Trennis and Pam Henderson have adjusted to their nomadic lifestyle.
Prior to their work with TAB Media and The Baptist Paper, which began in August, the couple served three years with national Woman’s Missionary Union covering missions and ministry stories nationwide. The couple shared about their recent adventures with Maggie Evans on the TAB Media Amplify podcast.
Before their “traveling ministry,” Trennis was editor of the Arkansas Baptist News and the Kentucky Western Recorder, as well as communications vice president for Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Pam worked with and started preschools in the different places they lived.
As they began their work with WMU, the couple sold their home and both cars, retired early and bought an RV. Some describe them as homeless, but they disagree.
“We don’t have a sticks-and-bricks location,” Trennis said, with Pam adding, “We’re not homeless. We’re houseless.’”
After joining the TAB Media team, Trennis acknowledged during the interview, “For the last few months we have continued to be on the road, [living] that same lifestyle [in the] small 25-foot motor home that we travel in. Some nights we’re in campgrounds; some nights we’re in church parking lots — just all different settings so we can go where the stories are and where the needs are.”
Not an easy transition
The change wasn’t easy, Pam admitted, noting they had to adjust to not always having friends nearby with whom to socialize. They have had to be intentional to maintain the relationships they had when they lived in one place.
Another adjustment has been not knowing automatically where they will spend the night or where the nearest grocery store is.
The couple moved from a 2,000-square-foot house to a 200-square-foot RV and now are together 24/7.
“You share the ups and downs, the highs and lows,” Trennis said. “It gives us a whole new opportunity for what those settings are. We have RV friends who have said that basically they consider the RV their bedroom and closet and the rest of the world is their great room.”
Looking for stories
The Hendersons are a “working team.” As correspondents they look for stories to cover, with Trennis doing the interviews and writing the articles, while Pam takes photos and video. Their roles also have a marketing component as they let others know about the vision and ministry of The Baptist Paper.
“Wherever Baptists are gathered, we [take] the opportunity to share a word about this ministry and to encourage them to partner with us to, at the very least, sign up for a free trial subscription,” Trennis said. “We typically say, ‘We just want you to become familiar with this publication, with this resource. Is this something that could make a difference in your church, in your personal life, with all the different issues that are covered?’ ”
Wherever the pair goes they find moments to talk to others about why they do what they do, as well as hearing others’ faith journeys. These moments come up unexpectedly. Before they first took off on the road, they were moving items to keep in storage. They shared with a woman why they were storing them, and their testimony came up. The woman asked, “Would you like to hear my faith journey?”
Trennis said, “Before we were done, she was crying,” to which Pam added, “I was crying!”
He said they had a time of prayer over the rental counter, and that same type of conversation has been duplicated at many campsites.
“I think that God has entrusted us with those moments because we were willing to really step out of our box,” Trennis noted. “You don’t just sell your house and buy an RV and do this, but so many times along the way, we’d say, ‘God, are You sure this is what You want us to do?’ and He would re-confirm it and re-confirm it and re-confirm it.
“Our goal is to be obedient, and He has put people in our lives who have just blessed us and blessed us.
“We often at the end of the day say, ‘We wouldn’t have had this conversation, or this opportunity or crossed paths with these folks, if we were still doing an 8 to 5 job,’ ” Trennis added.
Having traveled in more than 30 states meeting people as they go, the Hendersons have contacts in a majority of states.
“We literally have new friends all across the country who say, ‘Next time you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and look us up,’” Trennis said.
He also issued a challenge to listeners.
“We virtually are always outside of our bubble, because our bubble keeps moving constantly. One of the things I would encourage listeners [with] would be to say, ‘How can you get out of your bubble?’ That doesn’t mean sell your house, buy an RV and drive across the country. That’s our story, not your story.
“But what’s your story, how you’re able to connect with people that God puts in your path, wherever that is?”