When Gary was a youngun’ he was unofficially adopted by his Aunt Sis and Uncle Rich into their (already robust) family of seven. Those good Jesus-loving folks included him in vacations, had him over for weekends, and generally loved on him during a time when his family was pretty much falling apart. As I was introduced and well-welcomed into that family I could see how God used those dear people to model for Gary not only what an intact family looked like, but also what living for Jesus looked like in real life. Oh, there was lots and lots of teasing, but never without the underlying lots and lots of loving. Even when the family moved from the Philadelphia area up to Massachusetts, the connection stayed strong. When we set out on this journey, their house was the first place we visited. While I failed to get a photo of them at the time – here they are a couple of years later –
Man, we love these folks! They have both been promoted to Heaven, but we still are in contact with those wild and crazy cousins. When we got an invitation to join their family reunion in MA, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to join in the fun. While we had little to no idea who went with who in the younger generations, it was still a marvelous day of seeing the Lake tribe in all of its glory and goodness. They might’ve been short a family or two, but it was still a perfectly wonderful day. Since we were so enjoying catching up with the gang, I didn’t take too many photos, but I couldn’t resist when all the littles were gathered together for a group shot.
Even though they were definitely looking at a different camera, you can get a feel for the energy of the day! And for the moms that were busy trying to capture the moment.
I did manage one sibling/cousin/spouse photo –
We might not get to connect with these folks very often – but the love is always there!!
After our quick trip to Mass, we returned to work for a couple of days and then headed south to do some doctoring and other family visiting! Blood work, mammogram and annual check-ups all went well (thank you, Lord!), but the real highlight of our “Doctoring” time is our chance to visit with the Chambersburg Fitz’s and any other nearby family – Joie and Fitz came for the day to add more delight to our visit. Such a wonderful time of catching up with this sweet family! I totally failed in the picture taking department, but managed to get a shot of three of the four kiddos working on one of the three jigsaw puzzles that were in process during our visit!
The time spent with that family more than made up for the two shots I got at the Doctors. And a quick stop at Trickling Springs Creamery also helped!
All in all, it was an excellent week. A little work, a little road trip, a little business (those doctoring things!), a little ice cream and a LOT OF FAMILY!!! What could be better!!
Thanks for stopping by!
PS – If you’d like to see just a few more pictures of the trip, you can check them out here!
Let’s finish up March, shall we? (Oh, you say, but it’s already April 6th! I understand your confusion. But let’s just say – for today only, that it’s the end of March. Please?)
Following our March SOWER project at Panfork Camp, we hit the road for Big Sandy, TX where the 2019 Texas Roundup was being held. We pulled in a couple days early
but before long the campground was full of rigs (and SOWERS ready for a great Roundup!).
A SOWER Rally (or Round-up as we like to call’em here in Texas) is simply a gathering of any SOWERS who can make it – whether you’re just starting out on your SOWER journey or have been serving for decades – for a time of fellowship, fun, and ministry refreshment. For us personally it’s a wonderful time of reconnecting with folks we’ve worked with in the past and also an opportunity to meet some of the new faces that we hope to serve with in the future. Between the speakers and the activities, it’s always a great reminder of just why we do what we do. This year’s Round-up was no exception! Here are just a couple of the highlights –
- We were blessed two mornings with messages from Lew Sterrett and his team from Sermon on the Mount.
So many Biblical lessons were shared – if you ever have the opportunity to hear him (or someone from his ministry) I urge you to take advantage of it! He was excellent!
- We shared lunches and dinners together – always a great time of fellowship! Whether it was catered by ALERT or a good old fashioned (and always delicious) SOWER potluck
(Oh yeah, baby. Desserts!)
Or the beautiful banquet ALERT put on for us –
(Don’t ask me what I’m doing in this picture – I haven’t a clue!)
the fellowship around the table is always sweet!
- Our days always started with a time of worship, and we were led by the incredibly talented Salty Strings.
John and Connie not only share Christ through their music ministry, they are SOWERS too!! We loved getting to meet them and get to know them!
- Another tradition at SOWER rallies is the auction. While it’s true that we are basically just trying to sell stuff we don’t want to other folks that don’t really need any more stuff, we certainly do try to have a good time while we do it!
Money was raised – and laughter did happen!
- But of course, the main attraction and true blessing of any SOWER gathering are the people!
Oh, my! When we all joined hands and sang our SOWER theme song, the room resounded with “Hear Ye the Master’s Call!”
(If this picture is just showing several blurry white balls, and you would like to actually see the picture, just click on the picture. 🙂 )
We can’t thank enough all the people that worked to put this most excellent Roundup together and ALERT Academy who once again so graciously hosted the event! What a wonderful way to finish up our busy winter season!
We pulled out on Wednesday, delighting in the spring green, and ready to tackle our next project!
1. We were blessed to have another SOWER couple working with us last month. Darla & I worked on folding sheets and some sewing projects while Ed helped Gary in the Dorm Basement renovations.
Loved having them here!
2. The Dorm Basement project is complete! Ok, so not complete-complete like campers will be staying there, but the new doors are in, wiring is done, the ductwork is installed and the upstairs (where campers WILL be staying next week) is all good to go.
Which is a very good thing, ‘cause, you know – those campers arriving this weekend.
3. When Becky (head of housekeeping and essentially my boss) asked me to make some covers for the laundry carts, she assured me that she had a pattern.
Continue reading Ten Things
Now some of you might be wondering just what a “Round-up” is. Well, in our SOWER world a Round-up is simply a gathering of SOWER friends – both old and new for a weekend of fun and fellowship. Here is a little write up done by my good buddy, Kim, that went into the April eNewsletter –
GOOD MORNING TRINITY PINES!!!! was the familiar call to order before daily morning devotions at the March TX “Round-Up”. Host Trinity Pines director Phil Springer, as well as Forest Glen and Camp Cho-Yeh directors each took a turn leading devotions, blessing, inspiring and challenging us through the Word and personal testimonies. And as if that wasn’t enough – gregarious games, fantastic food, titillating talent, cozy campfires, melodious music, an amazing auction, tremendous Trustee/Office Q&A and SOWER family fellowship rounded out our days and evenings.
So let’s just unpack that a bit…..
Oh my! Everything from toilet paper races
to kayak races
to archery contests –
to a game of hot potato with an ice ball (I asked for an ice-breaker and they took me literally!)
EVERYONE had a good time with the wide variety of games that we played!
From the hot dog roast that started our event
to our delicious meal at the dining hall
to our always favorite pot-luck dinner
no one can say they went home hungry!
A favorite event of any Round-up/Rally/Reunion is the Talent Show. Serious
or funny –
all talent is welcome! What fun we had!
We kept the campfire going from early morning for the coffee crowd
till late at night.
We even enjoyed a movie night under the stars –
(Nothing’s quite as fun as a group of seasoned RV’ers watching “The Long Long Trailer” with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez!)
We all enjoyed a time of praise and worship each morning, and even managed to put together a couple of “Choir” numbers!
Plus, there is nothing quite as stirring as 60 SOWERS singing our official SOWER Song – Our Best
A long standing tradition at a SOWER Round-up is the auction. This year was no exception!
We had everything from essential oils to homemade sticky buns to RV equipment to adorable potholders! No pictures of the auction itself, but we raised over $3200 for the SOWER ministry so we think that’s a pretty good thing!
Tremendous Trustee/Office Q&A
Every SOWER Rally also likes to include a Trustee Q&A. This year we had two board members, Jenny and Kim, along with our two office staff, Ray & Alean. It was a great chance for folks to ask any questions about our guidelines and offer suggestions to help improve our ministry.
It’s always a profitable time!
And finally –
SOWER family fellowship
This is truly what a SOWER Round-up is all about. Connecting with new friends, reconnecting with old, and being reminded again (and again!) what a wonderful family we are all a part of.
It was a stellar couple of days – we are so very blessed to call these folks brothers and sisters in Christ. Our Family!
There are additional pictures HERE if you’d like to check ’em out.
Or, if you have a couple of minutes, some should scroll through below!
We’re here in Beautiful Vero Beach, Florida, where we’ve enjoyed several days of perfect Florida weather, great fellowship with many new Sower friends, and a time of spiritual and physical refreshment. We’re at the Florida Sowers Reunion being held at The Youth for Life Camp – a beautiful camp/retreat center. Since we’re so new to the Sower Ministry we’ve especially appreciated hanging out with friends from our January Project, Dave and Edie Williams. They’ve been showing us the ropes and introducing us to folks. Everyone one has been wonderfully friendly! It been a great chance to see how this ministry has impacted people for so many years. We are definitely one of the younger couples here – and it really is inspiring to see so many mature Christians really living out their faith in this ministry.
The reunion ended today, and most of the gang has headed off to their next destination. We’re hanging around at the camp until it’s time to go to our next project at the Teen Challenge Ranch in the Florida panhandle. We have some chores to do, but hopefully we’ll get to the beach while we’re here. Can’t beat this fine Florida weather!
Here are our friends Dave and Edie –