The Salt Shaker ~ June 2021

Jesus continued, “ . . . a true servant prepares the food for his master and makes sure his master is served his meal before he sits down to eat his own.  Does the servant expect to be thanked for doing what is required of him?  So learn this lesson:  After doing all that is commanded of you, simply say, ‘We are mere servants, undeserving of special praise, for we are just doing what is expected of us and fulfilling our duties.’” Luke 17:8-10 The Passion Translation

Praises Range hood done; safety from more storms; brother and sister out of hospitals; family reunion time; kids returning to camps

Prayers – Solution to lock down the tonneau motor cover; continued prayers for friends and family health issues; God’s direction and blessing as we make calls for music engagements

Hello to our followers, friends, and family:

When we arrived at our June SOWER project the usually busy camp was deserted and more like a ghost town over the Memorial Day Weekend.  We started on Tuesday morning, John with the maintenance guys working on drilling bunk beds for ladders with lots of pushing required to drill through the metal and into the wood frames.  Connie started with folding sheets, lifting her arms high to keep the laundry off the floor.  That night we “presented our achy bodies to God as a living sacrifice” along with realizing we need to lose some weight and get in better shape!

Throughout the month we attended our Carlinville, IL “home” church, Memorial Christian, and enjoyed their wonderful fellowship with Sunday School, evening Bible Study, great worship and sermons.  We were able to provide the music for the service on June 20th and shared several “new” songs as well as some old favorites.  The people here are so loving, encouraging, and generous, including lots of plastic bags for Connie’s crochet mat project.  We also had a trip to Lincoln, IL for our 10th year of providing a music program for the Jolly Seniors.  As usual, the fellowship and food were wonderful!  It was the first time for music travel with the truck; lots of thinking and planning to find the right place for everything to travel. 

Connie kept busy once the dining room started serving meals to campers.  After folding sheets for two mornings, many hours were spent in “panning up” food and goodies, slicing ham, and logging lots of steps (2.5 miles) as the kitchen “runner” keeping French fries and pizza trays close to the serving line door.

It was great to have internet available in our trailer again!  Our son provided us with Google TV access while we were in Arizona over the winter and we were able to use it again, enjoying an occasional movie.  This camp provided us great roads to circle the lake by bicycle or walking, and we braved the heat and made a few trips.  It was hotter than average, heat index over 100 a few days, along with the accompanying humidity.  We had lots of humming birds and a beautiful field of black-eyed Susan across the “hard” road with a few deer as well.

Looking back, this month was filled with food!  We were able to eat at the dining room (lots of kid’s camp foods) and enjoyed many meals out with friends.  We had many conversations with retired and current “red shirt” volunteers at the camp, individual meals with friends from the church, and a “brunch” visit with some fellow SOWERs who live about an hour away.

John was very versatile this month, working alone and along side their maintenance staff.  Along with the bunk bed ladders, he learned how to clean the outdoor pool and did that several mornings, built the stairs for the “blob” platform and put slats in the railings on the beach, spent a few days going around the camp tightening screws in railings and board walks, pulling the old candy and pop and restocking the vending machines, removing tables from the café, cleaning the gutters on six condo buildings (as well as visiting with some of the residents), moving mattresses, repairing and cleaning vacuum cleaners, checking and cleaning the a/c drain holes around the camp, becoming an a/c repair assistant, and added a few extra hours repairing or replacing the bug zappers in the kitchen/dining room building.  It was a busy few weeks helping the maintenance guys get a few little things crossed off their lists.

The end of June was reserved for Connie’s mother’s memorial service in Wisconsin.  We made our travel plans, stayed at an Airbnb (bed and breakfast) with our youngest son, and brought Mom’s grave stone with us.  There happened to be a monument company right down the road and Connie was able to talk with them, get options, have decisions made with her sister, and order the stone at a very reasonable price.  We received tips on setting the stone, picked it up Monday morning, and set it in place (in the rain) the following day.  We prepared music for the funeral home service and Connie played the accordion at the graveside at a very old country cemetery, followed by a simple luncheon and lots more visiting!  It was great being with family, some aunts and uncles we hadn’t seen in many years. 

The Wisconsin visit also included a wonderful pizza and DQ family visit at the park, homecooked breakfasts with our son and his wife, and getting to spend time with our 1-year-old granddaughter.  There were also visits and meals with close friends from Wisconsin.  Add in a few appointments and errands to help Connie settle the two estates she has been juggling – one now done, one still pending – and the days were quite busy.

We made arrangements with our volunteer project host to leave our trailer in Illinois while we were in Wisconsin.  After the whirlwind of the family visits (we had all four of our children together for most of one day), our 4.5-hour drive back seemed very long.  We arrived “home” to sleep in our own bed (how wonderful that is) and woke the next morning to pack up the trailer and travel to Macomb, IL for lots more family time!  We are God’s children, and are more distanced than many because of our travels, but we can’t help but transfer the feelings of our personal family time together to how God must feel when we make time to be close and converse with Him.

This is what the Lord says . . . “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord your God . . .”  Isaiah 43:1-3 NIV (New International Version)

Please keep us in your prayers . . . and THANKS for traveling with us!

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

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


  • July 2-August 1 –Macomb, IL visiting friends and families, recording set up; some 2.5-hour day trips to Decatur for visits and music engagements
  • August 1-9 – Little Galilee, Lane Christian Church, Clinton, IL – truck graphics
  • August 9-September 7 – Elroy, Central Wisconsin; recording and music engagements
  • September 7-10 – Travel to Haymarket, VA
  • September 10-October 1 – Haymarket, VA; friends and family, music engagements
  • October 1-27 – Travel/Volunteer SOWER Project – Fairmont, North Carolina
  • Oct 27-Nov 27 – Travel/Volunteer SOWER Project – Hudson, Florida
  • Then ~ December Leesburg, FL; and January-February 2022 Thonotosassa, FL