He [the Lord] fills the sky with clouds and sends rain to the earth, so that the hills will be green with grass. He provides food for cattle and for the young ravens, when they cry out. The Lord doesn’t care about the strength of horses or powerful armies. The Lord is pleased only with those who worship Him and trust His love. Psalm 147:8-11 CEV (Contemporary English Version)
Praises – Wonderful time with friends in Florida; God providing health for our concert; wonderful encouragement received this month.
Prayers – Minor health issues for us; trailer parts; ministry opportunities in Georgia and Mississippi; future projects and travel plans
Hello to our followers, friends, and family:
We didn’t travel or move this month but remained parked on our lot at River Palm RV Resort north of Thonotosassa, Florida. Our weather varied from sweatshirts to shorts with a few rainy days mixed in. We had a lot going on this month, as you will see!
There were many excursions and a holiday or two. February 1st found us with a SOWER couple we worked with in the past heading to Ybor City (south Tampa area) to dine at a Cuban restaurant. “Columbia” has been a landmark for 115 years, expanding over time to a full city block. As explained by our tour guide, one of the owners, as times changed and the population grew so did the restaurant. They started with a saloon, then each expansion took on a new flavor including different themes, dinner shows, and their veranda room addition had the first sliding glass cover.
We celebrated Valentine’s Day twice, having a wonderful meal the Friday before at Fellowship 301 Church followed by a concert from The Puffer’s whom we had the opportunity to see a few years ago at a SOWER reunion. On Valentine’s Day we headed north for some shopping and a stop at Dairy Queen for blizzards.
John’s birthday followed a few days later with an outing to see the manatee’s and a stop at Cold Stone Creamery. The Manatee Viewing Station has expanded since our last visit and we meandered 2.1 miles from the overflow parking lot, through the park, and the 900’ tidal walk inlet from Tampa Bay. Connie was a bit disappointed with only a few pelicans resting quite a way out on the corrugated iron, but the fish, sting rays, sharks, and lots of manatees were wonderful to watch in the warm inlet waters. Mangrove trees anchor the shores providing erosion control, filter pollution, and habitat for many species. We were very hungry, hot, tired, and thirsty when we arrived at a McDonald’s for lunch followed by a bit of shopping, then our stop at Cold Stone for John’s treat. His “gotta have it” and her “love it” size treats were much more than we needed to have!
We prepared and planned for our February 6 concert here, using our new sound equipment for the first time. We had everything set up and ready to go in about an hour, not bad for never doing it before. Our equipment worked well, the sound quality and balance were great, and we were able to bless many listeners. Our second concert was on the 25th in Leesburg, about 1 ½ hours north. We used their sound equipment except for our wireless microphones, and we had a great time, with a blessing of cookies for our trip home and the next few days. We felt under attack for this concert. It was rescheduled from January due to bad weather, Connie developed a bladder infection that morning, and John was still battling sinus drainage congestion, throat tickles, and coughing. We were pretty beat up and even considered cancelling, but instead went to prayer and invited a few friends to pray for us as well. God was gracious and we both had an 8-hour plus window of great health for our drive and testimony.
John was able to repair our loft ceiling fan and change out the bathroom fan (so Connie can use the remote instead of getting her stool to reach the controls). This was also a great opportunity to clean and organize our loft storage; it’s been a year since “moving in” to this trailer and time for some things to go! We also took photos for CraigsList ads and flyers to post for some of the things we need to get rid of before moving on – great idea but no takers.
Our almost daily walks and bicycle rides around the park continued, and we were able to try to swim once more this month but the water was too cloudy to see the wall to stop. (The pool was closed a lot from cooler days and water quality issues.) Connie continued to play cards and was able to attend one water exercise class! There were even a few days she stayed in her pajamas all day. Her stained glass crosses and hearts were completed along with learning a few new tips and techniques.
We were able to hear another music group perform one Sunday evening after ice cream. This trio consisted of excellent musicians on string bass, guitar, and banjo with great folk voices. Connie, needing something to do, dismantled the plarn chair seat (last month’s failure) and a lady across the table asked if she made floppy hats with plarn and hinted that the group’s leader was looking for one. Our modern technology is truly amazing, Connie found a pattern and worked hard to get the hat done in a few days for its new owner. Although a bit large, the recipient knew just what to do to make it fit and was overjoyed to receive it.
Connie made some more homemade eggnog for John’s enjoyment, deviled eggs (for a picnic outing), split pea soup and cornbread (for Super Bowl fellowship), and we enjoyed other food treats including Cincinnati Chili, and “New York” Chinese Buffet (excellent, but just a typical huge buffet). Our picnic outing was a meeting at the park in Dundee, Florida with other couples that wintered at Capernaum Ministries for several years. We met some of these couples when we were there as volunteers a few years ago. It was a very windy day so we left after lunch and re-gathered at the nearby home of one of the couples for a few hours of fellowship, songs, and enjoyed “Magic with a Message” which was great. “Magic Bob” was a missionary engineer for many years and picked up some magic tricks along the way to share Bible truths with youth and adults alike.
After church our last Sunday morning we had a quick lunch and traveled to the Holiness Camp Ground Church in Lakeland, Florida to hear God’s Bible School and College choir. We met our violin friend (her children attended this College and she invited us to come, hear, and be blessed, which we were). What a great group of musically talented, grounded in faith, young people. It was very hot and the church was not air conditioned yet they wore their suit coats and long dresses, singing with joy. One song had a violin, viola, clarinet, trumpet, and trombone ensemble playing along. Our friend treated us again to a wonderful supper with a cheese tray, pigs-in-a-blanket, and peanut butter pie (which we took with us, we were too full, and it was fantastic the next day). We played a few songs together, pet the goats, Connie avoided the chickens, and left with more free-range eggs! God is so good.
We were very blessed our last few days here to participate in Fellowship 301 Church revival meetings. Engage Conference “Emerge 2022” started our last Sunday morning and we were able to attend again Monday and Tuesday nights (including fellowship meals of roast beef and lasagna). We heard messages from church-plant missionaries to Hungary (worship creates unlikely missionaries) and New York City (missions motivation). Presentations from missionaries included Guatemala (Kekchi self-sustaining ministries/pastor training), Tampa Muslim Outreach (God is bringing “the nations” to our front doors), and HELP Ministries (a quartet of men from the Philippines-Tagalog, Togo-French, and Kenya-Swahili sharing their ministries and singing “I have Decided to Follow Jesus” in their native languages). What wonderful ministry encouragement we had hearing their stories and testimonies as they serve Christ here and throughout the world.
Spring is coming in Florida. We saw several bare trees blossoming with large yellow flowers all over the tops (never got close enough for a picture but likely tabebuia (tah-beh-BOO-ya) trees from research) and started seeing signs of the azaleas beginning to bloom. As we pack up to move north a bit, we know spring will be following us!
Therefore, if you were raised with Christ, look for the things that are above where Christ is sitting at God’s right side. Think about the things above and not things on earth. Colossians 3:1-2 CEB (Common English Bible)
Until next month – thanks for traveling with us and being part of our family ~
John and Connie Nicholas, Salty Strings Music Ministry
Mail: John & Connie Nicholas ~ Salty Strings Music Ministry,
3916 N. Potsdam Ave. #3962, Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Phone – John 909-336-8910 or Connie 909-336-8910
Email – SaltyStrings@hotmail.com
Facebook – Salty Strings Music Ministry
Web site – SaltyStrings.com
ONLINE DONATIONS via PayPal through our web site
TRAVEL PLANS AND UPCOMING LOCATIONS
- March 5-31 – Volunteer SOWER Project, Conyers, Georgia (east of Atlanta)
- April 1-28 – Travel to French Camp, Mississippi for Volunteer SOWER Project
- May-June – Unknown, traveling to Illinois and Wisconsin