Category Archives: conference

Canada 2017

Early January for us has come to mean packing up and heading north to Pickle Lake, Ontario. Many of you are familiar with our annual trip there to sing at the Winter Road Conference and then the community outreach. We always look forward so much to going there. And yes, this is where the plane crash happened last April.

But this year, we went to Winnipeg first. Since we used to live there we have lots of friends, and in a way it still feels like home when we visit.  We stayed with the Ungers, who live just down the street from our old house. How can I describe our time with them anything short of “a blast”? Games, fellowship, singing, laughter…it is so good to have the body of Christ wherever we go!

Danton and Daniel sang us a song

Sunday morning we were grateful to remember Jesus through breaking bread with our church family there. Sunday evening was testimony night at church, and we were invited to sing a few songs during the meeting.  One of our favorites went wonderfully along with the theme of the evening.  The message of the song is: No matter your background, whether it was rough or you were raised in a Christian home, as brothers and sisters in Christ we can all say, “You can’t imagine what the Lord has done for me!”

Yes, our church family in Winnipeg truly is family. We are always so blessed when we visit.

Then it was off into the Ontario wilderness…the long, beautiful road to Pickle Lake!Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday was the Winter Road conference which our friends the Rasmussens host at Friendship Baptist Church. Basically, this is a time to encourage the believers in the north through song and messages from God’s Word. Since we’ve been coming to Pickle Lake for so long we know quite a few people and it’s always nice to see everybody again.

Mom and Linda, two of the very hard-working cooks of the week

Friday through Sunday was the gospel outreach at the community center. This year especially there seemed to be a lot of spiritual opposition…several things happened that just reminded us we are in a battle. But God is still in charge and the meetings went really well.

many people came

Since this is the town where the plane crash happened, and in such a small community everybody knows about it, it was advertised that the family who had been in the plane crash was going to sing. Actually, it was really amazing…many of the main characters of the story were there—our family, Dan Hatfield (the pilot), the Brennemans whom Dad had been staying with in Round Lake during that time, Gary and Chris Quequish, the Rassmussens (Mrs. Rassmussen, the Brennemans and Dad had formed “The Maryland Trio and Cindy,”), and even one of the EMT’s who checked us out at the scene.

Dad and the Brennemans

One night of the outreach Mr. Hatfield shared the airplane story from his perspective, and one night our family shared from our perspective and showed pictures on a screen. We’ve told that story in so many places to so many people, but to share it in Pickle Lake where it happened, I think there was a different kind of connection between us and those who came out that night.

Dan Hatfield

Gary Quequish preached this year again. We never tire of hearing him share his testimony, the gospel, and whatever else God has put on his heart.

Gary Quequish

Also one night a young couple from Pickle Lake shared their testimonies. It was such an amazing story, one that really stirs you.  To hear of the life before Christ and now what a difference He has made… There is hope in Jesus!

to God be the glory!

We were able to see God working in people’s hearts during these meetings. Pray for those whom He touched and those who have yet to respond to Him.

we always enjoy hearing the Sweat family sing

“the Maryland Trio and Cindy” regrouped and sang for one of the meetings

Mr. Rassmussen, Dad, Mr. Sweat, Mr. Quequish

One afternoon at the community center we did a children’s program, featuring songs, games, a Bible memory verse, and a reenactment of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Thanks to the Rassmussens for all their help again this year!

Bible verse with actions

marching for “The Gospel Train” song

Sara narrated the Bible story when we didn’t have lines to say (and yes, the frog umbrella was the “golden image” in the story…)

“Look! Three people are not bowing!”

“O king, we will not bow.”

a rousing game of musical chairs to finish off the hour

In between all the different church and outreach meetings and activities, there was plenty to be done.


school…with a little bit of company?

food prep

and our annual game of Canadian bowling!

It was such a blessed week of ministry, fellowship, and great conversations with believers and non-believers alike.

On our way out of Pickle Lake we stopped by the EMS office to say goodbye and get our picture taken with “our EMT.”God is so good!

And we have yet more travel reports coming soon!

From the rising of the sun to its going down the LORD’s name is to be praised. Psalm 113:3

New Mexico

Yes, another road trip. Lots of time together in our van. Lots of laughter and smiles and memories.

God opened up an opportunity to serve in New Mexico at the 40th anniversary conference/celebration for CHIEF, a Native American ministry that focuses on discipleship.  Dad was asked to help with recording, share about The Storyteller, and our family was invited to sing.

So, as is our custom with long road trips, we loaded that van to the ceiling (or almost), piled in, and drove the long three-day trek to New Mexico. We drove to our grandparents’ house in South Dakota for the first night, and the second night landed us in Colorado Springs. We were excited to be able to visit Focus on the Family, especially since we’ve enjoyed many Adventures in Odyssey as a family.IMG_9205IMG_9207

we also enjoyed meeting (a cardboard version of) Dave Stotts from Drive Through History while we were there

we also enjoyed meeting (a cardboard version of) Dave Stotts from Drive Through History while we were there

the scenery in Colorado Springs in amazing

the scenery in Colorado Springs in amazing

At the CHIEF conference it was encouraging to hear what God is doing in Native North America. It was a time of celebration for the last forty years, but at the same time looking to the future and being exhorted to press on.  We also made some good connections for the work we’re involved with.

each person here represents a different ministry in Native North America

each person here represents a different ministry in Native North America

Huron Claus, director of CHIEF

Huron Claus, director of CHIEF

we shared in song

we shared in song

Mr. Vern, one of the many speakers

Mr. Vern, one of the speakers, shared an especially powerful message about how we can’t lose when we have Jesus

the Hendersons led the worship for each session

the Hendersons led the worship for each session

the boys were eager sound-booth help

the boys were eager sound-booth help

Dad and Huron

Dad and Huron

After the conference, we headed to Albuquerque for an outreach concert put on by our friends at Garfield Gospel Chapel – a church that a few of us have visited the last couple of years. We had a great time meeting new people and getting to know our host family.

evening in the pool!

evening in the pool!

happy to be Lego-ing

having fun Lego-ing

Mrs. Lennox and Mom

Mrs. Lennox and Mom

On our way out of Albuquerque we stopped in Old Town for a family morning of touring shops and eating frozen yogurt.IMG_9357IMG_9384

yay yogurt!

yay yogurt!


we liked the farewell

We saw so much beautiful creation on our trip…mountain ranges, clouds, rays of sunlight, rainbows, flowers, rivers…everything declaring the glory of God.

even the rainy weather was beautiful

even the rainy weather was beautiful

On our way home we stopped at our grandparents’ again, where the go-carts are always a hit.DSCN0322

Thank you for all your prayers on this trip. We know God works in ways that we may not even be aware of, and we’re thankful for His faithfulness.

Vessels of Honor

Memorial Day weekend found us heading south to the Kansas City area for the Vessels of Honor conference. Sara and I went two years ago and this year Abigail was able to come as well. Vessels of Honor is a young people’s conference where there are challenging messages and much fellowship.

This year Randy Amos, Scott Degroff, and Mike Attwood were the main speakers, and the theme of the conference was “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.”


Randy Amos speaking

I really can’t begin to share everything we learned from the Word of God this weekend! It was such a rich time. But here’s a few things anyways.

Randy Amos spoke on the church–what God’s plan is for us and the fact that we are the bride of Christ. As His bride we need to keep ourselves pure for Him and have a single heart for Him.

Scott Degroff challenged us from Romans 13:11-14 to wake up–to rise from a lying position; to cast off the works of darkness, at once and once for all; to put on the armor of light; and to make no provision for the flesh. He emphasized that many of us who are saved eternally need to be saved now–from sin, from a lethargic, non-aggressive, lazy Christian life. We don’t know how much time we have on earth, so we need to wake up and redeem the time.

Mike Attwood shared from Song of Solomon. He showed many parallels between the relationship portrayed in that book and our relationship with Jesus, our heavenly Bridegroom. The more we are captivated with our Savior, the things that used to thrill us won’t be so captivating. Satisfaction comes in a love relationship with our heavenly Bridegroom. Mr. Attwood challenged us: in order to be effective for Jesus, fall in love with Him.

In between main sessions there were a variety of breakout sessions we could choose from to attend. Probably the most challenging to me was Josh Lindamood speaking about what it means to follow Jesus. The spoken words of Jesus recorded in the gospels somehow are not always emphasized as much as the epistles are, yet as His followers we are to do everything He commands us. Sometimes we place more importance on things that make us feel spiritual rather than on trying to obey Jesus. Mr. Lindamood cautioned us to beware lest our zeal go towards the wrong target. Jesus commands us to love God and to love our neighbor. What would our lives look like if we really obeyed Jesus’ commands?

Josh Lindamood's session

Josh Lindamood’s session

There was a lot of sitting time…which was a good thing, because that was when we heard God’s Word. So since there was a lot of sitting, it was also a good thing we had to climb these…DSCN9955…multiple times a day (including to get to the cafeteria).

Some other highlights of the weekend were times of prayer, seeing and making new friends, singing with our brothers and sisters, and being able to participate in an outreach.


singing in the main sessions

a hymn sing in the old church building

a hymn sing in the old church building

singing praises



...and more friends!



…and more friends!

praying before the outreach

praying before the outreach

There were a few rather healthy-looking cats running around the campus during the weekend. We happened to discover an afternoon napping location of theirs one day while we were out walking.P5244008 (2)

and this is not where the cats were...but this was a beautiful building

and this is not where the cats were…but it was a beautiful building

It rained a fair amount during the weekend, but by the last day the sun had come out and probably helped to re-energize us a bit. It was a wonderful weekend of fellowship and teaching…we are looking forward to next year!

P5244016 (2)

rain-washed roses


But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

2 Timothy 2:20-21