This past weekend Polen took our first road trip to Iowa. We left Ohio late Friday night because Jeff Kaufman had obligations with his church VBS, and then we headed for the Hawkeye State.
Driving through the night is always interesting, but we stopped somewhere in Indiana around 2am and got a few hours of sleep in a comfy hotel room. We hit the road again after a “complimentary” breakfast (that we surely paid for with the price of the room) and stopped along the way at a Guitar Center in Illinois. (As it turned out, our drummer somehow managed to leave his cymbals and kick pedal at home. We won’t name any names to save him the embarrassment… but then again, we only have one drummer so you can probably guess who it was.)
We arrived at Lower Deer Creek Mennonite Church on Saturday afternoon, a little later than we hoped, but we began setting up for the concert immediately. We were excited to be there and were met by incredibly friendly and helpful people at the church.
Jim Hersberger is the man who set the whole event up, and he was there to meet us with a handshake and a smile. Jeff Polen met Jim several years ago at Little Eden Christian Camp in Onekema, MI while Jeff was the guest speaker for the week. Immediately after that week this event in Iowa was being talked about, but it took several years for it to come together. Jim got the ball rolling in 2013 when he became a “Backer” for the “Kickstart Seasons” campaign. Thanks Jim!
We put on a concert Saturday night in the church sanctuary and had a rousing good time. What a great crowd! Drew (immediately nick-named “favorite guy”) was super pumped. We also met a guy named Isaac, who was surprisingly the only wrestler in the crowd (I thought we were in Iowa, for goodness sakes). We put Isaac to work during tear-down and he was very helpful. Dale was an older gentleman who helped us a ton from the moment we arrived. Thanks, Dale!
After the concert we stayed with a lovely couple named Ellis and Marsha, and we immensely enjoyed their extreme gift of hospitality! They have an amazing farm house with winding rooms and corridors throughout, and enough beds for all 8 of us to have our own. What a blessing! They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and were an absolute joy to be around and talk with.
On Sunday morning we ate a wonderful breakfast at the house and then went to church to sit in on Sunday School. We met some more great people and had an opportunity to share a little about Polen, our personal stories, our churches, and our families. We led worship during the service and Jeff Polen preached.
After the service we packed up the trailer, ate some more great food, and left for home. It was about an 11 hour drive and we got back around 1:00am. To help make the trip more entertaining, Keith Byler shared some of his emo / country / beach boys songs that he wrote when he was younger. After hearing those, we are all glad that he is older.
As a side note, Jeff Kaufman celebrated his 30th birthday with us on Saturday. It was epic. He received a Zebra Cake, but no candle.
Iowa, you were great. We hope to visit you again. God bless…