The pastor at our church, David Cooke, did a series where he talked about life being like a pendulum. Life swings back and forth from great to difficult, but we can be grounded in the presence and strength of Jesus.
There are times where I write newsletters because something crazy exciting has happened, and times where we need immediate prayer for difficult times. Currently, I think our family is in between the two. Sometimes feeling overwhelmed at all that needs to be done for another summer, but also being tremendously blessed in many ways. I want to share a few of the things you can pray for us, as well as a few ways we are blessed.
We recently had a long power outage that lasted exactly 14 days. When camp has no power, we have only a trickle of water, so power outages are an adventure. We are blessed to have a portable generator and God provides patience and beautiful views (usually snow) during long outages. We also have a wood stove, so heat for the family isn't an issue. Mitch and Tami also live only 20 minutes away, so we were able to shower and clean up at their house every couple days.
During my time removing snow, I was able to use the 'new to us' tractor that camp bought this year, which was a delight. It is really great to go to start the tractor and actually believe it is going to start.
In December I received an email from a past summer missionary. Her name is Sarah, and she told me that she was touching base with us to let us know that she was thankful for her time at camp, and that her leadership training was being used in helping lead college girls with Cru. Then at Cold Springs Church's Christmas Eve service I saw another past summer missionary, Robbie, who is now living in Idaho. I asked him if he is going to church, and he said that not only is he going to church, but he told them about his time serving at camp, and the church, after background checks, immediately put him in charge of a small group. It is definitely encouraging to see past staff involved in leading people into a closer relationship with Christ.
Volunteers for the coming summer. In particular volunteers that are excited about their relationship with Christ and want to see others come to know Christ as well.
Safety and impact as we travel to churches, schools, and clubs promoting the summer ministries at camp.
After fall retreat we took a family trip across the country. We saw Arches national park, Omaha Doorly zoo (which is our favorite now), Fort Worth Zoo, and Cincinnati Zoo (yeah, we like zoos, haha).
In Colorado, we saw cousins and went to the Focus on the Family headquarters, where the kids spent hours playing in the Adventures in Odyssey (AiO) area. We also spend a lot of hours listening to AiO in the club app while we were driving. If you have kids, or love AiO, we can't recommend the AiO club enough.
We spent a day at the Creation Museum and a day at the Ark, both of which are worth a trip to Kentucky. Two of our camp staff, Jacob and Jesse, as well as several cousins joined us for the Ark. We went from there to visit cousins in Virginia. Our cousins have 10 kids, so our small family (haha) had a ton of fun on their farm.
In Tennessee we were able to spend Thanksgiving with more cousins. Two of our volunteer staff from last summer, Tommy and Holly, moved to the same town as our cousins, so we were able to see them as well (pics in the viewer below). In Texas we saw Charissa's baby sister Alisa and her family.
In New Mexico, we went to Broken Arrow Bible Ranch (BABR). It was a summer at BABR in 2004 that God used to move me toward camp ministry, and I really enjoyed introducing my family to the people and place that God used to change my life.
We also did a tour with Canyon Ministries at the Grand Canyon, which takes you to some of the great views of the grand canyon, while also pointing to how it is a great example of God's handiwork and love, and not just something that happened over a very long time. It was our first time seeing the Grand Canyon, and pictures just don't capture the grandness of that canyon.
It was a great time together as a family and during the trip we saw many blessings. The biggest one was that after visiting the Creation Museum in Kentucky, Konner (now 10) told Charissa that he was really glad we went there because now he knows that God is real. I know the impact of this Christ-centered trip will ripple through the kids' lives and I look forward to seeing some of the ways that it does.
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Thanks for getting this far. Its a long one for sure, TJ Morris