Sunday, March 27, 2011


Sorry for the problems with our latest update.  We   have had a lot of trouble getting our last post up on the website . . . Then when we finally did - it's all jumbled up!  Hope you can make it through o.k.  . . . Pictures ended up in different places as well.  Maybe next week we will be back to normal!

Weekly Update for 3/20 - 3/26

Well, I know last week I said that the weather had made a turn towards spring, but it made a u-turn this week back towards winter. I feel like I'm a season behind everyone else! Last Sunday night and into Monday brought a mix of freezing rain and sleet that pretty much wiped out any kind of outside activities for the day. I was scheduled to take a load of our hay down Monday to the auction where I had been before, but due to the weather we decided to try a different auction on Tuesday. That left me the day to catch up on getting my taxes done as well as help keep the kids for a while for Kathryn to give one of the intern girls a voice lesson. They are going to barter voice lessons for some babysitting, which will be nice. We have really missed not having both of our parents as well as aunts and uncles available to keep the kids for us some.


This auction was a good bit bigger than the first auction I had attended. There was just a lot more of everything - anything you could think of that folks could make a dollar off of. There was every kind of animal including sheep, goats, cows, pigs, turkeys, ducks, guineas, rabbits, pigeons, quail, chickens, and probably others I can't remember. They also were selling fresh produce, baked goods, fresh meat, and homemade crafts and quilts. Also spread out through different areas were tables and booths set up like a flea market or huge yard sale for people to sell whatever old tools, guns, or antiques they may have. I told Kathryn that we needed to go back sometime with the whole family just to see everything and use it as a field trip. Our hay brought a pretty good price of $165/ ton. (We had about 4 tons on our trailer.) Although there were a good number of Amish and Mennonite farmers there, our hay was bought by a lady who had a horse farm about ten miles away. We agreed that she would buy another load in a couple of weeks, which I may end up taking then. It was a good trip with good fellowship and conversation there and back with Nate.

Tuesday night I was able to go and play basketball with some of the interns, staff and people from the community at a community gym in Morris. It was fun playing basketball again, since I had tried to refrain from playing in the past due to risk of spraining an ankle when I was self-employed with my lawncare business.

The kids also enjoyed having another opportunity to sled and get outside with daddy to play!


Kathryn has been working on some special music for church. She and a few of the musicians had a rehearsal this week. I think they enjoy doing some different things as well as the weekly praise music.

We had a ladies retreat this weekend at LHI from the Wellsboro First Baptist Church. There were 18 ladies here for their first time. Our whole family was there to greet them and make them feel welcome. I think everyone enjoys seeing the kids, and the kids really enjoy being over at the mansion. Audrey asks us often, " Are we hosting tonight?" Since this was a ladies retreat and I was definitely outnumbered, Kathryn did most of the serving and helping set up for the meals while I stayed with the kids. It's good that we can alternate a lot of the responsibilities. The ladies had a great time and are planning to bring their husbands back for a couples retreat soon. Pray for us next weekend as we have a much larger group of ladies - around 50 for a three day weekend. That will definitely max us out and make for a long weekend, but that is why we are here . . . like it says in TSM's mission statement, "t o assist churches who desire to achieve maximum life impact in people of all ages, by providing quality facilities, dedicated staff, Christian community, and exceptional programming, leading to encounters with God."

Life at home is always lively! Clay is really walking well and is into everything. It takes someone watching him at all times and monitoring what he's into. Sometimes he volunteers his help with whatever you're doing, whether you need it or not!

Audrey and Duncan really do a great job playing together, and even had a play date this week with two girls about their age from one of the families on staff. They have great imaginations and are always building forts or packing their toys for trips to China or somewhere. As hard as it is to get things done around the house these days, we are very thankful for our family and know that we will look back with great memories on these days.

There are a couple of areas of need that I would like to share with you. One is that the camp does not own an edger. For someone coming from a lawncare background and now in charge of heading up the grounds maintenance here, I would really like to buy an edger for the camp. There are plenty of sidewalks and landscaping beds where I believe a nice straight edging job would add a lot visually. The cost of a nice edger will run about $350. The other area that I can see the possibility of an improvement is adding a Frisbee golf course at the Three Springs property. The property has plenty of space for at least a nine hole course to start. This would give kids or those retreating an extra outdoor activity that anyone could do. This has been used very effectively at other camps that I know. The cost of materials to build the baskets and to purchase some discs for nine holes will run about $600. If anyone would like to partner with me in helping the camp in these areas, you can earmark a check for "Edger", or "Frisbee Golf" to Three Springs Ministries, 874 Linck Hill Rd, Morris, Pa, 16938.
Thank you for being a part of our lives here at Three Springs Ministries. We value your prayers and involvement. If there is anyone that you know that would be interested in what is going on here with us and at Three Springs please pass on our blog address,
Have a great week! The Rickerts, or our e-mail address, http://www.rickertfamily5/

Tuesday night into Wednesday morning we received another 8-9 inches of snow! I told you winter was not done, which everyone else had told me as well! Digging out was a little easier this time with the help of a snow blower that had gotten repaired since the last snow.

Tuesday morning, Nate Frey, one of our staff who heads up the farming for Three Springs, and I headed down towards the Middleburg Farm Auction about an hour and half south of us.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekly Update for 3-13/ 3-19

I will have to admit that I did not do a good job this week of keeping a good record of all the different jobs and activities that I did and on what days.  I also realize that you probably do not need to have a blow by blow as well.  One of the things that I enjoy about serving at Three Springs Ministries is that there are so many different facets of camp ministry and that one day is never the same as another.

The weather has started to turn the corner, although I will reserve the right to change that statement when the next snow storm comes.  The snow has melted and has revealed a winters worth of limbs, leaves and debris underneath it all.  I've been chomping at the bit to start working in the yard for a while, since I've been accustomed to cutting grass by this time of year.  Although everything was still muddy, I recruited Audrey and Duncan on Monday to help me start picking up limbs and raking leaves here at the Linck Inn property. We got a lot accomplished and things are starting to shape up.  I've been asked to head up the grounds maintenance for here as well as at the Three Springs property, with the help of one of the interns that will be staying over for the summer.  I'm excited about that since I have been given the oppurtunity to do a lot of that in my life and feel like I could help in this area.  I've started doing some maintenance on the mowers this week trying to get ready.   Everyone thinks that's funny since we're probably not quite done with winter entirely, but they understand that I don't know any better coming from South Carolina where it's already been in the 80's.

We did not have a group this weekend at LHI so I have spent the majority of my time at Three Springs trying to pitch in and help in any way I could.  I've sort of been everyone's assistant doing different projects.  I've sealed up cracks in eaves where bats get into walls,  helped refurbish a pool table, did maintenance on equipment, crawled under buildings doing repair work on floor joists, helped prune apple trees, measured and lined off a volleyball court, and even had a chance to explore one of the hiking trails from camp.  Although I was doing many different things, I was always interacting with other staff and interns which gives me opportunities to be involved with those I'm serving with.

Kathryn did make it to the Ladies Bible study on Wednesday which she has really enjoyed.  It gives her a change of pace from things at home, not to mention good fellowship and study. She also is helping coordinate a ladies ensemble at church and planning other special music for the future.  I'ts good that she is starting to find avenues of service to use her gifts. One of her other gifts that many may not know about, is her knowledge of grammer and English, which she has found a way to use in the ministry.  Not only does she help correct many of my errors when I write, but she has volunteered to proofread for newsletters,  brochoures, or whatever needed for Three Springs Ministries.  She already started that this week for one of the summer brocheres going out. That's an area that not everyone is good at, including myself.

Audrey and Duncan continue to adjust.  On Monday when we were outside cleaning in the yard most of the day they proceded to get out the snow sleds and sled even though there was no snow!  They have enjoyed getting outside more now that it is starting to warm up and thaw out.  We even got out the bikes one evening and went down to Three Springs to ride and enjoy the evening together.

The kids are also involved in an Easter play at church. Their Sunday school class will be singing with the chorus for the play.  Clay seems to be doing better with his ears, but still is not sleeping well through the night.  That is hard for a mother who hears every noise her children make, while Dad saws logs next to her.

Continue to pray for us as we experience God at work here.  There was a youth group of about 70 retreating at Three Springs this weekend

 and we are planning on hosting a church group at LHI of about 30 next weekend.  We value your interest and involvement with us.  Hope ya'll have a great week!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weekly Update for 3-6 / 3-12

Hello again from the Rickert family! We hope everyone is doing well. It seems like the weeks go by quickly as I try to recall what all we have done week by week.

 We left you last week with the threat of snow in the forecast which turned into 10 inches of snow Sunday into Monday morning. After admiring the beauty of it all, it was back to shovelling all the walks and steps around the inn once again. Later that day, a college group from New York arrived to work at Three Springs over their spring break. All the guys started splitting wood while the girls did some spring cleaning in the inn. They did a great job doing a lot of different jobs and detail cleaning that doesn't get done very often. There were 12 students total that gave up the majority of their spring break to come and give of their time and energy to serve and assist the ministry here. They were a tremendous help and encouragement to us all! At the end of the day Monday, the kids and I finally got to put Grams' snowman kit to use, as we built our first Pennslyvania snowman. That was a lot of fun! I ended the day by getting together with around ten other men from the church at one of their homes for fellowship, a testimony from one, and a time of prayer. It was good to interact and encourage one another.

Most of the day Tuesday was spent sawing up more logs for the guys to split.  Other than that, I was able to help with a hog butchering.  One of the local farmers, who is also an elder at our church, gave the camp a pig of his that had gotten crippled and would not be able to be sold. Since Jeff Rush, our director,  had previously worked at a pig slaughter house, he knew how to make quick work of butchering up this pig for good pork barbeque that will make lots of camp meals in the near future. It was a lot like skinning and cleaning a deer except for the skinning part, but I'll spare you all the juicy details.

On Wednesday, Kathryn and I did a lot to get ready for our weekend retreat. Kathryn did most of the floral and wreath decorations around the house as well as setting up the dining room tables. She is really creative and good with that kind of stuff and it gives her a break.  (Audrey enjoyed helping put fresh flowers in each room.)  I concentrated on the heating system and getting all the rooms up to temperature as well as general grounds maintenance.  It's good that we are able to work together and use both of our gifts in different ways to help.     

Thursday morning I attended the funeral of Kathryn Heyd, the mother of my neighbor Jim Heyd. (Jim is my neighbor whose cows have gotten out several times.) She was 92 years of age and had lived at the Heyd farm all her life. The funeral was just down the hill at the Methodist church in Nauvoo where family and most of the Nauvoo community attend. I was really impressed with the service and how honoring it was to the Lord, through the Scriptures read and also all the family remarks about Mrs. Heyd's faith in the Lord .The Nauvoo community is very close knit and supportive, and it was a good chance to support my neighbor as well as get to know others that I had not had a chance to meet yet. Pray that we will be able to make positive relationships with those that live around us to encourage and influence them for the Lord. The rest of the day was spent finishing getting the Inn ready as well as helping our neighbors collect sap from the maple trees. With some warmer temperatures (around 40),  the sap was really starting to run well, and they needed the help since everyone had been at the funeral the first part of the day. I was glad to help, and Duncan was too!

Our group started arriving around 3:30 friday afternoon. They were from Fellowship Bible Church in Troy, PA, which is maybe an hour from here.

They had 13 couples attend their first marriage couples retreat, which reminded me a lot of the couples retreats from Bethany Bible Chapel, our church in Conway. Our whole family was there to greet them, help get people settled in their rooms, show them around, and help them get set up. As Kathryn, Clay and I were doing all of that, Audrey and Duncan managed to slip away to do some entertaining of their own. Kathryn found them downstairs in the gameroom playing air hockey with 2 of the guests! They had a great time with all the new people and hated having to leave when it was dinner time. Most of my responsibilities included greeting the whole group, helping serve meals in the kitchen, cleaning and setting up before and after meals, as well as just being available for any needs, desires, or problems the group may have. Everything went really smooth, thanks to Naomi our cook in the kitchen who helped me learn the ropes on what to do. The group left Saturday afternoon, and we can now say that we have survived our first weekend of hosting. Thanks to all who prayed for us this weekend! I really felt the Lord's help in many ways, and also the group seemed to have a really good productive time strenghthening their marriages and walk with the Lord.

After everyone had gone, our whole family decided to take a walk down to the sugar camp to check on Jim Heyd who was boiling and to see what was going on. Jim was glad for some company and was pleased to give Kathryn and the kids their first sip of maple syrup straight from the ladel. Even Clay got a taste off of Daddy's finger!

That's all for now.
Please continue to pray for us in several ways: 
- for Clay who has had a hard time overcoming colds that lead to ear infections,
- for our family as we continue to adjust to being away from home and family,
- for us to reach out to neighbors, and to our staff and church family as we seek to develop new realtionships and friendships,
- for our ministry to our guests at Linck Hill Inn and Three Springs , and
- for our own walk with the Lord to ever be trusting, following, and loving Him more.

We would love to hear from you and how you are doing as well.

Blessings, The Rickerts      

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weekly Update for 2-28 / 3-4

Well, another week has gone by and we find ourselves in similar situations as before. Just as it appeared that the snow was almost going to all melt away, we are forecasted to possibly get 6-12 more inches of sleet and snow on Sunday! I think we're almost getting used to it by now.  Clay also is back down with another cold and ear infection that he is getting treated for. Poor little fellow! 

This past week has been getting back to a little more routine. Some of the highlights include Kathryn getting out on Monday evening for a Ladies Night Out with women from the church. They met at one of the ladies homes for a time of fellowship and a personal testimony. It was a good time for Kathryn to talk and get to know others better with around 20 women in attendance.

 On Tuesday I had the oppurtunity to help my neighboring farmers start the process of making maple syrup by drilling and hanging buckets on the maple trees.

 It really is a fascinating process that I won't get into now, but it was great spending time with my neighbors and developing relationships with them. It was fun also just learning about this traditional part of Pennsylvania farming heritage.
Teusday afternoon, as well as on Thursday found me helping out in another typical Pennsylvania activity, which is cutting firewood. Many of the buildings and out buildings at Three Springs Farm are heated by wood stoves as well as many of the homes of our staff. They get trucks to deliver loads of logs that we cut up with our chainsaws to be ready to split.

 Thankfully we have a college age group called Disciplemakers, which would be similar to Campus Crusade, that are coming for 4 days next week to do nothing but split this wood that we cut up and stack it to be ready for next year's use. What a great practical and encouraging way for this group to serve the Lord. I believe I probably cut more wood in those couple of days than I can remember ever cutting. It was fun though!

Wednesday found me tapping more maple trees on Three Springs Farm property, that we collect sap from and take it to my neighbors for boiling and processing.  These neighboring farmers make the syrup for Three Springs and keep half for their pay.  Three Springs uses this maple syrup in their own kitchens for camps throughout the year.  It will be pretty neat getting to eat from the fruits of the land and your own labor.

Wednesday afternoon found me at home with the kids as Kathryn met with one of the ladies that has helped with decorating the Linck Hill Inn in the past. They spent the afternoon getting all of the spring decorations put out in anticipation that spring will be just around the corner!

Actually, there are many signs of spring, which includes the honking of migrating geese that are heading back north. I watched a group of snow geese come into the hay pasture across from our house today to refuel before continuing on their journey. We can learn so much about our great God just by observing nature and seeing how God is faithful to bring new life back through the seasons.  It's a blessing to know that He has given us new life as well, through His Son. There are so many great spiritual parallels through nature and the outdoors that God uses here at Three Springs Ministries! It really is cool!

We continue to get acclamated to what our positions as host family will look like as we prepare to get started with that next weekend. We have a church marriage retreat with 14 couples, who will be here at Linck Hill Inn next weekend. Pray that we will know what to do and how to answer any questions and solve any problems that could arise.  We want to fascilatate a great weekend that the Lord will use in these couples' lives and marriages.

As I said earlier, Clay developed another cold and was showing signs of more ear infections, which was confirmed this morning when we took him to the doctor. Pray that this cycle of colds and ear infections will subside. It does remind us of our constant need to seek the Lord's strength in all areas of our lives.

As we were home this afternoon getting ready for the kids' naps, Audrey announced as she looked out the front windows that the cows were out again! Time for me to don my cowboy hat and round up the cows again, which I did this time on my own for a while before some of the neighbors got there to help me. As I was finishing with the cows just up the road I decided to head down into the maple woods to check on the progress at the Sugar Camp as they call it. They had been boiling off the water from the collected buckets to get the sweet maple syrup. It takes about 40 gallons of the watery sap from the buckets to make one gallon of finished syrup. I wish you could see it. Just picture walking into a shack down in the valley of a beautiful hardwood forest, that has steam rolling out of the open doors and windows from a fire fed kiln heating up huge vats of syrup. You can hardly see inside due to the thick steam but you can smell and almost taste the sweetness in the air. When farmers John and Ken Heyler and their two sons handed me a ladle of warm maple syrup just scooped out of a holding tank, it had to be the best tasting syrup I've ever had! Wish I had my camera with me at the time to show what it all looked like, but I'll try to have some up on next week's post.

I'ts been a good week and was even better after North Carolina beat Duke tonight for the ACC regular season title!! Go Heels!
Thank you and please continue praying and remembering us. We value your support and involvement in our lives and ministry here. Time for bed! Goodnight!