The Salt Shaker

The Salt Shaker ~ June 2020

I will praise God’s name in song.  I will proclaim his greatness with thanksgiving.  (Psalm 69:30 Evangelical Heritage Version EHV)

Greetings to our family, friends, and followers:

Praises – Trailer repairs went well and are finished; fellowship and being together; churches starting to open doors

Prayers – Texas RV park(s) for winter rest/relaxation; van/trailer brakes repair/replacement; school year on-site classrooms

Well, our two days of driving to our volunteer project in Pacifica, CA (just south of San Francisco) were hot, stressful, scary, and exciting as mentioned last month.  At the end of travel day one the freezer door was stuck and “fell apart” as we jiggled it open – not to worry, the panels slid back together fairly easy.  When we got into the trailer at the end of travel day two, we found the freezer door open with food thawing on the floor.  That made for some interesting and creative cooking!  Our first evening brought a full moon rising over the hills bringing peace into our hearts even with all our travel problems. 01 20200604_204448

We welcomed our first SOWER couple on Friday right before we left for a drive north to a music store.  Connie tensely drove through San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge, through the tunnel, and into the suburb city of San Rafael.  We arrived about a half hour before closing to find we were only allowed into the entry of the store with everyone fully masked and trying to stay 6 feet apart.  The folk harp we went to see was brought to us, along with a tub to sit in on so Connie could try it out.  It was hard with the doors open, traffic noise, others coming and going, and not being in tune, to get a real feel for the sound but the levers seemed to work fine so we purchased a “new” harp – slightly smaller but a few pounds heavier.  After all the stops along the way, over an hour of driving, and trying the harp we really had to find a restroom (the music store was not an option due to COVID restrictions).  Thankfully there was a veterinary clinic a short walk up the road with the key to a public restroom that was much appreciated.  We conversed with the friendly receptionist finding she was from the Milwaukee area in Wisconsin.  Sometimes it is the small things of life that make all the difference!

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We started our volunteer work on Monday as a group of 4 and were joined on Tuesday evening with another SOWER couple.  Both of the couples joining us were on their first SOWER project but both had worked mission building trips before and had some idea of what it would be like.  The guys started on the roofs of the buildings, preparing and painting the vents – the salty mist in the air and fog from the ocean are very conducive to rust and corrosion.  There were also some days on their hands and knees filling cracks in the asphalt before a grant came through with the funding to have the seal-coating done professionally.  John fixed some window sills that were rotten (getting to use their wood shop), and caulked and primed them for painting.  The last 10-12 days were spent on a “quick” roof fix that ended up tearing out a lot of rotten wood, designing supports, fitting and rebuilding for much of the soffit and fascia on one 70’ side of the building.

John also spent a lot of time researching and watching videos online to get ideas to fix the back wall of the trailer.  We made a 40-minute trip to Home Depot for some materials for the repair with more shuddering brakes causing Connie to declare there would be no more road trips until they were fixed.  However, our first priority was the trailer repairs.  After we stored all the instruments in the “music room” of the school (where we gather for our morning singing, devotions, break time, and ice cream fellowship), John spent a few days to complete the repairs then moved on to washing and waxing both the front and back of the trailer so it could be caulked.  We could still use the van for our grocery trips but found we could bike and/or walk almost as easy.  The grocery stores and Ace Hardware are a mile or less, and McDonald’s is right on the route!

The ladies spent a few days washing shelves and hauling trash/recycling from elementary school classrooms where the teachers will not be coming back.  With all the COVID uncertainty the decision was made to not have K-3 classes this coming year causing several teachers to be let go.  There is a little animal farm with fancy chickens, goats, and bunnies that the kids enjoy.  The rest of our days were spent “landscaping” at both the elementary school (across the road and up a steep hill) and middle/high school grounds.   Our supervisor was the administrator who was quite handy at giving the plants and trees “haircuts” with the chain saw and bush trimmer.  We filled at least 17 pick-up truck beds with green waste which is dumped amongst the trees on the hill – that’s a lot of picking up and tossing!  There were about 25 seedlings to be potted as we cleaned up various areas, weeding, spreading wood chip mulch, and lots of watering of existing pots and transplants.  Connie spent a day cleaning up the greenhouse, put up some wood pieces for a hose hanger, and with a wee-bit of help from John fixed the door to the greenhouse shed.  As we worked along the fairly busy road, we were informed there is a “friend” that drives by who uses the “drug-free zone” in front of the school to dispose of his little vodka bottles – we found 17 one day in a block-long section!  We still look for (and find) them almost every time we walk the front sidewalks.

With all our travels we have gotten pretty good at adapting and reading the local weather, but not so here.  Mornings bring upper 50’s with clouds/fog, sometimes spilling over the ridge of the south hills which is very beautiful.  It is very green and sunny even though there was no rain all month, typical in the summer dry season here.  By mid-morning you are hot and changing into short-sleeves and by mid-afternoon to evening you have a jacket on even though the temperatures are in the lower 70’s.  We have spent a couple of afternoons checking instrument tuning as they adjust to the new climate, but it is great with low humidity and cool nights for sleeping – we haven’t used our air conditioners at all but do have the heaters on every night.  We have had a few days with some nice breezes and one very gusty day that rocked the trailer a bit, but nothing like central Illinois spring winds.  We are typically in Illinois/Wisconsin in spring and are really missing our friends and family being so far away.

Our first trip to the grocery store was a shock!  We haven’t had to shop for a lot of things for several months and the cost of living here is very high; seems like everything was $1 more than the expected price.  It makes one extremely thankful for the blessings we have had.  We had a lunch trip with our SOWERs at a restaurant down the coast; we had to sit outside of course.  It was a bit cool and breezy with no sun but the food and fellowship were great.  We put up our hummingbird feeder after a week and finally had some takers the 4th day; these are darker with lots of red around and on their heads.  The landscaping around the school has lots of blooming flowers we had to compete with.  Some things we do recognize for trees and plants sure look different here.

Almost every day we were walking or biking.  There is a creek that runs behind the high school property where deer hang out and it is not unusual to see them in the ball field dugouts in the evening.  One walk we came upon a racoon coming down the electric pole and onto the fence top to join his friend, less than 8 feet away.  Other than going for groceries there were a few trips by bicycle to the post office, great at the start but some fairly steep hills coming home!  Connie finished the baby blanket for Mila which incorporated crocheting from 3 generations.  The yellow diamond from Mila’s great-great Grandma, the pink and green from great-Grandma, and the remainder from her Grandma.  It was fun and very enjoyable, so Connie is researching some knitting projects to use up the many odd pieces of yarn she has.  We have also had some conversations on future travels and respite, and are hoping to find an RV park for some winter months to just relax.

But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other.  (1 John 1:7 The Living Bible TLB)

14 20200619_103906Please 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 – 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

  • June 8-August 27 – Pacific Bay Christian School, Pacifica, CA (central coast)
  • August 27-October 29 – Youth With A Mission, Chico, CA (mid-central)
  • September 21-24 – SOWER reunion, Turner, OR (north west)
  • October 29 – unknown, tentative leisurely driving to Texas

The Salt Shaker – May 2020

Give thanks to Him and praise His name.  For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.  (Psalm 100:4b-5)

Greetings to our followers, friends, and family:

Praises – Church roof and several “wish list” items done; two screws/nails removed from tire at no charge; new granddaughter Mila Rose Nicholas 6/17/20😊

Prayers – Trailer and van brakes need work; trailer repairs to go smoothly; future travel decisions; health and safety for all

Our “routine” continued in May as we volunteered at the church.  Off mornings were our walks to the RV Resort clubhouse for coffee and hot chocolate, work mornings started with the 5 am alarm.  After 112 volunteer hours the other side of the roof was finished along with moving/replacing door kick-stops, fixing a sun shade pull, working on floor tile adhesive coming through the seams, some cabinet door repairs, adjusting/checking all door locks and strike plates, gluing/clamping doors that were damaged from attempted unlawful entry, painting an area of soffit, and fixing the Fellowship Hall entry with cement patch and new tile.  Connie helped more this month, and our roof helper also scraped/painted the facia and drip edge around the church building.  This church has two buildings, each with large meeting areas and classroom wings (like a school) so there is a lot of upkeep and maintenance.

Flowers, trees, and shrubs continued to bloom; other areas were cleared off as summer sprinkler systems were turned off.  About the second week of May the pool “heaters” were turned off as well, which made some very cold swims.  We couldn’t figure out why the water stayed so cold during triple digit daytime temperatures and in the 70’s at night; the pavement and artificial turf grass around the pool area would burn your feet several days.  Most times once you got in and swimming it was fine, but a couple of times even Connie headed for the hot tub.  There were two, one was turned off for the summer and was just the right temperature for relaxing.  Twice we had ducks join us.  (Or did we join them?)

It is certainly spring – 6 ducklings grew rapidly over the weeks, toddling after mama on a walk from their pond to behind our trailer.  Mama bird became very protective of the surrounding area, sitting on our awning support and flitting around squawking at Connie in the mornings when she was putting the tie-down straps on the awning.  By the end of the month her 3 babies had left the nest.  And we found the pond had at least one turtle, out sunning on one of our morning walks.

Sunday church services continued with online real-time messages and tuning in to Lane Christian Church services any time we wished.  Technology is wonderful but certainly doesn’t replace gathering together.  It is interesting how easily we fall into laziness, we didn’t dress for church, even eating breakfast during some sermons.  We’re sure Satan is enjoying this time of confusion and separation in the fellowship of the family of God.

Music again was at a standstill, although we did pull the instruments out a few times for practice of a new song John has been working on and another that Connie has wanted to work on.  With all the heat there was plenty of inside time for Connie to crochet, practice the harp, search online for a “new” harp with levers, and make some interesting meals from food box items.  We had fresh applesauce, homemade noodles, and strawberry and peach shortcake with lots of whipped cream after bicycling to the store!  Connie brainstormed, designed, and built 4 T-shirt covered Styrofoam panels to fit into our vents and shower skylight.  With the heat and sun our bathroom was warming up rapidly; putting in the panels definitely helped!

One morning we visited our church pianist at the nursery where he works part-time.  This business was started by his father and remains in the family.  We walked around looking at all the plants, saw a rabbit, and lots of humming birds.  He pointed out their nests, like little thimbles, most built in the circle part of eye bolts holding up the shade netting.  One was on top of a plant stake in a large potted bushy plant.  John held the camera up high, pointed down at the nest, and we were surprised to find a humming bird sitting in the nest after looking at the photos; she remained there the whole time we were talking and taking the pictures!  Connie paid attention to the names of various plants to find that many of the flowers we are seeing now are bougainvillea, and there are beautiful thevetia trees with yellow trumpet-shaped flowers in bloom.

Our recreation for the month included more Redbox DVD’s, multiple trips across town and to other communities (typically 30-45 minutes away) getting supplies for the church, and some McDonald’s drive-thru lunches.  On one of our supply trips we found “Treasure Chest” outlet store was open and finally were able to get some new swim suits/trunks!  (Connie’s old suit was getting pretty saggy and John’s trunks were ones he had when we were married.)  Our son from Phoenix drove over and spent a few hours with us one afternoon, bringing pizza from Phoenix with him, much better than California pizza!  The deal was that we would pay for the pizza and ice cream but he would cover the delivery and tip.

We did have another earthquake, this one from further away and only 4.5 on the scale, not quite as scary as the first.  We tried to continue with our evening walks with Connie judging the distance by how far up her body the pavement heat reached.  Knee to hip height was tolerable, but nearing shoulder height was miserable.  It was in the upper 90’s at 7-8 pm, but the sunsets were great.  We had a “super” moon rising in a pink/blue sunset one evening.

We attended church in person on our final Sunday, went out to lunch and sat inside a restaurant (7 total), and said our good-byes to Coachella Valley Christian Church friends.  We had our final swim and hot tub visit Tuesday and were on the road Wednesday morning for our trip north to Pacifica, California.  Southern California has cell towers disguised as palm trees.  We made the transition to pine tree cell towers after the first hour around Banning, skirted Los Angeles on the far east (familiar territory from living in the area 2007-2008), and headed north through the “pass” where we were passed by a semitruck load of boulder rocks.  Temperatures were over 100 and the van displayed “engine hot, turn off A/C” several times as we reached the top at 35 mph.  It is all downhill after that, passing Avenal, CA the pistachio capital of the world and a dead mountain lion on the side of the road.  Shuddering brakes brought us back into the valley where we stayed at a camp site with electricity.  Getting settled in we noticed the heavy plastic back bumper skirt was cracked and buckled, and it took 2 A/C units 3 hours to get the trailer cooled to 78!  While traveling we received a message that our Washington state upcoming projects had been cancelled, so our future plans are uncertain again.

Thursday morning started with bumper skirt duct tape repairs and a ¾-mile walk to Denny’s, realizing we forgot our masks about half way there, but they let us in for a wonderful sit-down breakfast.  Our route through the final mountain pass on state highway 152 with winding up and down roads, more 35 mph hilltops, down hills, and gusts of wind.  Later, our final downhill into Pacifica the brakes were shuddering again but the views of the Pacific Ocean waves were beautiful.  We arrived at 3:30 in our hot weather travel attire to a chilly 62 degrees!  Getting set up we noticed the bumper skirt tape held up well but the back wall of the trailer was separating from the bottom and out of the molding on the sides, and we had some water puddles after getting connected.  John was up at 4:30 am stepping onto cold wet carpet, turned off the water outside, back to bed to be woke again by the water heater gurgling and clanging, back outside to turn that off, and up for the day at 5:30 am.  Thankfully we found no leaks and got the carpet dried out, never knowing what caused it.  So, we have lots of repairs and decisions to make over the next weeks and need renewed faith for getting the trailer out of the mountain areas!

. . . But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again.  On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. (2 Corinthians 1:9-11 NIV)

Thanks for traveling with us!
We so appreciate your prayers and notes of encouragement!!

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 – 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

  • June 8-August ?? – Pacific Bay Christian School, Pacifica, CA (west central)
  • September – unknown
  • September 21-24 – SOWER Reunion, Turner, OR

02 20200508_054020

The Salt Shaker ~ April 2020

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

Greetings to our family, friends, and followers:

Praises – First side of church roof almost finished; beautiful RV resort to be at, swimming pool open; blessed with lots of free food.

Prayers – May SOWER projects cancelled, where to park May 30-June 3; on the road again at the end of the month after 4 months; van tire repair of slow leak; Godly wisdom for SOWER project decisions for July, August, September; church roof second side to be quicker, easier, and for safety while on the roof.

April was a month of adjustments for us, as for everyone.  After moving there is always a change in routine since your surroundings have changed, but this was different since it is “down” time with no structure to fall into, along with social distancing and stay at home orders.  We completed the material quote for the church and waited for approval, almost two weeks, before getting materials to start on April 13.  John and his helper Justin put in over 60 volunteer hours with lots of brain work and fitting to get the slopes and angles right for the adjoining roof sections.  The weather kept getting hotter, the roof and tools as well, and by the end of the month they were starting at 6am for about 3 hours each day.

It was a Friday evening (April 3) right before 6pm that we experienced our first, and hopefully last, earthquake.  We have been in some very strong winds that push the trailer about, but nothing like this!  We looked at each other thinking someone had backed into the trailer tongue as we rocked back and forth, at the same time wondering if “the end was near.”  Immediately we flipped the TV stations and found it was a 4.9 earthquake with 3.6 aftershock waves, the epi-center about 25 miles away.  A few weeks later we had lingering cool weather that brought some overnight rain and dropped snow down to 2500-foot elevations.  We woke to see the lower mountains with white tops, just for a few hours, but a beautiful sight.  (Our two big mountains here get snow regularly in the spring and still have white tops after two weeks of 100-degree temperatures in the desert valley.)

We celebrated Easter with online church services, a great ham dinner, and a zoom chat with our children!  It is good that we have the technology to do things like this, not quite the same as having everyone in the same house, but much easier since we are spread out in 4 states.  And then there was the fried ham and eggs, ham sandwiches, and Connie found a ham that the bone would fit in the insta-pot to make great broth for navy bean soup (with jalapeno corn bread for John)!  We also celebrated our 36th anniversary, as much as possible with no place to go, with a quiet afternoon (after the roofing) at home.  We had to wait a few days before going to Cold Stone Creamery for their “Gotta Have It” size ice cream treats to complete our celebration.

Even though we are 15-20 degrees above normal it doesn’t appear it will be getting much cooler.  Connie spends most of her day inside with the air conditioning as the trailer heats up quickly with sunshine and temperatures over 100.  This has allowed her to get in lots of harp practice, finish up some craft projects, do more cooking, and make lots of carrot juice.  She went off one morning “biking for quarters” to finish the laundry – about a mile to Walmart Market, no luck; to a bank drive through, only ATM machines; entering the bank (it is weird entering a bank with a bandana tied over your face), only ATM machines; and to McDonald’s “drive through” where no contact ordering finally resulted in getting quarters!  (Every stop meant locking the bike, removing the hat and glasses, and tying on the bandana.)  We try to bike to the Redbox locations to rent DVD movies about once a week.  One ride was a bit tougher as we had to go over two overpasses to get there, but the view of the valley and west mountains were great.  We still swim about three times a week; we have been joined by some ducks and had rain sprinkles fall once as we did our laps.  We had rainbows on our trailer ceiling one day reminding us of God’s promises and bringing big smiles as we tried to figure out where they were coming from (still not sure and it has not happened again).

Some things that you take for granted in our pre-pandemic days have proved to be a challenge.  The Goodwill-type stores are closed (swim suits and cooler clothes), and who would have thought that yarn would be hard to find!  Over a week’s time we were out 4 times to get the yarn needed for Connie’s new baby blanket project for our newest granddaughter due in June.  Three trips to 2 different Walmart stores, online research, order made, order cancelled out of stock, more online research, ordering for pickup at a JoAnn Fabric 30 minutes away, and 2 big balls of baby yarn were on hand!  This was a test of patience and perseverance, answered prayers, and now contented crocheting.

On days off from roofing we usually take a leisurely morning walk to the clubhouse where they have free coffee and hot chocolate.  Our hummingbird feeder is very popular and they are getting quite used to John hanging around.  He climbed up onto the trailer bumper with his head about an arm’s length away, hearing them buzz by his head as they came for their bedtime snack.  Occasionally we are able to sit outside at night as the sun sets, enjoying the breeze.  Spring is here and we have birds nesting in a bush behind the trailer and 7 tiny ducklings in the park pond.  Just when we thought the flowers were through, there is more beauty, color, and fragrance here in the desert!

12 2020 04 FlowersAnother milestone in life, John received his first social security check (early retirement) this month!  After many hours of online research, a new cordless drill, circular saw, battery, and charger have been purchased over the last few weeks.  (His $3 auction saw and cordless drill have some issues and don’t always work properly.)  Ebay is wonderful when it comes to saving money over store prices!

We make a weekly trip to the rescue mission on Wednesday mornings to get our “free food” box that always has lots of surprises.  We are stocking up (two large bags now) and still have extra to pass along.  One surprise was Granny Smith apples, about 10 pounds!  Connie has been very creative and made applesauce (in the insta-pot) that turned out very well.  Our 5+ year old juicer has been working overtime and the switch broke, thankfully at the end of the process.  We took it apart, researched a new switch, tracked down UPS for two days, finally got the part, have it back together, and it works – carrot juice again!

Our closing thoughts and prayer for each of you:

Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others ~ so use your gift well.  If you have the gift of speaking, preach God’s message.  If you have the gift of helping others, do it with the strength that God supplies.  Everything should be done in a way that will bring honor to God because of Jesus Christ, who is glorious and powerful forever.  Amen.  1 Peter 4:10-11 (Contemporary English Version)

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

Phone – John 909-336-8910 or Connie 909-336-8912      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

  • May – Indio, CA – Church roof project; unknown location May 30-June 3
  • June 3-4 – Travel to Pacifica, CA
  • June 8-30 – Pacific Bay Christian School, Pacifica, CA (west central)
  • ? July 2-August 27 – Warm Beach Senior Community, Stanwood, WA (north west)
  • ? September – tentative month off, Washington or Oregon state
  • ? September 21-24 – SOWER reunion, Turner, OR (north west)
  • ? September 25-October 29 – Aldersgate Camps and Retreats, Turner, OR (north west)

The Salt Shaker ~ March 2020

And the crowds asked him (John the Baptist), “What then shall we do?”  And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics (garments) is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”  Luke 3:10-11 English Standard Version

Praises – Our prayers work!  We remain healthy; beautiful weather

Prayers – Friends and family to remain safe; finances for those without jobs; recording opportunities; continuing exercising; patience and perseverance

Greetings to our friends, followers, and family:

Our last volunteer work in February involved attending a “Gala” fundraising event for the Rescue Mission.  It was quite the event and we were the guest greeters; giving them envelopes with their table assignments and auction bid cards.  We were treated to a fancy meal and observed generous hearts during the auction time.  Our oldest son visited over the weekend and then back to work!  Just the two of us for March volunteers, so we had the task of finishing the dining room project – new paint first which to us means cleaning vents and lights along the way.  The dining room is so busy with the meals and other activities our hours had to vary to find 2-3-hour blocks of time to work, including some evenings for the high traffic areas.  Although we decided to not enjoy the “interviews” with clients this month to make better use of the available time, we did get to know other clients fairly well as we worked in their areas.

We started with the tan walls, removing pictures, moving pop machines, cleaning vents, and light fixtures in the “lower” ceiling.  Week two found us changing to “tangerine” orange with more cleaning.  The angle window blocks are accent colors and once vacuumed and “wiped” down (with a damp rag on the end of a vacuum hose taped to a paint roller extension rod) they brightened up.  Trimming around these blocks was challenging as well, but with patience and perseverance John got it done.  Connie did all the fine trimming around the serving windows, but John did the tedious task of wiping off the lettering!  Above the serving area are lime green letters “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink” that were lightly rolled over with paint, let dry a few minutes, then wiped off letter by letter.  Being detail oriented, John took extra time to get all the old paint off as well for a very professional new text look.

Into the third week we made it to the 160’ of new baseboard which included scraping the floor and washing the walls as needed.  Pieces as long as 37’ were cut off the roll, wrapped around corners, scored for inside corners, and glued up; some days working after 6:30 pm to get to those areas that were too busy during the day.  After that the final finishing touches.  Three stainless steel edge molding pieces were drilled and glued/screwed to high traffic wall edges and the bug lights were reinstalled, one of which had a faulty cord (only 1 prong of 3 on the plug end).  Connie direct-wired a piece of new extension cord so it would work before hanging it back up.  And there was the afternoon that Connie left early, stopping by the walk-in cooler for eggs and “locking” herself in the cooler.  No cell phone reception, but fists pounding on the door finally brought rescue and finding out a powerful firm push on the door would have opened it; how humbling.

Throughout this month the “pandemic” restrictions continued to evolve and change, including ‘no volunteers’ at the mission.  Since we were not told to leave our lives remained pretty much the same.  We continued attending Coachella Valley Christian Church weekly evening Bible study and playing along with the praise team (both groups of less than 8 people).  We were the worship leaders one Sunday morning, provided music for the “Young at Heart” corned beef and cabbage lunch, and did a “Fun Day” concert for three brave souls after California banned gatherings of more than 6 people.  The Rescue Mission quit allowing the public to come into the facility but continued with “to go” meals and their weekly food box distribution.  The “bread run” (outdated items from grocery stores) continued, but without the public access lots of food was thrown away or, once contact was made, given to the “pig farmer.”  During our last week we started shopping for our Chinese family friends and were able to take several boxes of food to them – what a blessing to be able to share our blessings!  John was concerned with the toilet paper shortage and we were out of paper towels which caused us to make a few bike trips to our local Walmart Neighborhood Market (the grocery section of Walmart Supercenters).  After three trips we were able to get what we needed.

We finally had rain!  Over a few days perhaps 4” but enough at one time to cause 6” deep puddles where we had to walk.  We still find ourselves catching black/grey peripheral glimpses thinking a storm is coming then realizing it is some of the mountains surrounding this desert valley, no rain in sight.  One bright sunshiny day there were clouds rolling up from the ocean to the mountain ridge to our west that looked like a huge waterfall as they piled up and spilled over the top.  Photos, at least with our phones, can’t capture things like that!  We continued to build our relationship with Hazel, a homeless kitty, purchasing a small bag of dry food and feeding her (along with 2 homeless chihuahuas nicknamed Pico and Paco by us and lots of pigeons).  Connie was able to pick up Hazel and had her sit in her lap once as well as letting her in to roam the trailer several times.

14 20200331_120135No matter what we tried God closed the door to our travels to Bakersfield (thanks to your prayers).  We had a fairly tense week of indecision on where we were to go and what we were to do, including Coronavirus impact, heading back east and north to family, staying in this area, or heading north.  We made calls to the SOWER ministry office and to our “volunteer project” for May and June, said lots of prayers, and waited for God’s confirmation.  Because we do have church “family” here and our May/June project still needs help we found an affordable RV park (with pool and hot tub) less than 2 miles away for our vacation month off.  We went to church Sunday morning (March 29), returned, hooked up and left at 1:45, arrived, and were set up by 3:30!  While biking we took this photo, perhaps we do need a short vacation?  We are now biking or swimming every day, trying to lose those extra “free grocery” pounds, and sleeping in a bit.  We have lovely birds in the morning, and not so lovely fire sirens from the fire station on the other side of the road.  And we do have work to do – the church needs a fix for a steep roof adjoining a flat overhang – so we have been brainstorming, sketching, and pricing materials.

15 FlowersAs promised, flower pictures from this area.  It is very beautiful here, in a different way, and we are so blessed to be able to travel with the seasons and experience the grandeur of God’s creation and all different types of people.

God speaking to Joshua (and to us): “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9 English Standard Version (thanks Pastor Kilson, Lane Christian Church, Lane, IL)

Thanks for traveling with us and being part of our family too!
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:  SaltyStrings@hotmail.com
Facebook – Salty Strings Music Ministry                         Web site:  SaltyStrings.com

ONLINE DONATIONS via PayPal through our web site

TENTATIVE TRAVEL PLANS AND UPCOMING LOCATIONS

  • April – month off, Indio, CA (south desert valley)
  • April 29-30 – Travel to Pacifica, CA
  • May 1-June 30 – Pacific Bay Christian School, Pacifica, CA (west central)
  • July 2-August 27 – Warm Beach Senior Community, Stanwood, WA (northwest)
  • September – tentative month off, Washington or Oregon state
  • September 21-October 29 – Aldersgate Camps and Retreats, Turner, OR (northwest)

The Salt Shaker ~ February 2020

Jesus speaking: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  (Matthew 11:28-29)

Praises – For all the free food we’ve been given from the daily food run, a blessing to our grocery budget; For the generous donations from some of our friends, followers, and our home church, Lane Christian Church.

Prayers –For the Chinese immigrants making their new home here in California; For an RV site to open up in Bakersfield, CA for April; Guidance for travel plans for the west coast.

14 20200221_172739 Greetings to our friends, followers, and family:

We left right after rush hour for our “short” drive from Phoenix to Indio, California.  We filled our gas tank at Arizona mile marker 1 before crossing into California where gas prices were $1 higher!  On arrival we set up on part of the cement drive and hurried to a Chinese Buffet around 3pm to get the lunch prices.  We haven’t had a buffet for a long time and it made the perfect ending to our travel day.

After our meeting with our other SOWER couple we experienced our first “Bread Run” where the mission provides day old donations from local grocery stores to the public after they glean what they can use in the kitchen.  The mission provides 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, for about 350 people each meal with a budget of $2000/month!  There is food we’ve never heard of before and it has been a huge blessing for our grocery budget.  Our first volunteer day we had a tour of the rescue mission and learned a lot about their programs and clients; they do a great job here with a very high success rate in both the secular and Christian program.  We were able to hear the testimonies of 6 clients (what brought them to the mission and how they have been helped) as well as working with some that are further along in their programs.  After the first few nights we got used to the very noisy trains and are comfortable with the clients that gather around 5:30 am across the parking lot from trailer.

This month the guys and gals have been working separately.  John spent the first weeks in the dining room tearing out baseboard, putting up washable wall board with top trim, caulking and sealing all the edges and seams, and keeping the coffee area functioning.  It was a big job complicated by all the ministry that happens in this room throughout the day – work a few hours, wait until after lunch, work a few hours, wait until after the bread run, etc.  The last week was spent building a new dividing wall complete with some solid glass windows to separate the men and women intake areas.  This included framing, putting up drywall, and securing the window frames along with gaining several splinters and ouches.

Connie volunteered mostly in the “staging” area for the thrift store that is operated off-site.  This included the second round of sorting clothing donations, tagging, and hanging on racks to be taken to the store.  It was impressive to see what a few people can do with trucks full of donations – everything was sorted for the “store” or “re-donate” or trash.  Only the best of the clothing was kept for their store (new with tags or like-new).  Other sellable clothing was re-donated to other area thrift stores (approximate ratio of 1 keep, 5 re-donate, and 8 trash).  It really makes us think about what we have donated in the past!  There were a few days when it was too cold or windy to sort clothes outside that she was in the kitchen seeing how all the donated food was used – shredding cheese blocks for pasta, making grilled meat/cheese sandwiches, traying sausage links or patties, etc.  There was one morning spent helping 10 or more other ladies make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut in half and individually bagged.  The goal was 6,000 half-sandwiches to be handed out at the “Tour de Palm Springs” annual cycling event.

Our week “off” of volunteering we spent touring around the desert area.  During this month we have had perhaps 2 days of clouds or partly cloudy skies, higher than average temperature of mid 70-80’s, and about 0.001 in rain (made up of sprinkles only) not helping their 5” shortage of average rainfall.  It is very obvious where landscaping and irrigation are, as well as the blocks of barren land that are Indian property.  Our first bike trail was 2-3 miles downhill which, of course, meant the same distance all uphill to end our ride.  We decided not to do that one again, although it was a great paved trail along a huge dry water channel at the base of the mountains.  Other bike rides were to Coachella where we passed a palm tree field with sheep and rode by our project 4 years ago, around the old downtown of Indio with lots of building murals and statues outside an old Catholic mission church, and through some of the ungated housing areas.  We re-discovered Red Box and rode our bikes to pick up our DVD rentals!  (Midway, 2019 and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Mr. Rogers; both are great movies.)

09 20200222_160435Something new this month, we didn’t have a direct connection to the sewer.  It was a surprise on arrival to find we needed to use a macerator pump supplied by the mission to empty our “black” tank.  We connected it to our trailer battery for power and our sewer hose, pulled the lever, turned on the pump, and our sewage is pulverized and pumped up hill to the waste pipe.  This was fine once we got the hang of it until it was stolen one evening.  On arrival there were 30-40 cardboard and blanket “tent-houses” on Indian land, where many homeless people sneak through the fence to get to the mission, that the county was working on shutting down and clearing the land.  The mission pump was stored in a large tote which we suspect was taken and used in their move; what a surprise they must have had in opening the lid!  By the time we knew it was missing everything left behind had been bulldozed and hauled away, most likely the pump along with it.  We can go about 5-6 days between “dumps” and needed to replace some of our old hose anyway so we quickly purchased 40’ of new sewer hose to empty our tank manually – using some of our old hose along with the new hose stretched across the parking lot (downhill for a short distance, then uphill), “working” our way along the 60’ length, lifting up sections of the hose to get it to drain.  We now have great respect and truly appreciate the new macerator pump!

Coachella Valley Christian Church, where we attended 4 years ago, again invited us to join with their worship team as well as leading the team 2 Sundays while the Pastor and his wife were on a tour of Israel.  This kept us quite busy with Wednesday and Sunday practices, Sunday School on Sunday mornings, and Tuesday evening Bible Study; but it has been great to be with old friends as well as meeting new ones.  There are 9 people from China (3 generations) who are trying to become citizens after fleeing China from persecution, including imprisonment several times.  They have been here since June 2019, working through the process to get asylum which would provide them with green cards and social security numbers, so they can get employment.  Pray for them as their funds are very limited now and they don’t want to accept money or help from anyone.  Seven of this family were baptized by immersion one Sunday, this is not possible in the underground church in China.

We have been eating out a bit more this month:  Valentine’s Day we were at an Italian restaurant, we shared a happy hour appetizer at the “Jackalope” and some lunches after church, and made two trips to Cold Stone Creamery for wonderful ice cream (once as a social time with our other SOWER couple, and once with a coupon for John’s birthday).  The Jackalope Ranch is an interesting place with beautiful gardens with fountains, honeybell orange trees, stuffed “jackalopes,” “Babe” the pig, a wood motorcycle, and round high tables with rifles for the legs.  (A honeybell orange is a cross between a grapefruit and orange, with a sweet flavor a bit milder than a red grapefruit.)  Flowers abound, irrigated of course, and the rescue mission courtyard has yellow, red, purple, and orange flowering plants and trees.  Our favorite we named the maraca tree, purple flowers that smell like grape bubblegum and pods with two hard seeds that shake like a maraca.  On further investigation it is a mountain laurel tree and the pods/seeds are poisonous.  There will be lots of flower pictures next month as we stay on here in the desert springtime.

Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’  (Matthew 25:37-40 The Message Bible)

Until next month – 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 909-336-891
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

  • February 1-March 30 – Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Indio, CA (southeast)
  • April – tentative month off, Bakersfield, CA area
  • May 1-June 30 – Pacific Bay Christian School, Pacifica, CA (west central)
  • July 2-August 27 – Warm Beach Senior Community, Stanwood, WA (north west)
  • September – tentative month off, Washington or Oregon state
  • September 21-October 29 – Aldersgate Camps and Retreats, Turner, OR (north west)

The Salt Shaker ~ January 2020

 Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will reap a crop of my love; plow the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower salvation upon you.  (Hosea 10:12, The Living Bible)

Praises – Great time with family; Arizona sunshine; cushioned track at school with bleachers for walking and exercise.

Prayers – Upcoming maintenance (trailer and van brakes/suspension); time management for recording and exercise; RV site to open up in Bakersfield, CA for April; guidance as we make travel plans for the west coast.

 Greetings to our families, friends, and followers:

Ever had one of those days where your plans just didn’t work?  That was Wednesday morning, New Year’s Day.  We drove a half hour to stock up on non-perishable Aldi’s groceries but they were closed for the Holiday; then we purchased a few items elsewhere to get our 100 points for a gas discount only to find most of our points expired 12/31.  So much for planning!  We finished packing up and had one final LP tank refill, a blessing provided by the camp during our stay.  Thursday morning we leisurely had breakfast and hooked up, stopped by the office with a few things, picked up some coffee and hot chocolate to go and headed out for 2 hours of back highway driving.  Day 1 of travel included a stop at a rest area where we found a good chisel on the road and an interesting dead tree.  Throughout the day there were cotton fields, goats, sheep, cattle, windmill farms, large dairy operations, and increasing numbers of oil pumps and refineries as we neared Midland, Texas for our overnight stop at a campground for electricity for lows of 28-30.

Day 2 was long, starting with rain and mist in the morning and catching a rock chip in our window.  It was all interstate driving plus we gained an hour.  We exited Texas after El Paso, drove through New Mexico, and into Bowie, Arizona for our overnight stay at another campground.  Again, overnight temperatures found us needing electricity for our heaters but we had a wonderful view of the sunset on the mountains to our east along with snow on the tops of the southwest mountains.

Day 3 was much shorter, treating ourselves to lunch at Denny’s in the Tucson area and arriving at our destination, Phoenix Christian Preparatory School (Pre-school to 12th grade), around 2 pm.  We were the last to arrive and managed to get into our spot, a very tight fit, on the third try.  Our space was at the end of the football field and track, parallel parking between a motor home and a fifth wheel.  We were tight to the fence (had to pull in our slide to access the outside storage door) and still had our wheels and a slide hanging into the track lanes.  We de-stressed by walking around the track and enjoyed our pizza supper special delivered by our son.  We were here four years ago; it is good to be back.

04 20200106_162258Connie took advantage of the empty table from traveling to start her Coco-Cola jigsaw puzzle Sunday after church, finishing it Monday afternoon.  It was taken apart in sections and stacked in a bag for thrift store donation and the table was ready for office space the next day.

Our SOWER organization was 5 couples and we had an additional 3 couples with the RVIC organization to accomplish sprucing up before the school’s open house at the end of the month.  John spent most of his time at the elementary school courtyard, “Shelly’s habitat” that was renovated into a fenced planter and green-space area.  Shelly is the approximately 40-year-old tortoise that was on site.  She went to a new, more spacious home after our first week; turns out she was an escape artist, quite often breaking out of her white picket fence area, along with concerns about her digging under the sidewalks.

05 20200113_141324Our first week found John under the weather with a flu bug of some sort.  He attended devotions and “worked” the first day, then spent the rest of the week and weekend resting and recovering.  He even quit drinking coffee for several days!  Connie mustered the courage to drive alone in the Phoenix traffic to take the van to north Phoenix for windshield repairs and get groceries.  It is amazing how much we do together and get used to having the extra eyes, ears, and hands in navigating detours and such.

The second week John gradually built up strength and put in some extra hours under the tutelage of a wonderful cement worker.  He dug and formed for the new fence, mixed cement, shoveled it into the forms, “planted” the fence, finished the cement surface, and cleaned and touched up the paint on the fencing.  Other tasks included digging trench to relocate water lines and sprinklers, another learning experience.  The planters, built as directed by other volunteers, involved lots of labor as well.  The guys shoveled dirt into the planters, emptied them, used caulk on the inside joints, painted dry-loc on the blocks (inside and outside), refilled the dirt, and painted the finish coat on Friday before the open house.  The plants were added late Friday and early Saturday morning; a wonderful transformation completed.

As we worked we had to be patient with curious children and explain to them why we were painting and fixing things.  There were a few that appointed themselves supervisors, telling us how to do our jobs, and informing us that when they were in charge things would be different!  We also shared with teachers and church members what we do and why we were here, reinforcing to us how blessed we are to be able to travel and volunteer (see 1 Timothy 6:6-8 at end of letter).

Connie spent her time in the church attached to the elementary school, ripping out baseboard, painting in the sanctuary, and eventually painting some bright colors on the elementary room doors before the open house.  Since we were here 4 years ago the school has acquired this property, across the street, already set up for elementary school/church along with the pre-school building they were leasing.  The school uses the church for weekly devotions for all age groups and gains income by leasing it to a church plant for Sunday services.  What a wonderful transformation with clean white walls, removing the window shades for light to come through the lightly tinted glass panels, and new carpeting.

10 20200121_184534We had our devotions every morning in the teachers’ lounge with our other volunteer couples, combining 3 tables and most of the chairs, causing some heads to turn as they hurried in for their morning coffee.  We joined with our other volunteers on Tuesday evenings for a “social” night and Wednesday evenings for Bible Study which was typically provided by one of the school staff.  It was interesting hearing some stories about the staff people and their roles at the school.  There was a magician from the RVIC group that entertained one social night and we were able to provide a short concert for the volunteers the last social night.  All had a great time as we shared some of our songs, some familiar hymns and sing-alongs, and even a brand-new, never before played in public song (even getting good feedback!).   It energized us to work at recording as well as making some time to maybe get some video clips to our web site.

Our last weekend we were able to spend some time with our son (from Phoenix) and our daughter and her friend who flew in from Wisconsin.  On Saturday we took a late morning hike, completing the full trail at North Mountain, followed by a taco and homemade custard pie lunch at our son’s house.  Then it was siesta time before we met at a restaurant in Scottsdale for a wonderful evening meal.  We were all able to meet again on Monday for donuts and conversation before their flight back to Wisconsin.

Other social events included meeting half-way at Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa, Arizona with SOWER friends, lunch out at Cracker Barrel with our SOWER couples here, dinner out with our son and his friend followed by a stop at a great little out-of-the-way home-made ice cream shop for dessert.  On the way back to our trailer our son took us past an arts district that we managed to find again for some day time pictures of the blanketed palm trees.  They are literally “wrapped” in knit/crocheted afghans and stay that way throughout the year!  There were also multiple stops at various Walmart stores and Home Depot trying to find new knee pads for John – and we are still looking; guess they don’t spend a lot of time on their knees in Arizona.

13 20200129_140857Thursday, January 30, found us having our final lunch with our son at “My Mother’s Place” where they are known for their prime rib, which Connie greatly enjoyed before starting to pack up for our trip to southern California.

But godliness actually is a source of great gain when accompanied by contentment, that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God.  For we have brought nothing into the world, so it is clear that we cannot take anything out of it, either.  But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.  (1 Timothy 6:6-8 Amplified Version)

Thanks for traveling with us!  We so appreciate your prayers and notes of encouragement!!

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 – 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

  • February 1-March 30 – Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Indio, CA (southeast)
  • April – tentative month off, Bakersfield, CA area
  • May 1-June 30 – Pacific Bay Christian School, Pacifica, CA (west central)
  • July 2-August 27 – Warm Beach Senior Community, Stanwood, WA (north west)
  • September – tentative month off, Washington or Oregon state

The Salt Shaker – December 2019

 . . . Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here that they may believe that you sent me.”  (John 11:41-42)

 I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.  (Psalm 17:6)

Praises – Answer to prayers for more enjoyable and less strenuous work, specifically woodworking; the camp filled our propane bottles; lots of harp practice

Prayers – Upcoming maintenance (trailer and van brakes/suspension); discipline to get healthier

 Greetings to our families, friends, and followers:

17 20191226_132919

What a blessing to meet with our host and receive our volunteer “jobs” for the month!  They try to match our skills with needs at the camp and did a wonderful job.  We started working on the t-shirt display boards where we took measurements and assembly-lined 54 new boards to have on hand as needed.  These previous themes and camps t-shirts are wrapped around the board and displayed around the dining room walls.  It is great just to walk around and read the various themes and scriptures; hundreds on display already!

As Connie finished up the t-shirt boards John started plans for the bathroom shelves and cut frame stock for 30” x 36” mirrors for the use in the lodge rooms.  After several attempts the table saw and chop saw were “squared up” making it easier to fit the pieces together.  We finished 7 frames and completed 4 with mirrors cut down from some older ones.  We completed one shelf unit and installed it for “final inspection” and approval.  With a slight modification to the height we were back in business for the remaining three shelf units to complete the remodeled lodge rooms.

Our second week we incorporated our demolition assignment, Connie’s highlight of the list!  We stripped out a lodge room down to the studs leaving one interior wall as a bathroom partition.  The weather had grown quite chilly in the mornings and that was a good way to stay warm since the heater in the room was still connected.  Sledge hammer, saws-all, pry bars, hammers, and muscles and all was cleaned out from the ceiling tiles to the framing attached to the concrete floor!  It was such a blessing to us that the camp here filled our propane bottles because it was cold (28 was our low) overnight and in the mornings, using the furnace and our electric heaters every day.  Eventually we got a heater for the shop which helped the morning chill.

SOWERs have an extra 2-week break for the holidays and we were warmly received to stay as long as we wanted.  That provided us additional time for volunteering as well as ministry to others.  One of the permanent volunteers had been with Texas Baptist Men’s ministry and was so glad to have someone to talk with, reliving her travel experiences.  She invited us to her church where we attended Bible Study and led worship one Sunday morning (New Prospect Baptist), shared some meals out, and made sure we took at least one morning break with her each week.  We were also able to share at the camp’s staff Christmas Party and participate in their gift exchange.  We made two small frames for our CD from scraps, finished them, and they were our gift exchanges.  John ended with a Star Wars Jedi action figure that he gave to one of the little boys and Connie ended with a 700-piece jigsaw puzzle and homemade chocolate chip cookies!  New Year’s Day was designated as “clear the table” day for putting the puzzle together, postponed until after we arrived in Phoenix!

We received a card at church for Somervell County residents to view Fossil Rim Wildlife Center with entry fee (normally $25.95/person) being a non-perishable food donation so we had the camp administrator write us a note that we were residing in the county and spent an afternoon driving around the park.  It was close to a safari experience with the animals coming right along the cars (of course many had purchased pellets to feed them).  We also took a morning to tour the Creation Evidence Museum, seeing evidence of dinosaurs and humans from excavations in the area, especially along the Paluxy River that runs through Glen Rose.

When we arrived here, we “toured” the grounds finding a beautifully landscaped prayer garden with hand-made mini water falls running through for a nice babbling-brook sound.  On going further there was a wonderful waterfall over the edge of the ridge.  As we walked up and down our hill, we circled the camp and were encouraged (and inspired) by inset marble memorial stones in the sidewalks with scripture verses.  One morning on our way to our work “shop” there were several deer inside the fence including a buck with a nice rack of horns that leaped over the fence – how beautiful and graceful!  Lots of gnarly trees along with various kinds of cactus too.  One dead tree had 8-10 buzzards on the branches warming themselves in the sun one morning and we saw several on our hill walks atop power poles; they really are very graceful and beautiful as they fly and have interesting bird talk that sounds a lot like dog growls.

Christmas Eve day found us touring downtown Glen Rose in t-shirts and finally making our way to Big Rock Park.  We found the “China Wok” restaurant as well as the “Shoo-Fly” ice cream parlor/gift shop knowing that we would go to both before leaving the area.  Christmas Day brought eggnog pancakes and homemade chicken and noodles as well as a hike on some trails down the ridge to the Brazos River.  (Spanish called it “Brazos del Dios” which means “The arms of God.”)  John skipped several stones across the river, the longest was 7 skips (and we have a video to prove it)!  Then there was the “turtle” in the river that turned out to be a tire.  We hiked back up through the rocks, quite a rugged climb, for a wonderful day alone.

15 Christmas Day 2019

There was a “things to see” sign at the County Building in Glen Rose that indicated a geological formation called Seven Knobs a bit south of the city.  Although we couldn’t find any information about how these were formed, we did drive by to see seven cone-shaped, cedar covered unusual hills.  While driving to church we took the “long route” to go through the town of “Eulogy” which amounted to a few empty buildings.  It seems one of the elder ladies in church was kidnapped as a practical joke after her wedding and left in Eulogy (eventually with her new husband) which she described was full of bars, interesting people, and rowdiness in those days.  There was also the adventure of waking at 6 am to a very cold wet bathroom floor in the trailer.  We had decided to leave the faucet “drip” overnight with freezing temperatures.  Connie, obviously not thinking clearly, put a rag in the sink to silence the dripping.  It did accomplish that but by early morning was soaked, pushing in the drain plug and causing the sink to overflow.  The positives, we had a clean floor and will never do that again!

16 20191214_133204Our final shelf units were ready for installation when we were delayed several days with some back problems.  After lots of ice, heat, and rest John was able to move and bend to install the units under the sinks and clean up the “shop” area before we left.  We stayed a day beyond our targeted leave date and enjoyed New Year’s Day watching football and leisurely packing up for our 3-day travel to Phoenix, Arizona.  Our Christmas wreath and lights came down and we venture into this New Year surrounded by God’s love for each of us as we continue in the spirit of the hope that Christmas brings.

 “God will heal your brokenness if you give Him all the pieces.”
“Don’t worry about tomorrow, God is already there.”
(These phrases were on plaques in the Women’s restroom at the camp office and they keep coming back to me (Connie) ~ may you find them encouraging as well)

 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

Phone – John 909-336-8910 or Connie 909-336-8912      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

  • January 3-31, 2020 – Phoenix Christian School, Phoenix, AZ
  • February 1-March 26 – Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Indio, CA (southeast)
  • April – tentative month off, Bakersfield, CA area
  • May 1-June 30 – Pacific Bay Christian School, Pacifica, CA (west central)
  • July 2-August 27 – Warm Beach Senior Community, Stanwood, WA (north west)

The Salt Shaker – November 2019

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:4-7 NIV)  

Praises – Van working; physical ability to volunteer extra time; Thanksgiving week off for much needed rest.

Prayers – Weather for 2 nights “dry” camp (no electric) as we travel the end of the December to Phoenix; for our families and many others who have lost loved ones this year.

Greetings to our friends, followers, and families:

We welcomed another SOWER couple for our November work at the same ministry in northeast Texas.  Our new gal volunteered in the sewing department and Connie joined the guys on a very physical and tough project – the pump house “makeover.”  Although a relatively small space (18 x 13) it is full of electrical boxes, motors, valves, conduit, and large pipes all of which needed to be prepared for new paint.  Connie spent several “full” days and tried at least once a week to sneak over to the sewing area for some respite as well as helping get their long-standing drapery project finished and starting to put an altered shirt back together.  She also finished her Family Camp craft projects, left unfinished for examples, in some free time.

John started with trying to power wash the outside of the building with no success due to mechanical problems.  This led to repairing a rotten section of board in the back before turning our time to the inside.  Almost three weeks of chipping, scraping, grinding, caulk, cement/grout repair, removing rust with a power chisel and grinders with wire wheels, taping off labels and gages, and finally wiping pipes with lacquer thinner in preparation for painting.  There were several nights we both used the massage chair insert to get relaxed and help the stiffness!  We worked in lots of dust, dirt, and fumes (with interesting results).

Connie did the ceiling, and the guys spray painted the electrical boxes and used special paint on the cement block, two coats.  The last scheduled volunteer day we agreed to add a few more days the following week and were able to get the second coat on the ceiling as well as the epoxy paint on the large pipes.  Our last paint day was a long one for the guys, mixing the epoxy paint around 3 pm to paint the large pipes and finishing about 8 pm.  As with all paint jobs you see the missed and thin spots the next day – a bit discouraging as we had to move on, but the other couple were staying and finished the touch ups.

We continued to attend Holly Tree Bible Church, almost getting through the final chapters of Revelation.  There were a few more Sundays with us providing some special music for the services as well.  John commented one Sunday “sure are a lot of interesting buckles, belts, and boots in Texas!”  On our way to church we pass a field with some Brahman cattle.  One morning there was the cutest face up close to the road looking at us as we drove by.  It was a mix of elongated cow face with short horns, rabbit-like lop-ears, and blood hound/shar-pei/mastiff face with big sad eyes.  We were camera prepared the following trips but he/she was never close to the fence or facing us again.

Every Friday morning found us making the 40-minute trip to Longview for Connie’s “surgery” appointments.  Medicare is a great help but you have to play by their rules, only one head cyst removal allowed each week.  Four trips (three surgeries with a final suture removal), 17 stitches later, and all the bumps are gone!  The pain was controlled with Tylenol the first day or two, and trying to avoid raising her eyebrows (surprising how much of your scalp moves).  This became our weekly grocery, shopping, and lunch date.

We had several nights below freezing (lowest was 19 degrees) when we unhooked the hose and used our trailer pump and tank.  There was a water pipe break one evening but it didn’t affect us since we were prepared for a few days with no “real” running water.  Most days were great weather for John to remove the vent covers, scrub the trailer roof, and get everything sealed up again.  We were able to have a few more camp fires, coaxed a shy “red” toad/frog to some rocks for a photo, and attended a staff/family early thanksgiving chili potluck with hot cocoa, apple cider, bonfire, and hayrides.  Each volunteer day of work earned us a special bonus of lunch and supper; what a great treat after hard days!  We took lots of walks and bicycle rides (after fixing flat tires on both bikes), and had a Sunday lunch at “Brisket Love BBQ” with about 16 other SOWERs in this area.

We thank you for your prayers for our van – although it was quite a test of faith and patience, we seemed to have the peace and wisdom needed for a positive outcome.  After more intermittent unshifting problems, the van “died” in the parking lot after surgery on a Friday.  We could hear the battery discharging and see the dials/needles spike as we waited for tow truck confirmation.  We walked across the street for a quick lunch at the hospital cafeteria, hurried back to meet the tow truck driver, were towed to the transmission shop, and arranged a ride home arriving back at camp mid-afternoon.  By 4 pm we had a call that they replaced the battery, the transmission checked out ok, and a test drive was fine.  We picked it up Saturday morning and within the typical 5-10 miles it unshifted again!  Back to the shop on Monday, of course no problems when the mechanic went for a test drive, but they replaced the speedometer sensor thinking that would solve it.  Tuesday pick up and all was well on the way home but Wednesday the automatic shifting was hard and weird a few times.  We decided to drive to McDonald’s Thursday morning for breakfast as another test drive to be sure before traveling with the trailer.  It was a good idea as we completely lost the speedometer as well as unshifting and other weird things.  We made phone calls as we ate breakfast and found the Chevy dealer was right across the street with time to run a computer diagnostic.  Thankfully the mechanic was willing to hear the whole story, test drove it, hoisted it up to reinstall the speedometer sensor correctly, and test drove it again 40 miles with no issues!  We were treated very well by the dealership and given gift cards to McDonald’s for our long wait through the lunch hour.

The initial diagnosis was a rebuilt transmission, up to three days without a vehicle, and $2200.  The final total we ended up paying was $213 plus whatever the speedometer sensor cost will be. We finally knew we would be able to leave after making our usual Friday trip with no vehicle problems!  God truly IS GOOD, all the time, especially in HIS timing.  We packed things up and were on the road about 11 am on Friday arriving within the time frame we arranged weeks before at our new project in Glen Rose, Texas.

As we entered Somerville County, Texas we came over a hill seeing a herd of buffalo (Bison Hill Ranch).  About 3:30 pm we arrived at Riverbend Retreat Center after a winding road and several cattle guards.  We apparently were more tired than we thought since neither of us could get the trailer parked where we wanted in a huge, wide-open lot!  We have a wonderfully steep almost 0.25 mile up-hill climb right outside the trailer to help us get in shape (and make our muscles sore the first few hikes) and two larger cities for shopping fairly close and lots of deer and a fox running across a camp road one evening coming back.  We changed a light to a pull chain (getting too lazy to stand up and push the button!); found the part and fixed our shower skylight; hiked around the retreat finding a wonderful prayer garden and small waterfalls; slept in several mornings, watched lots of football, and enjoyed the rest and wonderful weather throughout our Thanksgiving week off.  Thanksgiving Day found us at Corner Stone church with the pastor, family, and a few church folks that don’t have family in the area like us.  After a few more restful days we’re back to our volunteer schedule and ready to see what God has for us to do here!

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving     (1 Timothy 4:4  NIV)

Until next month – thanks for traveling with us and being part of our family ~
May each of you and your families have a blessed and wonderful Christmas!

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

14 1028_173005849Phone – John 909-336-8910 or Connie 909-336-8912
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

  • November 21-December 31 – Riverbend Retreat Center – Glen Rose, TX (north central)
  • January 3-31, 2020 – Phoenix Christian School, Phoenix, AZ
  • February 1-March 26 – Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Indio, CA (southeast)

The Salt Shaker – October 2019

PraisesA week off with extra days to relax between volunteer projects; lots of meals provided by our host with homemade bread and few desserts, a great blessing to the food budget! 

PrayersFinancial concerns (early filing for social security?); van transmission and other parts as it has 196,000+ miles; recording more songs.

Greetings to our friends, followers, and families:

Jesus speaking . . . “So I tell you, don’t worry about the things you need to live . . . Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’  That’s what those people who don’t know God are always thinking about.  Don’t worry, because your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things.  What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do.  Then He will give you all these other things you need.  So, don’t worry about tomorrow.  Each day has enough trouble of its own . . .
Matthew 6:25, 31-34  ERV (Easy-to-Read Version)

This month starts our 5th year with SOWERs!  Where has the time went?  This is our 39th SOWER volunteer project, we have spent 5 months volunteering at Little Galilee in Clinton, IL and have had 5 months off “project” work staying at camp grounds providing music and help to our families.  Life has been so good and we are very aware of how God keeps using us and blessing us along the way.  It is a privilege to be able to serve our amazing God in this way!

Our first week in northeast Texas was very hot and humid!  We put up our hummingbird feeder and within two days had one lone bird.  The feeder was adopted for a few days by a sparrow, then the bees gathered as the temperatures dropped.  We attended R-night (new Recruits starting their 8 weeks of “basic” training) where we randomly adopted a Canadian recruit to pray for.  John was digging, laying, and packing sand/dirt around an 8” water line to an outlying building.  After three days they were able to pressure test the fittings, with success, and start the final burying process.  John finally got into some fire ants while digging and has a better appreciation for all the bites Connie usually gets.  Connie helped clean up the sewing room for the recruits to get fitted for their uniforms, in an assembly-line fashion, then sort and stack the correct sizes for each recruit.

Week two was just about perfect weather allowing for lots of walks and bike rides (after fixing a flat on Connie’s bicycle) and getting our South Dakota license plate on the van.  One morning there was a leaf twirling around in the breeze about a foot from the ground; on closer inspection it was hanging from a spider web strand off our awning.  As we were able to enjoy the outdoors, we noticed many different kinds of trees, the most interesting being Magnolia trees in the fall with their shiny leaves and pods of red berries.  One evening before leaving for dinner we had to wait for a butterfly/moth to fly off of Connie’s pocket!

John graduated from ditch digging to repairman diagnosing and repairing some washers and dryers, replacing electric plugs, and finishing woodwork repairs and touch-up paint in two dorm rooms.  He was quite at home and glad to get to use the wood shop here!  Connie continued in the sewing room, helping with a few alterations, pressing shirt sleeves for patches, and sewing name tapes (embroidered lettering) on the field jackets and short sleeve shirts.  There was a power outage one morning causing them to relocate to the end of the dining room to keep sewing.

Our third week of this project was “Family Camp” with lots of families and kids in dorm rooms and the camp ground.  Good speakers, good fellowship, a mini-orchestra with two harp players, lots of activities like all camps, and yucky rainy cold weather the first few days!  Connie was recruited to help with the sewing and crafts; 3 to 4 hours each day with a different sewing project or craft every day for 5 days, plus the time to learn how to make each sewing project.  It was a lot of standing on cement or stone tile floors but well worth it as she helped kids (and a few adults) make projects they could use.  John was recruited to help with the “golf cart” races one rainy morning – very few showed up and some of the races were between 4-wheelers and human runners.  His second recruiting was for the “white washing” competition where teams (mostly kids) primed sections of the pasture fencing after he spent a day prepping multiple fence sections to bare wood, using the clapboard planers (grinders) he repaired.  There was lots of flying paint and some unique painting styles as well!  Family Camp ended with a cookout at the lake, slide show of the campers, and a great firework display without all the big bright-white booms.  It was wonderful to sit within 100 feet of the shooting area and have the fireworks so close, one of the best displays we have ever seen!

It seems the majority of our married life we have lived “away” from a larger town with good shopping and our life on the road is no different.  Connie’s birthday included a trip to town (Longview) and lunch at Golden Corral along with the usual grocery shopping.  Her birthday also brought Medicare benefits and an appointment to check out the “bumps” on her head.  On our way to the initial visit the van “unshifted” causing some panic since we had not obtained roadside assistance coverage yet.  After pulling off the road and restarting the van, all was well, we made it on time for the appointment, and got the roadside assistance coverage the next day!  The initial visit was successful, removal is covered by Medicare but only one each week so three appointments were made to remove the sebaceous cysts and God granted favor with the doctor who removed the skin tag on her eye “free of charge.”  This trip to town included 10 stops in 8 hours, one of which was for lunch that made us both a bit queasy for a few days.

We attended “Cowboy Church” one Sunday morning where there was a baptism in a big water trough, a bit different.  Our other Sunday’s found us back at Holly Tree Bible Church where we provided some special music and an attended an evening fellowship potluck.  There are four SOWER projects in this area and we all joined together for another potluck meal one evening.  John was able to visit a “little” guitar shop in a very small town only to find that customers come from all over the world to visit this shop and get repairs done.  He tried out a few guitars before realizing the price tags were $10,000-$15,000!  We also found Brookshire’s grocery store has great Jalapeno bread and the best fried chicken of anywhere we have been!  Connie even got her harp out of the corner, tuned it up, and has practiced almost every day (which John enjoys).

We finally took a full week off, no extra volunteer hours or activities, and relaxed along with getting some of our “to do” things done.  John started buffing/polishing the trailer along with cleaning and sealing the roof.  We had a couple of camp fires with chilly evenings helping to reduce the wood we have been carrying around for just such a time.  Our focus for the week was to record some of our songs and we managed to establish the logistics and get some good tracks made in spite of being sick part of the week.  Best of all, we don’t have to move anywhere ~ it truly is a blessing for us to stay at the same project for two months!

The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field, the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.  But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
Psalm 103:15-18 NIV

Until next month – thanks for traveling with us!
John and Connie Nicholas, Salty Strings Music Ministry

Contact Information:
Phone – John 909-336-8910 or Connie 909-336-8912      Email – SaltyStrings@hotmail.com
Facebook – Salty Strings Music Ministry                         Web site:  SaltyStrings.com

ONLINE DONATIONS via PayPal through our web site

<*>MAIL ADDRESS: <*>
John & Connie Nicholas ~ Salty Strings Music Ministry,
3916 N. Potsdam Ave. #3962, Sioux Falls, SD  57104

TRAVEL PLANS AND UPCOMING LOCATIONS

  • October 28-November 21 – ALERT Academy – Big Sandy, TX (northeast)
  • November 21-December 31 – Riverbend Retreat Center – Glen Rose, TX (north central)
  • January 6-January 31, 2020 – Phoenix Christian School, Phoenix, AZ
  • February 1 – Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Indio, CA (southeast)

The Salt Shaker – August/September 2019

God said . . and . . the earth sprouted and abundantly produced vegetation, plants yielding seed . . . and trees bearing fruit . . and God saw that it was good and He affirmed and sustained it.  And there was evening and there was morning . . .
Genesis 1:11-13 (Amplified Version)

Praises – Recovery from colds; travel protection; safe arrival after each move; God is good!

Prayers – Discipline as we take steps to better improve our health; recording some songs

Greetings to our friends, followers, and families:

We have had a lot of traveling days through old and new territory since our last update!  Our trip to Bushnell mid-August included a pasture full of what we have named “Oreo-cookie cows” and calves (belted Galloway) followed by a pasture of seven camels both one and two humps!  On arrival we parked at a cousin where we were able to hook up to water and electric from the garage, across the park from John’s family home.  Although hot, we had air conditioning and fans and were quite comfortable for our 5-day stay.  After a brief detour to dump our waste tanks, we moved east to Little Galilee Christian Camp outside of Clinton, IL.01 camels 0819 1

The first week at Little Galilee we volunteered 27 hours including putting up baseboard in the “penthouse” of the new dining hall and lots of power washing of dining area floors and shower room walls and floors.  We drove back over the weekend to Bushnell for the funeral and were so encouraged by the conversation and comments on how Shirley (John’s Mom) touched so many lives.  What a legacy to leave!  Back at camp we help out with another 82 hours of labor over the next three weeks plus preparing and leading worship sessions for Labor Day weekend Family Camp.  John had more power washing to do, cleaning a few cabins, fixing a few things, and prepping and painting a total of 25 metal exterior doors.  Connie helped remove the tape from metal studs (after the foam sealant was sprayed) in preparation for drywall installation at the new dining hall, and then organized all the kitchen areas in the six cabins assuring guests would have enough plates, cups, silverware, etc. for the cabin capacity.  Our trailer site gave us views of deer playing on a gravel pile, hummingbirds at our feeder, and wonderful sunsets.  The camp grounds allowed for lots of bike riding and a dip in the pool.

Our home church (Lane Christian Church) hosted this Family Camp so it was a wonderful time of being with many of our church family.  We were quite blessed with all the comments we had for the songs we chose for the various sessions as well as what we received from the morning devotions and speakers.  While in our home area we were able to connect over some meals with many friends and Connie even played piano once a week for the residents at Eagle Ridge in Decatur.  This brought back many memories and, as usual, a blessing to both the residents and us.  We will try to do this more often as we continue in our travels!

September 15 found us back on the road again for a two-day trip to central Minnesota for a reunion of area SOWERs (Servants on Wheels Ever Ready).  Along the way we stopped for gas in Iowa at “The World’s Largest Truck Stop” where we found backed up gas lanes and people leaving their cars at the pump while they shopped.  A bit too busy for us, but many interesting things to see there.  We went by “What Cheer, IA” with their “Pleasant Stay Inn” and stopped for our overnight stay in a Walmart lot in Albert Lea, MN before arriving outside of Long Prairie, MN the next afternoon.  It was extremely hot for mid-September in Minnesota, but the trees had started to change color just a bit making it feel more like fall.05 IA MN Travels

Our devotion music and concert for our fellow volunteers went well and we met many “new to us” from our SOWER family.  It was a great time with a 50’s theme allowing John to use his electric guitar for their talent night, something he really looks forward to since it is much too loud to play in the trailer!  With all the music over Connie was able to join in a card game of “Hillbilly Rummy” which is a treat for her (even though she ended in last place).

Thursday September 19 found us again on the road headed southwest to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Mostly highway traveling gave us time to notice this part of Minnesota – wetlands, changing colors, farms, logging, horses, pasture of mini-horses and worn out farm implements, elk farms, lots of lakes, bald eagles, granite falls, windmills (the new kind) and fields of solar panels.  Going through Belgrade we passed their Centennial Memorial (2012) of the world’s largest crow, several Sinclair gas stations (thought those were extinct), and the Fagan Fighter Museum (WWII) just south of Granite Falls with P51’s noticeable from the highway.  We arrived mid-afternoon, got set up and were looking forward to a few days of rest and quiet – then the F16’s flew overhead!  Connie plugged her ears for the second one, and we tried over the next few days to get pictures but they kept changing their flight route getting further away.  The little gray triangle in the middle is a F16!

We were able to get our driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, and new plates all done on Friday with lots of patience, one second visit, and several long lines to wait in.  That left the rest of our time for relaxing, enjoying a guided tour from a fellow SOWER couple, visiting the downtown area, and walking around the waterfalls.  (Just a few days before our arrival three tornadoes and heavy rain caused some flooding and damage.)  Tower Campground was quite large with lots of trailers, great weather during our stay, and very friendly squirrels.  They would enjoy the bird seed and bread we put on the table and seat, not minding us sitting a few feet away.

Then there was morning and evening (day one of our three-day trip south) and it was good.  As usual there were several stops in the first few hours, getting our schedules aligned to days of travel.  The weather was mostly cloudy which is great for traveling south, but lots of flood damage as we passed into Iowa with boats, RV’s, trailers, and soccer fields in and under water.  We detoured around Council Bluffs, IA/Omaha, NE due to interstate closures from flooding, putting us on state roads that went through Wahoo, York, and Hebron Nebraska where we passed a Sinclair gas station with the dinosaur!  We were in four states (South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas) ending the day at Walmart in McPherson, KS.  Of note, Iowa has two kinds of rest areas; some “modern” with facilities and others for “rest” only!

Then there was morning and evening (day two) and it too was good.  Our first sighting of oil rigs and a very long horned longhorn steer were in Kansas!  We had some beautiful clouds, of course the photos did not turn out, but they looked like God was looking down into the white clouds and gently circling them with his finger (kind of like stirring the foam of a Frappuccino).  Kansas had a lot of sorghum fields as well; trivia of the day–Kansas leads the nation in the production of both wheat and grain sorghum (milo).  We also found lower Oklahoma and north Texas to be hilly and rolling with clouds meeting the fields at the horizon.  We usually take a longer early afternoon break on long drives, and this was no exception with a stop at Cracker Barrel in Norman, OK.  It was good to be fueled up when, shortly after leaving, we hit multiple areas of road construction slowdowns, one lasting 45 minutes for 8 miles!  We arrived, a bit later than we hoped, staying another overnight at Walmart in Sheldon, TX with no electricity for an extremely hot night.

Our final travel day started with a beautiful sunrise followed by nothing when we turned the switch to start the van!  After several false tries, popping the hood, and a lot of conversation and self-diagnosing, John realized the shift lever wasn’t fully in the Park position.  We won’t say who parked it the night before!  This was our musical city day, passing through Bell and Celeste, Texas.  We arrived just before noon to our volunteer work project east of Big Sandy, TX where we got set up, turned on the air conditioning, relaxed, took a leisurely bike ride, and a short walk to finish out the day.

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.  1 Timothy 4:4 (English Standard Version)

Thanks for traveling with us!  We so appreciate your prayers and notes of encouragement!!  Let us know what you’ve been doing too!
John and Connie Nicholas, Salty Strings Music Ministry

Contact Information:
Phone – John 909-336-8910 or Connie 909-336-8912      Email – SaltyStrings@hotmail.com
Facebook – Salty Strings Music Ministry                         Web site:  SaltyStrings.com
ONLINE DONATIONS via PayPal through our web site

<*> NEW MAIL ADDRESS: <*>
John & Connie Nicholas ~ Salty Strings Music Ministry,
3916 N. Potsdam Ave. #3962, Sioux Falls, SD  57104

TRAVEL PLANS AND UPCOMING LOCATIONS

  • September 27-November 21 – ALERT Academy (2 months) – Big Sandy, TX (northeast)
  • November 21-December – Riverbend Retreat Center – Glen Rose, TX (north central)
  • January 2020 – Phoenix Christian School, Phoenix, AZ
  • February 2020 – Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Indio, CA (southeast)