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Summer 2009


Summer 2009 July - Sept

On July 12-17,  we attended the International Fellowship of Christian Magicians Conference at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, IN.  We had a goal of finding new teachers for the Creative Ministries Conference we put on in Michigan in April.  In addition, we were able to attend many classes and learn new ministry techniques.  Joe focused on the illusions, and Brenda had some great face-painting classes!

Joe and Brenda with a balloon Larry Boy!

July at Evart

On July 18, Brenda was able to spend a day at the dulcimer festival in Evart, Michigan.  Then on Sunday, we did a program for the Chippewa Valley Community Church near Evart.  The pastor, Steve Scott, is an old high school friend of Joe’s.  We also had a chance Sunday afternoon to help with a service at the nursing home where the Scott’s parents reside.

Trip to Wisconsin with an Amish Family

Well, we had quite an interesting week in Wisconsin.  We drove Esther and 5 of her children from Michigan to Gilman, WI to visit her family.  We stayed with her parents, Sarah and Chester.  Their home is HUGE.  They have added on so that they now have 9 bedrooms.  Sarah and Chester have 10 daughters and 4 sons, and only 6 of them are still at home.  The rest are married with children.  So when they get together, they need a lot of space!
Being on a farm, they all work hard, and meal time is a big deal.  All meals are eaten in a rather large, shallow bowl.  After each course, they scrape it out with their spoon to get it ready for the next round.  They do not use napkins, and they have silent prayer before and after each meal.  No course is started until everyone has completed eating and scraped their bowl.  We had things like homemade applesauce, pancakes, fresh blueberries, homemade cinnamon roles, homemade sausage (venison or pork). Every meal had homemade bread, we had homemade egg noodles cooked in chicken broth, fresh eggs, casseroles, haystacks (they pass around all sorts of stuff and you stack it all in your bowl, such as lettuce, tomatoes, meat, sauce, etc.).  We had homemade raspberry and chocolate pies.  They also had pumpkin cake, that they would layer with fruit and fresh cream.  We ate well!  Oh, and they never use napkins.
Joe was quite busy all week.  They took advantage of having a driver handy, and we went all over visiting relatives, fishing, etc.  Joe helped feed cows, and helped out at Mennos' saw mill, where they build cabins, outhouses, etc.  They cut oats while we were there, and he helped shock (stack) them.  Thursday was fishing day for everyone who could get away, even though it turned out to be chilly (66 degrees) and rainy. 
I got to relax a lot more than Joe.  They had company over all week visiting with Esther, and they mostly chatted in German (of which I can understand about 2 words).  But, I was able to spend some time with Esthers' 14 year old daughter, Sarah, teaching her to tat.  In return, on hair washing day, Sarah taught me some really cool hair braiding styles.  I also helped Esther do laundry on Friday - well I watched her put it through the washer, rinse and ringer, and I helped hang them out.  My hands would never have the strength to rinse!  The washer is run by a gas engine.
Thursday evening there were at least 50 people over.  They got Joe started telling jokes, and showing tricks.  We were up quite late that night with games and tricks (they love pulling tricks on Joe), and I finally had to head to bed at 10:30 pm (breakfast is usually anywhere between 6:30 a.m. - 7:30 am for most.  It was really entertaining when Joe started to teach the children magic tricks.  They got so excited when they finally understood the 'trick', and if one learned it before another, they really rubbed it in.
We had planned to leave by 6 a.m. on Friday, but Thursday afternoon our radiator hose sprung a leak.  It was too late to get it repaired, as all the auto parts stores were closing.  So we had to delay our leaving until Saturday.  It's about a 15 hour trip, plus we were losing an hour, so we really didn't want to get in at midnight or later.  But it worked out well.  Joe was able to replace the part, and the van ran great all the way home.  God bless us quickly in helping to pay for the part.  Before he was out of the auto parts store, we received a call from our Florida Sunday School class saying they were sending us some money!
We went back through the Northern Route through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  We stopped and took a tour through an iron mine.  None of the family had ever been in such a thing.  And we stopped to dip our feet into Lake Michigan.  I've posted some pictures on Facebook.  I think you can see them if you click here:  Facebook Amish album
All in all, it was a rewarding trip.


We stopped in Kentucky on our way home at the Red House Baptist Church in Richmond.  We met Rob and Kim in North Carolina last summer at the Families on Mission trip.  They were doing a service outreach called INASMUCH, and we spent Saturday with them.  They passed out quarters and homemade cookies at the laundry, cold water at the ballpark, and gift baskets to local doctors, nurses and firemen.  We did a program for them at a battered women’s shelter and an assisted living home.  Sunday morning we did the Kid’s Worship program for the 1st and 2nd graders.  Jethro was a little worried he might scare the young ones, but I think just the opposite happened!