‘Life is more peaceful:’ Preacher and wife live out of minibus

SOMEWHERE IN Tenn. (BNC) by Chris Clevenger — I never imagined that my wife and I would be living in a minibus. We’ve always loved living in small spaces, but an 84-square-foot home on wheels was an entirely new experience. In October 2014, after six months of planning and preparation, Melissa Jane and I moved into Mabel Lou, our lovable little 1988 Chevy minibus.

The conscious decision to simplify our life and live on the road has been a long time coming. The past seven years together have taught Melissa Jane and me that our life is more peaceful, more contented, and more spiritually focused when we choose to live in close proximity with one another and with fewer things.

In early 2014, we decided that we would get rid of most of our belongings and keep those things that we felt added significant value to our lives. Now, everything that we own save a single rubbermaid container of keepsakes, a soon-to-be-sold Honda Civic, and a Craigslisted kitchen table is nestled aboard Mabel Lou.

We made the decision to live on a minibus so that we could pursue Biblical simplicity, gain experience, and exercise our abilities to their fullest potential to glorify God.

Beginning in 2015, we will be traveling full-time. Lord willing, this will give us the opportunity to devote ourselves to podcasting, writing, preaching, and encouraging the local church. We will produce regular content for The Light Network, a collection of Christian podcasts, and for the Gospel Broadcasting Network. Our writing and other materials will be posted on our personal websites and on The Lovable Little Bus website, a portal we hope to use to discuss simple living, contented joy, and the blessing of Christian liberty.

We have tried to make ourselves available next year so that the Lord can use us as He sees fit. As such, our schedule has been filling with opportunities to host Gospel meetings, strengthen smaller congregations, and revisit many of the churches we have come to know over the past decade.

chris-clevengerLife onboard Mabel Lou is definitely unique. Melissa and I sleep together on a twin-sized mattress, bathe in a horse trough, and cook on a propane camping stove.

We have electricity when we have access to power or not, thanks to an in-house battery bank. We make use of the electricity to heat when it is available; when power is not easily accessible we use an indoor propane heater.

Magnetic curtains give us privacy and keep out the cold. The fabric also serves as sound suppression, allowing us to record our podcasts on the bus using high-quality studio equipment we’ve installed.

Our living situation is definitely simple—we have only those things that we need and some things that we really enjoy. A smaller space with fewer things helps us to appreciate the blessings, both free and acquired, that God has given unto us.

We don’t believe that God expects every Christian to sell all that they have and live out of a bus; however, the Bible does instruct us to be careful in our relationship with physical blessings, often challenging us to sacrifice more than we are able to give (cf. 1 Tim 5:17; Matt 6:19-21; Luke 12:33).

Pursuing adventure, passions, and the desires of our heart while maintaining a close connection with God is one of the best ways to glorify Him.

Melissa Jane and I have found that our separation from so many physical things has allowed us to channel our time and abilities for the benefit of others, explore what God has created, and live the abundant life (John 10:10).

Instead of laboring to serve our things, we’ve been blessed with the freedom to live for Christ without the burden of baggage.

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

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5 Comments

  1. minimalist? I wonder.

  2. Rick

    I like it! Of course, with our 6 children, 84 sq ft would be a tad tight…but my wife and I have talked about doing something like this after our children are grown.

  3. Alfred Beyan

    Thank you Brother, may God bless you both for that decision. Hope your travelling will take you to Liberia one day to help strength us in the Lord

  4. God bless you as you begin this new journey. I admire you for doing this and I look forward to reading more.

  5. This is kind of a great idea. Just think: If the grass gets too tall… move the mini-bus to a parking lot! Extremely practical. 🙂

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