Greetings! We have been spoiled with temperatures in the +20s & +30s so far this winter. However, next week we are “promised” that our normal below zero weather is coming!
We had around 90 total out for this retreat. It was a good gathering.
--Roxanne let Dan Spaargaren spice things up in the kitchen with as much hot pepper as anyone could stand to digest. We enjoyed jalapeno poppers & lots of avocados as well as some new dishes. No one went hungry!
--John Heller shared an excellent message on the love of God on Sunday morning. Is there any more amazing, delightful topic in the Scriptures?!
--Keith Block shared an excellent message on what a difference a choice can make, even a seemingly small one. Keith is cutting back this year on his "Mountain Dew" intake, one can at a time. (Right, Keith? Still at it?)
--Keith emphasized how Daniel’s behind-the-scenes choice to follow God’s Old Testament dietary laws (Daniel 1) influenced his three friends to choose to take a very public stand in not bowing to a false god (Daniel 3).
--Keith also shared about prayer & being properly dressed for spiritual warfare (illustrated by his fire-fighting gear). That night several of us watched Warroom a Christian movie that focuses on prayer.
--Paul & Becky Koppen shared their life/love story one night. Both shared clearly about coming to the Lord for salvation. Each had earlier in life assented to “believe in Jesus” to go to heaven & to escape hell, but both testified that they clearly did not want Jesus Christ to have anything to do with how they lived their present lives in their teen/young adult years, & that they really weren’t saved then. Later, each realized how much he/she needed the Lord Jesus to save him/her & wanted Him to do what only He could do!
--Paul trusted the Lord out of a “hippie” lifestyle, & Becky trusted the Lord for salvation after she met Paul & got involved in Bible study. These peers of mine both counseled at camp this past summer!
Winter Retreat +
Around 25 were present for this study time in the Psalms.
--Joel, David, John & Dan each did a fine job of studying out one or more Psalms & presenting their Psalm while seeking discussion as well.
--It’s thrilling to me to see men & women younger than myself interacting in the Word of God “in season & out of season,” that is, during the study time but also during meal times & while standing around & fellowshipping!
--What a great way to bring in the New Year!
Couple’s Retreat (February 26-28)
We have 8 couples officially signed up for this retreat & some of us locals will be there to join the mix as well.
--While we had mostly old timers last year, there are mostly young marrieds signed up for this year.
--Maybe I should say that for last year’s retreat we had several of us older men present whose wives still have their youthful beauty!
I want to thank each of you who sent e-mails & cards & gifts related to Dad’s homecall on 12/7. --I also want to thank each of you who sent Christmas cards, letters & family pix. We appreciated hearing from you & were comforted by each e-mail mentioning your prayers, even if I don’t respond to each of you.
--It’s getting harder to get my family together for a pix with Billy & Ashley in Harvey, ND, & Tina in Peru!
--The Lord has proved to be the God of all comfort for us at this time.
--Sally is adjusting well to her Dad’s departure. She knows that someday she will rejoin her parents in the Lord’s presence!
--She is enjoying time with her nieces & nephew. She is going to the girls’ basketball game tonight because I promised them I’d go watch them & I’m going to keep my promise, & it’s Faith’s last year!
--They also had a game last night & while Sally knew who won the varsity game, she had to ask me who won the JV contest. She enjoys watching & snacking at the games, even though her game time concentration waxes & wanes.
--She is getting back into her daily routine that includes time on the treadmill & helping with the dishes so the girls can get back to their homeschooling!
--Regarding Dad’s homecall, we heard from Doug Neiswender in South Korea. He was reflecting back on meeting Dad & Mom. He had gone to South Korea on a one-way ticket in 1967. He said that the first gift he received through CMML was from Dad & Mom, who enjoyed sharing with missionaries, even though they had never met Doug.
--When Doug came back to the USA to report on the Lord’s work in South Korea in 1971, he stopped by to visit Dad & Mom.
--What Doug didn’t mention in his e-mail was that during that visit to Brookfield, MO, Doug met personally with Tom Brammer & shared Scripture that led Tom to the Lord. A few days later he shared John 3:16 with me & walked away. The Lord used that verse at that time to lead me to Himself.
--How wonderful are the ways of the Lord!
Thank you for praying for the winter retreats! Keep praying as there will be several groups coming in to SBL on weekends this winter. There will also be a SBL Board meeting on 1/23.
Safe in Him,
p.s. Vi McLellan has experienced heart trouble in recent days & the family would value your prayer at this time.