So the past month and a half has been crazy busy... But hey. Life is great that way. It keeps me out of trouble. Over this past month I have had the honor and privilege of making many new friends as well as seeing many old ones. God did an amazing work in and through everyone that I interacted with. I was especially blessed to be able to work alongside several men and women that I consider to be "Irons" in my life that are sharpening me to become more like Christ.
Over the 4th of July all of my dad's family gathered near the Oklahoma border at our Uncles place. All of us guys were in the tent around back, and Julie. Over the long weekend we spent a lot of the time down at the creek, having water fights, eating, shooting fireworks, talking, and reading. :) It was a grand time.
I was at home working most of the month of July. It was great to just be home and not on the road for awhile.
Toward the end of July things started gearing up for the Dallas Children's Program during the IBLP seminars. Again this year I was the Team Leader and Story Teller, Elizabeth was the Song Leader and Teacher Trainer, and Michael was the materials man. Abigail Del Mul was our piano player and wisdom walk, Anna & John Del Mul helped with skits and cooking, and mom, Mrs. Del Mul, Joseph, and Victoria also helped with the cooking. God brought along an amazing team of teachers for this week. Each one of them brought something special to the team that no other could duplicate. God blessed us with 70 blessings for the week and it was a joy to work with each of them.
God's hand was so evident in the team and in all the events in the weeks leading up to the seminar. First off God blessed us with a great source for purchasing polo's for all the teachers and getting them embroidered for a great deal. Then God worked things so that we were able to procure almost ALL of the craft supplies from the old stockpiles of the CI department. That was almost a $500 savings........ As we started gearing up for the week it looked like we would have just enough teachers. Then God brought along a few more. I was thinking great. Either God is preparing us for more children than we had originally planned. But that was not quite what God had in mind. He had other plans for a few of the teachers so we were back to not having enough teachers. But in the last week and even days God bought along just the perfect number of teachers we needed. This year we were blessed with having the children's program in a different building from last year. The new building worked so much better for all the teams to have their own sunday school room and a great large group room. We truly serve an awesome God who never failed to show Himself strong throughout the entire week. The absolute greatest blessing from the week came in the form of a little guy who accepted Christ as his Saviour!!!! Not only did he understand his need for a Saviour but he also knew the needs of the rest of the team. The next night after having accepted Christ he came back and wanted to talk to his team leader again. He had one request. He wanted to pray for the salvation of ALL the other kids on the team. Praise the Lord for His work in the heart of this little one and his teachers.
Another blessing of the Lord was the provision of a house for us to stay in while we were down there. The Bridges family was gone on vacation and to ministry training that week and allowed us to stay in their beautiful home. Having an entire home was so much nicer than being crammed into a hotel room. Two of our friends from near Atlanta were also staying with us while they were teaching so that made for many LATE nights. Praise God for His indescribable blessings.
On a fun note... One night after cooldown we dismissed all the teachers packed up and headed outside. 2 of the teachers parents were not yet back to pick them up. So we all hit the swings in the church playground along with the Del Mul's. We had so much fun swinging, laughing, swinging more, laughing more, and just having a great time. Well, teachers mom's showed up and mom and Mrs. Del Mul were STIIIIIIIIIIL talking. :) So we kept swinging and talking. I think I swung the hardest I have EVER swung. We had a competition seeing who could jump the farthest, highest, ect. The next morning we were all sore from having swung for nearly and HOUR and a HALF. It was amazing.
Sunday we went to church with the Del Mul's. Several of the teachers from the weak and cadets that I have worked with at various camps also attend there so I ended up knowing over half the church!!!!!!! The afternoon was spent hanging out at the Del Mul's house having a great time looking through the pictures from the week and watching the videos from the skits reliving the past week.
Sunday night we headed home and had a grand time on the drive back. There was a lot of fun as on every hour you had to switch seats to another row and to sitting beside a different person. Everyone but me that was... It is a rough life having to drive... lol :) It was even worse having Sarah and Becky Clarke coming back with us... :) Just kidding. That only made the drive more lively.
Monday I worked back at the office crazily trying to get things caught up from being gone for a week and get ahead so I could be gone another week. :) Thankfully I got everything accomplished that I needed to.
Tuesday dawned with Elizabeth, Michael, Sarah, Becky, and I on the road to KY for Lyndsae's wedding. Due to lots of LOOOONG slowdowns for construction we took a few scenic detours and had a blast taking BACK roads, a.k.a. everything down to dirt roads between corn fields. Amazingly enough we actually made up time! After a brief photo stop at the Arch in St. Louis. we continued up toward KY. When we were about an hour away Lyn called and said that Brystol, Tim, David, and Lizzy were at the mall in Evansville. So armed with the knowledge of what store they were in we stopped by the mall. Well, things didn't turn out quite as we planned. We found them and had a great time still.
The days prior to the wedding were busy ones preparing the church, ranch, cake, and every other aspect of the wedding. Each night the older ones who were staying at the house would gather and play a few games and have some fun. By Friday night we had nearly 50 people staying at the Ranch and it was a blast. I had a great time working with David, one of the irons in my life, and many others.
Friday morning brought a relaxing but much to short volleyball game then it was off the the rehearsal. I shot a few hundred pictures that afternoon and evening at the church. On the way to the rehearsal dinner I had the opportunity to ride with Lew and Melodie Sterrett. It was great to talk with them on the drive to the restaurant. The young people kinda stacked our table so it was a great time. Bryce had just arrived earlier that day so it was great to get to tlak with him some. That evening once we got back to the house all the young people stayed up playing many fun group games.
Saturday was a hive of activity getting ready for the wedding and everything else that had to happen that day. God brought in so many people to help get things ready that almost everything went so smoothly. Many Thanks goes to all the wonderful people serving this week(end). Ben Clarke and I had the privilege of being the photographers for the wedding. along with our sisters Elizabeth and Becky helping out also. Ben and I had a great time while shooting all the pics and even had some fun behind the bride and grooms back!!!! ;) When it was all said and done we had nearly 1700 pictures from just Friday and Saturday. After the wedding and all the clean up, and a humongous rain storm we had a civil war era ball in the family room. It was once again another LATE night. :)
Sunday brought about 4 FULL vehicles from the Reckner Ranch to church. The afternoon was relaxing but sad. because many goodbyes were said...... :( The wedding was a great time but I think even better than the wedding was all the great friendships that were strengthened. I had so many great friends there, The Reckner's, Clarkes, David, Lizzy, Matt, Josh, Anna, Ben, Seth, Bekah, Adrian, Bryce and Heather were back. And many, many, more that would take to long to list.
Monday we headed back home and that is where I have been ever since. Working at the shop, working with our local ALERT Cadet unit, studying, and several other projects.
Praise be to God for His safety and lovingkindness.