Greetings to all – Our April/May Update
These are the words of the apostle John, from Revelation 21 Then I saw a new Heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making everything new!”
Prayers – Until that glorious time, things will continue to deteriorate and need to be repaired or painted, or healed, which includes our fading bodies and fading structures. We did a lot of painting this round of walls and structures, and John’s back took some weeks to slowly improve to near-normal function. Please pray for continued strength for the work that needs to be done wherever the Lord leads us.
Praises – Safe arrival in Illinois; visits with friends; love gifts; cable temple glasses; new web page design; trailer roof; son Christopher healed to walk for his wedding.
After several attempts we finally made it to Illinois! We kept planning “leave” dates and had to keep moving them forward. It became no surprise for those at church to see us again! We watched the weather and temperatures in the north, which were not favorable, and gauged the slowly healing back. We were able to leave Louisiana, after one 40-degree night, to arrive at Little Galilee in Illinois on April 11 to windy but warm weather. We kept an eye on our trailer roof as we drove, but had to stop during day 2 in downtown St. Louis when it started billowing up and flapping around. (It had come loose and made another small tear on the side.) John taped it down again and we made it on time for a late lunch with the Pastor and his wife from Carlinville along our route. We were able to get to a RV dealer a few miles from our camp before they closed to assess the damage and repair possibilities (ranging from $500-$1200).
John’s back is still a problem, getting worse again after setting up, and the weather was extremely cold and windy our first 2 weeks here. Night one we were unable to hook up to water, needing additional hose, and ran out of water from our tank (we travel with enough for a couple of days on the road). Our 5th night we thought we were set and prepared for a couple of nights below freezing – water in the tank and the furnace turned on (our heaters do well if it stays above 40-45). Thought we’d warm it up a bit before getting into bed, kicking the furnace up, but only cold air was blowing – we were out of propane! So, we prepared for a cold night’s sleep. Shortly after midnight a storm front came through with some rain followed by the power going off. John dressed and went outside, checking our power and the main panel, while Connie remained under the blankets listening to his footsteps crunch on the grass, thinking about the “normal” power outage time in central Illinois. Thankfully the power was on again in about 1 1/2 hours, and the heaters managed to keep it about 60 in the bedroom and 50 in the living area of the trailer. We immediately filled BOTH propane tanks in the morning and spent the rest of the day getting “warmed up” from being chilled. Two lessons learned, carry a bit more than “just enough water” and keep at least one propane tank full!
We met our friend Larry Stevens and he was able to stay a few nights next to us at Little Galilee. We have both been crisscrossing the US but never in the same place at the same time. He has a nursing home ministry and did a few programs in the area. It was a blessing to be together again and to have him as a “substitute” musician at a scheduled program for a Senior lunch in Decatur while John’s back was recovering.
By the end of our first week John was able to do some work for the camp. We worked together most of the time at the “old” offices at one end of a maintenance shed. Before we left we had repainted the ceiling and walls in two rooms, cleaned and reinstalled shelving, sanded and varnished the window and floor trim in one room, scraped and repainted outside window/door trim, cleaned and painted both sides of the inside entry door, and finished up the exterior primer/paint, providing Little Galilee with over 90 hours of volunteer labor, including helping “build” a Gaga ball pit.
We were also asked to help with some interior repainting of our home church (Lane Christian) in a small town about 15 minutes from our camp. We spent a few days there trimming, John on a ladder doing the ceiling and doors (sometimes with a little artist’s brush) while Connie crawled around the baseboard trim. (Another church member did all the roller work.) We were able to get the long education hallway and some of the entry walls painted with two coats.
May 15 found us at Bloomington airport at 5 am for our trip to Manassas Park, Virginia for our youngest son Christopher’s wedding. What a great time we had bustling around with the final preparations. Chris stayed with us at the hotel (his former housing was an hour away) and provided our transportation to all the activities and events. After three days Connie received his car keys and we managed to navigate through the traffic to get where we had to be. Connie enjoyed her first manicure and pedicure, had her hair done with curls that didn’t frizz in the rainy and damp weather, and even had some makeup for the wedding. John enjoyed the golf driving range (although not very good) and the trip to Chick-fil-A with the wedding party (after they were dressed for the wedding). Although rain fell most of the day it didn’t fall during the important times and even allowed for a few outdoor pictures they had wanted. It was a wonderful wedding service with Christ at the center, where He has been throughout their engagement and wedding plans. Christopher was able walk without his cane for the majority of the wedding and reception, what a miracle!
Looking back at our 6 weeks in central Illinois we had lots of other activity as well. John’s 25-year-old eyeglass frame broke with no one being able to replace the cable temple. God led us to All About Eyes where he was able to get a similar cable temple frame, the prescription he wanted (after convincing the optometrist), and two pairs for the price of one. Our trailer roof was repaired, actually the front portion was replaced, while we were away for the wedding – great since we didn’t need to live in it during that time! We did transfer all our instruments and refrigerator items to storage places at the camp (no electric hookup to the trailer while in the service department) and they allowed us to plug in and sleep before going to the airport and when we arrived back (at 12:30 am after multiple delays to our flight from Atlanta to Bloomington). Since it was humid and in the 90’s during the day and 70’s at night the air conditioning was greatly appreciated! As we were parking a trailer tire flattened, additional expense to get the valve stem replaced, but what a blessing it happened at the RV dealer and not on the road. After returning and getting the trailer back to camp we noticed both front van tires were down to the wear marks, so we were off to get new tires – all four of them since the remaining tires had maybe another 6 months use and we would have to find a good tire dealer in a “strange” place. We also upgraded our web page, something that has been needed for a few years with all the new technology, media types, etc. We have not been able to edit our web site because of software issues so it was out of date as well as not appearing well on cell phones. Although a bit more than we had hoped to spend we received a wonderful deal that included a photo session, design, technical support, a blog for our updates (still not sure how that works), and meetings at Panera Bread. Check out our new web site and some wonderful new pictures (we have gotten older!).
We packed and traveled north to Timber-lee Ministries, our SOWER project for June, arriving on May 25. To be continued in our next update!
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those that wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” Jesus, Revelation 22
Until next time, thanks for being a part of our adventures!
John and Connie Nicholas, Salty Strings Music Ministry
MAIL ADDRESS: John & Connie Nicholas ~ Salty Strings Music Ministry
255 N Sperry Street, Bushnell, IL 61422
TRAVEL PLANS AND UPCOMING LOCATIONS
† June – southern Wisconsin Timber-Lee Camp, East Troy
† July – Music Ministry Chippewa Falls, Rice Lake, Eau Claire; northwest Wisconsin
† August – Camp Lundgren, Pembine, Wisconsin; upper northeast Wisconsin
† September – Camp Michindoh, south central Michigan,
† October – Potomac Park, Falling Waters, West Virginia