chaco considered her church members to be part of her pack. When the pastor would shake each member's hand, Chaco was first in line. The annual ham dinner was another community outreach event hosted by Dailey Ridge that we got to experience. Each family contributed different items. The women behind the scenes worked diligently to ensure guests were pleased with their dining experience. Kyle and I enjoyed getting to experience this occasion. As with hosting any event, stressors and moments of chaos occurred, but the church members continued to strive for quality service. When there were no more guests, the members sat down together and ate the left- overs. The stress had vanished, funds had been raised and the laughter began. It felt like a casual family dinner, and we were right at home. Farewells The love Kyle and I felt as par- ticipants of this church was an answered prayer. I grew up in Texas and have lived in a few states where I attended church, but my experience at Dailey Ridge was one-of-a-kind. It was also my first experience with a Presbyterian church, and what I found was a beautiful example of Christ's servant heart, hospitality and love. Kyle and I do not regret our decision to live in a camper, because it led us to an invaluable church family. The time we spent living in Dailey Ridge's parking lot will be held close to our hearts forever — and Chaco's too. The examples of faith and service in this spirited country church have taught and encouraged us beyond words. Nette Miller is completing her field work in occupational therapy in Houston. She graduates in December 2018 and plans to pursue a career in neonatal therapy. In her free time, Nette enjoys rehabilitating wildlife and spending time outdoors with her husband, Kyle. The family is now enjoying indoor plumbing. Dailey Ridge First Presbyterian Church threw a shower for the boondocking Millers. Among the gifts were dog toys and treats for Chaco. COURTESY OF DAILEY RIDGE

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