We have been very busy the past two weeks as I will try to give you an idea of what's been going on. A couple of weeks ago we had field trips on two different days from the local elementary school. Each day the kids participate in games, hikes on our Nature Trail, hayrides, and cooking their own lunch over a campfire. My part for each of these days was to lead groups along our Nature Trail as we would stop at different places along the trail and notice different things that we could learn or that I would point out to them. One neat thing was that each day we came across a newborn fawn. One ran and the other laid perfectly still for everyone to see! Pretty good Nature Trail stuff.
It is also hay season now with plenty of fields now ready to cut, dry and bale. Three Springs farms around 100 acres combined of their own and neighboring farms. Most is in hay and the rest in corn. As we have had a very wet spring, the first cutting of hay has grown quick and thick. I have been helping a lot in this process by tedding the hay or as I call it, "fluffing it up".
This helps the hay dry out quickly and evenly before you bale it.
I really enjoy the whole farming aspect that I get to be involved in here. Most of the hay we put up will be used for our horse program at Three Springs or sold to help with farming expenses. Once all the hay is dried, the work begins as we unload the hay wagons and stack the hay mauls in the barns. On "hay days" we try to recruit some extra "volunteers" to help out at the barn. It really is a group effort and fun to work along side each other in this practical part of camp life here even though it's hard work.
To change gears from the hay fields, I did have my lifeguard training last weekend. Myself and one other co-worker from Three Springs participated in a weekend long course at another Christian camp nearby to obtain our certification. I was definitely the "old man" of the group that was primarily high school or college age kids. I am thankful that we had been swimming in preparation as we did very well throughout the weekend and were very prepared. As you can see though, the camp pool there and stream that ran through their property was still very chilly which we utilized the option to wear a wetsuit for a lot of the training.
Last week brought more "hay days" and catching up on yard maintenance, although I did find one day to work on making my Frisbee golf baskets that I have planned for a while now to do. I should have started earlier since camp season is starting now and I still have a good bit to do to have all 9 baskets ready. Pray that I can find the time to finish that project up and have available for the kids to use. We also had a group of about 25 young high school age kids at the Inn for about 3 days. They were training through CEF or Child Evangelism Fellowship to be summer missionaries and to do Good News Clubs throughout the Philadelphia area. This was neat as I was a part of CEF in S.C. helping in a Good News Club in a local elementary school.
Kathryn had a very busy weekend this past weekend. Our full-time cook here at the Inn has since moved on to some different ventures, which has left us in between cooks for the meantime. Different ones have helped cook and fill in which Kathryn agreed to do for this weekend. We had a group of 7 women who were here for the weekend but even though it was a smaller group there was lots of prep time in coming up with menus, making grocery lists, grocery shopping, meal prep, cooking, setting up tables, cleaning and washing dishes, and of course all the pressure and stress of being in a different kitchen than you're used to and having to produce great meals. Kathryn did a great job all weekend and the ladies raved about her food.
Kathryn did recruit a different lady each meal from staff to help in food prep and clean-up, which was very helpful. Although her food turned out great, Kathryn said that the mental stress and pressure of the job was not suited for her. So the position is still available for any of you out there who are looking for a unique way to serve and minister. We are seriously praying for the Lord to bring about the right person to fill this very important position in His time which obviously is not always our timing. If you would like to learn more or know someone who may, please inquire Three Springs Ministries at (570) 353-2155. As Kathryn was basically occupied from Thursday to Sunday morning, I was equally occupied with keeping the kids. We did have alot of fun doing different things but I am aware every time I keep the kids by myself how much work a Mom's job is!
This past Sunday after church we witnessed our first baptism in a pond. We went to a home of a family from church who had a nice pond where we witnessed 6 people ranging in age probably from 8 to 76 make a public declaration of faith in Jesus Christ. It was a very encouraging time for all. Afterwards we had a great picnic meal and time of fellowship! It was a great day!
After taking Monday off from ministry work we did however try to catch up on some house work and projects still in progress.
Camp officially started Sunday for about 11 girls here for a horse week and also summer staff and jr. counselors training for our first residential camp which starts tomorrow on Wednesday. Everyone has been busy in preparation for this time of the year which is here now. I got to lifeguard this afternoon for the first time for the girls here for horse week. I was reminded of the real needs of the kids who come through our camp as I was talking to one girl who was expressing her hate for her mother and the divorce of her parents. I'm not sure of where she stands spiritually but it just reminded me of the great need of all these kids whether they know Christ or not. Pray for her this week that she would be impacted positively for the Lord. Her name slips my mind but the Lord will know who you're praying for. Pray for all the campers and staff that will be here this summer. We are especially excited to have two Southern girls on our summer staff this summer. Makenzie Rogers is a rising senior in high school that is from Conway, S.C. and our home church, who will be helping counselling and life guarding. Eliza Sheffield is also a rising senior who is from the Winston-Salem, N.C. area who goes to my brother Jeff's church and will be helping counsel and also in the kitchen.
That's about it for now. The kids are all doing well and busy as ever. Clay is into everything he shouldn't be, Duncan is always quite the comedian with his happy personality, and Audrey is finishing up her first year of school of K4 this week.
We are very thankful for each of our kids and continue to pray for their salvation, maturity, and growth in the Lord.
Love In Christ, The Rickerts