Category Archives: trip

Down to Southwest Bible Camp

At the end of August we headed south for a few weeks. (Sounds like a strange time of year for that, doesn’t it?) We had been asked to speak and sing at the Labor Day family camp at Southwest Bible Camp in New Mexico. We’d never been to it before but we knew a lot of people who go, so beforehand we heard about exciting things there like scorpions and vinegaroons…which would only be found in a museum if anywhere in Minnesota. But that’s getting ahead.

We went through South Dakota and visited our grandparents, then we stopped at Wall Drug and Mount Rushmore. That was the first time our whole family has been to either of those landmark places. (More siblings were added since we were there in the ’90’s, and otherwise just a couple of us have been there since.) Both were such fun places to experience together!

enjoying the free water at wall drug

brothers having too much fun

thankful for friendly tourists at Mount Rushmore to take our family picture!

After three days of travel, and staying with friends along the way, we arrived at the camp!It was a nice size for a family camp…not too big that you couldn’t meet everyone and not too small. We enjoyed lots of fellowship!

Dad was the speaker, and his messages were all geared toward challenging us in our relationship with Christ. Do we really love God? Are we cultivating our relationship with Him? Or are we just doing this Christian life out of duty and a lost focus? Have we left our fist love?

Two of the evenings we did outreach concerts and invited the community. It was neat to see people come out for that and get to share the gospel with them. Again, the airplane story has been an amazing tool in helping people see God’s hand at work and getting them to think about eternity.

the “mound house” where the sessions, meals, and concerts took place

Saturday afternoon a group from the camp went to an old mining town that’s now a ghost town, somewhere in the mountains where we wonder how anyone ever discovered anything valuable back there. The road in went along the edge of a mountain—single-lane, nice sharp turns, a drop-off on one side, and usually no way to know if another vehicle was coming at us around a curve. Sound exciting? Maybe a little too exciting…?

drop-off to the right, behind the well-placed trees in this rare instance

But we did arrive safely in one piece, and enjoyed our time in the town and its surroundings.

a few of the explorers

we got to see old mine carts and other pieces of history that were left untouched

Sunday afternoon we went on a hike on what was called “The Catwalk.” Mom and Dad and the other parents enjoyed the man-made catwalk above the river, while the young people ventured beyond that. Basically the adventure consisted of making our way through a river canyon, over rocks, under rocks, through water shallow and water deep (relatively speaking), to a cave with a waterfall thundering into it. The whole experience was incredible. We were in awe of God’s power and majesty as we explored His creation.

on our way back

That experience was such a highlight for us!

Our friends the Delanys were excited to take us scorpion hunting at the camp…like I said, scorpions are a foreign concept in Minnesota. So a couple nights we went out with a black light flashlight to find them. We never would have thought that these things actually glow!And thanks to another friend, who cut the stinger off a scorpion, some of us had the experience of holding one as well.

they’re smaller than we had imagined!

We were also introduced to the vinegaroon, the scorpion’s mortal enemy, although harmless to humans.

they smell like vinegar, hence the name

We made new friends and got to know “old” friends better…what a blessing everyone there was to us! We left feeling refreshed and so encouraged.

some of the young people…friends new and old!

(Thanks to the people who sent us a couple pictures used in this post.)

After SWBC we headed out to Arizona. Pictures and update on that coming soon!

South Dakota Trip

In June we were part of an outreach on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. A church we’ve worked with from Chickasaw country Oklahoma was going there to minister and invited us to join them. Three of the past four years we have been involved with their ministry trips to SD.  We were glad to be able to do it again!

crossing the missouri river to the reservation

The week started off with prayer, and then we headed to the community of Green Grass to hold the first of our scheduled church meetings that evening.

In the morning everyone went to Green Grass, and the activities began, including a kids club, a young people’s class, and setting up the church building for the outreach meetings.

Our days were full, with a schedule like this:

Breakfast early; begin the 45-minute drive to Green Grass shortly thereafter; set up for VBS and pick up kids; VBS/young people’s meeting begins; after those are done, everyone gather in the church for the morning meeting; eat lunch; all ministry team young people and kids teachers plus a few others drive to the community of White Horse for kids club over there; drive back to Green Grass; visit/play with whoever is at the church; eat supper; evening church meeting; equipment tear-down; head back to where we were staying (the Sanctuary).

early mornings and late nights in this beautiful place

kids club teachers in Green Grass

the gospel went out every morning and evening

we sang a few songs for each meeting

the cooks kept us well-fed…and made sure the flies stayed away

the meeting place

kids club at White Horse


lots of visiting before supper


we don’t often see horses just running across the road

God’s Word does not return void…

We rejoiced that a young man from the reservation put his trust in the Lord.  Also, we learned on the last night that a girl from the Oklahoma group also trusted Jesus.  Praise God!

Pray for the seeds that were planted, that they would find good ground and that there would be fruit.  Pray for the new believers as they begin their walk with the Lord.  And pray for more laborers in the harvest.  Only Jesus can bring lasting hope and true peace with God.

friends from past visits

So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.            1 Corinthians 3:7 (NKJV)

Southwest Travels

After Alabama, we were off to the Southwest!

After a two-day drive, we arrived at a church in Albuquerque where we would be singing the next morning. This church family has been a real blessing to us as we have gotten to know them over the last few years. A number of people were there to help us unload all of our instruments and gear, and after we set up, everyone went out for dinner at a true New Mexican restaurant. Tortillas, beans, green chilies…yum!

Mom started having some back pain and by the next morning it was to the point where she wouldn’t be able to join us for church, which included our concert. It also turned out that on Monday (our planned departure day) Mom’s back was not up for traveling, and our hosts, the Delaney family, were so gracious to us when we had to stay a few extra days. We had a good time with them!

Dad enjoyed trying out Mr. Delaney’s segway

a heart-pounding game of jenga

supper and fellowship!

We walked down to the Rio Grande river where there was a beautiful view of the Sandia Mountains.

Even though our schedule hadn’t gone as planned, it was still a profitable few “extra days” in New Mexico. Dad was able to have a couple of ministry-related meetings, and we three girls were able to join some of the church family in a children’s Bible club at the school. We shared the airplane story with the kids, showed them a picture or two, and sang a couple songs.

Thursday we had a concert scheduled on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, so it was time to say goodbye to New Mexico and the Delaneys. Mom was still having some back trouble but she was able to join us for the concert that night! We were in Tuba City at the discipleship center, and we enjoyed meeting people and getting to know the Haskins who minister there and also put us up for a few nights.

And how can you come this far and not go to the Grand Canyon? A few of us have been there before, but we had never been there as a family. We were really looking forward to going. Being at the Grand Canyon reminds us how small we are, and how powerful God is.

…for some perspective. can you find us?

in the lookout tower

I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen so many selfie sticks at one place. But if you don’t have one, just find a friendly-looking tourist to take a family picture for you!

And we can certainly attest to the fact that while pictures of Grand Canyon are amazing, they don’t even come close to doing it justice.

We had been invited to sing on the Hopi Reservation if we ever were down that way. This was another place that was a first-time for our whole family, and it was a great opportunity to encourage the believers and share the gospel. We had a concert there on Saturday night and then stayed for the Sunday church service. We met quite a few believers there and they made us feel so welcome.

the church door open for all

Sunday morning was a church breakfast, with tortillas made hot off the stove. The morning service was an encouraging time of testimony, music, singing Hopi hymns, hearing the Word, and at the end the believers got up and sang in their Native language, “God be with you till we meet again.” We were so blessed by them.

morning service

The town we were in is in a canyon, and right behind the church is a rock wall. It’s beautiful country down there, and between all the rocks, red dirt, plains, canyons, and other scenery we drove through or past in the southwest, we felt very far away from Minnesota! (And we probably sounded like it too…”Look at that rock! Look at all those rocks! Look at the dirt!”)Everywhere we were at on this trip, people were so welcoming and hospitable, whether or not they had met us before. It’s wonderful to be part of God’s family.

From Arizona we began our trek northward, a three-day drive home. We drove through the Rockies in Colorado, and despite some snowfall and high road elevations, we made it safely through and thoroughly enjoyed the stunning scenery.Our last two nights on the road were spent with our friends the Marinos in Colorado and the Wissmanns in Nebraska who are such an encouragement to us. Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for us and blessed us on this road trip! We know that God is working.  Sometimes we see it, and sometimes we don’t.  Either way, we desire to be faithful and trust that where God gives us opportunity, He is at work.

“That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:6