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Gathering Group Road Trip

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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.

One thought on “Gathering Group Road Trip

  1. Graeme & Di says:

    What a wonderful story! We would love to do exactly that – meet face to face with our Gathering Group (Room 7) as we feel very much connect with those in our group. The problem is that we live in Australia so a road trip for us is tad more difficult for us. But one never knows – some day we may cross the Pacific and do just that. If not, at least plan a visit to Woodland Hills Church.

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"We have been podrishioners for several months. Our daughter, son-in-law and grandkids moved back to California after living in MN for 10 years. They attended Woodland Hills for about a year before they moved. Now we all go to the beach together on Thursdays, come home and have dinner together, then we watch last Sunday’s sermon together. It is a special day for our family."

– Dale and Patricia, from California