Good News Camp

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Today is our last day here at Good News Camp in Hawthorne Florida.  We are here because of  the wonderful will of our Lord.  He sends us just exactly where we should be.  I quickly came up with a bad attitude shortly after arrival 4 weeks ago.  I don’t have a lot of tolerance for people who are not able to ever stop talking leaving no room or interest for others.  Then I received a reprimand from this individual in front of another.  The reprimand was not warranted and someone was not minding their own business.  I was not too pleased and my attitude got worse and even a bit haughty.  Now, this isn’t very pleasing to the Lord and He had another log to pull out of my eye and evil from my heart.  Yes, I knew it, bad attitude, not loving, not forgiving….I spoke often with the Lord about it.  Yes, the Lord changed my heart, corrected my pride and freed me from this sin.  Oh!  He is wonderful!

I cleaned up and reorganized the files here at camp for over two weeks.  Then Steve our fantastic host asked for several reptiles to be cut from wood and painted.  Dale cut the reptiles from pictures I obtained from the internet and I was able to get most of them painted.  Even though we were done the project last week, since we were here this week we were able to continue to work on them.  There are 4 left to paint which I hope someone from the next group can get done.  It was such a lot of fun…

Included is a photo of some of the younger children washing our car.  We made a trade with them.  Two car washes get them a pair of binoculars.  Dale has been teaching them bird watching.  Oliver, Chloe, Solly, Simon and Theo are enthralled.  Spend lots of time now watching the birds.  Dale and I have seen two eagles up close…incredible!

You can also see a church front that Dale made as part of a pretend village.  Very cool!  A great amount of work has been accomplished here and we have been so blessed to be a part of it!  Tomorrow morning we will be heading off on a new adventure.

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Discovering Childhood

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Camp Good News is about half way between Gainesville to the north and Ocala to the south.  The setting is secluded and quiet, a vast difference from the noise and fast pace of the malls, stores, 4 lane roads and high speed, road raged traffic of Tampa.  You can see the stars in the dark of the night.  The camp’s day-to-day operation is run by one high energy man with a bit of help from his eight children.  They live in a double wide at the entrance to the camp.  They have one more daughter who is now living away from home.  Steve is filled with ideas, continually upgrading the delight’s of outdoor treasures for the 350 plus campers who descend every summer.

One treasure we will take away from this project, or better eight treasures, are the children.  Last evening Dale and I enjoyed a campfire with 5 of the younger ones and Steve.  Just a pleasant quiet enjoyment of the night.  When the two youngest ones climbed up onto their daddy’s lap it was time for bed.  Every precious child came over to Dale and myself to give us a good night hug.

Chloe, the 5-year-old girl comes over every afternoon to play with Daisy.  At first Daisy was her usual irritable self, but Chloe won her over with gentle petting and treats.  Now Daisy looks forward to Chloe and does all her tricks for her to get those treats.  Then Daisy and Chloe spend a good while playing catch outside.

Two of boys Samuel and Oliver, enjoy sitting outside with Dale identifying the birds that come to Dale’s bird feeders that he hangs at each project.  Chloe likes the birds also.

The children have no video games, watch a video every week or so picked out by Steve and Sheri and are not loaded down with toys.  They are home schooled by both Steve and Sheri.  The outdoors here at the camp is their playground.  They have freedom to roam the grounds and indulge their imaginations.  A stick, a rock, some pieces of wood, a couple of bits of old pots and pans and the world is a place of wonderment to them.  It’s the childhood of yesterday, the childhood I remember, freedom, barefoot and fancy free.  These children enjoy each other.  There is little bickering, a comradery between them all.  They are polite, thankful and respectful.   This is a childhood lost to today’s children.  So sad.

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What do SOWERS do?

We are packing up today.  Tomorrow morning we will be leaving Hope and traveling northeast just about 125 miles to Camp Good News for our next project.  I thought you might in interested in seeing what SOWERS do, thus the slide show of the project we have just completed.  We work, play games, have a potluck or two, enjoy the folks and activities who host the project.

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We share doing morning devotions, 4 mornings each week from 7:30 – 8:30am.  We enjoy meeting new friends, many of whom become life long.

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The End of a Project

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Today marked the last workday at Hope Children’s Home.  My partner Margaret and I finished sorting and displaying the many, many toys given for the children.  The photo is the finished work.  The first day of the job Margaret and I opened the door of the small 2 room shed and beheld dozens and dozens of boxes and large black bags completely filling the 2 rooms.  No place to walk, bags piled halfway to the ceiling.  I did not believe we would get them sorted and displayed in the 12 1/2 days the women work.  We did and we are delighted.

Dale’s project will continue with the next group to arrive.  They are remodeling a three bedroom apartment in the girls dorm.  Much was accomplished and lots left for the group following us.  Hope House is a never-ending labor of love for the children who call this wonderful place their home.

We will be staying here for another week, then heading to our next project.  I can now sleep in…great joy!

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As I look back over the years I see a marvelous thing…me yesterday and me today.  Over 30 years ago as new Christians, not even out of training pants, the honey and I  packed up the youngun’s, left his job, our home and most of our possessions.  We entered boot camp of New Tribes Mission.  We firmly believed this is what God wanted, our church supported us in prayer and generous financial means.  We moved into two cement block rooms in Pennsylvania and tried our best.  After nine months they not so politely let us know we weren’t what they were looking for.  We left with $75 and much pain.  It had been a mighty messy experience.  I didn’t know it at the time, but God is Sovereign and good.

After being brought up in a bit of a difficult home situation I continued life in great emotional turmoil which also presented itself in physical pain.  I can see those yesterdays full of pain, confusion and desire for death only dimly now.  I chose to see them that way through the veil of Christ and not to experience them again in my mind.  Over the years the Lord, with much patience has been renewing my mind.  At times the changes came from the most painful and difficult situations.  Lately the changes come in gentle waves of joy.  I can see what was meant for evil has been turned into beauty.
I am overcome at times at what the Lord has done.  Yes, it has taken many, many years but let that encourage others to never give up seeking what is true and good.  Sure, I still continue in the quest to live as Christ would have me, not with overwhelming pain but with the joy and pleasure of knowing the love of God for me.  To trust in His sovereignty, enjoy His love and fondness for me.  I have learned I need no approval from others for I have the complete approval of God.  I have and am learning to continually let the Lord’s truth live through me and not myself.

Being a SOWER is a wonderful experience.  After years and years of self-employment and isolation from others I am thrust into relationships with many different personalities.  This is our 4th project.  The first project in Texas was stressful as I found my way.  The second also a time of learning what I could or could not do.  I stressed over the physical jobs I could not do and felt inadequate.  The third in West Virginia was a joy. There I met a kindred spirit and enjoyed a new and beautiful friendship, my Debbie.  Now we are in Florida and I am perfectly comfortable in our new role as SOWER’s.  I am learning to enjoy others just as they are.  Of course, I’m still a whiner and prone to say what’s on my mind way to often.  More another time……..It might be chilly here (upper 50’s) but I know it’s ****CHILLY ****where you are.


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Wet and Wild

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Good Morning sweet ones, Friday morning in Florida. We’ve had lots of rain over the past two weeks. Even when it doesn’t rain the morning dew is so heavy it just melts off the trees and falls on the Rv with a great thud….sounds just like rain to me. We accidentally left our three plants outside last night and of course we had a deluge. The poor things are weeping with water. The tomato plant couldn’t take the stress, having such long limbs, and I think it has given up. The limbs fell over and now have deep “stress” fratures. Dale has it tied to a stake and we hope it will heal itself.  It rained so hard last night one of the SOWERS lost his awning with the weight of the water. We don’t have our awning out as it is on the north side of our RV.
Daisy doesn’t do well with the wet either. As you know she is a “low rider”. Short legs don’t keep the middle much off the ground. Taking her out with very wet ground cover, means she gathers a lot of it to herself. Quite messy. As soon as the sun reappears I’m going to shave her underside.
Friday is not a workday for us. We have a four day workweek. I don’t think the sun will appear today so after giving Daisy a bath we’ll head over to the HUGE mall nearby and pick up some slip on waterproof shoes for the man of the house. I have my crocs that work very well in this climate, but he has to remove his lace up shoes every time he comes in.
HaHa…the photo of the snow is Roanoke just prior to us leaving for Florida..delighted to remember what we left behind..and feeling such pain for all our friends and family…the second photo is a trail sign along a path of meditation here at Hope…

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New Blog Site…Welcome From Jane

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I am attempting a new blog.  The site is MAKING ME CRAZY!!!  I write, attach photos, spend way too much time and press the button to publish and nothing…nothing….so I’m trying out a new site.
We are enjoying the Florida weather for the most part.  Even when it is cool…it is hot with the incredible humidity.  The photos are one our campsite at Hope Children’s Home, The great birder lady spotting the front end of an armadillo and also the back-end.  Funny looking fellow.  We visited a preserve and after a 4+ mile walk we spotted several turkeys, a huge turtle and lots of armadillo’s.  Very pleasant afternoon. Once I see if this site is working I’ll spend more time updating what we are doing.  Right now we are halfway through our first project.  I’ve been working in the Birthday House trying to get the 1000’s of toys organized.  My partner and I hope to get it finished, but don’t know if we will.  It’s a huge job with hardly any room to work in, but it’s right up my alley….I’ve been really enjoyed our new RV.  The kitchen is fantastic and so easy to prepare meals in.  If you remember the previous RV’s kitchen had about 1 square foot of preparation area…not too much fun.

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