Cindy Mullins Howard is from a musical and evangelical family. She is married to Andy Howard and they have 2 wonderful sons, Brady and Austin. Cindy is an exceptional mom and wife. She works in Ladies Ministry, her family also heads up a ministry called Hope For The World Albania that cares for orphans in Albania. I wish she would write a book on parenting, cause she has actually raised a pastor! She is sweet and funny and laid back and I just love her!
My Life on the Road
To this day I don’t know how my mother did it! Until I became a mom myself I had no idea what it meant to pack up a house full of furniture, put it all in storage – then move you, your husband, your two children into a 35 ft. bus with no privacy, no kitchen, no bedrooms no place to keep your “stuff” and live for 365 days a year! And be absolutely perfectly HAPPY about it!! Well in 1978, that is exactly what my mom was asked to do when my Father felt the call to full time Evangelism. It’s truly amazing, as I look back it now. All you can say is – it was a “God Thing” for sure. Of course it did not faze me as a 14 year old girl, it was an adventure and it meant not having to go to school, but getting to do “Home School” on the bus – and that was before Homeschooling became popular – we didn’t even know to call it that! I think we called it “Correspondent School” back in the day!
As I look back over the years I spent traveling with my family in a bus, not only singing together, attending revival services together every night, I realize we did much more than that; we did LIFE TOGETHER, 24/7 as they say these days. There was no getting away from mom and dad if you were mad, running to your bedroom, slamming your door and pouting. (No door, no bedroom = nowhere to pout!) You had to get over things, and get over them fast. Thank the Lord for that. This did not happen much, but as I know now having raised two sons of my own, every day is not a picnic, and there are days we’d all rather not look at each other – know what I mean? Ha ha! We had no choice, we could get mad, but we pretty much had to “get glad” really quick! And that I believe is the key. We were forced to communicate every day, all the time, about everything. I realize NOW just how unusual our life was; although at the time it seemed perfectly normal to me! I couldn’t understand the fascination of people wanting to come into our bus after revival services and take a “tour”! I thought, “What’s the big deal?” But it WAS a big deal - I realize that now.
Of course those were the days before the Internet, Cell Phones, Digital Cameras and Social Media, so we do not have NEAR the memorabilia I wish we had for me to share those years with my sons. Sometimes I try to tell about an experience we had, being broken down on the side of the Interstate in the middle of the night and Dad leaving with a truck driver to go get help – leaving me, Mom and Buddy all alone and somehow I can’t seem to get across just how scary that would be today!! I think about it now, we had NO PHONE – NO COMMUNICATION and sometimes NO ELECTRICITY!! For HOURS!!! Not knowing if Dad would return, or if the Truck Driver was actually a serial killer and would come back for us next! (That may be a little dramatic, but that’s where my mind goes now!) Of course, at the time, we were not scared at all – we just hung out in the bus, listening to the traffic whiz by while my hilarious, wonderful mom entertained my brother and I with stories and games and just made it all seem like a glorious adventure!! (And now I realize it – it was!)
I could try to recall incidents, and places and churches that we went to all over, but honestly my kids are right – I really DON’T have a great memory, (they took it all), but what I DO remember is this – it was an awesome thing to get to serve the Lord in that capacity with my family. I didn’t really realize it back then – I was a teenager and we all know that teens seem to think the world revolves around them! And of course I probably thought that too back then. Looking back now I see it for what it was, a man who was called to preach and then into Evangelism, but realized it was more than just HIS ministry, it would only work if his family ministered alongside him. Thank the Lord for the wisdom of my father. I shudder to think what “could have been”, had he continued in Evangelism by himself, and did NOT ask my mom to put her kids in a bus and come with him! I am what I am today because of those years traveling and ministering with my family. That life was not always easy – but it was so worth it!
The kind of life we lived is a thing of the past. There may still be some out there – but I’d venture to say the Evangelistic, Traveling, Gospel -Singing Families are few and far between these days. I did not realize it at the time, but I was living a life that would mold not only me, but my future family as well. I was blessed to have two of the most godly people I know who raised me and instilled such a love for the Lord, family and church in my bones – that now I see it play out through my own sons lives.
God can use you if you make yourself available. I am nothing special. I just had a Mom and a Dad who loved the Lord with their whole hearts and wanted to serve HIM and this is what that looked like for us. I will be forever grateful for the calling on my parent’s lives and the years we all four had together serving HIM in song and sermons. We were not famous, no one in years to come will remember the singing Mullins Family – but that’s not what it was ever about. It was about FAMILY and about using our gifts to bring honor to Him. Thank you Mom and Dad for loving the Lord enough to follow His calling, even when it seemed impossible; there are many lives changed today because of your ministries through the years. I am one of those.