We always give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ when we pray for you. Colossians 1:3
Praises – We were able to see John’s mom, brother and family, sister, niece and family, and cousins for more than just a quick day visit; all the work done on Mom’s house while there; financial provision for our parking spot this month.
Prayers – God’s direction for SOWER October and winter project locations; financial provision for our parking spot in July; music ministry opportunities.
Greetings to our followers, friends and families:
Our memories are getting a bit fuzzy with almost four years on the road now, but this trip was the shortest of all our moves to date – 117 miles! We have made this drive many times to visit John’s family so it is a familiar route, but this time we had our home in tow. Our usual stop in Havana, IL at McDonald’s was made and included downloading an “app” to Connie’s phone, a multi clinometer, to help in leveling the trailer when we park. “Thank You” to our friend for the suggestion, it worked great! We arrived in Macomb, IL and were set up before the rain showers started.
Our volunteer work this month was for family. John’s Mom has had Alzheimer’s for several years and is being cared for at home by his brother’s family, not much time and energy left for routine maintenance and remodel projects. We completed most of the tasks on our list along with a few extra surprises. The bathroom was the top priority – we installed beadboard, trim, wallboard, base board, crown molding, ceramic tile, and lots of caulk and paint touch up. John worked on all the detail work with Connie’s helping hands to hold pieces while nailing. Connie did the tile layout work and grouting, with John’s help cutting, mastic to wall, and all the cleaning between the tiles before grouting.
Early into the bathroom project we arrived to the sound of running water to find a pipe had broken under the sink in the crawl space. After calls to the local plumber (not available), trips to the hardware store, and John getting into the crawl space under the floor several times, the pipe was fixed and the water to the house back on. As we were pushed beyond our comfort level we prayed for patience and wisdom. These words as Paul encouraged young Timothy in ministry (2 Timothy 4:5) fit quite well “But as for you, be clear-headed in every situation [stay calm and cool and steady], endure every hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill [the duties of your ministry]” as this was a large part of our ministry this month. Oh, how wonderful to turn on the valve, then the faucet, and have no drips or leaks!
John was able to get the gutters cleaned and some tree branches trimmed during our last week as we cared for his Mom for several days. As John diligently worked in the bathroom on the last little details, Connie started in kitchen removing wallpaper. The first layer was heavy vinyl paper that came down easily. The multiple layers underneath needed to be soaked several times and scraped off. John joined in with some spackle and sanding, and cleaned all the ceiling tile and rails as Connie painted a “Kilz” coat and final coat on our last “work” day. We only finished two of the four walls but it was a good start.
We attended Maple Avenue Christian Church about 5 minutes away and enjoyed the messages on “Courageous” giving and faith, and Sunday School classes (Why we should study the Bible) where we had a lesson on Greek! We were invited to do a concert one Sunday evening and we had a lot of fun preparing, practicing, and sharing our music and testimony; we were encouraged and blessed as well.
Our last Sunday was in Bushnell Christian Church where we were asked to share some music and testimony for the Sunday School class and the church service. It was wonderful learning about all the Hebrew words and their meanings that are translated “praise” in the Bible. The Hebrew word for the day was ‘Halal’ (root of Halleluiah) which signifies praise with the whole body! Again, we were encouraged and blessed by this wonderful church. It seems that as we share our ministry and blessings with others we are blessed in return.
On one of our drives north to Galesburg (nearest Lowe’s for supplies) Connie saw “swirling butterflies” for the first time. This is a group of butterflies arranged in a tornado-like shape; our thanks to Google for confirming what she thought she saw! Connie was also able to finish a shawl she started in March finding the right stitches to add the edging and dangling hearts all around. We mailed it off to its new owner on one of our bicycle trips to town.
The weather this month was not pleasant with rain, thunderstorms, high temperatures and humidity, power outages, and gnats. Although we were not able to enjoy being outside under the trailer awning, we were able to gradually increase the length of our bicycle rides around town. It was a nice way to relax and enjoy the landscaping of parks and beautiful homes. We attended an evening concert in the park after a meal with family and the gnats were not too bad that night. It was good to sit back and listen and not have to haul, set up, and pack up. Again, we saw the Oscar Meyer “Wienermobile” with photo proof this time! There was a car show that John and his sister went to after breakfast out, and a chance to be with her for an early “birthday” treat before we left the area.
A highlight of our recreation was a trip to John’s alma mater, Western Illinois University. He has wanted to “go back” for several years now and we made it a priority for this trip. It rained (torrential downpour) for most of the driving tour but cleared up enough to enjoy walking to the library and back to our van. Seeing some new buildings, renovations, and upgrades to the industrial engineering building (his main study course). Even some of the old machines and processes he learned on were still in use. It brought back many memories for John and Connie enjoyed the tour as well having never attended college.
John moved in for five days to care for Mom and give his brother and family a chance to “get away” and visit family in Chicago. Connie slept in the trailer, in her comfortable bed, checking up on the trailer temperature and humidity with the instruments as well as being present in the trailer park so we appeared to be home. This too was a great time spent with Mom, knowing she won’t be with us much longer. Earlier in our visits John played some guitar for Mom, which she enjoyed, and he spent some of the evenings reading Bible stories to her and praying before bedtime.
Most of the month was spent going back and forth and researching for another step in our full-time RV ministry. We finally decided on a mail service from South Dakota which will allow us to have “residency” there once we get our driver’s licenses and vehicles titled. In order to vote you must have a residence (rented or owned) in a state. When you travel without owning property you have to “reside” with a “postal mail box” in a state that this is legal. Of course, the taxes, vehicle fees, inspection, insurance, etc. are all a factor as well so it is a big decision (as well as not being a resident of Illinois or Wisconsin where our hearts are). We sort of feel like we’re defecting, but the decision has been made and our new address is below.
As is part of life, there were other times of frustration as well. Our newsletter was delayed in printing as we ran out of ink causing two mailings. Then there was the process of making more CD’s for our concert. What should have taken a few hours turned into a full day with several “bad” CD’s and a few mis-prints thrown in as well. John had hopes of getting his Quatros guitar repaired, but after two attempts it came back still “buzzing” where it shouldn’t. Even with frustration there are always more occasions of things going right which we don’t tend to notice. Our extra expense for parking and utilities this month was covered by generous gifts we received! This was a wonderful month of being near family, sharing stories, visiting and getting caught up, working hard, and many shared meals together!
Thanks for traveling with us and being part of our family too!
We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will, with all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives. Then you will be able to live as the Lord wants and always do what pleases Him. Your lives will produce all kinds of good deeds, and you will grow in your knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from His glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for His people in the kingdom of light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son, by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. Colossians 1:9b-14 (GNT)
John and Connie Nicholas, Salty Strings Music Ministry
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John & Connie Nicholas ~ Salty Strings Music Ministry,
3916 N. Potsdam Ave. #3962, Sioux Falls, SD 57104
TRAVEL PLANS AND UPCOMING LOCATIONS
- July 1-31 – Beloit Wisconsin area with family (Sugar Shores, Shirland, IL)
- August 1-September 15 – Tentative – Little Galilee, Clinton, IL
- September 16-18 – Lake Beauty Covenant Bible Camp – SOWER Reunion concert and devotion music (Long Prairie, MN)
- Stopover in South Dakota for licenses and vehicle titles
- September 27-October 24 – SOWER project – Arkansas, Louisiana, or Texas