Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blog Update for 6/6 - 6/21

Hello again!  I don't know if this is going to be the norm now during the summer for 2 week blogs,  but it sure is harder it seems to find time to sit down and blog.

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

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blog Update for 5/22 - 6/5

We hope everyone is doing well!  The Rickert family is still carrying on here in North Central PA serving the Lord at Three Springs Ministries.  I am very sorry that it has been two weeks since you have last heard from us, but things just seemed to happen every time I thought about blogging, so here we are two weeks later.

We have been busy as the days are longer now and the weather has been nicer to be outside to work and play.  The kids love to be outside riding their bikes, swinging in the new swing I hung from one of the trees, feeding the goldfish in the pond or just using their creative imaginations.

  It's harder to get everyone in and bathed and ready for bed each evening.  Then when all that is accomplished you are too tired to do much else. You know how that goes!

We continue to get to know more people in our community as time goes along.  One of our neighbors who lives on a farm right in the village of Nauvoo just down the road, sells chicken eggs.  We used that as an excuse to go and meet them and to introduce our family.  People really enjoy visitors here.  We were invited in for cookies and snacks, as well as a mini tour of their farm.   They raise beef cattle, pigs, chickens, and probably a few other animals in between.  Duncan and Audrey where able to bottle feed a newborn calf that had lost its mother during birth.  That was both fun and educational for them.  We enjoyed our visit with this family.  We were also invited by our neighbor Jim Heyde, to come to the local high school to hear the jazz band and chorus give a spring concert outdoors.  Two of his children play and sing, so we went to support them.  We also met more of our neighbors here.  The community is very small but tightly-knit and supportive of one another.  Many people knew who we were and had heard of us being at the Linck Hill Inn, so it was good to be able to meet them.  The kids enjoyed the music and also the ice cream sundaes that were served to all who came.  We really desire to have a positive witness to our neighbors and the community that we live in, as we will be rubbing shoulders with them often.

Much of my time now is being occupied by outside yard work and maintenance.  As I said before, the grass here grows double time, so that keeps me busy.  Weeding, watering hanging baskets, blowing off porches, and cleaning out fish ponds are just a few of the outside chores that have to be done regularly.  We also have been dealing with some strong storms that have come through our area.  The Thursday before last we had a storm that caused very high winds and heavy rain.  We had a tree blow over right onto our front deck; it just missed the house. 

The whole county saw many trees damaged or blown over as well as wide spread power outages.  We are blessed because the Inn has a back-up generator that comes on when the power is out.  It supplies enough power to run all the major appliances, the well pump for water, and also some of the Inns lights.  We were able to run extension cords from the inn to our house to keep our freezer and our fridge running.  We ended up with the power out for about a day and a half while others close by were without for up to 5 days.  You really take for granted how much we rely on electricity.  The Inn was used by many of our staff for extra freezer space as well as for showers and water.  We were also hosting a wedding rehearsal dinner and a bridal shower for two families on our staff that weekend.  Needless to say we had a lot of cleaning up to do that Friday to get the property ready for those events, but with extra people and neighbors helping we got it done.

On Sunday night before Memorial Day, after all the storm drama, we decided to camp out.  Our family has never camped before, but we are going to learn.  Kathryn's parents had brought us a tent they were not using anymore, so we decided to give it a trial run.  We set up right in our back yard so we could be close to home for the first time.

  We had a campfire with s'mores as well as bedtime stories by flashlight. 

 Audrey, Duncan and I  slept well in the tent, until about two in the morning, when I heard a large thunderstorm approaching.  I quickly got the kids up to their own beds and took the tent down just before the rain came.  The luxuries of camping in your backyard!  The kids really had a good time though, and I'm sure we will be doing more of that in the future.

We did get enough sleep to have some company over Monday evening for dinner on our deck.  We had 4 staff members over for a Memorial Day dinner, which really went well.  We are still working on having all our staff families over at least once so that we can have more personal fellowship with them as we get to know them all better.

In the past week we have done a lot of cleanup work all around Three Springs, as well as our Wilderness Cabin and Nature Trail.  The chainsaws have been busy as there are trees down all over. I even had to take one of the four-wheelers and ride the horse trails across the mountain from camp to clear out felled trees from the trails.  Then Brianna, our horse program coordinator, asked if I wanted to help ride one of the horses, since she is getting them out and exercised and ready for camps.  I quickly accepted and hopped up on one and got to ride the trail that I had just cleared. 

 I felt like I was one of the pioneers riding through the mountains and streams on my trusty steed.  I also have been continuing my swim training for my lifeguard certification which will be next weekend.  The pool here at Three Springs is now uncovered and warmed up enough to swim here, which is a lot more convenient.  Kathryn and the kids came up to swim with me one afternoon last week; they really enjoyed that.

Kathryn has had a busy weekend!  We were hosting a ladies retreat from our own church here at the Inn.  Kathryn had a big part in putting the music together for the retreat and also leading a ladies ensemble that practiced a song that they sang today at church.  She also sang last week at church for special music as she continues to use her gifts there. Since she needed to be at the Inn anyway for music responsibilities she also did all of the hosting and setting up, serving, and clean-up for meals as well.  This is the first time that she has done it all by herself as we usually take turns, or either I will do the hosting.  It was a lot to have to think about, but everything went really well from what I've heard.  Daddy was on kid duty all weekend for the first time also!  We managed alright, but I am glad to have Mama back home!

Please continue praying for unity amongst our staff.  Camp season starts in a couple of weeks and things will be busy in preparation and also during this summer season.  Pray for safety during all of the activities.  Most of all, pray for spiritual life to be stirred in the hearts and lives of all that will be coming through our camps and also our weekend retreats here at LHI.  Pray for registrations to continue to come in as we are down from last years numbers. We know that the Lord's work is still being done, no matter how many people come, but we would, of course, desire to see the camp used to its full potential.  Pray for our involvement with our staff, guests, church family and community, as we engage ourselves here in the work God has called us to.  Thank you for your prayers and involvement with us here also. 
Until next time,  The Rickerts