One year ago today, because of the coronavirus, the vacation portion of our vacation/evangelistic trip to Australia and New Zealand ended two days early and we left the ship in Sydney. Not only was the vacation portion ended early, but the evangelistic portion was scuttled altogether.
The Australian government had given us two options upon leaving the ship. We could go directly to the airport and leave the country or we could go directly to a hotel and quarantine 14 days at our own expense. That would leave us 5 days in the country after quarantine and that was useless.
Since we were originally staying another three weeks, we did not have a flight scheduled for the early departure until right before we left the ship. I had spent hours on the phone the last two sailing days talking to the airlines, the cruise lines and the travel company.
All three companies told me it was one of the other company's responsibility to rebook the flights. I kept calling and kept talking until someone did something and the reservations came through.
With flight reservations in hand, we left the ship one year ago today at 8:20 AM
We walked a few hundred feet and boarded a nearly empty train car. We rode that directly to the airport and stayed as far away from folks as we could at the airport. Although we were worried the last minute airline reservation might prove to be good to be true, it went through without a glitch or a hitch.
We left Sydney at 1:00 PM one year ago today and we landed in Dallas, Texas about 1:30 PM one year ago today. I will let you figure the timing out.
We went through customs, caught our plane to Knoxville, picked up the Green Machine and drove 20-30 miles to the bus in Vonore. We entered the bus about 6:30 PM one year ago today.
Wow! March 19, 2020, was some kind of day.
It was great to be in the USA, but we were sad about missing out on visiting new churches and meeting brothers and sisters and exploring a bit of Australia. We had walked away from some great opportunities and adventures that we had saved for and planned on for years.
There was no time to cry over spilled milk, we had a job to do. Several days before, when it looked like our trip would be cut short, I told Kelly Jo that I felt like we should keep right on preaching revival in the only way we could, online.
The plan was for businesses and churches in the USA to be shut down for two weeks (We know how that worked out, right?😁). We figured we would preach a week online, get things ready to roll again and hit the road.
In reality, we would have 61 consecutive nights of online revival!
Friday, March 20, 2020, we researched all day in Tennessee trying to learn enough about Mixlr and YouTube so that we could Livestream the services. This is a one minute test video that I put up that day. It is a timelapse of tent revival in Richton, Mississippi in 2019.
Saturday we drove home. Saturday evening, all day Sunday and most of Monday, we were still trying to understand the technology and Monday night we began revival.
We knew nothing about video. The angle was wrong, the distance was wrong, the sound was wrong, but we had church in the garage like there were a thousand people in attendance. It was the beginning of one of the highlights of our ministry.
Here is the very first night of 61 consecutive nights of online revival.
You will hear Odie's voice, but you will not see Odie's face. KJo and I were under request from Australia to quarantine 14 days, so Odie stayed in the house, used her in-ear-monitor and cordless microphone and we had revival in the garage.
I have many more memories and information to share from that week, but I will save it for another time. This Mile Marker has gone on long enough.
Thank you for joining us.