The Long and Winding Road

Way back in 1970, the Beatles released a song called “The Long and Winding Road”. This song seemed appropriate in so many ways during this trip. It crept into my mind as I would be driving down what seemed like an endless road. The only change I would make to the song would be to call it “The Long and Windy Road”. Wow, the entire mid-west and West was SO windy! Driving an RV was definitely a workout. It’s shocking to me why my muscles are not any bigger.

photo by wikipedia

The Last Leg:

When we last left off, we were jetting from Utah over to Colorado. Well, since weather ALWAYS seemed to be a factor in our trip planning, you can understand why we were a little challenged when they started talking about major flooding in Utah. Just so happened that a broken-up  hurricane system was working its way up and was going to dump an unusual amount of rain exactly where we were going to drive.

So, we actually waited a day to leave Utah, then made a break to cut through the western part of Colorado, through the mountains and over toward Denver. That lasted exactly one hour. As we always did, we monitored the weather continually, and it was showing that we were driving into Flood Armageddon. An hour south of Salt Lake, we decided to turn around, drive north to Wyoming and enter into the northern part of Colorado. Needless to say, that was a great decision….but it made for a very long day.


We landed in Fort Collins, CO where we took a couple of days to catch our breath and celebrate Renee’s birthday (in Estes Park, CO). What a gorgeous place. Bugling elk and their harems were everywhere downtown. We even got charged by one of the large male elk…and we weren’t that close! We actually have it on video…well, mostly just the sidewalk as we ran. I’m sure you can picture it. But, all was good that day, even as we met up and walked around with a sweet military couple (from GA!). Always makes me grateful for the incredibly brave and smart military folks who are serving our country.

From Fort Collins, we headed down to Colorado Springs. I had the opportunity to spend time with some of the Focus on the Family orphan care leaders. This was such a blessing. After our meeting, our family had the opportunity to do a recorded show called “Adventures in Odyssey”. So much fun! A severe cold front was coming down from Canada, so it was time for us to head south.


As we came through the northern parts of Texas, we watched a tornado from a distance as we drove, praying that the road was going to turn left away from the tornado. Fortunately for us, it did. We were running from this cold front, but ended up on the front side of it where the storms were tumultuous and very dangerous. This cut our time in Texas in 1/2. It had already been a very long trip, and we were already exhausted. So, the idea of heading home and getting our feet on the ground started sounding really good during the Plano, TX floods.


We rolled into LA where we stayed with some friends of ours. As usual, it was always refreshing to see familiar faces and spend time with great friends. These friends pulled together a meeting with the brilliant team at Crossroads NOLA. With each stop on this tour, I was amazed and encouraged with the people on the front lines of orphan care in our country. It was no exception here in Louisiana. As we discussed some of the complex issues and potential solutions, we realized that we had a common heart/vision. Churches in LA are poised to make a HUGE difference. We are looking forward to continuing our work with Crossroads NOLA and First Baptist Covington in the future!



Final Thoughts:

This was an amazing tour. It was equally as amazing as it was exhausting. We drove just over 8,000 miles (see impact below!). My wife pulled off some amazing navigation and late night campground magic! “Let’s just pull in and we’ll pay for it in the morning since no one answers the phone!” As you can imagine, we have too many stories to tell. From losing power in a thunderstorm, to tornadoes, to rattlesnakes, creepy campgrounds, surrounded by coyotes, grizzlies in the dumpster next door, and so much more, we have been on a journey, to say the least.

I want to say a special thank you to the following families for helping us make this such a special journey, each in your own way helped push through the many challenges of travel in order to finish this ministry journey:

The Bates family

The Davidson family

The Black family

The Kuhn family

The Ingram family

The Crooks family

The Tyson family

The Hannoush family

The Huntley family

The Osborne family

The Logan family

The Seaton family

And thank you to the Patch Our Planet family of supporters who fund our by-faith mission to provide training to churches in order to create stronger orphan care ministries and networks. We are making a difference! Every victory is a shared victory.

Let’s Celebrate:

68 churches/orgs trained

2 state orphan care networks

1 national ministry

Couldn’t have done it without you.

We’re home now, already asking God for our next step in this amazing adventure we call the Christian walk. As a family, we’ve learned that we are capable of more than we think. Too many times, we were nervous because of the unknown. But we didn’t quit. We wanted to finish well. We “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinth. 5:7). Our deepest desire as a family is not to build a legacy and keep a safe distance away from the need, but to bring the light where darkness has reigned, to represent the heart of God, to share the good news of the gospel and to leave our nets by the shore to follow Jesus wherever He may lead us.

Thanks for going on this journey with us.


For the Kingdom,

Steve Gillis

Founder | Executive Director

**One more BIG thank you to our Tour Sponsors!

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