Friday, October 30, 2015

The Red & White Concert



I was looking through unpublished photos on our Blogger this morning -- and was again reminded of the wonderful memories from our reunion concerts at Old Threshers this year. It's not often the whole family is together for a weekend of music. And somehow the time always goes too quickly! 

The Old Threshers Reunion adds a unique element, too, as we've shared there for 15 consecutive years. Many of the people who gather every year have literally watched our family grow up. 

For those of you unfamiliar with our various Old Thresher's traditions, we share around 7 concerts throughout the weekend. And always with one 'red-white' concert, wearing our Husker gear as an on-going, chuckle-inducting competition with the Hawkeye fans who so kindly host us.

So join our Old Thresher's family for a few moments and enjoy these shots from another of our reunion concerts back in September: 











Another great tradition: dueling banjos!













"O magnify the Lord with me
And let us exalt His name together!"
Psalm 34:3

Monday, October 26, 2015

Branson 2015

Are you headed to Branson, Missouri in 2015?!

Home the midwest's hub of action for the Christmas season, we're excited to announce the dates for our 2015 Christmas Show at the Doug Gabriel Theater. 

Music rehearsals, costumes, choreography, lighting, stage props, and a host of other details are yet to be completed in the coming weeks as we prepare for our first production on November 11. We covet your prayers for this unique and dynamic opportunity during the Christmas season. And yes, if you're anywhere near the Branson area -- or planning a family trip -- we'd love to see you there! 





That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving,
And tell of all Your wondrous works.

Psalm 26:7

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Formal Night



These photos are begging for one more post from our recent Sing & Sail Cruise: 

Formal night. 

That one night when you get all dressed up and enjoy the formal dinner & evening. When you try to remember everything your mom ever taught you about which-fork-to-use-when or how to properly use the special little butter knife. 

Where you pour over the complicated menu, trying to find an item that looks familiar -- or even seems pronounceable. Hoping that what arrives is remotely close to what you're envisioning! 

But most of all, you look around at the lovely friends and family surrounding you and marvel at the joy of experiencing this together. Thanking the Lord for the friendships which are so deep that it wouldn't matter if you were huddled around a campfire or in a fine dining restaurant. 

Because that's where the real treasure is found. Relationships. Truth. Joy in Christ. 

So, here's a quick glimpse of our formal night together: 



Ruth with our friends, Rebecca & Michelle


Dad & Mom



Susanna & Hannah


Nathanael & Alaythia


Elizabeth & Stephen


Matthias & Alaythia


Formal photos with friends, the Jacobsons.


Our crew


He has made His wonderful works to be remembered;
The LORD is gracious and full of compassion.
Psalm 111:4

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tell of His Faithfulness


This past weekend we make a quick tour to Wisconsin. We had just wrapped up an action-packed week at home: working in the irrigation fields, diligently practicing Christmas music for Branson, clearing out our garden. 

Then we pulled out of our driveway and re-focused our attentions on the opportunities ahead. It's always a bit of a challenge, investing whole-heartedly into each of the unique facets of our life during this season. 

Touring. Stage dynamics. Ministry. Branson Rehearsals. 

Field work. Training new employees. Longer-term discipleship. Gardening. School. 

Perhaps in light of this, the Lord gave us two extra-special blessings and gentle reminders as we toured this weekend:


First, one of our concerts was in a Wisconsin prison. This is always an extra joy and challenge: 

The challenge is due to our inability to bring any of our younger children with us behind the prison bars. So there is always a re-working and shuffling of each song as we older ones step in to fill in the gaps, musically. 

The joy is due to watching the Lord reach down in mighty ways, touching the hearts of the men -- working to bless, convict, and encourage as the Word is shared. It is in these moments with the hurting and wounded where we see the gentle, compassionate drawing of the Holy Spirit in beautiful ways. 

This concert was no exception. We were met with a warm, enthusiastic crowd. They relished the music with smiles and applause, occasionally adding shouts of 'Amen'! As Dad opened the Word and shared, they were attentive and thoughtful. It is always sobering to realize that we are there for just a short time. Two hours. What good can be done in two hours? 

And yet, the Word of God is living and powerful! In ourselves, we can do nothing. But we serve the Almighty God who touches lives through the truth of His Word. What joyful confidence! 

As Dad shared the Gospel, one man prayed to receive Christ. The angels are rejoicing in heaven. 



Another concert we shared was with Bethel Baptist's Homecoming Celebration. This was a unique event as the church gathered to spend the whole day sharing stories and testimonies of how God had worked -- from the first day the church opened its doors until now. 

Wow. 

We were incredibly encouraged and blessed to hear the amazing deeds of our God to a generation gone by. We marveled and rejoiced with the Bethel Baptist church family at the faith and vision of families who had first gathered to seek the Lord for this church body. 

There is something incredible in hearing the faithfulness of our God from the generation who has gone before! One of my favorite memories as a child was story time with Mom & Dad, when they would tell us what God had done for them, in them, and through them -- often events and situations which happened before I was even born!! 

Which started us thinking. How are we re-counting the works of our God to the next generation? In what ways have we intentionally shared His faithfulness to those younger than ourselves? How can we document and share these evidences of God's care in practical ways -- today?! 

Christianity can be completely lost in a single generation, if we fail to pass it on!


"We will not hide them from their descendants; 
we will tell the next generation 
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, 
His power, and the wonders He has done." 
Joel 1:3


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Exploring the Northeast


As part of our recent adventures with the Sing & Sail Cruise group, we were able to make stops at several port cities. Although the ship was great, we did enjoy getting our feet back on solid ground again! During the week we made three port stops: Boston, Massachusetts, Portland, Maine, and St. John, NB. 

We were scheduled for a 4th stop, but Hurricane Joaquin was sending us such vigorous winds that the ship couldn't port. Therefore, we assisted with rapidly-scheduled additional concerts and tried to maneuver around the ship as it dipped and swayed in the waves. Yes, various ones of us are now officially acquainted sea-sickness! 

But back to the land adventures: 

Here is a quick glimpse of the various places we explored during our hours at port. 

[[BOSTON]]

There is an abundance of great American history in this city. We decided to don our walking shoes and see as much as possible. I'm fairly certain we sped-walked over 5 miles as we rushed from historical site to historical site within our limited time frame. 


Matthias & Charissa


The flowers & parks were simply lovely.


Even the store fronts were decked with abundant foliage. 


The Old North Church


Nathanael, Stephen, & Susanna


What a lovely building. The 'boxes' were for families to purchase for their personal seating. Back then, stealing someone's seat was quite literal!


Enjoying time with a friend: 
Tanisha, Hannah, Alaythia, & Susanna


Such amazing architecture at every turn.


"Now where were we supposed to turn??"


The harbor where the Boston Tea Party took place. 


[[PORTLAND, MAINE]]


City of lighthouses, seafood, and unique shops.


Did we mention seafood?




Surveying the options


Unique & locally produced foods & products


...and our menfolk patiently waiting for the girls to finish their shopping. 


Don't you just love these cobblestone streets?


Susanna & Hannah

[[ST. JOHN'S]]


We certainly got our exercise each day!


Unique street shops


Susanna, Ruth, & Matthias


And yes, we had to get a photo by the local town 'mascot'.


The crew

Alaythia & Nathanael


Charissa


Which of these three don't fit...??


Such a colorful city market!


More window shopping.

"I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORDAnd the praises of the LORD,
According to all that the LORD has bestowed on us,
And the great goodness toward the house of Israel,
Which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies,
According to the multitude of His loving kindnesses."
Isaiah 63:7