Finding the Right Home for Our Family #116

The day our Dallas home was listed it sold for the asking price of $117,000. We were not surprised as the house was located in a “preferred” neighborhood ½ block from an excellent grade school, 4 blocks from the junior high/high school, 5 minutes from the LBJ freeway and close to shopping. Now it was time to find a house in New York.

We decided we should buy a home in the area where I had been staying when in NY. This location was near I 87 and I 90 and enabled me to be at DL in 2 hours, to Boston and New York City in 3 hours, and to the Albany airport in 30 minutes. From this location I could travel conveniently to where most DL campers, staff, and alumni lived.

With $72,000 in cash I began to look for a suitable home, believing that the Lord would provide the right house for us as He had done in the five previous locations where He had called us to serve. But there were some real challenges:

1. My compensation package was 1/3 less than our package in TX where there was no state income tax, no sales tax, and property tax was about ½ what it was in NY. Out of $30,000 had to come both halves of Social Security, medical insurance, state income tax, and we had always given 10% to the Lord for ministry. Retirement fund? Forget it! Don’t be tough on the DL Board of Directors. They were guaranteeing this package while also contributing to keep the camp alive until, hopefully, campers and contributions significantly increased.

2. Our family wanted a home with 4 bedrooms, a larger dining room and located on property suitable for horses.

3. Our oldest daughter would be a senior in high school – heading for college in one year.

Bottom line: I knew I would have to buy a house for cash as there would be no $ for a mortgage. My options were limited: a remodeled old house was far too costly, an old house that had not been remodeled would require an investment of time and money we knew we would not have, and a newer home in good repair would be expensive.

After weeks of looking, the two best options were a house located on five acres next to an active railroad track – with a bar a block away on a busy road, or a house located on five acres with a small barn, 75’ from busy NY state route 32. This house was in poor condition even though they said it had been “remodeled”.

One day the realtor called to say she was quite sure she had found our house. The snow was falling heavily when I was taken to a house located in Greenville with an asking price of $54,000. Greenville itself was not too impressive: at the main intersection was a blinking light – and a burned out gas station. We drove on a slippery side road to the house which had 4 bedrooms and a larger dining room than we had in TX. Traffic was certainly no problem, and I could see the house had copper wiring and pipe, and was reasonably well insulated. But there were some negatives: the windows were aluminum with no storm windows…I could feel the cold drafts. The house was finished out with what I called early American mobile home – in this case, the cheapest of everything you could buy: cupboards, doors, trim, and floor coverings. And the totally unfinished basement with 4 very small windows was damp to the place where the washer and dryer were on skids. There was a large wood stove in one end of the family room – the electric heat was very expensive for daily use. Out the small kitchen window I could see the 4X8’ deck was coming apart, and through the snow…a burning barrel 50’ behind the house. This house could work, though it was NOTHING like our home in Dallas. I paid $52,000 – leaving money to build a pole barn and extend the garage to have a mud room/laundry room.

Our family arrived in June, the day before the moving van. It was raining hard. As we walked through the house, Sally Jo and daughter Carla started to cry. In addition to what I have described above, we could smell cat urine and see the white walls were yellowed due to cigarette and wood stove smoke. My heart was in my throat as we began scrubbing. When the moving van arrived the next day, it was still raining. Oh Lord, What Have I Done?

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 – see # 2 above

IPWG… from Israel

Greetings from Israel.

I am here with son, Dirk, on two week study tour – a tremendous experience. We had a reading list of 7 books before we left. I read 4, worked on two others…but have not touched the Source by Michener. Maybe when I get home!

The days begin with breakfast at 6:45 and end with a time of sharing / summary of the day about 8:30. The last two nights have also had hour before dinner – I wrote Sally Jo…now you…and Dirk is waiting for computer.

He is doing blog about the trip: He posts every day.

Walked in Jordan River this AM…in Nazareth this afternoon. Truly a beautiful place.

After 5 days in this area where Jesus lived / worked, tomorrow we head for Jerusalem. Because Dirk works on the computer for blog, you may not hear from me again for at least 10 days.

You are special…though I do not know who all of you are!


Finding Jo Nurse… And More! #115

Finding a summer camp nurse is one tough job! I knew that DL would need one and I also knew that the DL housing for a camp nurse was very limited; the money to pay a nurse was also very limited! The nurse would have to make most patient care decisions on her own. DL did not have a telephone which the nurse could use to call a doctor. Speculator was six miles down the road, and there was no doctor or clinic in the town. There were hospitals in Amsterdam and Johnstown – both about an hour from camp. DL needed an experienced nurse, someone comfortable providing the nursing/medical care of boys from 8 to 23. I did not know one person qualified, much less willing, to come.

John Engstrom, the athletic director at Stony Brook Academy knew Bill and Lynn Gosling. Bill was in capital development at Stony Brook. When a new Director of Development was hired, Bill had been asked to resign. John told Bud Williams, a professor at Wheaton College who taught in the P.E. department and at Honey Rock Camp, of the availability of Bill and Lynn. Bud, a friend of mine, knew I had just become the Director of Deerfoot Lodge and called me to see if DL needed a camp nurse. I called Lynn and learned she had 17 years of nursing experience and was an EMT. Lynn, Bill and their two daughters and two sons arrived at DL in June. DL needed a nurse and the Goslings needed a place to go for the summer. Talk about God having a plan!

The Goslings moved into the Health Center. At that time there was no second floor so Bill and Lynn lived in what is now the isolation ward (10’ X 12”). Their daughters moved into the small area where the stairs now go up to the second floor. When John or David was in camp, the other slept on the floor in the “clinic” room, the room where every sick or injured camper came, day and night. It was wild, yet the Goslings kept their cool through it all.

O yes, I should mention that Lynn was legally blind! We had a letter from her ophthalmologist saying Lynn, with the aid of magnifying devices, was able to see sufficiently to perform the duties of a registered nurse. Lynn Gosling was “Jo Nurse” at DL for 15 summers! She was terrific!!!!

As Lynn worked hard in the Health Center, Bill looked for ways in which he could help. During the first session he added outlets to Antlers so we could have fish tanks, he made town trips, he drove hikes – he never stopped.

As Bill had considerable writing experience, he agreed to develop the first DL staff manual. His resources: a small DL tripping manual, the staff manual we had developed over seven years at Sky Ranch in TX, my copy of the Honey Rock Camp manual from 1961 – and the “oral tradition” available to him. Bill sought to include everything fundamental to DL: the camp philosophy, job descriptions and standards of performance, daily schedules, the camper and staff policies and much more! Camper attendance was up only 4 per session from the previous summer (52), so I had inadvertently hired one more counselor than proved necessary. Bill asked a counselor with DL experience, Tom Coleman, to write the instructional area section of the manual.

I knew DL needed a nurse. I had given little thought to the development of a DL staff manual, but obviously God had! In six weeks Bill put together a staff manual of over 100 pages – I wish I still had a copy. Through the years the manual grew to an indexed 616 pages. Chief Ron continues to seek suggestions for the improvement of the DL manual from campers and their parents, staff and DL Board members. The entire manual remains open to revision as an updated copy is printed each year. Today this manual has been purchased by or given to, upon their request, over 700 camps throughout the world. Camps are encouraged to use its content in any way that will strengthen their ministry.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory ….throughout all generations!” — Ephesians 3:20-21