Warmest greetings to all of you!
Well, today is the first day of autumn. I don’t know what the weather is like in your area, but fall got a one day head start in ours. After a long period of hot, dry weather, we had a big storm the night before last. When I woke up and got out of bed yesterday morning, the temperature was 55 degrees, which is way cooler than it has been for a very long time. The thermometer never got over 68 yesterday, so we were able to finally turn off our two window air conditioning units and give them a break after a long summer of hard work.
Things have actually begun to return to a little more normal routine here at home. I completed my last road trip this year without Cheryl by arriving back home on September 7 with our camper, having finished an engagement at the Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, IA. The last road trip of the year was the toughest. I had been doing two weeks on the road and two weeks back home from May 12 until July 31. I then left home for the final trip on August 1 to be gone a little over five weeks, not returning until after Labor Day weekend.
The two week stretches were no picnic, but the last trip was really difficult. Doing the ministry alone wears on a person. The driving, loading in and setting up sound, all of the singing and talking during the concert, visiting with people after the concert, then tearing down sound and loading out can take a lot out of you, especially on the days you have to sing at two venues. Then there were the venues where I set up and manned our product table on top of all the other responsibilities. I have to tell you, the product table has always been Cheryl’s job, and she is much better suited for it than I am!
I can truly give a testimony of God’s sustaining power through a difficult season for us. So many times this summer I would go to bed missing my wife terribly, tired of being alone, and wondering if I had the gumption to face the next day’s singing schedule. Each time, though, the Lord brought a blessing through something or someone that would brighten my day and encourage and strengthen me to continue on no matter how I felt. Sometimes that came through just seeing the beauty of His creation. Sometimes through the encouragement of a friend I’d run into. Often times the encouragement would simply come when I would start singing His praises at a concert the next day. God is good…all the time! I thank Him for His protection as I traveled this spring and summer, as well as sustaining my voice through all the concerts I had scheduled.
I do have to say I really feel like I was the one who got off easy through all of this. Though I was missing Cheryl while I was on the road, I was still able to sing, as well as see and connect with many people we had not seen for a couple of years. Meanwhile, Cheryl was not only at home missing me, but she was spending a lot of time attending to her dad’s needs (they have become more demanding and time consuming) as well as not seeing so many of you we’ve missed. She also wasn’t able to sing, and she dearly loves to sing for the Lord. So all in all, I believe it was a much tougher spring/summer for her than me. The good news is (barring any conflict that may arise through her dad’s needs) she should be able to sing at the rest of the concerts we have scheduled for this year. We have already done two benefit concerts together since I’ve been home, and it feels so right to be singing with my wife again!
I talked to so many people this year who were blessed to have Gospel music back in their lives. From retirement communities to Gospel sings to churches, everyone was glad to be able to come and worship together in person. I also had so many people tell me it just didn’t sound the same without Cheryl singing with me. I’m not sure if that meant they just missed Cheryl or whether that was a polite way of saying that Cheryl makes me sound much better that I sound all by myself!
Our singing schedule for the next seven weeks starts with us singing on Friday, September 24 for the J.O.Y (Just Older Youth) group monthly lunch at First Baptist Church in Centralia. We will also be one of the groups singing at The Southwest Missouri Gospel Sing in El Dorado Springs, MO on Saturday, September 25. We then have two benefit concerts for the LC Clinics (pro-life pregnancy resource clinics in central Iowa) on October 3 and 4. The first one is at Trinity Lutheran Church in Creston, IA. The second one is at the First Church of Christ in Atlantic, IA. On October 16 we sing at West Cuivre Baptist Church in Laddonia, MO for their annual fall festival/cookout. The next evening, October 17, we give a concert at our home church, Antioch Baptist in Centralia, MO. Then Sunday morning, November 7 we have a concert at Prairie Grove Baptist in Columbia, MO.
We are planning on holding a New Year’s Eve gospel sing in Mexico, MO again this year. Those of you who attended last year’s sing know what a great time we had, and we’re looking forward to another great one this year! For those coming from out of town who need a motel room, we will once again have rooms available at Day’s Inn in Mexico for a special rate. Days Inn is only a couple of miles from where we hold the sing, so it makes it very convenient to get to the sing and back to the motel after it’s over. Details about the sing and motel accommodations will follow soon in a separate newsletter. We hope to have a great crowd this year. We hope to see you!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this newsletter. It means so much to us that you have enough interest in our ministry that you take part of your day to catch up on what has been happening with us. I’m able to view a report that shows me who opened our newsletters, and it humbles me how many of you read each and every one we send out. That is such an encouragement to us.
In the same vein, we’d love to hear what has been going on with you. There are so many of you we (especially Cheryl) haven’t seen in so long, and it would be great to find out how you are. Just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be so happy to hear from you.
Until next time, may God bless and keep you and guide you in the path He wants you to take. Remember, we are never alone, and it’s all…..