Some people use retirement road trips just to see the sights, but when Don and Michelle Lackner loaded up their RV, they decided they had some other kinds of stops to make.
Michelle had been a part of Gathering Group 2 for a couple years, so the Lackners scheduled a road trip agenda around Gathering Group visits. Michelle had nicknamed her group “The Saving Graces,” because, “being immunocompromised–and old!–was a cruel isolator, and these wonderful Lord-loving gals were continually inspiring.”
Their first stop was to meet Charlotte in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Michelle says, “Charlotte drove ninety minutes each way and is on oxygen so this was not an easy journey. She arrived with a full Cajun meal and Cajun treats for us! I still get teary remembering this.”
Next up: seeing Christi and Cheryl in Tucson, Arizona. “Cheryl drove 2 1/2 hours to meet us! Even though we were meeting for the first time in-person, we hit it off like old friends because, of course, we’d known each other on Zoom for nearly two years. The hugs, fellowship, and laughter was a healing balm for weary travelers!”
Finally, in Fresno, California, Don and Michelle met Cindy and her husband. “They made a huge tri-tip roast and insisted we take leftovers with us. They also treated us at their favorite ice cream shop. We had an incredible evening of fellowship with them, and a lovely outing together the next day.”
What a trip! Later, Michelle hosted the four Minnesota gals in her Plymouth home, so she and Don have met nearly everyone from their group in person.
Not too long after these get-togethers, Don also decided to join a Gathering Group. Before his retirement, Don and Michelle had lived in England and regularly traveled throughout Europe and they both miss their friends and former life. When Don went to his first Gathering Group time, he met members from Wales, England, Germany and Northern Ireland, and came away “gobsmacked” (in Michelle’s words). When a friend heard about Don’s new international connections at church, she asked, “Was that a coincidence?” “More like providence!” Michelle replied.
Michelle says, “Don and I are ridiculously grateful for Woodland Hills and all the efforts to keep Kingdom connections going all around the world! The Gathering Groups create uplifting relationships and meaningful conduits to the Kingdom.”
Think you might want to join a group yourself? Sign up for Gathering Groups here.