Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekly update for 2/19 - 2/26

Greetings again from Nauvoo! Yes, I know our address is Morris PA, but we actually live in the village of Nauvoo and are in the township of Morris. A little confusing!

Our week has been a little bit abnormal (if we even have a normal yet.)  Bev and Paul and family arrived on Sunday night to visit. After a good nights' sleep we all awoke to 10 inches of fresh powdery snow on Monday. 

After digging out with the snow shovel, we all loaded up and went down the road to Three Springs to do some sledding and tubing. 

 We had a good time, but after a while we were pretty tired and wet, so we came back for lunch. The Brooks family wanted to get some skiing in the next day at Ski Sawmill which is only about 15 minutes from us so we decided to go over that afternoon to check it out and also to do some tubing on their runs where we got pulled up instead of walking, which was a lot more fun (and not nearly as tiring)!  Our visit with Bev and Paul ended on Wednesday morning when they headed for home. We really enjoyed our time with them and appreciated their sacrifice to come a long way for a visit. 

While the Brooks family went skiing on Tuesday, I got the opportunity to help start construction of the new chicken house for Three Springs.

This is one facet of the sustainable farming initiative that we are trying to implement at Three Springs. This chicken house will house 150 chickens that will lay eggs as well as be meat chickens once they reach a nice plump age. The chickens will be free range with an enclosed outside area for them to feed.  This chicken house is movable, as we have built it on wheels to be able to keep the chickens on fresh ground as they need it. I'm sure the kids will enjoy participating in the egg gathering when everything is completed.  The next phase will be constructing a movable greenhouse to help cultivate earlier and later growing seasons for our vegetables and garden varieties that will keep the kitchens serving good home cooked meals throughout the year.  Lots to learn on the farm!

On Wednesday afternoon, we quickly changed the bed sheets at the inn, because Kathryn's parents, Robin and Jennings were on their way and would be arriving after lunch. Our visit with "Granna and Pop-pop" was also very enjoyable.

Kathryn and Jennings took Audrey and Duncan on their first skiing trip Thursday.  They had a ball and can't wait to go back! 
The local ski resort is owned by a family who attends our church.  They have graciously provided all Three Springs staff and families with free season passes!!

Friday brought a very eventful day in a number of different ways. We woke up to about 5 more inches of fresh snow and about 2 more throughout the day. (Shovelling snow was fun the first time, but now the newness has worn off and it seems much more like a chore!  Regardless of the work, God's snow-covered creation is still beautiful.)  About lunch time we noticed out of our den windows, 3 of our neighbor's beef cows meandering down our road. I quickly called the neighbor and proceeded to help him herd them through a gate and back into the fence. It was then that we noticed that all of his maybe 20 other cows were also missing!  We called a few of the neighbors, as well as Kathryn's dad Jennings, and started the search and roundup of the cows. This search took us through knee deep snow in the woods and after a few hours of wrangling all of the cows back safely home, Audrey officially labelled us "cowboys"! It really was a lot of fun for us, but not probably for the farmers!

We also had a birthday party Friday night for Clay who is turning one on Sunday. We invited Jeff and Deanne Rush and their boys as well, because their middle son Seth who will be 23, has the same birth date as Clay.  Kathryn made their birthday cake, along with chicken bog, baked beans, corn on the cob, green beans, and of course sweet tea.  Everyone enjoyed the southern cooking and birthday festivities. What a day!

Jennings and Robin have just left after Saturday lunch and I am preparing to go on a Men's Night Out trip with about 26 men and boys from the church, to a minor league hockey game in Almira, NY, maybe an hour and fifteen minutes away. This ought to be a cultural experience as well! We'll see.

Our transition has been easier, since we have not been busy right away with engagements at Linck Hill Inn.  I have along and along been getting acclimated with the inn and doing some general maintenance chores, including changing light bulbs and also putting up Christmas decorations.  I believe the next three months we are pretty solidly booked, so we are about to hit the ground running. We would value your continued prayers and thank you for your notes of encouragement and financial support as we strive to serve the Lord here at Three Springs Ministries. We will continue to keep you posted.

- Doug (for the family)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Clay's Doctor Visit

Thanks to those of you who have been praying for Clay.  We saw a doctor in Wellsboro this morning . . . another double ear infection!  We were blessed to have caught this one early.  He's not in much pain,  and Mama is glad to have some medicine to help!  Maybe he'll be well in time for his birthday.  Thanks again for caring and praying!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Weekly update for 2-14/2-19

Greetings again from Nauvoo,PA. We have gone through 2 warm days in the 50"s which has melted alot of our snow leaving some green patches of grass showing, but I have a feeling we are not done with winter yet.

I will try to give you a quick recap of our week. On Monday I had a real cultural experience! I went to a farming auction with our executive director Jeff Rush, down below Williamsport about 45 minutes away. We were taking a trailor load of hay from Three Springs to sell at the auction. (This will be something that I will sometimes be called on to do with my CDL driver's license, so I was learning the ropes.) This particular area is a very heavily populated Amish community, which I learned  as soon as we neared the auction yard. In the road just ahead of us was an Amish man pushing a little wagon with a newborn calf tied to it to sell at the auction. This was only the first of about a 75% majority of Amish farmers in all of the typical dress, hats,  beards, and German Pennsylvania Dutch language, who come to buy and sell anything from eggs, firewood, hay, cows, pigs, sheep and anything else you may think of. An Amish man who bought our load of hay rode back with us to his farm about 20 miles away where they live without any electricity, phones, or mechanical farm equipment. All horse drawn methods and just hard manual labor as demonstrated as the farmer's teenage son and daughter promptly came out to help us unload the hay from our trailor into their haybarn. I got a real good sense that day that I was no longer in Conway, S.C.! Fascinating!

Each morning I go down the road about a mile to Three Springs where we meet for staff devotionals and meeting. This week I did some indoor wall climbing with our interns to help them complete some training and also to help orient me with all the ropes and belaying techniques, as well as getting to know the interns a little better. That was a lot of fun!  I have been getting slowly oriented with Linck Hill Inn and all the mechanical systems there that I will need to know that involve overseeing this property. Each day as part of my routine, I tend to 3 coal furnaces that heat the inn and other 2 residences on the property. Heat pumps don't cut it up here. I find that there are alot of new things that I will have to learn, but I am very eager and excited about this new way of living in this cold farm country.

We have still been spending alot of time unpacking and getting settled into our new home. We are actually getting to start to hang up some pictures and also a few deer and ducks. It's definitely starting to look and feel like home now. Kathryn has been very involved with the children as well as cooking so that we were able to have some of our staff neighbors over for dinner two nights this week to share in a time of fellowship and getting to know each other better. She was able to go to a ladies Bible study on Wednesday morning with about 12 other ladies from Oregon Hill Grace Chapel that she said was very challenging and encouraging.

We have spent two afternoons shopping and stocking up on groceries and other household items. One day in Mansfield which is about 30 minutes away and one in Williamsport about 45 minutes away. We will become very good at making lists and learning how to get all your shopping done in one trip for many days or weeks ahead to keep travelling expenses down. It's not like stopping in at the Food Lion anytime you want.

Pray for Clay who has picked up another cold bug that has most likely caused more ear infections. We have an appointment tommorow for the doctor in Wellsboro, another 30 minute trip. Pray for Kathryn as she trys to learn how to get around up here in these mountains with these new roads.

Overall we are doing very good and are excited about the many new things that we are experiencing and learning as we Southerners learn to fit in and also share some Southern hospitality and accent. Everyone loves the way we talk for some reason!

 God is good and we are reminded of how much we are depending on Him everyday as we embark on our service for Him here. We have posted a few pictures from this past week at the climbing barn with the interns and also here in our front yard as we played with the kids one day.

All for now! The Rickerts

Monday, February 14, 2011

Moving Update

“Well, it’s about time we heard something from those Rickerts!”
Dear friends and family,
Greetings from our winter wonderland!  Morris, PA is cold this time of year, but, oh, so beautiful!  Thank you for your faithful prayers during our move up last Thursday; we are thankful to the Lord for a safe trip. 
The journey and transition were rather hard on everyone.  As the Lord has been working mightily in our lives, so Satan mounted a proportionate attack.  Because of winter weather and family sickness, we had to delay our trip a couple of days.  When we finally left, Audrey and Duncan had come down with the flu and Clay was getting over a double ear infection, and by the time we arrived everyone had a cold, (including Grams and Grandad, who are still recovering)! 
Nevertheless, (and despite the cold), we received a very warm welcome here – plenty of help unloading, as well as 5 days of wonderful meals.  We are happy to report that the sniffles are now drying up, and we are all on the mend.  Little by little we are getting the boxes unpacked, and our house in PA is starting to feel like home.  We see the Lord’s providence in the timing of our move.  There are no guests scheduled to stay at the Inn until March, giving us ample time to settle in before things get busy.
We love our house – a favorite spot is the corner of our den, where two wall-sized windows overlook our front yard and the neighboring dairy farm.  The view is breathtaking, while the sunlight fills our den with warmth during these cold winter days.  Today, we met our neighbor Ken Hyler, a 5th-generation dairy farmer.  He invited us to visit his farm “anytime” and told us we could help with the tree tapping (for maple syrup) which should begin in a few weeks.  We look forward to getting to know our neighbors (there are other families who live down Linck Hill road as well). 
We see our ministry here as multi-faceted, with opportunities to interact with the local farmers, our local church (Oregon Hill Grace Chapel), the Three Springs staff, the guests at Linck Hill Inn, as well as other branches of Three Springs Ministries.  We know we can’t do it all, but we are praying right now that the Lord will give us specific direction for the avenues of ministry He has planned for us.  We know He will!
Thank you so much for your faithful prayers, for the many words and notes of encouragement we have received, and for your financial support as well.
Our immediate prayer list follows:   
Ø Please pray with us as we seek the Lord’s direction in choosing which areas of ministry to invest our time.
Ø For the Lord’s grace and strength as we adjust to the distance from our friends and family and church
Ø For good health (especially for the children who are still recovering)

Because of His great love for us,
Doug and Kathryn,
(Audrey, Duncan, and Clay)

Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in Thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto Thee.    Psalm 143:8