On Vacation

In the almost 11 months since the storm I’ve only taken a couple of days off. Heading up a disaster relief effort of this magnitude requires constant vigilance and attention. Hosting, housing, feeding, and directing thousands of volunteers, fighting to provide the essential needs of an entire community, putting on multiple vacation bible schools, planning and implementing community wide events, rehabbing over 50 houses, rebuilding houses from the ground up, stocking, staffing, and running a food distribution center that sees 400+ people a day and has given out millions of dollars worth of goods, maintaining a blog, keeping a church going amidst the controlled chaos, performing weddings and funerals, preaching twice a week, counseling the distressed, and making plans for the future leaves me reluctant to take any time off.

I hate to walk away from Lakeshore, but for the sake of my family I finally surrendered to a vacation. After church this morning my wife and kids will head toward Gatlinburg Tennessee for the week.

In addition to trying to catch up on some sleep, spending time with my family, and taking in the sites of Gatlinburg, I hope to make time to get in some much desired reading. Sleeping in your office amid eager volunteers means you have to wake-up, shower, and prepare for the day mighty early. With my sun-up to way past sun-down schedule, I’ve only been able to squeeze in reading before 5:00 am. In the last several months I’ve only had time to read a hand full of books. I’ve read:

I’ve never been to Gatlinburg. Taking a trip with no plans of what to do and see there goes against my nature. My wife booked us a room and we have the google map directions printed out. That’s about it. After the service we will head that direction. Lord willing we will breathe mountain air before nightfall and wake up tomorrow morning to His refreshing mercies.


Have a great vacation, Don! You really need it. You will love the mountains, especially Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding areas.

Let me know if your trip brings you anywhere close to the Atlanta area…


I hope you have a great vacation! Gatlinburg is a great place to visit. If you like hiking and waterfalls, try checking out Laurel Falls (off Hwy 421 near the welcome center) and Abrams Falls (in Cades Cove). They both make for a great getaway and worth the hike.

God bless you man. Please know that I am thinking about you guys and remembering you in my prayers.


You deserve this time off. You have been doing such wonderful things for the community and your Church. God will be with you and your family. Enjoy Gatlinburg. The view from the top of the tram is wonderful!

May God keep you safe in your journey!

Thank you Jesus, for your pesistence in getting this message through to Don; they need this time of reprise alone with You Mighty Restorer.
Praying for a fresh union for you with Cortney and the kids. May each day be stretched and extended so that you find the time to joyfully do all your heart’s desires.
Love you all so much,
Mark and Marlyn