In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. . . .(Genesis 1:1, 31a)
If rain clouds come, or the cold winds blow, You’re the one who goes before me and in my heart, I know That this good day, it is a gift from you. The world is turning in its place because You made it to. I lift my voice and sing a song of praise – on this good day.
“This Good Day” Chorus by Fernando Ortega © 2000
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118:24)
Prayers – Financial decisions; van and safety while traveling over mountains 9/26-27
Praises – A bit of cooler weather this week; music opportunities; encouraging others in their journeys; God’s wonderful creation!
Greetings to all with our hope that this finds you well:
Another long update – a lot happened this month! Our arrival at Lake Lundgren Bible Camp (northeast Wisconsin) on Thursday, July 26, found us parked with four other couples from another volunteer RV group. Lake Lundgren is a small lake with beautiful hills, trees, lots of summer camp kids, and for the most part blue skies. We thought we would be working alone but were quickly included in their devotions, work, game, and leisure plans. Connie finished up the remaining window blind and hooked up our new printer. It printed wonderful color pages allowing us to get out our update mailings for the previous 2 months. Connie also joined the other ladies for a day out – 2 thrift stores, a quilt shop, an alpaca farm, and of course lunch out!
The first work day we helped pick up, vacuum, and organize the shop area. The next few days Connie joined John and one other volunteer “planting” 4×4 treated lumber posts to be used for lights. The first had been broken off by a snow plow, the rest were new holes (and trenches for the electric conduit) in their parking lot. The camp rented a trencher but there were still lots of rocks to be moved out of the way in the bottom of the trenches. Holes for the posts were dug by hand and some trenching was dug up again because of a kink in the conduit that wouldn’t allow wires to be pulled through.
The 2nd week Connie was pulled aside to sort and organize drawers of shop things. You know how we all have a “junk drawer” where all the odds and ends go that we are sure we will need one day? Although well-organized originally, sorting was needed to put like things together, decide what remains, toss what will never be used or is broken. Screws and drill bits followed. Once sorted (about 4 different types) the regular bits were sharpened as needed, sorted, and filed by size. With a few extra hours Connie and the “Drill Doctor” finished before we left!
John continued work on the light poles, and painted the new light fixtures to match the existing ones. Then the hard work began – fencing an orchard/garden area in lots of heat and humidity. By this time there were 5 volunteers and usually one younger maintenance staff working together. John was one of a team of 3 working on digging the holes and planting the posts, with the help of a gas auger that didn’t start very easy. Two other volunteers ran chicken wire buried in a trench along the bottom of the posts, and one dug the trench. John’s group ran into rock about 18” down, resorting to hand digging, chipping away and removing the rock. Eventually they came into a “sandy” hole area giving them a break, then some with tree roots that had to be chopped through. By the end of the second week all were tuckered out and fencing work would stop at noon. The posts were all set by the official end of our project and John worked an extra 2 days with the others to see the fencing completed – 4’ chicken wire with 2 higher sections of larger wire to create an 8’ fence to deter deer and rabbits. As a break from the fencing there was outside painting/staining/crawling under a deck at a staff house to get the support posts and trim, tearing down a “donated” piano for the metal/burn pile, adding a router channel for wiring for the light posts, restringing some shop fencing, and pounding in stakes as markers for the newly lighted parking lot.
Lake Lundgren Bible Camp is unique in all the camps we’ve been at. Their “staff” is paid by funds or support that each family has solicited. What a committed group of workers! There were also lots of young families – two new babies joined the “family” during our time there. We were able to join the kids for many meals. Two of the favorite camp meals were the “black pot” picnic (outdoor eating with chili or stew in the pot over the fire) and “hot ice cream” for breakfast (really creamy, sweet, and smooth cream of wheat).
Our music ministry was greatly blessed to have three opportunities to reach the community. August brings the end of summer and thoughts of school, with it the annual church picnics. Our 2nd Sunday (August 5) we played about 3 hours for the Faith Baptist Church picnic which included the Beecher community and people in their outreach ministry. It was a very hot and humid day with rain threatening and we were thankful it was moved inside. Fresh roasted sweet corn with jars of butter to dip into, pulled pork, potato and pasta salad, all the fixin’s, and of course wonderful deserts. Saturday evening (August 11) found us playing for about 2 hours for the Northwoods Chapel annual pig roast picnic outside under a small tent. It was in the evening with a great crowd and fantastic food again. Our last Sunday (August 19) was a community concert hosted by Grace Lutheran Church. We attended their morning service sharing a song for special music, and had a great group of people for the evening concert. We are being blessed as we share our gifts with others, and are certainly seeing God at work in many lives as we talk with people afterwards. We also hosted a jam session at the camp for the staff, summer workers, and fellow volunteers as several had asked about our music and indicated they would like to share their musical gifts as well.
On one of our days off we drove north to Marquette, Michigan (time change 1 hour ahead) for a 2-hour bicycle ride along the Lake Superior shoreline (a great trail) with a few stops for pictures, seeing the light house from a distance, and walking along the smooth rock shore. The trip was combined with laundry (“Loads of Fun” laundromat), Culver’s for Wi-Fi, and grocery shopping. It was a beautiful day where we saw our first “moose crossing” sign and “Da Yoopers Tourist Trap” (with free admission and free batrooms according to their signage). The Upper Peninsula (UP – and those who live there – Yoopers) is a unique place to be!
Another trip was to Marinette, WI with Menominee, MI on the other side of the Menominee River. We stopped at the visitor center getting a bike route map through the city, riding and making several stops along the way to walk on the beach, watch an eagle soar overhead, walk out to the lighthouse and up/down the steps, and Stephenson Island (splits the river, a natural staging area for logging operations of the original settlers). Again, our usual grocery stops before returning home to a heavy downpour.
We took some time our last day at the camp to go hiking. Connie loves waterfalls and Marinette County Wisconsin has more waterfalls than any other. There were 12 waterfalls listed online within a 20-mile radius and we hiked 7 of them! Signs of “rugged trail,” “dangerous terrain,” and “warning dangerous overlook” were posted which meant the paths to get there were hilly, rocky, rooted, and not clearly marked. But what wonderful sights and sounds awaited at the end of the hike!!!!! No two were alike (other than the steep and rugged trails) and we took several videos. There is a peace that is present, even with the turbulent and violent splashing, as the clear water follows its downhill course. We left about 10 am, had lunch along the way, drove lots of back roads, and returned home about 5 pm to a final group campfire – a fantastic day!
We had a relaxed packing up morning, leaving at 11:30 am Thursday August 23 after the morning devotion and break with our new volunteer friends. We followed county highways into Michigan, crossed into Eastern Standard time zone, and followed the shore where we could see waves, whitecaps, and swimmers enjoying the day. As we rounded the bends and caught glimpses of the Lake Michigan shore it reminded us of the California coast! We left the “Yoopers” crossing the Mackinac Bridge about 5 pm and parked at Walmart overnight leaving about 5 hours of driving to south central Michigan on Friday.
There’s the wonder of sunset at evening, the wonder as sunrise I see . . .
There’s the wonder of springtime and harvest, the sky, the stars, the sun . . .
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul is the wonder that God loves me. O the wonder of it all, the wonder of it all, just to think that God loves me!
(Excerpts from “The Wonder of It All” George Beverly Shea © 1957)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
Thanks for being a part of our adventures! You are often in our thoughts and prayers.
John and Connie Nicholas, Salty Strings Music Ministry
Phone – John 909-336-8910 or Connie 909-336-8912
Email – SaltyStrings@hotmail.com
Facebook – Salty Strings Music Ministry
Web site: SaltyStrings.com
ONLINE DONATIONS via PayPal through our web site
John & Connie Nicholas ~ Salty Strings Music Ministry
255 N Sperry St, Bushnell, IL 61422
TRAVEL PLANS AND UPCOMING LOCATIONS
- September – Camp Michindoh, south central Michigan,
- October – Potomac Park, Falling Waters, West Virginia; upper northeast
- November – Boys and Girls Home of NC, Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina; southeast
- December – Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, Live Oak, Florida; north central
- January/February – Camp Horizon, Leesburg, Florida; north central
- March – Tentative – Acadian Baptist Center, Eunice, Louisiana; south central
- April – Tentative – Northeast Texas