Wherever He leads I'll go

Posts tagged ‘outdoors’

You’ve come a long way baby…

When I was a kid they used to have advertisements for cigarettes and although the Marlboro Man was clearly my favorite (if you don’t understand why just google his picture), I still remember the famous slogan for “Virginia Slims.” Launched in 1968 (I was 5 years old), it was one of the most famous advertising campaigns in US history.

“You’ve come a long way” (sometimes with “baby” added at the end) was the provocative tagline for a new, thinner cigarette marketed specifically to women. The phrase became a national catch-phrase overnight.

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The advertising focused on the emerging feminist and the rise of  “the New Woman,” a woman who was independent, self-sufficient, and eager to demonstrate her confidence.

I’m not here to promote cigarettes.  I never smoked and don’t plan to start. Nor do I see myself as a “New Woman.”  But the phrase does come to mind as I contemplate the ten weeks, 7,800 miles and 140 hours spent in my car this summer.

From Louisiana to the Choctaw Reservation in MS.  From MS to the Cheyenne River Reservation in SD. From SD to the Colville Reservation in WA. From WA to the Hoopa Reservation in CA. From CA to the Navajo Reservation in NM. These, with all of the places in between, made for a summer that changed me. I dare say it changed my teams as well as the people we ministered to and who ministered to us.

The teams….Pisgah BC from Forest Hill, North Monroe BC, Twin Bridges BC from Alexandria, Old Saline BC and New Life International Outreach from Woodworth. Good people.  Hard workers.  Dedicated followers of Christ. My friends. 

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There was beauty at every turn.

The real beauty though was found in the people.  Strong, smart, able, broken, filled with joy and sadness…America’s “First Nations” people.  A people loved and desired by God. A people tied to these beautiful lands and to one another.

Then there are the children. For me its all about them. We had plenty of sports and outdoor fun.

There was Bible Study…

…along with singing and dancing in some cases!

There were always crafts for the little ones…

…along with bubbles, sidewalk chalk, face painting, manicures in the salvation colors…

…and snacks for everyone. Some even got a full meal each day!

Each camp ended with an awards ceremony…

…as well as a Family Night.

There is always a great deal of work on everyone’s part in putting all of this together. The teams, the churches we are working with on the reservations, those who contribute gifts, prizes, and sports equipment, those who contribute through prayer and donations…everyone has a part to play.  Allowing God to work before, during and after each of these camps is crucial to how each individual will be impacted.

We even had a couple of construction projects this year. Some of the guys from North Monroe BC built a Noah’s Ark themed swing set for the kids at Cheyenne River and a team of Pisgah men and youth built the front steps and deck on the front of the new church building that is in progress on the Choctaw Reservation. The team from Twin Bridges BC saw the chance to minister to the owner of the motel where we were staying by offering to repair the roof on one of the motel buildings. The owner is from India and is not a Christian but this simple act of kindness opened doors for our team members to minister in ways that only God could have arranged.

Some of the people who work the hardest get the least recognition. They are the cooks for each of our teams. Their job never ends. They cook for the team, they cook for the camp…they never stop cooking! They do an awesome job…sometimes too awesome. I was trying to lose weight and they were cooking like we all needed fattening up!

Joining our brothers and sisters in Christ in worship and fellowship as well as taking time to enjoy one another as a team is all part of the experience. From worship services, to playing games, having poolside devotions, checking out the local scenery, passing out flyers and eating out…we always have a great time and return home with new friends and a desire to return. Lives are always changed when doing this work…especially mine.

I’ve taken a multitude of roads in this ministry and I’ve loved every one.  Yes, I have “Come a long way baby,”  but the most exciting part is knowing that there are always new roads ahead.

The next road leads to Wisconsin in September and then on to the organization of the Christmas shoeboxes. I hope you plan on joining me!

I Can Only Imagine…

Tomorrow I head out again.  As I was getting ready to go I realized I had not updated everyone on my last trip.

After I finished with my work at the Pine Ridge & Cheyenne River Indian Reservations in South Dakota I headed on to the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation in Wisconsin.  I had a wonderful visit with my friends there.  You may remember that I was there this past April/May and we worked on getting a children’s church started for the children on the rez.  At that time they did not have a pastor but I am proud to report that they do now…and he’s a Louisiana man!  His name is Bill Earl and he and his wife Bridget and their children are from Elizabeth, LA.  I can’t tell you how good it was to have a few more southern accents on the rez!  Bill and Bridget are a perfect fit for the Bible Baptist Church there at Lac du Flambeau.  The people there love them and we already see God doing wonderful things through them.

I am looking forward to returning to Lac du Flambeau in December to help distribute Christmas shoeboxes to the children there.  By the way, if you would like to help out with that ministry just give me a call.

Now most of you know me by now so you know that I took each chance I got to enjoy the scenery.  And boy was there some scenery to enjoy.  I’m a bit of a fanatic when it comes to Fall colors and the leaves were at their peak while I was there.  Heaven!!!

Every where I went there was gold…

And orange…

And all colors in between….

I think my favorite may be the trees that were just beginning to turn…they were a combination of lime green and yellow and their reflections were stunning.

Everywhere I drove was beautiful.  There was absolutely no escaping the beauty…

The beauty was there even when you looked up…

I took a walk down a trail one day and prayed.  I told God I couldn’t imagine heaven being any better than this.  But what’s so incredible is that it is better than this.  Mercy Me phrased it most accurately in their song; “I Can Only Imagine.”  I can only imagine how incredible heaven must be.  How beautiful. How breathtaking.  What I see on earth now is just a “foretaste of glory divine.”

I digress. 🙂  Instead of heading straight to Connecticut after leaving Wisconsin I came home instead.  I needed to raise some more funds and get some things in order before heading to Connecticut.  I decided that I was going to have to work a little harder at finding inexpensive places to stay while on these trips.  So…I got online and found three Christian Campgrounds in Tennessee, Virginia and Connecticut.  I contacted them about lodging and as a result my total cost for lodging on this trip is $30.00!  I’ll be staying at Camp Agape in Benton, TN my first night on the road.  They are a Southern Baptist Campground.  I’ll be staying the next two nights at Shenandoah Springs Campground near Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.  They are an inter-denominational campground but the pastor and his wife are Southern Baptist.  Then, in Connecticut, I will spend 9 nights at the Willimantic Christian Campground; owned by an inter-denominational Christian group.  God is good!

Now let me share with you a way that God provides when we least expect it.  I needed about $1,000.00 to pay my bills and make this trip.  I started out with $150.00 but I kept making my plans like I already had the money I needed.  I am leaving tomorrow and by yesterday I had received $990.00.  Again, God is good!  I also had a donation strictly intended for me to get AAA Auto Insurance in case I have problems while on the road.

I can’t begin to tell you how exciting it is to see these kind of things happen.  I’ll admit, I get a bit nervous at times but God always provides what I need, when I need it through people like you.  Thanks to you all!

I’ll head out in the morning and I’ll keep you all posted as often as I can while on the road.  In the meantime, please be in prayer for the contacts I make to work with the Mashantucket Pequot tribe in Connecticut.

 

Call me un-American…

As most of you know I have been on the road for a while now.  I left home June 1 and have been to Oklahoma and Arkansas to visit friends and then on to South Dakota to do a children’s camp at Pine Ridge and most recently, to Montana to do another children’s camp at Ft. Belknap.

I have seen some beautiful sights along the way.  The tree covered Ozarks, the snow capped mountains of Glacier National Park and now, for the first time, I’ve been to Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone is another example of how much God loves variety.  There are mountain creeks and rivers…

…and thermal pools that emit a steam reminiscent of Louisiana summers.

There are snow capped mountains framing verdant valleys…

…and roadside “hotspots” consisting of crystal clear thermal waters.

 You also find an abundance of wildlife…bears (which I didn’t see), deer and buffalo (which I did see).

 There were geologic wonders as well…

The drive was beautiful and filled with wonder.  I’m not much for crowds and I knew that going during the summer months would mean that I would have to pull over to take pictures along with hundreds of other people…I was prepared for that.

However, what I was not prepared for was what I found when I got to that American Icon, “Old Faithful.”  I had already driven 51 miles at 20 mph stopping along the way to enjoy the sites.  I mean, you can’t go to Yellowstone without seeing “Old Faithful”…right?

Well, call me un-American, but I can!  When I arrived at this, America’s Geyser, I found a resort hotel, souvinere shops, restaurants, gas stations and even a car repair shop.  There were hundreds of cars and thousands of people.  It was so commercialized that it suddenly lost all of it’s appeal for me.  I just wanted out of there!  After about three attempts to find my way out, I was back on the road again.  I decided that seeing it in pictures was good enough for me.

I learned something about myself that day…I prefer simpler pleasures.  Like a mountain stream along a country backroad or even the small thermal pools that exist along the road at Yellowstone.  Those bring me pleasure.

So…don’t expect any pics of “Old Faithful” here.  Instead I hope you enjoy the things that brought me pleasure and I look forward to you joining me again on my next adventure…

It’s been a great few days on the rez…

Today we had three children show up for Sunday School here on the rez!  That may not sound like many to you but believe me, it’s a big deal.  The children also had a knowledge of Jesus and what He did on the cross and that was encouraging as well!

Wednesday night there were three of us that met for prayer meeting. We three discussed enough to make us all go home and continue seeking God for truth.  That’s the kind of Bible study I love…when everyone contributes and learns from each other.

Mr. Ed is still in the hospital but doing much better…the young lady who was beat up Wednesday is also better.  She is still pretty traumatized but that is starting to heal as well.

I made a trip to see my friend, Bernadine and her family on the Menominee reservation.  Bernie is a believer on a reservation with very few believers but she doesn’t let that stop her.  She’s got a love for the Lord and is teaching her niece and nephews about Jesus and the Word.  I’m so proud of how determined she is to follow through!  During our visit we took a trip to the cemetery (yep, another one!) to visit her mother’s grave.  I got this shot of Bernie with her niece Evian and her nephews Jarel and Jayquan while there.

The last few days have been beautiful so I took a quick trip to Madeline Island. There were very few people there since summer hasn’t arrived but I like it that way.  It was just me and beautiful Lake Superior.

I came upon an old church and…..another cemetery while on the island.

Right before I left to catch the ferry back to the mainland, I came upon this incredible wooded area.  It looked to me as if they were the woods straight from a fairy tale… Hey, your imagination runs wild when you are all alone on a practically deserted island!

Then, on the way home, I discovered this crazy collectibles shop. It was closed but all I wanted were some good photos! Here’s one of them…

Finally, I made a mad dash home so that I could capture the sun setting on Lac du Flambeau.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Here’s another look…

Then, as I was about to walk away, this caught my eye.  Dare I say…smoke signals?  You decide!

 So, all in all it has been a great week!!!  I can’t wait to see what next week has in store for us here on the rez.

Sunday afternoon drive…

Well, it’s my first Sunday with the Lac du Flambeau Bible Baptist Church.  We’ve visited children, we’ve had several meetings and the relationships I am forming here are enduring ones.  Today was the day…Sunday.  We prepared the room, I got the lesson ready, the ladies were on hand to learn.  But no kids.  It’s a slow process on a reservation.  The supply pastor had his two grandchildren with him so we took them and did a practice Sunday School with them for training.  The ladies learned and the kids enjoyed themselves…so all in all, it was progress.  Now we’ll just have to keep on keeping on.  After a great lunch with Mr. Buddy and Don I decided it was time for some fresh air.  Nothing renews my soul like a Sunday afternoon drive, so off I went…exploring my new “home.”  And I wasn’t disappointed.  The Northwoods country is one of the most serene places I’ve ever experienced.  The sun filtering through the fir, spruce and pine; the water that seems to go on forever. Take a look…

 The birch trees stand like tall, white sentinels, quietly standing guard in the afternoon sun…

And when I opened my car window at this boggy marsh, the mosquitos that flew in put the Louisiana mosquitos to shame! They were so large I had to look twice to make sure they were actually mosquitos…

Of course, no Sunday afternoon drive is complete without a visit to a local cemetery.  I always enjoy cemeteries…much to the dismay of my friends…but if you want to know something about the area you are in then that’s the place to go!  This cemetery is on the reservation and has something I’ve never seen before…

Yep…that’s a little house.  They are called Ojibwe cemetery houses.  They house the food and other offerings made by the Ojibwe natives.  Here’s a look at another one…

Well, tomorrow begins a whole new week here with my new Native friends.  I’ll keep you posted…

 

 

On the rez…

I’ve been on the reservation for 3 days now.  The accommodations are wonderful…much better than what I live in at home.. and the people are so gracious.  These are a good people…proud to be Native but grieved at how few of their people know Jesus.  I’ve met with the church members twice and we’ve begun work on starting a Sunday School for the children.  I haven’t taken any pictures yet but here is a shot from August with one of my favorite Natives – Mrs. Virginia Seneca.

Pam Waterman and I went into the community visiting some of the children yesterday and today.  The response was mostly positive so I’m looking forward to seeing who comes on Sunday.  Today, before we went visiting, I took advantage of the beautiful sunshine and went out looking for photo opportunities.  I stopped at the actual Lake of Torches …Lac du Flambeau and got this shot…

The wind was blowing and I was freezing (it was 43 with a wind chill of 37 today) when I took this one!

Time ran out and I headed to the church to meet Pam.  But the best was yet to come…I went to supper with Dar and Pam and on the way home we spotted this Bald Eagle!  It’s a baby…that’s why it doesn’t have the white on it’s head yet. But it’s a Bald Eagle none the less!! Dar was kind enough to turn around, go back and pull over so I could get this. God Bless you Dar!

A great end to a good day.  I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

The Road Less Travelled

After meeting with North Monroe Baptist Church, it was time for me to head to my first hotel in Tunica, MS.  MapQuest had me going one way but my GPS said another.  I went with the GPS…the road less travelled.  It was a beautiful little road called the Old Bonita Rd.  If I had followed the road everyone else was following I would have missed this…

And this…

So…here’s to those little surprises God brightens our day with!

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