The Salt Shaker ~ January 2021

Hello to our followers, family, and friends:

Praises – Abundant blessings that surround us; wisdom of friends; activities here at this park.

Prayers – Wisdom in putting things away and getting rid of unneeded weight; no excuses just obedience to follow God’s leading; recording experiments and memory retention.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky . . . Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  Philippians 2:14-15, 3-4 NIV

There has been a lot going on in January and early February, so this update is a bit late!  We continued our trailer search, finding a broker-listed 5th wheel in Tucson, 2 hours away.  Once we agreed on a price and made our deposit, we intensified the truck search.

Connie wasn’t ready for the whirlwind created when a truck was found, looked at, and purchased within an hour from a private seller.  This purchase led to days of no answer/no return calls from our credit union, transferring funds to the correct accounts, and eventually having the credit union cashier check limit system shut down while our check was “cut” for the purchase!  We are the new owners of a one-owner 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 diesel extended cab full bed pickup truck with the added blessings of a leather deluxe interior, heated seats, tow package, sun roof, power memory seat positions, 20K hitch, power tonneau cover, and more we haven’t discovered yet!  The running boards are a bit high and it is very strange having the huge hood out in front after driving the van for so many years; and also, the new owner of a 2-owner 2019 Grand Design Solitude 5th wheel trailer that is quite intimidating with a bit more width, lots more height, and 41’ length!  Thank you, God, for leading us to these vehicles and for the finances (Connie’s inheritance from her mother).

Now we had to decide what to do with the van and trailer.  With lots of prayers, John started contacting other ministries that take “vehicle” donations and felt led to call a SOWER supported ministry in Tucson.  He made the contact and we had an 11-hour day of driving around Friday, January 15.  We met the truck owner in Casa Grande to receive title to “Black Beauty” the truck, got Arizona 90-day temporary plates, picked up an “eat on the road” lunch, continued in the van to Tucson to the Gospel Rescue Mission to discuss our donations, hurried to the lot for our final trailer inspection, stopped at Dairy Queen for supper, picked up the truck back in Casa Grande, and followed each other “home” to Apache Junction.

Trailer repairs were ongoing, wanting to make our donation pleasing to the Lord, and as nice as possible.  The mobile service technician was here three times finished up the awning, trailer brake lockup, converter replacement, and CO2 sensor; John spent many hours buffing the outside, cleaning the roof vents, researching and replacing the water pump, some cosmetic repairs, adding new propane hoses since the old ones started leaking, and helping Connie restring two day/night shades.  About 10 minutes after the service technician left the last time, the toilet broke!  The next day found us purchasing a new (all plastic) toilet and getting that installed.

Our music ministry was on hold for most of the month.  John was able to sit in on some recording sessions with our friends, learning a bit more each time.  With a new trailer that will have a “music/recording room” we are waiting to get all set up to start some serious experimenting and test recording.

Our almost daily walks around the park continued and one day we rounded the corner to find an old-faithful type gusher.  While parking a new trailer someone pulled forward hitting the water pipe and breaking the larger pipe underground.  The swimming and hot tub visits diminished due to our end-of-the-day energy levels, cooler temperatures, and breezy evenings.  We did have 2-3 days of real rain and enough cloudy skies to make us miss all the sunshiny days.  There were also some interesting clouds in the sky, like nothing we’ve ever seen before. 

We were able to entertain as well!  Even though the trailer was a mess with no space to sit, we had lunch with our Chinese friend Justin and his family of 5.  They brought a mini-van full of people, a stroller, and a bicycle.  Justin said he was looking for 2 more bicycles since there are nice places to ride bike where they live in Phoenix.  God is good; there were 2 bicycles for sale in the park.  Grandma hopped on one and his wife on the other, a bit wobbly with seat adjustments needed, and they were loaded into the already full mini-van (both fitting wonderfully) and purchased for a total of $60, a real bargain!  Our SOWER friends Rod and Chris stopped and stayed for 2 nights on their way from Kansas to California.  We visited a lot, had two evenings in the hot tub, attended church and Sunday School together, enjoyed another outdoor lunch, and prayed for their travels and our sanity getting all the details worked out for our new acquisitions.  They, like most SOWER couples, have found joy in humble service to others and it is such a blessing and encouragement to spend time together in fellowship.

Amidst all this, Connie started the month with a good old-fashioned Wisconsin head cold (she hasn’t had one for a few years now, guess she needed reminding).  With all the precautions and panic of COVID it is really hard to convince people you just have a cold and will be fine in a few days with extra rest.  We also took an afternoon to do some minor home fixes for our son in Phoenix, and were treated to a wonderful meal of split-pea soup and fantastic Mexican cream cake.  Connie continued in her Monday morning plastic mat class, and added a 2-session stained glass class completing a heart-shape sun catcher that accidently (if there is such a thing with God) turned out to be a means of telling the creation story.  (Yellow/purple day 1-God created heaven and earth with no form and divided day and night.  Blue day 2-parted the waters with an arch/heaven.  Green day 3-seas with dry land for grass/plants.  Aqua day 5-waters full of livings things and birds in the sky.  Red day 6-man created with dominion over all creation, sin/separated from God, Jesus died for all who believe in Him to be reunited with God.)

Tune in next month for the continuing saga of change and transition!  January has been a month of hard work, grumbling, disagreeing, wondering, and uncertainty as well as one filled with prayer, wisdom from friends, and great blessings as we allow God to lead us into deeper waters.

Simon (Peter) answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.  But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”  When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.  Luke 5:5-6 NIV

Thanks for traveling with us and supporting us with your thoughts and prayers!

John and Connie Nicholas, Salty Strings Music Ministry

Contact Information:      Mail:  John & Connie Nicholas ~
Salty Strings Music Ministry,
3916 N. Potsdam Ave. #3962, Sioux Falls, SD  57104

NOTE:  Mail can come to us directly through February –
Golden Sun RV Resort #E26,
999 W Broadway Avenue,
Apache Junction, AZ 85120

Phone – John 909-336-8910 or Connie 909-336-8912     
Email –
Facebook – Salty Strings Music Ministry                        
Web site:

ONLINE DONATIONS via PayPal through our web site


  • November 27- March 27, 2021 – Time off, Golden Sun RV Resort, Apache Junction, AZ; being mentored in music recording, settling into new vehicles
  • March 27-31 – Travel to Texas
  • April 1-May 27 – Tentative Lake Lavon Camp, Princeton, TX
  • May-June – heading back to the Midwest to see our friends and families