Sunday, July 31, 2016

Welcome to our Blog!


Julie and me in the Good News Bus

Okay...so you stopped by our bus conversion blog because you want to know more about the crazy family of 9 that live in a converted school bus.  Or maybe you have read about us in a recent publication and it sparked your curiosity and you want to know more.  Or possibly you are in the midst of a bus conversion yourself and you need some inspiration or help.  If any of those previous statements apply to you then you are at the right place.  If not, maybe something has disrupted the space time continuum and brought you here.  If that is the case then its your destiny to be here as well.

Our family was in this GH
August 2016 Edition
We hope that as you read through our posts, see our bus conversion, meet our family and view our videos that you will be inspired as well as entertained.  To really enjoy the full experience though, you need some background on us.  

Our first Bus Life with 9 episode
premeired on YouTube Sep. 2015

My name is Shane.  I am a husband, father of 7, carpenter, musician, filmmaker and a jack of all trades.  Julie is my amazing wife, mother of 7, awesome cook (oh, those cinnamon rolls), carpenter (yes...she can swing a hammer), musician (she is my backup singer!), filmmaker, and architectural designer, specializing in small spaces.  We make a great team!  We are the creators of the famous Good News Bus.  




I wrote, directed and acted in this short silent film, On The Job From Lug Nut Film's.
From left to right: Dugan Anderson, Chris O'Shea (my brother-in-law) and me.


Boeing Aircraft Plant Everett, Washington



I was born in Seattle, Washington to my proud and loving parents.  My dad is from Florida and my mom is from Washington state. My dad worked for the Boeing Airplane Company and my mom worked at home teaching & caring for my sister, Summer, and me.  I was three when Summer was born.  My mom was also a licensed beautician and sometimes worked in that arena.  



My sister and me in our old bus.








In 1983, when I was just 6 years-old my parents decided to move to Florida to be closer to my dad's old stomping grounds.  They needed a way to transport all their belongings over the 2,800 mile journey so they did some checking on a rental price for a U-Haul and found it to be very expensive with not much flexibility.  They saw an ad in a newspaper for an old GMC diesel school bus and purchased it as an alternative to the U-Haul.  Not only would it be plenty big for all their belongings but there would be additional room for a makeshift kitchen, bunk bed and a queen size bed for my parents.  It was the beginning of our family adventure.  We used that bus for many trips over the course of several years.  The old bus became synonymous with adventure. Even today when I smell diesel exhaust it takes me back to when I was a kid on our old bus.   Over the course of 7 years we moved from Washington to Florida to Virginia and back to Washington again.  


In 1993 when I was 15 years old my parents planned yet another move down south.  We sold our house, packed up the old bus and were on the move again.  When we reached the town of Pasco on the eastern side of Washington the old bus broke down.  Diagnosis?  She was in need of a rebuilt engine.  The price tag was more then the old bus was worth.  My sister and I begged my dad not to let the old bus go to the scrap yard.  After all, she had become part of the family.  After much pleading they decided to go forward with the repairs.  A month later we were back on the road cruising along with my dad's old screwdriver wedged against the gas pedal as a makeshift cruise control.  One week later we arrived in Pensacola, Florida.  This was the last trip we ever took in the old bus.  She sat for years until one day she was given a new home.  The adventure of driving across country in an old school bus (skoolie) was unforgettable.   

Me sitting in our old bus.
Summer and I were raised with high Biblical principles.  We were taught the Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  We were taught that stealing and lying were wrong, not just because these things are immoral but also because God says they are wrong.  This principle helped give us an understanding of the reason for the rules.  Today we see a set of rules that are absent of the authority of God.  One person may say, "stealing is wrong" and another may say, "It isn't."  We have lost the understanding that its wrong because God says it is.  He is the ultimate governing standard for all morality and without His moral absolutes our society crumbles.  Every time I did something wrong I felt that small voice trying to lead me to do what was right.  I never drank or took illegal drugs but I learned it isn't what you do or don't do that makes you good or bad.  It is the condition of the heart, and without God the heart of man is predominantly evil.  When your heart is good you will do what is good.  

When I was 17-years-old a friend and I had the idea of traveling across country in a bus.  We purchased a bus that was for sale just down the road from us.  We gutted it and I went to work building a kitchen, dining area and two twin sized beds.  I put a divider in the back that made a large storage area that was accessed through the back door.  The problem is when you're 17 and have spent every cent you have on a bus conversion it does not leave any money for the travels.   Unfortunately, we never took a trip in it and ended up selling it.

Julie and me with Michael Tate,
Lead singer for Newsboys.

I was homeschooled so I was able to complete my schooling early.  At the age of 17 I was going to a local community college majoring in criminal justice.  While attending I met a guy named Jason and we became friends.  As time went on I lost contact with Jason.  One day, out of the blue I got a call from him.  He was so excited on the other end of the line as he said, "Shane, I had to call and tell you about something that has happened in my life.  I was doing drugs and hanging with the wrong kind of people and was really going downhill until a friend invited me to go to this church in Pensacola.  While I was there God totally set me free from drugs and changed my life.  You have to go check this place out!  God is really doing something there."  I thought,  "Sure I've heard stories like this before."

Although I felt the undeniable reality that God existed, I never really felt close to Him or understood that a relationship with Him was even possible.  I thought being a Christian meant that you go to religious services and somehow, magically by doing this I would gain points with the man upstairs.  Being raised in church I had heard these kind of stories before.  Had anything like that happened to me?  No. I was a good person so I didn't really need anything life changing like a drug addict would.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  

More and more I began hearing stories about this church in Pensacola where God was turning people's lives around.  People from all over the United States, even from all around the world were coming to see what was happening there.   To make a long story short I decided to visit.  Deep in my heart I always wanted to know and be known by my creator but I didn't understand how that was possible.  I remember nights laying awake in my bed looking at my ceiling asking God if He was there and hearing nothing in return.  "Was this place somehow different?  After all, isn't God everywhere?"  


This is where it all started in 1996
The lines in front of the church
looked like this every day.
When I arrived, there were lines of people waiting to get into the service.  Some of them had been there since the  night before. I remember standing in the parking lot of the church and praying, "God if you are here, I really want to know you."  I stepped inside and the atmosphere was electric.  The place was packed with 2 thousand people. A dozen or so overflow rooms were filled as was an adjacent chapel where the main service was projected via CCTV.  News reporters and camera crews could be seen here and there.  I thought, "Something is happening in this place."

Throughout my life I had been to a number of churches and I had never seen anything like this.  As I looked around at the people's faces, I noticed something different.  These people were here because they really wanted to be.  They were really expecting something.  It wasn't just another BORING service.  And yes, services at times are extremely boring!  I remember when the music started I began to weep.  It felt like peace wrapped her arms around me.  As I stood there, I knew I never wanted to lose what I was experiencing.  I knew that God had to become #1 in my life no matter the cost.  I realized that before this experience, I was going through the religious motions because I thought that was required of me.    It was religion not a relationship.  I realized that night something very simple, yet profound: it is sin that separates us from God.  At that moment, I knew it was my sin that was keeping me from knowing Him.  I had not really allowed the Lord to be the Lord of my life.  I made a decision to follow the Lord with all of my heart, saying no to things I felt like He would not want me to do.  God went from being the distant, man upstairs to being my closest friend.  I realized that night that it was possible to know God.

Steve was the evangelist at the meetings
I was hooked!  These meetings were not religious church services.  As a matter of fact this church had services
everyday, Monday through to Sunday.  What teenager would want to spend their entire week, all their free time doing that?  Well, in fact I was one of hundreds of young people that were there on a daily basis.  Why?  The only easy answer I can give is this, God was there in a very powerful, life changing way!  I think that many times we search for truth in the wrong places and the answers are really very simple but, at times hard to accept.  The message the Lord brings is a simple one but living it out can be hard because no one is perfect.  Over the next six months I did not miss a single service.  A Bible school was birthed out of this move of God and I was one of the first to enroll.

A love to write and play music had grown in my heart.  I had an old piano in my house that had belonged to my grandmother where I would sit and practice.  

Graduation day
In 1998 my dad was asked by the school to lead a mission trip to Germany.  I didn't want to miss out on that so I joined the team.  It was the first of many trips around the globe where we saw the Lord do so many amazing things.  We saw people with addictions set free instantly, marriages were restored, people healed and like me, people meeting the Lord in a very real way.  It was an amazing time!  I began leading music on these trips and loved it.  In the beginning of the year 2000, only four years after sitting at that old piano, I recorded my first album Passion for You.  Seven of the songs I had written and the other three songs were covers.  The CD was well received and got international airplay. 


Me leading music in Germany at a Youth meeting
In 2001 while visiting a church in Canada I met the love of my life, Julie.  It was just a brief (hello, how are you) meeting.  I returned some months later to her church.  Julie came out to eat with us and the team after the service.  We sat and talked and really enjoyed each others company.  Before I went back home we exchanged email addresses.  One year later we were married!  My parents had given Julie and me an acre of land as a wedding gift.  We started dreaming and designing our home right away.  In 2002 Julie and I broke ground on it and in no time had a good foundation in.  3 years later our home was finished.  We had done almost all the work ourselves and we were debt free.   That was an amazing feeling!  We didn't want to stay in the south all our lives so in 2008 we decided to put our house up for sale.  This was my excuse, at last, to do a bus conversion.  Our ministry agreed to fund a portion of the venture because it would be used for ministry work.  At this point we had 4 children, Isaiah, Arwen, Ashton, Ethan and Julie was pregnant with our 5th, Elisha.


I started my research. To my disappointment I found there were very few blogs detailing a bus conversion.  At that point I decided that I would have to rely on our design, carpentry, electrical and pluming skills to get the job done.  I also decided to blog our entire conversion so that it could be helpful to all future conversion enthusiasts.


We found a bus on eBay for $3,500 that best suited what we wanted and located as close to us as possible.  The Bus was a 1995 72 passenger Flat nose Genesis School Bus with an AmTran Body and a DT-466 7.6-liter diesel engine.  We drove all day from Alabama to Louisiana to pick her up.  By the time the transaction was done it was getting late.  Rather then staying the night we decided to drive it home.  The 2 oldest begged to ride with me in the new bus.   We arrived back home early in the morning.  Both Julie and I were exhausted but the bus was home.


The completed Good News Bus kitchen
On May 3rd, 2009 we officially started our project. We completely gutted the bus even removing the original, rubber overlaid plywood subfloor and over the course of the next year and a half we framed, paneled, trimmed, stained, varnished, routed, wired, nailed, drilled, cut, painted, installed the stove, lighting, gas lines, water lines, water pump, flooring, counter top, toilet, black, grey and fresh water tanks, fridge, sink, hot water heater, inverter, batteries, radio, speakers and much more until our school bus became an all out RV.     





In the end we accomplished our goal.



We were honored to have a very good friend and avid supporter of the bus project suggest the name of "Good News Bus" and we ran with it.  A friend of ours is a graphic designer and, thus, he did the logo for us.

On December 5th, we set out on our first adventure in the Good News Bus that took us all the way to Canada.

Since we completed the bus conversion, it has come in very handy.  As a matter of fact, over the last 6 years we have lived in the bus more then we have lived in a house.  We lived in it whenever we traveled and when we built two different homes for ourselves.  We even used it to travel to different locations in order to work on remote projects.  It has really become part of the family.  Our children are getting to experience road life like I did as a kid in our old bus.


Stairway into the Good News Bus

Custom air ride seat
Dining Area
Kitchen
Julie's Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Julie taking fresh baked cinnamon rolls out of the oven 
The bunk room
One of our master closets
Master bedroom


Shane Good's 3rd music project,
Longing
August 9th, 2011 I posted a very simple video on YouTube detailing our bus conversion.  It's views are nearing 1 million.  In September of 2015 we unloaded our first "Bus Life with 9" video titled: Bus to RV Conversion Story.  At the time of writing this it has garnered over 125,000 views.  We have released more "Bus Life with 9" episodes with even more on the way.   In 2014 we released a 3 song EP titled Jump!.  It was professionally recorded and produced.  In 2016 we released 2 new singles, Longing and The First Time.  Our family's story has been featured in many online publications and even the 2016 August edition of Good Housekeeping magazine. Our journey continues.  We hope you will join us.  Stay in touch with what we are doing on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and of course at GoodNewsBus.com.


From left to right: Julie, Shane, Seth, Isaiah, Ethan, Ashton, Kiera, Arwen and Elisha

1 comment:

David M said...

Congratulations on your fabulous bus. PS. You have a nice mix of girls and boys there.