Yesterday, I posted these 147 characters on our Twitter account:
Alternator problems.We’re praying we can still make it to our concert in Duluth tonight, and would appreciate your prayers too!
— The Garms Family (@TheGarmsFamily) October 21, 2012
But, 147 characters are not sufficient enough to explain the craziest day in the history of our band!
This week, after returning home from the Midwest Quartet Convention, Dad discovered that the Glory Bus’s alternator had failed. (Mind you, this is the very same alternator which replaced the one that went bad back in June.) Since the warranty was still applicable, Dad got another alternator on order, which arrived on Saturday – the day before we left for a concert in Duluth, Minnesota.
Saturday afternoon and evening found Dad working hard repairing the bus…and then he discovered a washer/spacer that needed to be removed from the alternator to fit properly on the bus. Unfortunately, the Braham NAPA store was closed at the time, and would not open until the next day.
Late Sunday morning revealed the news that the alternator Dad was trying to install on Saturday had failed, new out of the box. So another trip to another NAPA was required. Dad and Mom were at the second NAPA for almost an hour and half, waiting for the man to pry the washer/spacer off the third alternator, which they then took back to Braham’s NAPA to have it tested.
Mom and Dad prayed and held their breath as the the third alternator was put on the machine. Would you believe the third alternator out of the box…failed?
Okay. So the Glory Bus was out. It was not moving from Quail Street. Plan B was to use Mal’s old pickup truck and tow the trailer, while those who did not fit in the truck would ride in a different vehicle. Ben went to start the truck while Dad and Mom were on their way home. He had a sneaky suspicion, and sure enough, it was confirmed when the truck did not start.
It was time for Plan C.
Now, I should mention that the concert in Duluth had been rescheduled from a date in August because we couldn’t make it. Our Glory Bus’s alternator belt had been destroyed, and all of our other vehicles were handicapped as well. So we knew we had to make this concert. Rain, snow, sleet, or hail…well, you get the point.
Plan C turned out to be raiding the trailer and evaluating what we could or could not do without for a concert, and then stuffing what we could into two cars. Monitors, wires, microphones, guitar, keyboard, mandolin, harmonicas (by Sam’s request!), and a few other assorted items were squished into the small trunks of our ancient Mercury Topaz and Toyota Tercel, and whatever did not fit in the trunks was piled between the seats.
So, the Garms Family took off – later than expected – with Dad, Mom, Leesha, and Sam in the Mercury and Ben, Jayme, Caleb, and myself in the Toyota. We had visions of tire blowouts all the way, but aside from noticing several dead creatures alongside Interstate 35 and seeing blue smoke coming from the Mercury’s exhaust early in our travel, the trip north was wonderfully uneventful.
Once we arrived at Emmanuel Baptist Church and were greeted by Pastor Dave, the fun began trying to figure out how to set-up our “sound system”. The original plan was to plug into the church’s board and use their main speakers, but (you guessed it!) their board was gone for repairs!
Dad, Ben, and Pastor Dave finally figured out how to make it work: We’d use our monitors as main speakers (raised up on hymnals) and use our piano monitor and one of the church’s small speakers as our monitors. It certainly was unique, but we were pleasantly surprised to find it worked great!
The concert at 6:30 p.m. was the most interesting we have ever experienced (other than our state fair experience – but don’t ask us about that one!). Ben and I were the main instrumentalists, with he on guitar and me on the piano for almost all the concert. Sam covered a few harmonica solos, Dad played guitar on a song, and I played the mandolin on our opener. We sang many of our standbys with minimal instruments, and it was very different to say the least! We did toss in a few previously unrehearsed songs, like “I Will Magnify the Lord” (a Capella) and Sam, Jayme, and Caleb’s arrangement of “Amazing Grace” (whew – that brought tears to my eyes! And the congregation’s singing on the last verse was outstanding!). Though there were a few people who were disappointed by not seeing all our instruments, many people enjoyed the simplicity of the program, and the message still came out loud and clear.
After the concert, we enjoyed fellowshippin’ with many friends we hadn’t seen for a while, and even got to meet some relatives (our grandpa’s cousin and his wife)! That was very special to us.
But…the night wasn’t over yet.
When it was time to load up the cars, Dad went to start the Mercury.
He tried again.
We couldn’t believe it. By then, most everyone had left, except for our friends Steve and Rose Oswell and Pastor Dave. Steve went out to help Dad while we all stood in disbelief and prayed. Dad and Steve determined that the Mercury’s battery had died, so Steve drove Dad and Mom up to Wal-mart to get a new battery while Rose and we kids hung out at the church and ate our packed suppers (and then later solved the world’s problems with Pastor Dave!).
By the time the new battery was installed, it was getting late. We thanked our friends for their amazing kindness and patience – what a blessing!
The trip back home started. We were a little anxious because of the huge amount of deer alongside the road…and let’s just say, when one almost stepped in front of the Toyota, we were really nervous! But God protected us on our journey home, and we made it to Braham safely.
Yes, it was a B.A.D. day – Battery, Alternator, Duluth – but God preserved us through it all. Though Satan was trying everything to discourage us and keep us from singing, God triumphed! We praise Him for His goodness, and we do ask for your continued prayers for our family. Now more than ever we have been battling discouragement because of many different circumstances, but we need to keep our eyes focused on the Lord! (And thanks to all who prayed yesterday for our family; we certainly needed it!)
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13
Below are some pictures from the ordeal yesterday – enjoy!
Blessings and Joy in the Journey!
Taylor for TGF
P.S. As of 12:14 a.m. (which means it is now October 23rd, and yes, I know it’s late!), we have now discovered the Mercury’s brand new battery from Sunday night is DEAD. So the saga continues to continue… :)
And, apologies for the pictures being still small when you click on them – I’m still trying to troubleshoot that issue!