Sunday Services in Branson

Although we enjoyed the Cowboy Church, we decided to try another place, this one in the Little Opry Theatre at 9AM, called Good News Gospel Hour. Leroy New, who performs a tribute to Marty Robbins, was the Pastor. He began with a medley of songs which included I’ll Fly Away, and several other traditional songs. New songs to me, very good, musically and message-wise, included He Means Everything to Me, Patch It up, and Letting Go of Everything. Tim Handler from the Cowboy Church sang a song. Then the pastor sang Power in the Blood, I Saw the light, One Day at a Time, followed by a word from Mark 11:23-26, and closed with Too Hot for the Devil to Handle!!
As we left, a couple were inviting folks to their Old Time Country Gospel Music program at 11 with Glen and Sue Phillips. Since it started in only 45 minutes, we decided to look around the close by shops a bit and attend that one as well. They began with a medley which included This World is Not My Home, and This Little Light of Mine. They included different singers: First they introduced one of their guitarists, Robert Penny, who had just been a Christian for a couple of weeks, and he sang Just A Closer Walk, and Praise God and Let Him Know There’s a Change in Me. He is in the process of changing from singing Country to Gospel (a name to watch, he was good). Anita Kidd sang To Me He Has Become Everything and God on the Mountain is Still God in the Valley. She is running for Ms. Senior Missouri. The first song, she wants to sing in the talent show part of the competition, but was told it would offend too many people because it had the name Jesus in it (but she could sing one with God in it). She told them SHE was offended they would ask her not to sing her chosen song. She then realized that many of the sponsors were Jewish! The second is one she is now considering singing. Both were beautiful songs. Shorty Robbins, another guitarist with them is going blind, but shared testimony that the Lord is a Lord of healing and he sang It is No Secret! The last guest they had was Marty Williams, and his parents each sang a song. Then Sue Phillips sang a new song she had just written, In My Father’s Arms. They closed with When the Saints Go Marching In. Although the songs and testimonies were great, and we were blessed, it seemed to be more of a show, and advertisement for their performances.
Even though these are all professional singers, it has made us appreciate our little West Franklin Baptist Church all the more for the great talent God has given the members there. I think they are just as good if not better than what we have heard here!

Visit to Arkansas

Denise, a longtime friend from Julian, lives in Bentonville, Arkansas. Since we were only about an hour and a half away, we got in touch and spent the day with her on Saturday. After visiting and having lunch we drove past the Walmart headquarters
and visited Sam Walton’s first store, now a visitor center and museum for Walmart. (Look closely on the right under the canopy and you will see Denise and I!!)


It is always great to see “old” friends and catch up on how the Lord is blessing. This sweet lady has been so faithful in serving the Lord in Good News clubs for children. I just know there will be many jewels in her crown for the seeds she has planted and in some instances cultivated over the 49 years she has been teaching!
We took a different route on the way back, a little more curvy and took about 20 minutes longer. but both ways were beautiful scenery and we can only imagine how beautiful it is in the spring when the leaves are back.

LUC Boys Ranch


This week, we accomplished a lot here. The guys got the breezeway enclosed. Still have a way to go before completing it, but making progress!Jean and I got a lot of cleaning done at the Trading Post, and finished our sign, and I started a second, much smaller one!
The other ladies in our group, working in the kitchen, got one of the two pantries cleaned and organized. Our lunch and dinner are with the boys, staff, and other volunteers here. It is optional, but they encourage the interaction with the boys. Major infractions (usually running away) result in wearing an orange suit and slippers, and sitting at a separate table, with rice and beans and fruit for their meal. Since the next step would be a correctional facility, this gives them an idea of what their option is, making them think about what they have here.
At dinnertime, there is a devotion, usually led by a staff member. This devotion was led by one of the volunteer farmers who were working on a greenhouse. The “Pierce Arrow” glasses had blinking lights, which were either nerdy or really cool according to the boy you talked to.
We have talked to a few of the boys, and they have been polite, respectful and honest. One particular boy, when I said hi to him as he passed me, said he could not hear me because he was deaf. I knew differently, and I also knew his story. He came into a meeting we were having with the director and told Ken he could leave, and that he would talk to the “old people”! So we know that we cannot believe him…. imagine, calling us old! Autistic, he was kept in an institution for several years, the last several before coming here were a routine of 12 meds, watch TV until he slept, then slept. When he woke up, he was medicated again, and the routine went on. At 16 he could not tie his shoes, much less use eating utensils. Today, he has made things in woodworking and welding classes, has a unique sense of humor and is probably the biggest challenge, but the most divine of miracles. The boys come from varied backgrounds, for different reasons.
“The chief work of the ranch is to provide the tough love, hope and grace by which the lame dance and the dead come alive”. We are privileged to be a very tiny part in the support of this ministry.

100th post!! Lives Under Construction Boys Ranch


We have been working the last couple of days at Lives Under Construction Boys Ranch (LUC). This facility is a great place for at-risk boys. There are many stories about miracles, restoration, and characters. The philosophy behind all they do includes Christian principles modeled and taught, eventually leading to the changing point in the boys’ lives. They accept no government assistance, so they are able to have more freedom in teaching the boys the Bible. This is a level three facility, where the next step is jail. The ranch is truly that…a ranch. With close to 175 acres, plus another 150 or so acres a little way away, the facility has grown. It is complete with buffalo,

cattle, emus,

horses, pigs, goats and sheep.

During the day we see one on one teaching horse riding and care and tree trimming.
Classes in welding where the boys make these barbecues, and all of the wagons at the ranch, woodworking where the boys make a variety of items to sell at the Trading Post, animal husbandry, landscape, mechanics, equipment operation, construction, cooking, house keeping (and coming soon, appliance repair), are taught. The director, Ken Ortman and his wife Shiela began the ministry 27 years ago with 13 boys. My impression of them is that they are very humble, patient, and caring, as is every staff member we have met! When the ranch began, all the boys attended public school and the Ortman’s were the only staff. They have truly given above and beyond in their dedication to the boys. Today, only three of the 22 boys attend school off site, and there is a staff of 30. Income comes from the families of the boys, (on a sliding scale, what they can afford ), selling trees, meat, donated repaired autos and boats, and donations at the thrift store, and monetary gifts. Located about 4 miles away, the LUC Boys Ranch Trading Post is being expanded.
The guys are building two breezeways to connect two buildings, enlarging the store.
Another lady and I are painting a huge sign for the highway to direct travelers to the store. We are also cleaning at the thrift store. The other ladies in our group are cleaning and organizing a pantry area of the kitchen. Another volunteer group is sorting stored items for the store and working on a greenhouse. There is plenty to do here, and it is very tranquil! We feel blessed to be a tiny part of this ministry.

Weekend in Branson

We are all set up and ready to start work tomorrow morning.In the meantime, yesterday, we joined another couple and went to a SIX concert. This is a group of six brothers (in a family of 10 brothers) with unbelievable talent!! When they were very young, their father recognized their talent, so he sat them down at the piano and began teaching them gospel hymns, which the brothers picked up quickly, singing in 4 to 5 part harmony. After hard work, they made their national debut on the Donny and Marie Show in 1978. By 1987, they began performing at Hollywood A-list parties, and since then have performed with my stars. The unique thing about this group is that they sing with no instruments, but you would swear they are!! They provide their own vocal instrument sound! I kept reminding myself that this is not instruments, it is their voice!! Today we attended the Cowboy Church in Branson… A real treat! Testimony was given by an “English cowboy” who, while growing up, went to Church of England in AM, Gospel Hall (!) for SS in PM, saved in Assembly of God, baptised in Methodist, married by Baptist preacher, and now attending Cowboy church! Country songs, led by Norma Jean and Tim Handler filling in for the regular guitarist (performs Hank Williams Revisited at the Little Opry Theatre) leading in such songs as I’ll Fly Away, This Little Light of Mine, Amazing Grace, and Can’t You Hear the Blessed Savior Calling You, along with other Hank Williams songs. Word was given by Pastor Al, Norma Jean’s husband.

Branson

Can I whine today? This has been Murphy’s day!! In all honesty, it has been 8 or 9 months since we have been out in the RV…..and it does not like to sit!! So we will just need to go out in it more often!! BUT we praise the Lord, especially for our safety!
We arrived at Branson yesterday later than expected…GPS misguided us to our park, so we had an extra half hour drive. (We got an email telling us not to rely on GPS going to our worksite… maybe they just do not work here in MO?) And at one point, a right turn that was soooo narrow, Paul determined it was the worst yet ! Once at the park, we found it to be majority timeshare resort, and the roads were definitely not RV friendly. The entry to the RV section was a divided very narrow road, then it became curvy, not suited for 40- foot rig plus tow vehicle at all, even at registration office!!.
That was the beginning! While setting up we found we had no water. When we reported it the maintenance man came and told us there were only 10 sites with water due to a leak. So we moved to one of those sites. We hooked up to water, started to settle in when we noticed the toilet kept running!! There was no place to shut it off without removing the toilet itself. So now we are turning on and off the water as needed.Then our chronically ill front slide refused to go out….another broken bolt. Paul is currently (and has been for a while now) working on the slideout. He just found the bolt shaft is still in the hole that we need to put the new bolt through!! As we were moving it in and out to align the bolt, the frozen water hose broke ….(oops… but not as big as the tow job oops). We found an RV repair shop who is ordering parts for the toilet for us (Paul had to remove the toilet in order to shut off the water so we can use water in the rest of the RV), plus is ordering parts for a recall repair on our refer. So we will need to come back in a week or so to have both repaired.
This morning the water was frozen and by 10AM we still had no water, and the bathhouse was closed due to frozen pipes as well. We were pleasantly surprised when the office staff offered us a room to shower in when we reported to the office! Did I say we were the only ones in the campground (Off season)? Very nice amenitities though!!
So although we did not see any tourist sites in Branson, we are getting things squared away here in the rig. And I have “put on my big girl panties” and am through whining now!

2010 Trip Beginning

The longer we are retired, the slower we get!! Good thing we have five days to get to Lampe, our first Mobile Missionary Assistant Program (MMAP) job!
After four days of packing, we finally left on Monday afternoon! After we left, Nate called to check on us, because Hwy 65 was shut down both ways for several hours due to “an overturned vehicle” . Turns out it was a toxic spill!! Then this morning, Tuesday, it snowed! We left in time to avoid both!!
We really had no plans for a stopping point since we did not want to pressure ourselves with a time to leave. Checking our Coast-to-Coast, we found a spot for the night in southwest Kentucky. When I called, they told me it was closed for the season, but there was one section that was open and had hook ups. They would be gone for the day, but we could settle up in the morning after 10AM. We found a spot (in the dark, which is a major no no) but obviously in the wrong section, since there was no electricity and no water! Oh well… we were tired and went to bed early. We turned the generator on for a while in the middle of the night, it got so cold. The next morning, we had a beautiful view of the lake, complete with a flock of geese huddled, forming what looked like an iceberg!

The ground seemed solid, so instead of disconnecting the jeep to back up, Paul decided to go forward……you guessed it…. oops!!!!

An hour later, after getting a little help, we were on our way. Notice the post (it is a water bib) to the left of the picture of the ruts…I could not get my finger between it and the rig at one point. No matter how hard I pushed, the rig was not moving away from it! I could only pull it as far back as I could!! We missed hitting it by a small fraction of an inch!!!
We stopped earlier on Tuesday night, staying at Ozark Spring Mtn. Really clean, friendly place… gave us a jar of Sorghum/Molasses … YUM!! I had used up our Louisianna batch!
Wednesday morning, we stopped at Laura Ingalls Wilder House and Museum. In 1894, Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder settled on Rocky Ridge Farm near Mansfield, MO, with their 7 year old daughter, Rose. They originally bought 40 acres, adding 160 acres. They built their home, starting with two room rooms and a sleeping loft for Rose. In 1928, their daughter had the “Rock House” built with Mitchell Plan from Sears, facing it with rock, as a retirement home for her parents.

In 1932, at age 65, Laura began writing four books for the Prairie series there, after keeping diaries since 1911. They lived there for eight years, but missed their original home, so moved back to it, where the rest of the books were written. Very interesting and informative!
We finished there at noon, in time to stop at the Burger Barn for lunch. Best burger, fried onion petals and chicken fried steak special ever!!! Really friendly place, lots of locals, and everyone joined in every conversation. Wilma was there with her friend “Other Wilma”. The cook was from CA, even baking pies for the Julian Pie Co. one summer while in college!! And a great time was had by all….
Our 9-hour trip is now in it’s third day…. we ARE getting slow!! But loving it!!