The Salt Shaker ~ October 2021

Praises – Tire and battery repairs; safe travel through some crazy swerving traffic; 3 music engagements in December, 1 concert in January  

Prayers – Trailer repairs, finding parts, cosmetic and roof vent/fan; wisdom/unity final recording projects to be pleasing to God; John ear pain off and on since October 22; being encouragers as we meet new people in our travels; a Blessed THANKSGIVING season for all

 . . there was a man called Zacchaeus; a chief tax collector to whom others reported . . rich . . a notorious sinner . . short in stature . . who climbed up in a tree to see Jesus passing by.   He, at Jesus request, welcomed Jesus with joy into his home . . later saying, “See, Lord, I am now giving back to the poor and anyone I have cheated.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this household . . he is a spiritual son . .” Luke 19:2-9 paraphrased Amplified Bible

Hello to our friends, followers, and family:

There is always something to deal with every time you travel and move to a different site.  It could be opening a cabinet door or cargo shifting on the floor, but this time it was our thermostat!  Of course, tired from the travel and a bit stressed from arriving late, Connie went to set the furnace for the cooler overnight temperatures.  What she discovered was 28 degrees and numbers not changing into anything recognizable – our control somehow reset itself to Celsius readings!  That got researched and reset the next morning!  TV programming is always interesting as well.  After a few months of little to no TV stations we were pleasantly surprised to find lots of TV stations including MeTV, just in time for John’s favorite Saturday night programs (Three Stooges and Svengoolie).

From last month, the rest of the flat trailer tire story – we called it in at 3 pm, service finally dispatched at 4:45 pm with an estimate of 90-120 minutes to arrival.  With patience and prayer, the tow truck driver arrived early and we were back on the road at 6pm!  (We had some wonderful homemade chocolate chip cookies from our daughter-in-law and offered him one, which he appreciated.)

This month we were back on a SOWER volunteer project, a wonderful camp in southern North Carolina, a few miles off the interstate and about 3 miles from the South Carolina border.  It was great to be serving and working alongside others as well.  Connie kept busy getting dirty while going through their shop/maintenance building taking inventory of the larger items and equipment.  She handled every item, finding make and model numbers to be recorded by another lady, and entered into a spreadsheet by our third lady.  After that was finished there were several hours of online research into “replacement” values, which were hard to find for many items.  Once the totals were calculated she went to sorting and organizing areas – sockets, wrenches, handles, screws, nails, bolts, etc.  She was also recruited to work on the office door locks, fixing the issues by resetting the strike plates.

John and the guys had lots of hard work as well:  disassembling the “Boat House” steps, forming, mixing, scooping, and finishing concrete base pads, then rebuilding the risers and stairs; packing up a donated pop-up camper so it could be sold; removing and replacing buckling tile in the dining hall; cleaning out and moving storage items from an old semi box; starting a ditch for a water line (after 18” of sandy soil there was hard clay); removing “nailed through the roof” damaged fascia boards and replacing them on some cabins; and rebuilding the PVC pipe “rack” which broke with a loud crash the next-to-the-last day of our project.  We had 125 volunteer hours this month along with the blessing of a wonderful place to stay and devoted staff to work with.  The staff here are true missionaries (raising their own support, not paid by the camp) with heart-felt dedication to their ministry.

Our very first Sunday morning we found a church to attend (Baltimore Baptist Church) and were ready to head out for Sunday School.  The truck wouldn’t start – the battery appeared dead.  Our neighbors pulled their truck over, let it charge, and it still wouldn’t start so we rode with them into church for the service.  The following Friday we were off for our first shopping trip, the truck started a bit hard and kept getting worse with each stop we made.  We looked up a Chevy dealer, made it there, and needed two new batteries (one had a dead cell, the other had diminished cranking power).

On the way to church we found a few unpicked cotton fields waiting for the leaves to dry up and drop off before it is picked.  There were also tobacco fields that had been stripped with the tops continuing to grow and blossom.  The picture is a bit fuzzy, there was nowhere to pull off the county road to get a good picture of the green leaves with light purple flowers in bloom.

On our very last Friday we had an appointment to get our trailer tires replaced.  After researching tire dealers, availability, and prices it was a blessing from God to find the tires in stock, someone who knew about trailer tire exchanges, and reasonably priced delivery/on-site service.  Our “spare” was still on the trailer but in good enough condition to keep as a spare.  Four trailer tires were replaced by a very young but knowledgeable worker from the same tire chain that serviced our flat.  We had to have the trailer ready by 7:30 am for the appointment (slides ready to bring in and not using the trailer until they were finished) and were able to wait outside and watch the sun rise.  As the tires were changed, this young man and John were able to get the huge piece of tire out from the axel and suspension as well.  We had opportunity that same evening to watch the sun set.  We are so blessed!

Being a bit farther south we were in pre-fall season, but a bit hotter and more humid than expected.  The first week was very hot and humid, followed by some breezy days eventually turning to heat in the morning, air conditioning by noon, and windows open at night.  By the end of the month there were a few trees changing colors, always nice to see, reminders of fall in Wisconsin/Illinois.  Connie managed to get soaked one afternoon when a rain storm came through and our awning screen was staked out.  Once wet it was too heavy for the motor to roll in so she dashed out, unhooked the ropes, unzipped the screen from the awning, and came in dripping.  (Secretly she has always wanted to take a walk in the rain, that is now off her wish list!)

We didn’t have an opportunity to share our music with the camp or church this month but did spend many hours working on our 2nd recording project.  We had mixed results, but learned a lot in the process.  By the end of the month, our ordered cables to connect the keyboard for MIDI recording arrived.  It worked for the notes, but no sound, a big disappointment.  Oops!  After some more research we need different cables.  The hardest part right now is figuring out what we want to hear (keep in mind there are two of us) for instruments, volume, blends, etc.  And, the learning curve continues for the software and editing process.

Wednesday, October 27 we were on the road traveling south again, starting the day at 8:30 am and ending in a Walmart parking lot in Starke, Florida.  It was a bit warmer than we anticipated, but once the “Party Bus” (a bus/van type vehicle with extremely loud obnoxious music blaring) left the parking lot we slept pretty well.  Thursday early morning the rain started.  We were able to leave at 8:00 am and didn’t have much rain or road spray as we continued south to Hudson, Florida for our November volunteer project.  We arrived right before lunch, got mostly set up before the rain started again, and headed out for a Cracker Barrel lunch (thanks to a gift certificate from North Carolina).  We met our project host, had a tour, and retired for the night after a wonderful shower.  It is amazing how good that feels after a few days on the road.  Rested and refreshed, we are ready for what our November jobs will be! 

“Let everyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches:  Everyone who is victorious shall eat of the hidden manna, the secret nourishment from heaven; and I will give to each a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one else knows except the one receiving it.”  Revelation 2:17 The Living Bible

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


  • Oct 28-Nov 26 – Volunteer work, SOWER Project – Hudson, Florida
  • Nov 26-Jan 2 – Time off, Haines Creek RV Village, Leesburg, FL; music engagements
  • Jan 2-February – Time off, River Palms, Thonotosassa, FL; friends, music engagements

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