Christian gypsies sail the Mississippi and around the world on a faith journey
They pray every morning to bring them God encounters. Thomas and Carole-Anne Elliott are Canadians. In their fifties, they are floating down the Mississippi River on a sailboat. Their youngest son, Timothy, is with them. He is 16 and has special needs.
When they get to the Tenn-Tombigbee River they will cut east to Florida. In Florida, they will find someone to install the mast on their cutter-rigged sailboat. The lower part of the Mississippi has a lot of low-hanging bridges to go under, the commercial traffic is heavy and necessities, like water and diesel fuel, are harder to find as they have no car.
From Florida, they plan to sail to the Caribbean Islands and winter there. In the spring they may go through the Panama Canal and down along the coast of South America. Their seafaring adventure may take them a couple of years. They don’t know. They’re following their dream and God’s lead.
Sailing around the world isn’t the first unusual thing Thomas and Carole-Anne Elliott have done. In Saskatchewan they designed and built their own 3,000 sq. ft., octagonal, off the grid, straw-bale house. Yep. With four kids. It had floor heat, solar and wind generated electricity and a wood burning cook stove. There was propane for back-up.
When COVID 19 hit in 2020, they both lost their jobs and had to declare bankruptcy. They sold their flax-straw house and began looking for a sailboat to live on. Their three oldest children had left home. Carole-Anne wasn’t too keen about living on a sailboat, but was willing to give it a try. Thomas had done some sailing.
They located a sailboat in Minnesota, a 1979 Corbin 39′. It was a kit, or project boat. It had spent all those years in a barn. The owner said they could stay with him until they fixed the Corbin up enough to sail. The Elliotts are its fourth owner. The Corbin had never been in the water until two-and-a-half weeks ago. They said, “We’ll just go and God will provide.” They named their sailboat “La Verite” meaning, “The Truth.” It’s symbolic of their faith journey, “The Way, the Truth, the Life.” Somebody called them “Gypsy Christians.” They see themselves as pioneers, like when they were building the straw house.
Carole-Anne was able to get a job teaching French on-line to government workers while on La Verite. She had also made some smart investments, one of them being in Cryptocurrency, so they have a little income.
Dreams: Before they built their straw house, Carole-Anne had a dream about a golden wheat field with the wind blowing across it like waves on the ocean. One day, from their straw house in Saskatchewan, they looked up and there was a wheat field behind their house and the wind was blowing across it like waves on the ocean.
Thomas had a dream that he went to Samoa. He was up in the sky and when he looked down there was a cigar shaped island. It said “Samoa” in big red block letters. He dreamed he landed on that island. In reality, when he looks at a map of Samoa, there is a cigar-shaped island called Apia. He’s pretty sure he’s supposed to go there. It may be on this trip or it may be in the future. They’ll know when they get there.
The Elliotts philosophize: if you have a life-long dream, God put it in your heart for a reason. If you’re waiting for the perfect time to live your dream, there may never be the perfect time. You have to have No Fear. Or, Fear is okay as long as it doesn’t freeze you. You have to put one foot in front of the other and trust in God. You also have to be responsible and take care of your family. God will work all that out.
They don’t have a car so they have no way of driving somewhere when they dock. They needed a frost plug for their engine. An employee at Advanced Auto Parts in Prairie du Chien was talking to them at the pier. He brought them the frost plug, and then disposed of waste oil they had from changing the oil on their engine. (Another one of those God encounters.)
Everyday is an adventure in watching God’s miracle unfold.
You can follow the Elliotts’ faith journey on Facebook at Tom Carole-Anne Elliott.
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