November-December Trip

At the end of November we headed south to participate in a prison crusade. This was the second time we were able to be a part of this particular outreach. Prison ministry is something we enjoy and SO look forward to. And especially since January was the last prison outreach we were involved with, we were excited to be doing it again.

On our way down we stayed in Kentucky with some friends of ours, who always are amazing hosts when we are passing through. And since this was Kentucky, guess where our family had to go…?Yes, the Ark Encounter! (Starting about here we lost some of our trip pictures, so they will be a little sparse.)

the cross on the door of the ark reminds us that trusting in Jesus is the only way to escape God’s judgment

exploring…that is one huge ship!

It’s a great place to visit! The inside of the ark really helps put into perspective what it may have been like, and the displays give good reasons for the credibility of the Bible. (And while you are there make sure to visit the kangaroos in the zoo there if you want a few good laughs.)

Next, it was off to Tennessee for Thanksgiving with our grandparents and family. We always love seeing them.

lots of cousin games

ready to eat

pie time!

From Tennessee we went to North Carolina for a few days for Dad to do some ministry recording. We were able to stay at a camp that has very graciously let us use their place a number of times.  We have gotten to know the people associated with camp and enjoy great times of fellowship when we stay there.

And the Cherokee, North Carolina, area is such a beautiful place!

we stopped by High Country Tire to visit Mountain Faith

After North Carolina…Florida for prison ministry!

The first prison we went to was a different experience. When we arrived and came up to the gate, we tried to check in but discovered we were not able to enter. Most of the volunteers were able to, but something had happened with processing our family’s information, so we had to wait outside the prison while everything was being sorted out. Of course we were praying that it would all work out, but we were unaware of who else was praying. After sitting under the pavilion for probably at least an hour, we were cleared to come in, and by the time we made it through security and to the chapel it was well past our scheduled starting time. But the prison worship band was up on stage singing for those gathered while they waited! And when we walked in, one of the inmates said, “Praise the Lord! This is what we prayed for!”

At our second prison we held two services, and in at least one of those I know that between the volunteers and Dad, they were able to individually pray with most if not all the inmates. Dad preached the gospel in both of the services. The chaplain told us later that one of those groups of inmates was being moved soon, so it was wonderful that the last thing they heard in that chapel was the gospel message.

fun with friends after prison

In the third prison there was a man who represents a lot of the inmates we encounter. Just by looking at him you could tell he had a tough background…but he had been saved and made a new creation. When he came forward during the invitation Dad had a chance to talk with him. He’s getting out soon, and life is so uncertain, but he really wants to trust God in all of it. Pray for people like him, for men and women whom God has gotten a hold of, whether they are getting out or not.

Sunday morning was the last service and it turned out we were going back to a prison we had been in last year. It just seemed like such a joyful morning, with the inmates excited to be in the chapel to worship God. After we sang we sat in the back row of the chapel, and when the invitation was given, a number of inmates went forward to respond to however God was working in their hearts. Seeing them kneeling in prayer, and one standing with his hand raised, made me think of what a day that will be when all of us who are redeemed will be kneeling around the throne, worshiping Jesus.

Thank you so much to everyone who was praying for us. You got to be a part of this too!

On our way home we stayed with our cousins…

ukulele jam

…spent a couple nights in the Wisconsin Dells with friends…

…and kept in mind we were heading north to Pickle Lake a few weeks after that!

Spirit Lake

In October we had another chance to go to the Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota. Paul Young from Dakota Baptist Church had several singing opportunities lined up for us, including going into another public school!

our first concert was at Dakota Baptist Church

Mr. Gary, the music teacher at the school we were in last year, was teaching at a different school this year, just off the reservation. He had us come and sing for just about the whole school. We told the airplane story, complete with pictures, and shared how Jesus protected us. Before we sang we went into two different music classes to show the kids the instruments and tell them a little about bluegrass music, and we sang/played a song or two. Then the teachers¬† opened it up for questions, with the idea of having the kids ask about music…one girl raised her hand and said, “Are you Christians?” She obviously was listening to the words of the song! It was also fun that we knew some of the kids there…as we passed one of them in the hallway, he told his friends, “Hey! I know them from church!”

setting up

God can open doors for the gospel anywhere!

Our last concert was at another church that we hadn’t been to before on the reservation. It was for the Sunday morning service, after which we enjoyed meeting people and eating lunch together.

The Young family, who takes care of us when we go out there, is faithfully serving God in Spirit Lake. Please pray for them.

food and fellowship with the Youngs!

O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? Deuteronomy 3:24 NKJV

Arizona and Oklahoma

After Southwest Bible Camp we headed west to Phoenix, Arizona. The first night we were there we sang for CHIEF ministries and enjoyed meeting and visiting with people.

the CHIEF compound scenery

It was extremely warm there, and during our stay we took the opportunity to utilize the sunshine to quickly dry our laundry! On one of the days we were there Dad was doing some recordings with Huron Claus of CHIEF, and since our grandma happened to be in town that week we went to go visit her in their winter home.

enjoying mini golf in the back yard…and how did we end up with no pictures of Grandma?

On our way out of Arizona we had the opportunity to go to Immanuel Mission on the Navajo Reservation. It was the first time our whole family got to go. The evening we arrived we enjoyed a home-cooked meal with Mr. and Mrs. Bloom, and then went to the weekly night of singing with the staff. That night some of us got to sleep in a tree house! In the morning we got up bright and early to eat breakfast at the school with the students…the little kindergartners were the cutest ever! After breakfast we joined everyone for chapel and then sang some songs for them. I’m guessing that was the first time bluegrass music was part of their school morning.I couldn’t help but think of all the potential for the Lord that was there in the school chapel. What if all these 70 or so students went on with Him, for Him? What a great thing that would be!

The drive in, and thus the drive out, was on a road unlike any our van has been on before…basically under the gravel it was bedrock, which required driving very slow. It took about thirty minutes to go eight miles. Definitely adventuresome! And our van did quite well.

Our way home took us through the beautiful Rockies in Colorado. We had to take a family picture in this scenery, even though it was way chillier than we had been used to for the past couple weeks!

It’s always fun when we see interesting things along the way…

Our way home also took us to a family camp in Iowa for a week…after which we swung home to do a concert…and shortly after that loaded up again to head down to Oklahoma.

Blue Baptist church was holding a youth revival and asked us to be a part of it. We always enjoy being able to minister with them! It was encouraging to see the young people that were involved with leading it.

We always enjoy seeing our friends there that we have gotten to know through ministering together in South Dakota for a number of years.

That Sunday three or four people were baptized. That was really special to see! It’s not something we get to experience very often.

After church that day they had a big meal and fun outside for people of all ages. Some of the riders of the Glory Train may have just been a little bigger than most people were expecting…

…and maybe it wasn’t as comfortable a ride as the intended recipients had. But it was fun(ny) nonetheless.

Our hosts for the weekend were so gracious and hospitable. The Cobbles made us feel very much at home and gave us good fellowship and laughter.

…and food!

We are so grateful to God for everything He provides to sustain us…prayer support, safety, the family of Christ in so many places we go.

And the next place was North Dakota…stay tuned!