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!

Plan a Halloween Outreach!

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 NKJV

This year for Halloween, why not plan to reach out and share the gospel instead of participating in the celebrations? Why not be a light on this day of darkness?

The last few years on Halloween we have enjoyed going from house to house, handing out tracts to trick-or-treaters and home-stayers. People are more likely to open their doors to knockers on this night and they are very receptive. A lot of them are surprised that instead of taking something from them, we have something to give!

Here is what we do, along with some pictures, to give you an idea of what you can do.

Pray. There’s all sorts of things to pray about for this. How much should we plan to do? What materials should we use? Where should we go? Who else could join us?

Select good tracts. We carefully read each kind of tract before we use it to make sure the gospel is very clear and not distorted in any way. For this outreach we like to put together little bags of 3-4 interesting tracts. We use sandwich bags—they are inexpensive and see-through, which is great when you are handing it to someone so they can see what’s in it. Also last year we bought Creation Cards and taped candy on them to hand out to kids.

friends make the bag-stuffing quicker!

Then we pray before we go. Serving the Lord involves spiritual warfare.  We need God’s help and blessing.

As we walk up to people’s houses, it’s nice to have something to say. When they come to the door with their bowl of candy (or if they’re sitting outside with it because they are just so into the occasion), a great thing to say is something like, “Hi! Actually, I have something for you!” Or as we’re walking past trick-or-treaters we might say, “Here is something for you!” or, “Did you get one of these?” If they did, great; if not, that question sparks their curiosity and now they might actually want one!

the completed piles

It’s easy to come back from doing something like this and say, “We handed out x amount of tracts tonight!” And there’s nothing wrong with that, but ultimately it’s not about the number of tracts handed out—it’s about the number of people we were able to reach. People with souls who are destined to an eternity in only one of two places. We want to see them in heaven. And maybe other Christians who received a tract will be encouraged to share their faith with others, too.

So that’s what we do, and we have had some friends join us as well. And there are so many other ways to take advantage of this opportunity to reach out with the gospel. Our encouragement to you is: see what God would have you do to shine the light on this day where darkness is celebrated.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV