Deputation Travel Log: The Travel Trailer Door
One door closed:
After the close of an interesting meeting with Human Resources, I was free to leave work a few hours early. During the nearly two-hour drive home, I had ample time to contemplate: I just quit my job. A great job, I am now jobless. This may not have the spiritual connotation that some expect, but I do not have any sort of elaborate story of some “calling” that led me to do this. The Lord did not “tell me” to do this. He did not “speak to my heart” nor did he “give me peace” about quitting my job. This was the next logical step to fulfilling the desire in our hearts to serve the Lord in Uganda. My wife and I followed the biblical directive to plan (Luke 14:26-35 KJV), as a result, we were prepared for this day. We did not, in an unbiblical fashion, quit work and hope that others would somehow cover our expenses (1 Timothy 5:8 KJV).
Kristin and I, working with our Pastor James W Knox and Assistant Pastor David Brown exercised faith in God’s word (Proverbs 11:14 KJV, Proverbs 15:22 KJV) and made valid attempts to plan and prepare for the day I would no longer have secular employment. As a result, the Lord has greatly blessed our efforts to honor his word. Furthermore, it is our goal to be a blessing to churches, not burden them down unnecessarily with our needs. We have found that God’s people are incredibly generous to men and women that have forsaken all to serve the Lord in a foreign field. As missionaries, we are to be very careful not to take advantage of the generosity of God’s people. This is a heavy responsibility for which I believe we will answer before our Saviour.
From contemplation to woodworking:
As the drive back to the camper came to a close, I stand there staring at the door that separated on us when traveling to Orlando. I made several phone calls, attempting to locate a reasonable replacement. The least expensive door I could find would cost $500. To complicate matters further, no one had one in stock, it would have to be ordered. We had no time to wait, we were leaving the next day for Mountain City, Tennessee. Even if we could get one in time, I was not excited about paying $500 for these cheaply made doors. They appear to be nothing more than a thick form of paper mache, certainly not worth the amount being charged. In order to fix this, with a quality door at a great price, Kristin and I would have to resort back to our woodworking skills.
I rushed to Home Depot and bought a sheet of 3/4″ Birch plywood. I measured the wood for my needs in the store, then had them cut it down to size. Along with the plywood, I bought some Titebond III, a few clamps, and some high-quality exterior paint (green is Kristin’s favorite color). All the materials together cost around $90, a far cry short of the $500 for the paper mache door. After returning home, I disassembled the old door. I kept all the metal parts (the frame, hinges, door handle hardware, etc). We would salvage all those parts and move them over to our new solid wood door. I took two evenly cut slabs of 3/4″ plywood and glued them together. By the time the glue dried, Kristin was home from work (she was a substitute teacher in a Christian School that day).
From woodworking to door installation:
After removing the clamps, we drilled the holes and made the necessary cuts for the components of the old door to fit on the new door. Everything fit very well, once confirmed we removed all the metal components and began painting. We applied several heavy coats of exterior paint to help protect and preserve the door. After giving the door ample time to dry, it was time to mount it to the travel trailer. Because the door is wood, it will expand and contract as the season’s change. In the colder regions and seasons, the door works perfectly. In the warmer regions and season’s the door requires slightly more effort to open and close. All around it works great, and we now have a solid door.
Now with the door installed, we began to pack, organize and get road ready. We needed to unload some weight, somehow Kristin “keeps allowing” me to grow my book collection. In order to help alleviate this addiction, she bought me a very nice Kindle. It is sort of growing on me, but it just does not compare to having the old fashioned book in my hands. It seems to me that in our modern technological age of particle board furniture, fast food, and digital media we are losing the value of interacting with quality lasting products. Sort of like a paper mache door versus a wood door. Yet, setting my sentimental nostalgia for all things quality aside, the reality is books on a Kindle have no weight.
With weight reduced, now weight distribution:
Now that we are organized and we have removed unnecessary weight (accomplished by removing as few books as possible). It occurred to me that we had not yet purchased a weight distribution hitch. We were all set to hit the road, we were passing noon and heading into the afternoon, but this hitch is essential for our safety on the road. After searching online for places that have them in stock, we found one nearby at Harbor Freight. Their hitch had very high reviews by a large number of people. So we rushed to the closest store location, they had one left in stock. As far as we could tell, this was just the type of hitch for which we had been searching. It handles both the weight distribution and the anti-sway. It also comes with the newer round bar design and handles up to ten-thousand pounds (which is overkill for our set-up, but when it comes to safety overkill is good). To top it off, the price was great.
After getting the new hitch back home, we now have to assemble it. If you have never had to assemble a weight distribution hitch, you should thank the Lord now. There are a few variables that must be accounted for, then plugged into a formula in order to determine the height the hitch should be set. This will help establish the proper balance for maintaining the proper level between the trailer and the vehicle. We were able to get fairly close to where the hitch needed to be, after a few hours of assembly and installation. I am writing this having used this hitch on the road a few months, it has been one of the best investments made for our travels (Praise the Lord).
Finally on the road:
After a long hard day of work, we are finally ready to hit the road. After cleaning up, tired and somewhat weary we began our trek up to Mountain City, Tennessee. Our goal that first night was to make our way as far into Georgia as we could. This would give us a decent idea of what to expect as we made longer trips across the country. I do not believe the fact that we are now missionaries on deputation ever felt more real than when we put our Excursion in drive and began traveling to this next meeting. We were worn out at this point, but smiling and praising the Lord our God for this wonderful opportunity he has given us! Thomas and Kristin Irvin, the Lord’s missionaries to Uganda Africa!
A Great Resource for deputation!
Read a great article concerning Deputation written by veteran missionary Keith Stensaas.
Read the definition of deputation below:
1. The act of appointing a substitute or representative to act for another; the act of appointing and sending a deputy or substitute to transact business for another, as his agent, either with a special commission and authority or with general powers. This word may be used for the election of representatives to a legislature; but more generally it is employed to express the appointment of a special agent or commissioner, by an individual or public body, to transact a particular business.
2. A special commission or authority to act as the substitute of another; as this man acts by a deputation from the sheriff.
3. The person deputed; the person or persons authorized and sent to transact business for another; as the General sent a deputation to the enemy to offer terms of peace.