There’s no doubt that summer is over here. The geese are
massing for their annual trip South (I envy them their early departure) and
we’ve had frost on the windshield already. No frost on the pumpkins yet. No
pumpkins. Didn’t plant any. If we had the deer probably would have eaten them
along with the sunflowers. Other than that and a few other pests it was a
pretty good summer. But let’s start at the beginning.
Last Sunday the pastor was asking the congregation for
examples of joy. Some of the responses were single words and he tried to get
some elaboration of what the person was referring too. He had enough examples
and was turning back to get in gear for the sermon when I put up my hand so he
missed it. I don’t particularly regret not getting to say “The joy of being
forgiven for confessed sin. And, no! I don’t want to go into details.”
The summer started that way for me. My Christian walk has
not been one of constantly onward and upward, but one of two steps forward and
one, two or three back. It has been kind of iterative as well; even those
things I thought I had mastered have been opportunities for relearning and
sometimes re-re-relearning. But God has been gracious with this prodigal and
the summer began in such a period of grace.
Fun in the Kitchen
Doe & Fawn
Zip Line Launch Platform
Kohen Asher Johnston & his family
June 20th we pulled up stabilizers and moved our
home on wheels back up to Bethel Gospel Camp for the July camps. It didn’t take
long to get settled and the Internet dish working and it wasn’t long before
others started showing up for the camping season. One couple of note were Don
and Sarah Gossen. They had embodied the admonishment in Luke 12:33 & 34 to:
33 “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up
treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop
holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can
destroy it. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there the
desires of your heart will also be.(New Living Translation from http://www.biblegateway.com/)
They had recently sold their house and all their stuff and
he was working fulltime at the camp for the summer and she was working
part-time at the camp while winding down at work. In September they head to Belize to work
with some missionaries there. He worked ceaselessly hauling away the grey water
and providing some momentum to my putterings in maintenance. Together we got a
lot done in July and he carried on and got a lot more done after our scheduled
departure from camp on August 3rd.
A lot of maintenance activity is the fighting of moths and
rust. That is figuratively speaking, of course. The predominant insect at camp
is the mosquito and the predominant decay is wood rot. Some of the things that
were accomplished in July beyond the normal holding the line were: a new zip
line launch tower, so the kids were only scared while on the line and not while
getting onto the line; addition of screen doors - if you can’t stand the heat
add some cross ventilation; a BBQ fabbed out of scrap metal lying around; the
dorm entryways taped, mudded, textured and painted – completing the job started
by Dale and me last year; and a few other projects as well. Two of those
projects are worth mentioning. The first was mostly Don’s. I was around while
it was started, but spent some time at the doctor’s and nursing a chest
infection while Don carried on alone doing a two man job all by himself. The
job was re-roofing four of the old dorms with new steel roofing. He also added
some bracing so these ancient dorms may still serve for several more years.
When we were in Alvin, Texas, working as SOWERS at Victory camp in November, we
went down to Hitchcock, Texas
to visit a couple of other SOWER projects. One was a CEF camp and on the tour of
it we were shown a table game called carpet ball and told how popular it was.
This got added to the project list for Bethel.
Meanwhile pastor Mike Ginther spoke early this summer at Big River Bible Camp
and saw a table game called torpedo ball which was very popular there. He
brought most of the materials needed. In short order Mike, Don and I had put
together a game that no matter what you call it is a real crowd gatherer.
Basically it is like shuffleboard with pool balls. You can learn more about it by
googling “carpet ball”. Later, Don and I built a structure over it and after we
left Don added the roofing. I don’t know who added the light that is in the
picture – just want you to know it was not me. I have an electrical license to
worry about keeping. :0)
Juanita worked in the office and unofficially provided some
mentorship to some of the young female counselors. It is often the unofficial
duties that have the greatest eternal value.
August 3rd was our last day at Bethel Gospel
Camp. We said our goodbyes and prayed with some special friends we had met over
the past three camping seasons.
Just as we started rolling, Carol, the camp cook, came out
and handed us a traveling meal. It sure was appreciated several hours later as
we got our rig set back up on the homestead.
A bunch of the campers and counselors waved as our rig
pulled through the parking lot. One or two of the crowd were probably glad we
were leaving. This was our third summer at Bethel. Before we started parking our rig
there, there were no people around on the weekends and there are always some in
any group who will take advantage of any situation. The camp board policies are
quite clear about getting prior approval before using camp property and
equipment outside of camp days. Our being there on the weekends was probably a
stumbling block to those who did not or chose not to understand the policies or
the legal and insurance realities that drove them. Reality is often a stumbling
block for our fantasies, isn’t it?
Juanita had wanted to be close to town for the birth of
Debbie’s third child which was due in August so we had committed only to
working at camp until Friday, August 3rd. As our time at Bethel wound down I
realized that it doesn’t take two grandparents to wait for a grandchild and
sent out some e-mails about short term employment. The best of the positive
responses ended up with me agreeing to start work at Redwater, Alberta
on Monday, August 6th. This made for a busy weekend making sure
Juanita had what she needed to stay and making sure that I had everything
needed to go. It was also a long weekend where Nick and Becky had come to visit
and we had planned on pulling a bunch of stuff out of the sea can to get at
some furniture so they got sucked to the vortex.
Friday: get rig ready to roll; leave Bethel midday; get set-up
back home- park, position and level
trailer, mount and aim satellite Internet dish, get out the generator and a
compressor fill up a flat tire, jump start and do everything else to get
another car on the road (insurance, battery, oil change, wash well enough to
see out the windows - it had been parked for two years]).
Saturday:sort out my
tools and find trade certificates and photocopy and fax to new employer; empty
half the sea can; deliver furniture; pick-up dining room table top stored at
repair shop for two years (sorry Dwight)
Sunday: church in morning; lunch with family at only
restaurant in town open during long weekend (yecch) and get to Edmonton in time
to get laptop at bus depot (main bus depot freight office closed – beg ticket
agent for laptop, it’s not there, drive to other bus depot before it closes and
laptop is there) and write 3 hour safety test to get CSTC (Alberta Construction
Safety Test Certificate). Fall into bed at 1 A.m. and get up in time to follow
confusing map to workplace in Redwater by 7Am Monday.
The work was ten hours a day for twelve days straight. The
drive to and from Nick and Becky’s was an hour each way unless I stopped to buy
replacement tools for the ones I broke. It was a bit strange being back working
with tools after eighteen years of supervision and management and two years of
retirement, but enjoyable. It is kinda nice to just show up and be told what
valve you are working on next and have somebody else responsible for finding
spare parts and not have any people issues. The work was broken up by scheduled
breaks so the days didn’t seem that long. I quickly fell into a monk-like
routine. Juanita didn’t find it quite so easy as she didn’t have work and
commuting to fill her days, but she got a lot done around the trailer and
learned how some of the things worked that I had always taken care of.
I was back home late on August 17thin time for Juanita’s birthday the following
week. On August 23rd Debbie and Ernie were blessed with a son, Kohen
Asher, to join their two daughters Sonja and Sasha. A healthy 8 lb. 3 oz. They
called at five AM and Juanita went into to stay with the kids and by 7:47
Debbie had given birth.
We are starting to think about heading South in mid October
and have put out feelers about work. The most likely scenario is we will work
at a former SOWER project (the project got dropped through a clerical error) in
November while we check out some possible work in Mexico for the balance of the
winter. SOWERS has gotten complex about applying for the January to March
assignments so we will probably do MDS work in March or just come straight
north from Mexico
if we end up working there.
Next summer? We have applied to do some employment type work
in Regina in April and then we come back to MeadowLake
for the summer. If no volunteer opportunities present themselves this will
probably be the summer to start building a workshop/great room to handle those
situation where there is too little trailer for family gathering.
Copyright Paul W. Alton 2006 through 2016 All Rights Reserved
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