Greetings to everyone from the Rickert Family!
We are just over half way through our busy 9 weeks of consecutive residential camps at Three Springs Farm. We just started our Senior High School age week of camp today. God has been very gracious in giving us a drama-free first 5 weeks. Things have been running smoothly, no major injuries, kids have been getting along with each other, and having the opportunity to hear from God with some responding to Him for the first time in their lives! It's so neat to talk with Hannah, our horse ministry coordinator, and see the excitement in her as she told us about the first camper that she was able to help lead to the Lord during one of her horse weeks. It reminds us of why we are all here serving the Lord in one way or another and that God is using this ministry in young people's lives.
I have been spending the majority of my time at the camp property when we don't have a group here at the Inn, which is mostly during the week. I am one of two lifeguards that help serve at the pool for our camps or for groups that don't have a lifeguard of their own. Last week we had a few days of life guarding for CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) as they were doing a 5 day club here in our community. I think they had about 60 kids for the week which I think is a great number for our rural area to hear the gospel every day.
I have increased my responsibilities at the camp property this year as well in the area of grounds maintenance. There has not really been a point person doing the maintenance regularly, so that fit me and my experience that I have had with my landscape business. There was a lot of trimming shrubs, flower bed work, and mulching to do initially to go along with the grass cutting and trim work, but I enjoy trying to keep everything looking nice for our guests.
We successfully got all of our first cuttings of hay in the barns for the horses for this coming winter. I really enjoy getting the opportunity to help with the farming aspect of things. I think I really would have been at home growing up on a farm! Whether it's driving the tractor, throwing hay bales, or helping with the animals, I love it all!
I don't think, however, that I would love being a mobile-home-setter-upper! The camp had a mobile home in the area donated to us here recently, which we had moved to a lot that Three Springs is renting close by. It will be used for additional staff housing as needed, but two days of crawling around under the trailer, moving concrete blocks and trying to get it level was all I wanted of that! Oh well, I guess everything can't be so fun!
We had a youth group from Connecticut come down at the end of June to volunteer a couple of days of work which I was able to head up. We were able to clear quite a bit of new trail as we expanded our existing nature trail and did some improvements to what we already have. It's really neat to see how God uses people from all over to partner with us in the ministry here. This group had never been here before, but someone from the area, not associated with the ministry, recommended Three Springs to them. Sounds like God had a hand in those arrangements!
With everything in full swing at the camp, we have had a few weekends free at the Inn which is typical for us in the summer months with our adult groups. We have had a few weddings this summer, however, which has been different, but fun in addition to our normal retreat weekends. The busiest time for us starts in September and goes through the end of the year, so we are enjoying a little change of pace if you want to call it that, before we really get going again.
Pray for me as I prepare for a backpacking trip that I am helping to lead in Wyoming. We have 10 campers and 3 other leaders that will be going. We are leaving July 28th and will be returning Aug 5th. It's a big responsibility for me as the oldest leader in our group, as I have never done anything quite like this and it being so far away. Pray for safety, all the logistics of driving and hiking that we will be doing, and that we will experience God in a beautiful, unique way, in a part of His creation that we are not privy to everyday. Pray also for Kathryn and the kids as I am away.
Kathryn and the kids will be in Conway while I am out west, which will be nice that she will have the help of family during my absence. We are all headed to S.C. this coming Wednesday for the wedding of Kathryn's youngest sister Margaret over the weekend. I will be there with them for a week before I have to get back to prepare for my trip, and Kathryn's parents will bring her and the kids back to PA in a few weeks after I get home from Wyoming. We are all looking forward to seeing all of our family and friends during our visit.
As many of you remember, Kathryn is about six and a half months pregnant with our fourth child, which is a girl! We are very excited and still nervous even after three kids already. I guess that's a good thing as we realize it's only with the Lord's help that we raise our children for Him. Pray for a smooth remainder of her pregnancy and a healthy delivery. She is due the first week in October. Kathryn and the kids have been continuing on in their homeschooling to get caught ahead for when the baby comes. Homeschooling is a lot of time and commitment especially as the kids are young and are just getting grounded in their reading and writing skills, but it is so worthwhile as we still have their tender hearts to teach them God's Word and to train them in discipline and obedience -which some days feels like all you are getting accomplished! Again we are reminded of how much we need the Lord's strength and continuing grace in our lives!
The kids are having a good summer! Both Audrey and Duncan are riding their bikes without training wheels now, and Clay loves playing in their new sandbox that I built for them recently. We try to get up to the pool when we can in between groups, or go see the animals up at the farm. It's a great environment for the kids to grow up around, and I know they will only value it more as they get older.
Please pray for our home in S.C. that is currently on the market for sale. We made a quick trip to Conway at the beginning of June just for a few days to get the house ready to sell, since we had been renting it. We are very thankful for our family and friends who helped us those days as we did a lot of painting, yard work, and clean-up to get it all ready. We couldn't have done it with out them. It's in the Lord's hands, and we are praying for the right people or family to come along to buy it in His timing, which we pray will be soon. We were using the rent money to help with our financial support, but we know the Lord will faithfully supply in other ways. God is faithful to provide for all our needs, and we thank those that have or are presently supporting us financially. If you would like to become a partner with us in this ministry, and would like to know more about how you can make a tax-deductible donation that will go 100% to our family, please contact me, or you may send your donation to Three Springs Ministries, 874 Linck Hill Rd., Morris, PA, 16938, with a separate note stating that you would like it to go toward the Rickert family's support.
Thanks for all your continued prayers for our family and the ministry here at Three Springs. Pray that we will continue to grow in the knowledge of the Lord, as we seek to live our lives for Him. Galatians 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me."
Doug, for the Rickert family.