The mileage on the van has definitely taken a significant rise this summer. We have seen God bless us with safety on the roads, despite some rather sleepy drivers. (No, no, nothing serious has happened...occasionally one will become rather drowsy, however.)
July was spent mostly in Illinois this year, with few exceptions. After a busy week of "Camp Grandma 2006", we headed out of the hills and the hollers for the plains and cornfields of Illinois.
July 2, AM: We made it in rather late to Tuscola on Saturday evening. Pastor Jason Garcia and his wife met us at a restaurant in town after we unloaded at the hotel. They had other obligations, so they left us alone to eat. (Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes...if we're real tired, it may not be the best thing.) During the course of our meal of some good Amish cooking, we noticed a young couple staring at us quite frequently. We pretended not to notice, but when the young man approached our table, we couldn't possibly ignore him.
"Are you a preacher?", he asked Dad. "Are you a man of God?"
When Dad replied in the affirmative, he said he and his wife had been noticing the way we were dressed. They appreciated the fact that we looked different. And then he handed Dad some cash. Dad tried to get his name, but he didn't appear to want to stick around.
Wow. We were glad to have been accused of looking like decent folk. (Sane? Not sure about that one.)
After our meal we headed to the church to set up the PA. The church has a beautiful building, and the pastor's wife showed us their most recent renovations. In conversing with Pastor Garcia, we learned that he had gotten off of rock music by listening to our CDs. What a blessing! All glory goes to God!
The church was full the next morning, and we enjoyed ministering to the folks of Faith Baptist Church in Tuscola. After a quick potluck dinner, we had to quickly head out the door, as our next stop was about three hours away.
July 2, PM: The church choir was practicing when we drove up. Pastor Joe Kobernat graciously allowed us to use their church PA system, so we didn't have to drag our trojan horse out of the van. (sigh of relief) First Baptist Church of Geneseo has grown immensely since we were here last...it's been about five years or something like that. They have built a new auditorium over the old one, and made quite a few changes around the place. We sang a good bit (or tried to sing) and Dad preached. (Poor Joanna, her voice was definitely shot.) Oh, well.
After church we hung out with the youth group...sang a song for them, ate some delicious food, had some good fellowship. The next day we were able to eat a lunch with the Kobernat family before heading for Rockford.
July 3-8: Camp Berean's theme for 2006 was "One More Mile". We did not get in on the opening ceremonies this week, but we did arrive somewhere around mid-afternoon. There was a great group of kids here this year. There seemed to be a very good spirit, and for once there were more guys than girls! We had a high of 85.
Matthew was able to join us this week, but Julie and the kids couldn't stay the whole time. (sad) We welcomed the little bit of family time we had.
One girl was saved this week, and one young man gave testimony to the fact that he had finally surrendered to the Lord, having fought the Lord all year. It was great to see the Blunkall family, the Fuller family, and all the dear staff at Camp Berean. Pastor Mark outdid himself, as usual. He is always on the go and never takes any credit.
We won't know until eternity just exactly what went on in hearts this week, but we're trusting the Lord for a rich harvest.
July 9: We followed Matthew back to Chicagoland. Saturday was a day of relaxation for which we were truly thankful. We spent some time eating and shopping with Matt & Julie. Little Zach is adorable...we're still puzzling over who he resembles.
Services on Sunday went well at Bible Baptist in Mt. Prospect. Dad taught the Sunday School lesson in Matt's teen class. Once again, we made a stab at singing, though voices are not entirely up to par yet. Dad did a great job preaching.
On our way home Monday, we ran into the Blunkall family at a plaza...so we got in some more fellowship, of course!
July 16: Pastor Charles Madaus and the Bible Baptist Temple in Stonewood, West Virginia, were a lot of fun to minister to this past weekend. They were very receptive and gracious. The church was celebrating Old Fashion Day, with a dinner on the grounds and a concert afterwards. We had to nearly run out the door after the concert, as we had a funeral service to attend back at our church in the afternoon. We made it back, though, for the evening service. Grady Rowe, a friend of the family, helped us out with the music today. (After the last couple weeks of scratchy singing and sore throats, we were thankful.)
And for now, that's the update!
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