Consistency #188

Sticky Buns are served every Sunday Deerfoot Lodge is in session, every work weekend, and at least once during staff training.  During my 23 years as Director of Deerfoot, sticky buns were served over 100 times, and they were always very good to excellent.  Every Sunday morning during summer camp, cabin owners were waiting for me to deliver their sticky buns via canoe.  And every Sunday they were delivered, though at least once from a station wagon due to lightening.  Consistency!

For 23 years, the Director of Tripping Operations had the needed hiking permits waiting for the hike leader, together with information as to route and difficulty of the trip – plus the location and time for their pick up.  He had the needed maxi-vans (up to 12) waiting in their designated location so that, immediately following the After Breakfast Bible Study, the campers and their counselors could go to their assigned van…and leave.  Consistency!

Each summer there were counselors who were consistently exceptional.  Their cabins won a disproportionate number of cabin inspections and their hike group van would arrive at DL full of singing campers – even after hiking in rain for two days.

The consistency of doing what is right every time goes unnoticed until the results of inconsistency become obvious.

The staff should have been counting off during the hike down the Dugs – certainly during staff training!!!!!!!!!   One year, when the staff gathered at the Dug’s bottom lean-to, we realized that 10 year old Daniel Tucker was missing.  Dan’s father, botanist Gordon, was helping with staff training and asked if Daniel could go with the staff while he taught us about the plants we were seeing.  Daniel had gotten tired of waiting while his dad talked, and gone ahead while we listened to his dad.  Daniel missed a turn…  He was a frightened little boy when we found him 30 minutes later.  I was with the staff!  We had been firmly reminded of the importance of counting-off when hiking- Consistently

One morning I was so frustrated with a staff member who was consistently late for the 7:00 A.M. staff meeting that I had another staff member take the cannon to the Hutch cabin and….you got it!   He was never late again.

Consistently good food is a DL tradition!  One noon, on the cook’s day off, his assistant served ginger bread cake – it was beautiful.  But it was inedible!  Somehow a large quantity of baking soda was mixed into the batter.   I told the assistant “It does not trouble me that you made a mistake – just don’t serve your mistake!  Bury it!!!!”

During an epidemic of staff inconsistency, I prepared a devotional on the subject for the 7:00 A.M. staff meeting.  That morning I accidentally over-slept. Instead of waking at 5:30 a.m. to review my After Breakfast Bible Study notes before the staff meeting, I woke up about 6:55, threw on my clothes and headed out the door…as Ken Hoffman was walking up to the Lookout.  When I was not on time for a staff meeting, the staff thought there must be something was seriously wrong with me.  Ken had come to check up on me.  Inconsistency!    A perfect introduction to my devotional.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us”.   II Corinthians 5:20

Do those who know me consistently see the love of Jesus lived out in me?  When we live In Partnership with God”, we are worthy ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ.  May this be our goal!!

No IPWG – where the week has gone.

No time to prepare IPWG this week – here is personal update…if you want it. Where my time went, as father, husband, past director of DL, while Living In Partnership With God

Let’s begin with fun ones! Time on phone with daughter, Sea, who is in her 16th month riding her horse across the country – to date: northern CA to MS. To read more:

Free “housing” available for you in Vieques, Puerto Rico April 12 – 24. Several years ago same daughter, was living/working in Vieques and was able to purchase property off the grid, near the top of a high hill. Deerfooter’s Jason Reitz and David Speers spent 2 weeks beginning construction of the little casita – 16X16 2 story + decks. Finished many years ago – Sally Jo and I have stayed there perhaps 10 weeks. Incredible/simple living. Rain water into 1000 tank, sink, normal toilet and stove. Lay in swinging queen size bed looking out over green valley to Ocean in distance. Irish couple there now for 3 months. Sally Jo and I will stay there April 25-May 1. Would like to fill gap. If seriously interested –

Personal things include devotions/exercising with/without weights, walking 5 days/cross country skiing one morning, Sally Jo teaching 2 grandsons piano, fixing supper for son Dirk’s family – every Thursday after lessons-before choir. Got car inspected. 2 Concordia Touring Choir members – overnight. Prepared for and met with chairman of key committee at church. Phone Calls.

Sally Jo spends hours each week as chairman of church’s foreign mission committee. Three years ago church had no relationship with any foreign missionary. Now church significantly supports couple in Nicaragua. After leading trip to Poland, last summer she lead team of 11 men/4 women to work with this couple/school in Nicaragua. This year’s team could be close to 20. I will go too.

Caught up on e-mails for first time since July.

I was the minister for a couple’s wedding 30+ years ago, and they began contributing matching grant gifts for DL staff soon there-after. Last summer their grandson was at DL as a camper and they stayed with us for 4 days. This week – e-mail: $15,000 ready to contribute. E-mails to set things up with couple and Chief Ron

Spent hours evaluating/making 1 suggestion on a new “Recreation and Camp Administration” major at Indiana Wesleyan University. The head of a department talked with me about his dream about 6 years ago. Looks very inclusive.

I spend a couple hours completing a job reference for a former staff member – only to get more and more uncomfortable with what he was applying for, even though he was qualified: 2 Master’s and PhD. I spent 4 hours on the phone talking with 3 people who confirmed my feelings. I called “applicant” – who, when we talked, realized it was not where his heart was. I worked a bit more on another Deerfooter PhD placement.

I was the minister for a Deerfoot family’s daughter perhaps 12 years ago – the husband, 41, died this week of pancreatic cancer – wife and 3 young children. Really Tough!!!!!!!!!!!! Hub Baehr, who was part of DL from its very beginning, and for perhaps 50 years on DL Board of Directors, died this week at the age of 97. Saturday Sally Jo and I drove 354 miles to attend memorial services for these two special people. I spoke briefly at Hub Baehr’s funeral.

Today, after church, we had a 3 hour rehearsal for April 14 concert: Mendelssohn/Bach, etc.

Can you see why I did not have 6 -12 hours to write IPWG?

Sally Jo and I are frequently asked: How are you doing? We live wonderful, very full lives. Hopefully the above illustrates the answer.

God Is At Work. God Is In Control! #187

No one worked harder than Austin Dover.   He served behind the scenes, often in the kitchen.  Austin was not talkative, and I only remember his speaking to the entire staff once: devotions at a 7:00 AM staff meeting

The thrust of Austin’s devotional has stuck in my mind.  His point:  we often want to do great things for God – and we would like to see God do great things.  We needed to focus on doing the small things for God that are our daily responsibility, and watch for the many small things God does.  The devotional was short…we got the point!

God is at work!  God is in control!  We can count on this, but we cannot count on God to routinely alter the laws of nature, the world He created.  Neither can we count on God to ignore the results of man’s disobedience – in the Garden of Eden, or in our daily lives.  As the result of man’s disobedience, past and present, we will all physically die. In the mean time we struggle with pain, suffering, loneliness, discouragement, sinful thoughts, desires, and actions.

Through Jesus Christ our sins are forgiven.  They are removed from us as far as the East is from the West.  Psalm 103:12   Wonderful!  But the scars of sin remain, even after our sins are forgiven by God, and often even after we have been forgiven by the person we wronged.

I know God loves me, and occasionally I feel an overwhelming love for God!  At such times, God provides within me an incredible joy – Joy in His goodness to me.   This can happen to me when I am having my morning devotions, in church, or when alone in the wonder of His creation – but these moments are not my norm.  I just plug away at living a life pleasing to God.  When I am aware that God is using my words, my actions for His glory, I smile, both inside and out.

I do ask God to do great things.   I wait, but struggle to have confidence in God’s wisdom. Recently a Christian friend of 33 years died of cancer.  The week before she died, we called Addie, and her husband, Jerry.  We talked and laughed together.  Locally we have a friend who is in need of a lung transplant.  Another friend has been told there is nothing more the doctors know to do that will save his life.  Recently another friend moved to North Carolina.  He lives with on-going bouts of cancer. Two days ago we had yet another friend call to say cancer had returned after 8 years of being cancer free   I know Mark 11:24:  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” And John 14:13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father”.   Many have prayed, and nothing has physically happened that is known, yet I have seen God heal others.  I identify with Solomon:  “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the maker of all things  Ecclesiastes 11:5   I get discouraged with God, but yet I don’t.  Who should God heal?  How long should the healing last?

God has given each of these people who are special to us, and to God, peace…joy.  Those who still live are pushing life to the limit, with happy hearts. Sally Jo and I are thankful we are with two of them weekly.  On a trip planned months ago, Sally Jo and I will have time with the family where the cancer has reappeared, and with Jerry, whose wife recently died.  God’s timing?  God’s timing!

A month ago Charles Alexander sat next to me on the plane 3 hours after being released from solitary confinement in a federal penitentiary.  On Saturday he called me and we had a long conversation. On Monday I was able to call Charles and tell him I would come to his halfway house in Indiana on March 25th.   I will bring Jerry with me. The 3 of us can have lunch together, and Jerry and I will have 4 hours in the car to talk.  Same trip.  God’s timing?

Yesterday I learned that my brother, Dick will be honored at a dinner on Saturday evening, March 23.  We will be there!

As Austin said: Focus on living an obedient life, in the little, the routine things.  I can go months unaware of God’s direct involvement.  And then, like now, I see what has to be God at work.  God is in control!