Monday, June 29, 2009

Spreading the Gospel with a little PB&J

This past weekend was spent on HWY 20, well not the actual highway, let me explain.

For the past 3 years Bible Baptist Church has been working at evangelizing the HWY that runs from the south of Whidbey Island in Clinton, all the way north and over the Cascade Mountains. The desire that was impressed upon our Pastors heart was that we should be reaching out to those people outside of our Jerusalem and into the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8), as well as our home town, bringing the light of the gospel to those that have a need for Jesus Christ in their life. We have put forth the physical effort, but our prayer has been that God would open up the doors and show us where He would desire to have us plant a church. Many doors have been shut along the way, places that are still in need of the gospel but have not shown a spiritual desire, we pray that will change as we continue in the Lord's work. However, more doors have opened because as Jesus commanded the apostles in Matthew 10:14 "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet," so too have we done, and concentrating our efforts in places that have shown a desire in the good news of Jesus Christ. This effort has left our concentration, for the most part, in the Methow Valley in the towns of Twisp and Okanagan. Since our initial work began we've seen two people come to know the Lord as their saviour and we are continuing to work with others. This weekend we were blessed again to renew our outreach and head up North again to hold a rally in Twisp, to have others hear the gospel, as well as find out if there were others in the community who would have an interest in starting Bible studies as well.

I felt super happy to not have to go up in the bus with the kids, and instead ride with Tim, Josh H., Alyssa, and Kali, in Tim's van. Not that I don't enjoy the kids, but 4 hours worth of silly chants, yelling kids, and countless pleases to stop for a restroom is not my idea of fun. Not to mention that even as a 30 year old woman, unless I'm in the front seat or driving, I have a tendency to get motion sickness. Even though I did not get to sit in the front at least I had Dramamine to get me through the twists and turns that HWY 20 offers. On the way up to Twisp we practiced the song (For the Faith of the Gospel) that the SPG's are learning for the much anticipated SPG service, ate the lunches that some ladies of the church made for the trip (minus myself of course), and just talked about the things that we anticipated on the trip. Some even managed to find time to rest up for the weekend that lay ahead of us.
~ Psalm 16:9 "Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall in hope."

The Caravan
We stopped at Diablo lookout mid way through the trip, only after being told that there would be no bathroom breaks. With 60 something people in tow. . .I don't think so. Obviously noone else did either. Here's where things took a turn in the SPG's favor.

As you can tell from the first picture we ended up in the back of the caravan, which was mostly my fault because I needed to stop for Dramamine on our way out of town. Trust me it was a stop well worth it. There was a little bit of a fun race to see who could get into "first place" between the van that Solomon was driving and the SPG van. However, as we approached Burlington Solomon overtook us, and so we were stuck because now we were going top be on a two lane stretch of road for the next 3 hours:P. Well our stop at Diablo was just the ticket we needed to get ahead. See Solomon had Chris and a bunch of younger boys (I think there was 6), while Tim had himself and 4 adults in the van. Which do you think is easier to coordinate? The SPG's thought so too. The minute the van stopped we bolted for the bathrooms, we were the first because it's easier to stop an Odyssey than a school bus. All of us got in. . .and out in record time and even managed to take some spectacular photos at the lookout point.

Soon enough though we gathered ourselves together motioning to Tim, who was in a conversation with our rival, that it was time to beat feet. Both of them got the big picture of what was taking place and Tim bolted to the van. Yet again the kids were Solomons foil and Tim was able to beat him out of the parking lot putting the SPG's in front of the pack. Try as he did Solomon could not over take the SPG's and we safely arrived at the campground in first place. Better luck next time Solomon.

Diablo lookout

Mountains of Majesty

We gotta hit the road
Ha, ha we made it in front of Solomon At 1:11 we were listening to song #11
The scenary was amazing!Yup, the SPG mobile was first to arrive
To bad Solomon...better luck next time

Soon after we arrived the Calvary followed and the men wasted no time in setting up the tents while the children played and the girls rested up, knowing that our lot could soon find itself with the domestic camp duties (mess tent and dish washing) as soon as the ladies that held those items in their vehicles arrived. The tents were set up in record time too. I don't think I've ever seen a camp set up go so smoothly. Really people setting up camp for 60+ people is no small task.

There was plenty of tent hopping too. Of course the kids started right in trying to see how they could angle getting into one of their friends tents. Josh H. and his brother wanted to sleep in the boys tent, instead of share one with their sister, which lent Alyssa's tent to the girls (Kali, Maggie, & Linnea) to share, which gave us with air mattresses more room in the girls tent. This was my first year with an air mattress. After last years experience in the Skagit Valley outreah I realized that my body is to old to be sleeping on bare ground (the recovery was not as quick as it had been in my youth) and so I resolved that this year I would suck it up and invest $20 in an air mattress. As things started to come together I was thinking out loud that next year I may end up buying a small tent for myself too (the constant in and out of the tent in our first few hours at camp was driving me nuts). Well Sharon, having heard this, and also knowing that her husband had mentioned that they had an extra small tent suggested to him that I may want my own tent this year. So he offered it to me. Really, it was a huge blessing and I slept better than a lot of people did that first night. The privacy made all the difference. It was cold for sure, and with only one shower for all the ladies (mine ended up being freezing cold the next morning) the little bit of pleasure that the privacy of a single man tent afforded me helped keep me in a right spirit as we were going to be sent out on a big day on Friday.

The calvary arrived soon after
The guys set up the tents
The tents were set up in record time
Ahhh, my own tent:)Games... Fellowship...
& rest were now called for
3 awesome ladies that had the the mess
tent streamlined. Way to go!!!
Captain Kiesel at the grill
Pork Ribs and Chicken were on the menu
Dave was an awesome cook!
As I said it was cold, of course noone had a thermometer with them, but I could see my breath in the wee hours of the morning, on my way to the shower. I actually can't crow to loudly about the lack of heat in the water. First, because I'm blessed enough to live in a country where I can at least get a shower and second, because even though the shower was cold, it made the air when I got out actually seem warm (total reverse psychology in play).

One thing that Dave came prepared with was the black nectar that starts every sleep deprived adults day. That's right people COFFEE, Java, Qahwah (Arabic, where the word coffee actually evolved from), Cafe, Jo. . .whatever you call it the hot beverage was a welcome sight for many that morning. It was simple, no fuss, good ol' fashioned black coffee, my favorite (next to a Capo from the Bee Bar of course).

Trish up and "ready" for the day as well and set to work on breaking the eggs for the breakfast that morning. There were 90 of them. Watching her work was oddly serene for me. I feel the same way anytime I'm watching someone else work in the kitchen. After a bit she seemed to develop a system of efficiency without loosing to many of the eggs out of the bowl as she beat the yellow goo. Josh was in charge of the buttery goodness that we call hash browns and Chris had the bacon and sausage. While Dave overlooked the proceeding action and running back and forth to the mess tent for more supplies, with all the teamwork involved the cooks were actually ready with breakfast before our scheduled time. Even with the little things bathed in prayer it all can go smoothly, PTL.
~ Psalm 119:76 "Let, I pray
thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant."

Coffee to start the long day ahead
Breaking the eggs for scrambling
There were a lot!
Josh eyeballs the hashbrowns MMM...they were delicious
Before our morning devotion we girls were sitting around, a bad thing when someone is camping and there are things to be done, and so we got tasked with washing the remnants of breakfast off of the dishes that had been used to cook the delicious fare. Now there wee 5 of us, which slowly turned into 7 or 8 as some of the teens decided to join us too, so with 5 ladies and one cold water spicket trying to delegate was interesting to say the least, eventually we worked out a system that seemed to work. Of course nothing happenes with the girls without it's own dose of silliness. The stories are to incredulous for even myself to believe that the took place. I'll let the pictues speak for themselves.

We had to clean up Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a matchScrub, scrub, scrub the eggs away from the tub
The women by the well...
This trip was different in the fact that I think we all felt a measure of boldness, that we had not felt before, I know that I did. Our door knocking efforts this year were designed to draw people into a conversation, which personally I enjoyed much more that past efforts. Tim's devotional charge of PB&J was certainly inspiring and left us all (I think) excited to see what the Lord would do with his Power, Boldness & and Joy.

The previous evening we went through a devotion that encouraged us to engage people in coversation. Those that were seeking after spiritual things, those that were searching for the truth, and those that were just interested in holding bible studies. The focus, unlike in previous years, was not so much on to get material into people hands, but rather to make them understand how we, and especially God, cares about their sould and where they will ultimately spend eternity. This is what the HWY20 project has been all about.

However because of it's different set up some people were thrown off as to how to engage complete strangers into a conversation, that many consider to be a private matter. It showed me the limits that I put on myself during out reaches and putting my own pride into the outreaches that I'm a part of. Not a good thing. When we get used to doing things a certain way we limit ourselves and the Lord in his direction toward us. It was very enlightening.

Maggie and I were partners for the afternoon, which was nice not only because Maggie is pleasant to be around, but because we were also partners 2 years ago the first time that we had an outreach over in the Methow Valley. We walked a different part of Okanagan this time around. The neighbor hood wasn't the greatest and so I was very happy to have Chris and Steve on that route with us. Solomon and Jim weren't to far off in the bus either. However, many of you may already know, even though things may not seem safe on the outward appearance, there is no where safer to be than in the center of will of God.
~ Psalm 119:117 "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually."

Me and Maggie
We were all bushed when we got back to camp and soon after we arrived back at camp Dave started dinner. Hamburgers and Hot dogs, beans and potato salad were on the menu. Sitting in the shade of the bus Chris turned to me to inquire about my solitude. The business of the day and the swell of people that I was around could easily send someone, such as myself who is not around people like that on a daily basis, into sensory overload. So I was seeking out some place of "quiet rest" when he asked me about it (it looked like he was trying to do the same). However, through all the squeals of the children about, the kitchen crew coordinating dinner set up, and people discussing the excitement of the afternoon with the people they talked to I found a place of quiet rest inside my soul, something that I had been missing with the business that encompasses my life on a regular basis. With the excitement of graduation, getting ready for the HWY 20 outreach, the excitement of Amber & Dave's wedding and another one coming up in September, the quietness was welcome as I sat there in peace. Telling Chris as much I said "You know I am tired, it's busy, there's noise, but I'm in a happy place. It's peaceful here in the shade of the bus (which BTW was the only place in our campsite that had shade), and that's the best kind of tired, exhausted but peaceful." Chris nodded in agreement finally leaning his head back on his water bottle, catching a few zzz's before we were rallied for dinner.
~ Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace
, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,"

The Life, Liberty, & Happiness rally in Twisp was set up earlier on throughout the month by Chris Majors who has been up in the area working with people who have been saved, through some of our previous outreaches, as well as continually reaching out to those that are still in need of having their eternity settled. Some of the men went ahead of the crowd to get the speakers system and the chairs situated for the visitors that we would have that evening.

All set up for the rally
Waiting for the visitors
We did have visitors too. There was a couple that came late, but were excited about the work that was taking place, and we also had two ladies that we've been working with for the past year show. It was finally nice to meet Ruth and Theresa. There were also a couple of older men that came to hear the preaching as well. I didn't see how many people were watching from the outskirts of the park though, and I heard that there were a couple more of those as well. Steadily the Lord is gaining ground in the Methow Valley and it will be a cause for rejoicing when we can see a church planted there in the area.
~ Proverbs 8:17 "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me."

Our musicians played wonderfully, and for the Lord
After the rally we headed back to the campsite, hoping to get in some Smores time before the lights out rule for the campground was enforced. Lights out was at 10 and we didn't end up leaving the park until 9, then to start a fire and get things set up that would take until almost bed time once we did get back, so at first we weren't very hopeful that we would get any. Then Kali reminded me that the Vaughn's had stayed behind to sit a watch over the campsite. Ah, Ha...I had Sherri's cell phone, so I called hoping that they had reception and they did. I felt a little bad because it sounded like I had woken Sherri up at first, but she assured me that I had not, after that I dove right into the excitement of my reason for calling. . .

Me: "Sherri would it be too much to ask if Steve could get a fire started for us so we can have some Smores before lights out at 10 (it was now 9:10)?"
Sherri: "You want Steve to start a fire? Sure. . .He's already out of the tent."

We could see the fire blazing from the highway as we approached the campground. Way to deliver Steve! Tummy full and my veins pumping full of sugar from my GF Smores I laid my sleep eyes down on my pillow and fell asleep to the campfire glee that engulfed the night, all before lights out, satisfied with the day I had left behind and dreaming of the future ahead.
~ Ecclesiastes 5:12a "The sleep
of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much:"

The final morning we all slept in, which is code for waking up around 6. Those of us gathered around the morning campfire enjoying our java were greeted by a hot air balloon flying overhead. Breakfast was simple cereal and fruit for most, GF banana bread and cherries for me. People started packing right away. I had all my stuff packed as soon as I woke up but I didn't have any tools to dig the tent steaks out of the ground so all I could do was deflate my air mattress and wait for the guys to show up with their tools to do so (Steve ended up disassembling my tent for me later when he found the missing hammer from 2 days earlier, the men that put up his tent left it under there by accident). Some of the youths had woken up early in the morning to climb the mountain that was behind our campsite and they sat around reveling in their conquest.

The devotion that we closed with was a time of shared testimony of the people that we had talked to and shared the gospel with combined with the things that the Lord had shown us personally, and what the blessings we had received were. Tim also left us pondering his message of what the Lord will do through our efforts.
~ 1 Corinthians 3:6 "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."

The final morning...
Hot air balloon before breakfast
The towering mountain
Finally it was time to go. We gathered up our belongings and the pets that had accompanied their masters, cleaned up our trash, and headed back to the Island. There were some sleepy heads on the way back home also.
Animal visitors
Chester...the amazing winnie dog!
& Levi...everyones favorite performer
Cleaning camp can be messy business
Ya'll Come back now ya here
Hi, ho, hi, ho it's off to home we go
Some people couldn't stay awake on the ride home either
The SPG mobile was alas not the first vehicle back in the church parking lot, we rolled in around 3:30 in the afternoon, but it was nice to be home none the less. I quickly departed due to my need to prepare for my Sunday School lesson, which was on naming the animals, but the treasure of the weekend will not be soon forgotten. Through the power of His word I received boldness, and gained joy in the process of sharing the gospel that Christ charged us with. PB&J is good stuff no matter how you slice the bread.

The BBC motto
Blessings received from the weekend
~ The personal growth from the preaching
~ The joy that working in a team offered
~ My own tent and "soft" bed (God cares about the little things too)
~ Getting to meet Ruth and Theresa
~ Getting to share the gospel with people whi wanted to listen
The list goes on of course those were just a few. Have you tapped into the Lord's PB&J lately?


nene8200 said...

Very sweet! I am so glad that the HWY 20 Project is going so well. I am so glad that you've received such personal blessing from the experience as well. Our Lord is such a blessed Lord, and hearing about His majesty through this work touches my very soul. Thanks to you all for serving Him in this manner, and I will continue praying for the work being done!

Engrafted Lives said...

Great write up Carolyn! I really enjoyed reading this blog, PTL!for his goodness, love, mercies and provision. Amen.

A Joyful Chaos said...

I really enjoyed this post. I had to laugh at the picture of your stereo, made me feel a little better to know that I am not the only one that takes pictures like that while traveling;)


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