Monday, June 25, 2007

Time to Catch Up

The past several days have been very wet and rainy. Every afternoon and evening it has rained. With all the guys gone on furlough there is only one man running the entire landscape department. So I have been weed eating in the evenings. It has been pretty fun.

Every time we have someone new come into the CADET office we all give a short speech introducing ourselves. Since Brystol is here I did mine yesterday (Friday). Although I think that she already knew more about me from working at ATI conferences for the past several years.

Friday night I played volleyball with about 10 of the staff guys and 8 of the staff girls, and then I went for a short run. Afterwards I sat outside and talked to my family for an hour and started packing for our canoeing trip. While packing and ironing at 10:30pm Bryce Reckner called and we talked for a little while. Then Steve Parrish came and asked I wanted to watch a movie with him so I was up till 1:45 watching a movie with him.

Saturday morning my alarm went off at 6:00. Aurrgh too early, after being up so late. Off I went to shower, finish packing, dress, and carry my stuff down to the porch on the Library. This morning it was raining really hard. I had soaked my BDU’s all the way around below my raincoat and the rain had seeped into my duffel and backpack after the short walk through the rain to the porch. What a way to start a trip, cold, wet, and tired. My traveling companions for this trip were Major Farr, Brystol Reckner, and John Friedli. We would be staying at the Reckner’s before heading off to on the canoe trip with Bryce and Tyler Reckner so Brystol was going to go home with us and stay with her family during the time we were canoeing. Saturday night we stayed up talking and looking at pictures till after midnight and I helped in the barn. It was really fun helping feed all the horses, cows, and the little calves.

Sunday I helped again in the barn and with breakfast, which was very good. Then we leisurely did dishes and got dressed. We all had brought our dress uniforms so all the Reckner guys wore their cadet dress uniforms too. After church and lunch we headed off to eastern KY to a little cabin in the middle of nowhere. There we met up with two local Cadet Family’s Capt. Snyder and his son Joshua, and Lt. Atkins and his two sons Garret and Hunter. Bryce, Tyler, John, and I stayed in the loft, Major Farr in the living room, and the other two families each had their own bedrooms. During the four hour drive we talked a lot about where we wanted to go with cadets and what we need to do for the program to continue growing. We also worked on some of the preliminary plans for the camps next year.

Monday morning our alarms wet off at 4:45am. After wisdom search we had a wonderful breakfast of pancakes and sausage. Then we drove three hours plus a time change to the far eastern part of KY to meet our outfitter. Then we drove another hour on the outfitters bus into TN for the start of our trip. The river is at a 70 year low so there were several places we had to pull our canoes across the rocks.

My canoeing buddy/partner was Garret or Hunter Atkins. Garret is 10 and Hunter is 8. They would switch off riding with me and riding with their dad. We had a great time and even stopped a few times along the way to jump off big rocks and swim. About 5pm we stopped for the night and set up camp. Dinner was macaroni and cheese. It was pretty good. After dinner we had a debrief of how the day had gone and then talked for a little while before going to bed.

Tuesday we got up about 7am, had hot oatmeal and dried fruit for breakfast. After breakfast we had a wisdom search from II Timothy 1 and then broke camp and headed on our way. We arrived at our next camping area at noon. At this site there were many rocks spread across the river so we ate out on the rocks in the middle of the river. After we set up out tents we headed out on a 6.4 mile hike. Half a mile and 500’ of positive elevation change later we were in top of an open ridge. Lightning was beginning to flash all around us and the rain was pouring down. So we moved to the tree line and huddled under a few evergreen trees which didn’t help to protect us from the rain much. After about ten minutes Tyler came back from exploring down the hill and informed us that there was a nice overhang just down the way. So we all headed down there and sat in the dry. After about thirty min. the younger boys started a fire and we had a nice worm spot to dry out. After three hours the rain was slowly letting up so Bryce jumped up and asked me to come with him and off he went down the hill. Just below where we were in a 6’ ceiling “cave/overhang” there was a much bigger 30’ ceiling with a smooth floor. However the rain had quite so we continued on our way. For dinner we had “pudgie pies” and more macaroni and cheese. Then Tyler and I sat on the rocks by the river and talked for a while.

Wednesday found us up at 7am again. This morning we had pancakes and bacon then Wisdom search and the final leg of our canoe trip. Part way down the river we found a very nice rock to swim off of so I went and jumped off with a few of the guys. It was really fun. Earlier in the morning Hunter wanted to go back up on of the smaller rapids and ride it back down again. So off we went however he decided that he was going to switch sides of the boat that he was paddling on and before I could react the currant had caught the boat and turned us sideways and flipped us. Then later on the most technical of the rapids Major Farr and John hit a rock and got stuck and flipped. Then later Bryce and Tyler tried to go back up another of the rapids and they got caught and flipped. So we all had wet gear. We arrived at the portage location just after a group of boy scouts that were also on the river. So we had lunch and then made the portage around Devils falls. After the portage we only had a about a ¼ of a mile to the take out point. We hauled our gear up top the cars and then Bryce, John, and I spread all our gear out to dry across about five or six parking spaces. Then Bryce and I walked around the outdoor history museum type area that they had there at the old mining town.

We arrived back at the Reckners about 8pm, just in time for dinner. After dinner I helped with the barn chores. Halfway through chores Capt. Reckner came out and asked if I could come weld piece back on the hitch of and old hay bailer that he is restoring. Once I finished that we headed back up to the house where they had dessert waiting. I don’t remember what we had but it sure was good. Then we looked at more pictures and talked till about 1am.

After breakfast and helping with some of the barn chores Major Farr said it was time to leave. The drive back home was filled with lots of planning, talking, and devotionals. The whole way back the weather was just beautiful, till we were about an hour out from Big Sandy. Then there was torrential rain, high winds, and a huge wall cloud.

Friday I caught up on things in the office and helped John with packing for Sacramento.

Saturday I cleaned my dorm room and some of my camping gear then went to brunch. After brunch I mowed all the grass between the all the dorms. That took till right before dinner then I fixed the tire on my bike. The Farr’s phone hadn’t been working since the last storm so Brystol and I couldn’t find out what time they were going to pick us up for church. So I rode my bike over and Mrs. Farr wanted me to come in a talk for a while. While we were talking we saw the alligator swim across the lake twice. Yes, he decided that the pond down by the water treatment plant wasn’t quite what he was looking for so he moved up to Lake Loma. Then Major Farr and Katie came back from taking one of the cats to get stitched up from where some other animal had clawed his side open. And as is the tradition in the Farr house we had Ice Cream. Yummy. After getting back I spent about an hour on the phone with my family. Boy was it good to talk with them for a while.

Sunday I went to church with Major and Mrs. Farr, Katie, and Brystol. The message was pretty good. After church we had lunch at the Farr’s and then just talked. The Farr’s took Brystol and I back to our respective houses/dorms and I power washed part of the patio and dorm.

Today it has been raining terribly hard. The lake is up more than 3 feet from last week. They have to let a lot of water out of it and pump it back into the creek because it is so full. It is going over the spillway. I spent most of the morning working in the office and then this afternoon I had to set up mikes and the computer to record the Quest Leadership training classes. Now I need to go work on my “21 Laws of Leadership” lesson for tomorrow.

The new calf they got last Sunday from another rancher that had a cow that had twins and mom couldn't take care of both calves.
Brystol and Lyndsae feeding it for the first time. The other calf they got this past Thursday. Just after we left.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Off to Town

Tonight I went to town with Brystol, Katie, and Mrs. Farr. We had a blast going to Longview to Academy for waterproof bags for the canoe trip and Wal-Mart for general shopping for the Farr family.

As we were driving back Mrs. Farr exclaimed, "Wow, that is a Molly Sky". The colors that lingered in God's beautiful sky were just amazing. The heavens truly declare the glory of God and the earth shows forth his handy work.

Today was spent getting more pictures for the Servant handbook, and uploading others to the web. If all goes as planned and I don't have any more problems with the remote upload program I should finally get them all on the web tomorrow.

Also be in prayer for the Cadet department as we have a strategy planning meeting, tomorrow morning, with the leaders of Missionary Tech Team. MTT's goal is to help ministry's develop a goal and identify those things that will help us reach that goal and point out the hindrance within the ministry.

Also Major Farr will be flying very early in the morning, about 4-5am down to southern Texas to pick up two ALERT guys and bring them back before the 9:30 meeting. He passed his Instrument rating test and exam today so now he can fly in the clouds and whenever. Thank you Lord.


Yeasterday was a busy day in the office spent in planning meetings, uncovering my desk after being gone for two and a half weeks, and just catching up on things. Overall it was a productive day but it went way to fast. After dinner I went and helped Dan and Capt. Herring set up one of the old green GPM2 tents. That thing must have weighed a thousand pounds. They is some church youth group that is coming in here next week and they are using two of them for commandpost. Their theme is a military type of some sorts. Since everyone is gone on furlogh I am helping with the lawn care so I was weedeating around the rappelling tower and obsticle course. Then as I was heading over to weedeat around the dorms it started raining so that effectivelly stopped that for the evening. After getting cleaned up I played Jumppin, a two person stratigy game with Kevin Cahill for a while. It was pretty good. afterwords I pollished my dress shoes and went to bed.

This morning I was reading in John 16. Verse 33 really seemed to jump out at me. It says, "These things I have spoken to you that you, so that in me you can have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." Even among all the busyness of travelling and work God is our peace. When it seems that everything is going a hundred miles and hour God will still be that same peacful strong tower that I can run to. Thank you God for sending your Son to make a way for us to know you and for providing us with the security of knowing that in busy times we can turn to you.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Finally back home

Tomorrow, Thursday, starts our set up at the Richmond Center and our 7am to 10:30pm on site hours. Whew, that is going to be a tiring week. Pray that everyone will stay healthy, well rested, and full of energy. Especially Major Behr, our only driver. It has been so much fun traveling with him. You see a whole different side of him than you normally see around campus. He also have a few really good choice comments for many different situation we find ourselves in from time to time. Take for example Monday when we were finishing the last of a book on CD. At the end comes to guy down on one knee proposing to her and he quickly grabs the volume knob and turns it down loudly exclaiming Joshua you shouldn’t here this. Your ears are too young for this. Joshua Shung is only sixteen but graduated from this last Basic. He has many comments like that and others that shall not be repeated here. Just kidding! It is kind of funny because Maj. Behr and Aaron are both older than me and Joseph and Joshua are both younger than me.

Right now I am sitting in the parking lot of a rest stop on the West Virginia turnpike writing while Maj. Behr takes a nap. The HEAV conference was awesome. We had a blast there. Thank you for all you did to prepare for it. We worked with some really awesome people there. Most of the time we were checking to make sure people had the correct name tags to get in the exhibit hall and in the children’s program. At the children’s program we had to check each child’s name tag with a ticket that their parent would have to make sure that they matched and ask them if that was their parents or not. We also did three different color guards at different times and played the big bad guy that wouldn’t let you into the ballroom early for the graduation. And then at the rare times we weren’t doing the above mentioned task or making “patrols” we would be at the ALERT booth.

Last night (Saturday) we loaded all the exhibitors up and the HEAV truck and then unloaded the HEAV truck back at the office. By that time it was 11:30pm. Maj. Behr had elected not to go to the HEAV staff pizza party which they had invited us to so we stopped by McDonalds on the way back to the Julian’s. By the time we got home, ate, and cleaned up it was 1:00 am. We got up at 6:00 packed, cleaned out and loaded the van, had breakfast, and were on the road by 7:25. So far the trip has been pretty good. I am in the front keeping Maj. Behr company/awake while the rest of the guys are each on their own bench sleeping. Maj. Behr and I just talked and listened to different sermons and teachings on the radio.

Today (Sunday) we made good time stopping only three times. Once for fuel right at the beginning, once about 11am so Maj. Behr could sleep for 30 min. and once for fuel and lunch to go about 2pm. We arrived at the Reckners about 7pm. When we got there Bryce took us on a tour of the house and property. They have a really nice house and barns. Mrs. Reckner made a delicious meal for us. Then we went out front and shot Tyler’s new civil war era musket and shot some skeet with Bryce’s shotgun. Then we had apple dumplings, looked at pictures, and talked. Tyler, Bryce, Lyndsae, and I stayed up talking till 1:30am. We had so much fun just catching up and sharing what the Lord had been doing in our lives.

This morning (Monday) Mr. Reckner woke us up at 5:15am and we were headed on our way home by 6am. We should get back to Big Sandy between 4-5 tonight. It will be nice to get back but the past three weeks have been so much fun and I have learned so much. I only wish we could have stayed at the Reckners longer.

Well, we made it back to ALERT at about 5:15 safe and sound.

The Reckners House






Monday, June 4, 2007

One Fast Moving Blur of a Week

Sunday night Maj. Behr led us in a devotion on disciplines. What disciplines do we have in our lives? Do we tend to make excuses for disciplines just because it’s convenient? It really hit me in one particular area, rising early. Just because you stayed up so late talking or watching that movie is no excuse to sleep in later, cut a few corners when ironing or not putting my full attention into my time with the Lord in the morning. It is also really neat because he is having two of us take five minutes and share our testimony with the group each day. It has been fun hearing where others come from and how they came to know the Lord. What an encouragement it is to see how God has worked in others lives and what He has done for them.

Monday I got up about 6:45, dressed and started helping with breakfast. While making breakfast Maj. Behr discovered that we didn’t have any paper plates in the house we are in. So I was dispatched over to the Nashville Training Center, a short walk through the woods across the parking lot, and all the way through to the other side of the NTC. Upon arriving at the kitchen there was Mrs. Kelly unloading and inventorying the entire semi load of food for the conference all by herself. So I came back and told Maj. Behr what was going on and he sent half of us over to help and the other half stayed behind to eat breakfast and then swap out with those working. For breakfast we had pancakes, (cooked by chef Aaron Miller) Bacon, (fried to perfection by the Master Chef himself Maj. Behr) and juice, fruit, and sweet rolls.

Our work unloading the truck took us till about 9:30 at which time we found a small lobby in the NTC with enough couches for everyone. (edit. Enough seats for all of us after four of us sit on a couch designed for two.) Maj. Farr then assigned everyone to work parties (why do they call it a work party? There is no partying that happens.) and off we went. We emptied the trailer of everything for all the events and set up the food tent and water fill stations.

Mrs. Kelly had sandwich fixing’s, fruit, juice/pop, salad, chips, and cookies for us. It was all very good. She and here 10 kids all take very good care of us and all the other staff. They have also done just an amazing job getting the NTC ready for the conference.

Tuesday found us traveling to Two Rivers Baptist Church at 7:00am to help unload the truck. Just as I finished unloading with Craig, Maj. Farr called me on the walkie and said that Bryce was about here and that I needed to go get him up to speed on his event. Bryce has an amazing sense of timing just as I was jumping out of the truck he pulled up. So off we went back to the NTC. We ran around in the woods getting his stuff set up, had lunch, and then met all the squad leaders. Then we rushed over to the Church for the opening ceremony practice. Maj. Farr and Lt. Cahill did a phenomenal job of designing a new, eye-catching opening ceremony. I was in the color guard and carried the ALERT Cadet flag. It all went very well and everyone seemed to enjoy it. The church has several hundred colored lights in the ceiling that they had flashing and chasing each other across the stage. Then as the color guard came down the center aisle they had fog coming out from the ceiling up around front. It was pretty cool. After closing things up, getting home, and talking, (yes, guys can do this till late hours to :-)) it was 12:45pm.

Wednesday was a great day. I was very busy however I had a great time with the guys, the lunch crew, and everyone else. The challenge went really well. We only had two medical incidents and four kids that their parents didn’t come pick up. I also worked the Cadet sales table with Brystal and Heather.

On Thursday we had a big breakfast so that we could fast through lunch. (this was Maj. Behr’s idea) We got to the church about 9:30 and I worked that Cadet sales table, information table, took some pictures of the sessions, and sat in on some of the sessions. Here we didn’t have to make the lunch for the CI so Bryce, Brystol, and I stopped by McDonald's that afternoon. Dinner was at the NTC and then we stayed for the final session. After the session Bryce, Brystol, and the Behrens went to an Ice Cream party at a large time share apartment that one of the ALERT men’s family, who was an ACC (Alert Cadet Challenge) unit leader had. After talking with some the people there we headed home at about 11:30pm and then talked about life and the future till 1:45AM. Why is it that when you are talking and having a great time that you don’t notice to time till it is way late?

Thursday Maj. Farr was supposed to talk to all the fathers at the fathers session but Mr. Gothard had forgotten so he rescheduled him for Friday morning. Only one problem he has to do squad leader training at the same time. So sometime Thursday morning he came and asked me if I could do the training and wisdom search lesson for all the squad leaders and ALERT unit leaders. Gulp!! Me?? Yes, you. Okay, yes sir, whatever you would like sir. Therefore, after almost FIVE hours of sleep (that was about the norm for the week) I was aver at the NTC looking at a bunch of guys that we looked as if they were still asleep giving the wisdom search and other training. The Wisdom search was on Contentment. Being thankful and content with what God has provided. The verses for the lesson where from I Timothy 6:6-12. Verse 8 says, “And having food and raiment (clothing) let us therewith be content”. What else is there that we need? Do we need that new car? New clothes? New gun? New computer? Or does what God has provided for us fill the need adequately? It also talks about the love of money and how that is a great temptation and the root of all evil. Yes, you can minister to a lot of people if you had a whole lot of money, but what is our motivation? It really goes back to what I learned a few weeks ago at church in Kilgore, stewardship. How am I using, caring for all that God has provided me with? After SL training I helped with sign-in because Mrs. Farr was listening to here husband speak at the father’s sessions and one of the other girls was not able to come. During the morning formation I would narrate a little skit and some of the SLs would be actors. This morning was Contentment, and being content with what you receive in the food line. Bryce was the squad leader and we got one of the more outgoing SL’s to be the A. Cadet. The main character who was not content or grateful for what he had received. The day went pretty well, I didn’t have to help with the lunch prep very much, but I did have to go off campus to get a prescription filled for one of the ALERT guys who had a staff infection. After waiting at Wal-Mart for over thirty minutes I rushed back just in time to serve lunch for the Pre-Excel girls. I was so nice having Bryce’s truck to do logistics in this week. I really don’t know if I could have done it all without it. It was a huge blessing. Thank you Bryce.

At 4pm all the parents came to pick up their kids and take them back to the Church for the final session with the choir and orchestra. It wouldn’t be a Cadet Challenge without one of the little guys being left without his parents coming to pick him up. After calling over to the church and having them put a message on the screen he just hung around the trailer with us while we packed. We were all finished packing and loading the trailer by 5:45. All the event leaders worked together and did an amazing job pulling things together. They were one of the best groups of guys we ever had. They made the events fun and interesting, the analogies easy to understand and not boring, and brought a whole new level of enthusiasm to the group, even when a couple of them got into some poison ivy while setting up and had some pretty bad reactions to it. They all hung in there and finished strong. You are all an amazing group pf guys, thank you very much for giving of your hearts this week to make an impact in these kids’ lives. Having finished packing all the Cadet gear in record time we headed over and ate dinner in the dinning room. The food this week was all really good. They had the cooking class from Indy come and along with some of the Eagle Springs girls and they did a phenomenal job. The session let out about the time we finished eating so we loaded up and made our way to the church. There we loaded the truck with everything from the church. We had everything loaded except for book sales because they were inventorying all the books before they sent them back to HQ. So Craig sent all the ALERT guys except for myself back to the NTC to start stacking and moving all the chairs he had brought from Indy out to the loading dock. Then Craig and unloaded all the skids at the NTC and with all the other guys help loaded all 800 chairs, some of the left over food, and all the kitchen stuff on the truck for him to take back to Indy.

After finishing loading I went back to the house and helped Bryce load up his gear and some wheat that another family had brought for the Reckners. Then we just talked for a while then made our way back to over to the training center and had Ice Cream with the rest of the ALERT guys and IBLP staff. After Bryce left we all went back and packed up our personal gear and started cleaning the house till 12:30 Saturday morning.

Saturday morning found us up at 6 packing the last of our gear and cleaning the house from top to bottom. The Farr’s arrived with Brystal, who was going back to ALERT for three months to work in the office, and we transferred all there stuff to the van with the trailer. After saying goodbye to them we loaded our stuff in the other van, finished cleaning the house, and were on the road by 8:30. I Aaron and I slept from Nashville till just past Knoxville. We ate lunch at Taco Bell and then continued on to Richmond arriving around 8:20. The Jullians, our wonderful host, were still at a previous commitment but she had left two Sam’s pizzas out for us. The Jullians came back just as we were finishing dinner and she brought out fresh apple pie and ice cream. Wow, it was all delicious.

After dinner Mr. Jullian took us out to his shop where he builds potato guns. He has several different sizes and he has shot them up to 750 FEET! They are all made out of PVC pipe and use alcohol for fuel. I put a barbeque igniter in the handle and when you press the button it creates a spark in the chamber which causes a small explosion forcing the potato down the barrel and on it way. He took one of them and fueled it up and let some of the guys dry fire it so they could see how much it kicked. Without a potato it hardly kicks at all. Aaron was total captivated by the spud busters and we could hardly get him out. Mr. Jullian even gave him copies of his plans. Beware ALERT.

Aaron and I are sharing a room at the Julians and Sunday found us up at 7:00 having our devotions and packing a few things for our trip. After a delicious breakfast we headed for Williamsburg to help Maj. Behr’s older sister start packing up things and moving them to their new house. After loading the small truck we went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. Early in the trip Maj. Behr just spontaneously pops out with a this question, “Who here likes Chinese”? Weel it turns out that everyone that came on to Richmond likes Chinese. So he sai we would probably have it often. After lunch we picked up the van from having the tires balanced and off we went to Bridgewater 3.5hours back to the northwest. During the drive we talked for a while, listened to a few adventures in oddessy, and slept for an hour.

Okay, now to the van. Ever since we departed Nashville there was a terrible vibration that seemed to be coming from the rear of the van. We wondered if it was the tires for Maj. Behr took it to Wal-Mart and had them balance the tires. After picking it up it was still not any better. So you ride with your teeth chattering all the time. :-)

This morning I was reading in John 7 and came to the following:
If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that beliveth on me as the scriptures hath said, out of him shall flow rivers of living water.
This is part of what I was trying to get across to the all the SL on Friday morning. Your “river”, your actions, and attitudes that are flowing our of you are a clear representation of your heart. Sometimes I look at maybe a word I spoke, or how I treated someone and my river is a little muddy. I am so thankful that God has given me many others around me that will point out these things to me and help me clean up my river.

Today we worked on the yard at Maj. Behr's sister's house and I finished cutting in around the edges of a wall they had painted. The yard was fairly big and all we had was a small push mower. They also had a little electric weed eater so it took forever to get all the weed eating done. Then I also needed the extension cord for the hedge trimmer but Aaron was still using it to weed eat. Then I was using it with the hedge trimmer and he was wanting it for the blower, so the day was a tale of the fight for the extension cord. We also took out two bushes that were dead.

After determining that a quorum of the Richmond expedition was present we proceeded to cast our vote for lunch. It was decided that we would have pizza. The first pizza place we went to was closed so we proceed down the street to Papa John's. After Lunch we packed up and headed back to Williamsburg. On the way back we vibrated our teeth out while sitting in the back and listening to the rest of "True Honor", a book on cd that Aaron had brought. It was good. We had a great time listening to it along and Maj. Behr's choice comments.

Once we arrived back in Williamsburg Aaron and I started taking all the tires off the van, checking them over, and rotating them. When we took the left rear one off we found the culprit. It had a small bulg in it causing the excessive vibration. Thank you Lord for helping us to find the problem.

Friday's Sign-In