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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Three score and ten

Saturday was Paul's birthday!  In 25 years of marriage, I've never had a party for him, other than family parties.  We have kid parties down to a science these last few years:

1. Meet at our house.
2. Go to the beach and play Capture the Flag
3.  Back to the house to play Occupations and other games in the living room while we snack.

So this one had to be different.  Thankfully, it did not have to be a surprise.  I couldn't have managed that as it was in our home, which is an upstairs flat.

So the plan was
1. Lotsa friends.
2. Lotsa food.
3. Lotsa talking.  :-)

I didn't even have a cake planned, yet look at this amazing cake the Lord provided!  The day after Paul's birthday, we went to a church we go to once a year, usually, and the pastor's wife, Frances Bell, made this amazing cake!
 Us with Dougie and Francis Bell.
 It's not only the coolest cake ever, but it tastes delicious!
 Nick Collins, James Young, and Dion Johnson enjoyed swapping jokes.
                               Megan and Julia Johnson added to the fun.
 Nick, Daniel Philips, and Johanneke Johnson seemed to have a good time.
 Paul and David Ker sharing a moment.
 Hilary Ker and Margie Collins behaved themselves.
 Berwick enjoyed the party, though she wasn't allowed in the house.  She did NOT like my decorating HER until I got it off her ears, and then she was fine.

                                          Pinterest was a help in giving decorating ideas.
 Paul enjoyed receiving a bazillion (more or less) good wishes on Facebook and emails.

James made this amazing working "card".  Gloria made a card with 71 balloons in it!  All 4 of their kids made cards too.  They're a creative bunch!
 The food went by in a blur  :- )
Josh cooked him a mammoth omelet for breakfast, so it wasn't just the party time.  This celebration continues to go on! 
Nathanael (cowboy on Josh's neck) had his 5 year old birthday the Saturday before.  That party was a little noisier, but also a good one.

One of Paul's favorite things was his Trip Down Memory Lane.  I gave him a suitcase with many, many birthday wishes and memories that friends sent in.  We enjoyed those for HOURS before and after the party.  We read more of them on Sunday afternoon.  Two of them made us cry, and many of them made us laugh!

Paul didn't remember hitting Amy Smith in the face with a volley ball, nor did he remember rescuing his brother Joseph from a bully.  We got memories from Kenya, memories from Peru, a really nice letter from Romania, and scads of good ones from the USA.

The ones that made us cry were from family (sniff) and had precious memories.

70 successful trips around the sun, and Paul's glad he's in His service.  He's loving it.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Many years ago, I found a deal, an audio book for one dollar,  A Series of Unfortunate Events.  It was a miserable book, aptly named, and we threw it away after we got horrified by what a bad/sad/ridiculous story it was.  I deplore books with no happy ending.

Yesterday was Paul's first time back at schools, and he had his own series of unfortunate events, but his have happy endings and happy new beginnings.

He had two schools, and the first went fine, but the second was somewhat of a trial.  They told him he could set up for the assembly.  So Paul and Timothy went to set up their equipment and book display.  Then they told them to set up in a different auditorium. Paul and Timothy took everything down, brought it all to the other place and set it all up again.  And waited.

He tried to use the time well, so he went to use the rest room.  Bad moment.  He met a girl coming in as he was coming out. OOPS!
"Sorry," he said, shaking his head as he noticed the men's room opposite.
"Sorry," she replied, because, what else can you say when you meet a man coming out of the ladies' room?

Then he went back to his waiting, hoping not many had noticed his mistake.  After an hour of waiting, he went to check at the office.  They told him to move back to the first auditorium.  He and Timothy moved all their equipment and set up again.  It was hot, and the windows were closed.

He waited some more and checked again for when they were coming.  Finally, after waiting more than two hours, they were told to begin.  By now, our guys were tired, hungry,  feeling low and very hot.  When they called Paul's name, he uncrossed his legs to go up to the stage, but he discovered his foot was dead asleep!  He fell!  He got up and staggered toward the stage, having a head rush and a dead food.  He looked like a drunk.  It felt like a long time for blood to reach his head and feet, but he started preaching and drawing without comment.

After that program, there was another wait before the next group, but it eventually happened.  They finished after 1:30, and headed for KFC on the double.  Food helped a lot, but then they got Paul's order wrong. His mashed potatoes and coleslaw were missing.  He went in and got it.

He went back out to the car to eat, and then looked at the receipt.  They hadn't charged him for the potatoes and slaw.  Oh brother.

He went back in to make that right.  Thankfully he got the same girl who had given him the goods so he didn't have to explain too much.  But then, as he left, he walked smack dab into a glass wall, and smacked his forehead good.  That made him think of Ezekiel 3:9, " As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead..."  :-)    A hard headed, staggering preacher!  A man watching said, "Sorry."  Indeed.

So was the day a disaster?  Well, I'm writing the unfortunate events, but there were about 1300 people who watched a tall white guy draw a big picture of a narrow road to heaven and a wide road to hell, and how we need to repent and turn to Jesus for mercy.  Many did at each of the three services.  In addition two schools yesterday set up times for him to preach and draw in the next few days.  There were problems for sure, but it was worth it.  And he's looking forward to preaching and drawing again--nine times next week.

Paul didn't mind my telling you all this stuff.  We just listened to Otto Koning's talk on "Surrendering your reputation to God."  (He's funny, interesting and helpful.  You can listen to him at  or can download those to MP3. )
( This is a from a church, not from the day of unfortunate events.  He's probably glad no one took pictures of the fall, the crash, or the bathroom incident.  :- )

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The 2017 Year in Review

I'm copying Paul's writing here.  You might notice a certain difference in style.  He's more concise, a list making kind of guy.  Some add-ins by me, like the exclamation points  :- )

Jan. 1, 2017-gave out more tracts than ever before in a single day.
Jan. 1-3  Preached 31 times, mostly open air.
Jan. 5- a mild stroke.  An outpouring of love and emails
            more rest*
         Evangel, Ryan, and Holly visited
Jan. 16   Evangel found out she was expecting!!!  Thrills and chills!

Print Jobs in 2017
       51,000 This Was Your Life tracts
            29 K in English
            13 K in Xhosa
            9   K in Chichewa
       9000 Saving Faith, Does It Involve a Change of Behavior? in Chichewa
       12,500 Principles of Church Growth 
       22,000 How to Have a Time Alone with God

Some Statistics

Preached 461 times * The stroke taught me to slow down.  In 2016 I preached 626 times.
                259 places
                183 schools
                    73 new schools
                    64 churches
                    27 new ones

         East London
               worked with/stayed with the Goosens
               Enjoyed them!
               preached to 15,000 in 2 weeks, almost all new
         USA twice
              11 new venues
              Clarity Faith Ford born!
          Malawi and Zambia
               Joe Malete & his wedding
              10 new schools,
               5 pastors' conferences
           Carmel, in George, South Africa
                fun new ministry with Dion Johnson and family

Enlarged my borders:  
           East London
           Back to the Bible Mission in Barberton
           Nelspruit with Lizelle
           Joe's area
           Malawi, especially pastors' conferences
           Preached in 107 new places:
                 73 schools
                 27 churches
                 7 other
           Becoming a grandpa!



Thursday, December 21, 2017

Star of Light, behind the scenes,

(The following is a flash back to 2015, a blog entry that never got published then, but since we're rejoicing about Star of Light getting over 10,000 viewers, I thought I'd put it up now.)

Tension was thick at our house yesterday.  Evangel would only cast furtive looks up from her computer where she was hurriedly trying to enter subtitles for Star of Light.  James was summoned over from his house to teach and assist. 

I, the mother, was lecturing myself internally, "Don't nag.  Don't worry!  It's her project, not yours.  Shut UP!"  I have to be quite rude to myself really. 

I lasted until nearly 4:00.  The movie was set to show at 6:45, and I just HAD to know, did we, or did we not have an actual printed DVD of the movie that we were to show.  I asked in front of Paul, the father.  That was a good move.  Paul had not been struggling with worries or tendencies to nag.   He was Mr. Cool-as-a cucumber.

Evangel admitted, "No, we don't have a DVD.  I'm trying to finish the subtitles." 

OK, I could easily have panicked here.  I could have played the "what if" game. 
---What if the power goes off?
---What if your computer glitches?
---What if you just plain run out of time?  That's the way I saw, it running right out, without at least one safe copy! 

Happily, my man is not a panicker, not a nagger, or a whiner, but he is a man of action!  He told the two workers, "Print a DVD now."  I could have done it with a lot more noise and drama, "Don't you realize how late it is?  Do you remember you still have to eat, dress, and drive to the venue?  What are you THINKING?!?!?!?"  But he's a sweetie, and got the job done without much ado. 

The subtitles did not get done. They have to wait for another printing of DVD's, but the first DVD was printed with the movie, the "behind the scenes funnies", and some advertisements for other movies.  Now I could relax.

Then my relaxed mind began to wander ahead to Medway Community Church where we were to show the thing.  What if something went wrong with their sound system?  What if no one came?  What if someone said something rude to Evangel and made her cry?  Would I slug them?   That temptation to worry came rushing back, but it was helped this time by the fact I had to keep busy!  There was no time to worry.  We had to pack up food, pack DVD cases, trim the covers, slide the covers into the cases, change clothes, slap some make-up on, grab the staple of Young family life:  a Peanut butter sandwich, and dash out the door to Medway. 

It was such a fun evening!  I counted people, since I was setting out cups for snacks afterward, and we had 82 people there!  We had home-schooling friends, church friends, friends from Evangel's choir, from my ladies Bible study, and friends from church.  We had a few people we didn't know at all, and one family I met at a "boot sale" that same day.  I could tell we weren't the only ones enjoying ourselves because people didn't seem to want to go home afterward.   
Evangel's movie version of Star of Light is on You Tube, at that link above, and we're pleased it has now had over 10,000 viewers!   

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fixer Upper Fixed Up!

This cottage in Maine, or Camp as we call it in Maine, is my favorite place in the world.  There's a lot of family history here.  OK, not the part of family history that goes back to Queen Victoria's cousin, but the good stuff, since 1941. 
My Great-grandfather built this in 1941 on a pie-shaped piece of land he bought in 1940 for $100.00.  (Incidentally, $100.00 doesn't even pay a MONTH of taxes on this place now.  Don't get me started on my opinion of that.)  

We got to stay here for about six weeks this year when we went to Maine for the birth of our first grandchild, Clarity.  I was lying in bed early, early one morning, listening to the loons on the lake and feeling thankful and blessed.  (Usually when we're in the States, we're on the go the whole time.)  It was so special to be there, with my Mom downstairs, and my sister and her husband there too.  Family is precious. 
The ceiling over my head was beautiful light pine, and I had to contrast that with the way it looked a few years ago.  My great-grandfather Walter Earl Campbell,  had built the camp himself, as he could gather the boards.  It didn't exactly have a foundation.  See how you can see right through those slats, and see light out the other side?  And the upstairs was just open boards, rather uneven, and dark with 70 years of smoke stains and what not.  It was cobweb heaven.

Now it's white pine, covered in polyurethane, not a cobweb in sight.  We've been renovated! 

No, it wasn't Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame who renovated the Camp.  It was my Mom.  Check out the differences:

First of all, they added a foundation.  I think I was off in Peru during that one, which means it happened around 1989.  That one was to save the camp I think. My grandmother still owned it at the time, and my parents had to do some serious work to pay for that foundation.  

See the ramp at the back?  That was added after my brother in law Rick got paralyzed in 1997. Soon after came an enlarged bathroom to accommodate him.

When my great-grandfather built the camp, it had one downstairs room, one upstairs room, and a porch that wrapped around three sides.  The outhouse was up the hill.
Grampa made the sink extra low inside to accommodate my Great Grandmother Ada Augusta Marange Purington Campbell.  Later he added indoor plumbing for Grammy's sake, and turned the back corner of the camp into a bedroom for her so she wouldn't have to climb stairs to that big upstairs room.  That room has remained a prized room for privacy even until now.  It got bigger when a few feet were added on to make the bathroom bigger for Rick.

So we lost most of the back porch then.  Later we lost a chunk of the side porch when my Mom had it made into a room for my Dad as he was needing a place to escape the hubbub of the camp.  It's a cute little room, with a desk, and built in shelves for his favorite things:  books.

For Paul, Mom put in recessed lighting after he took out two light bulbs in one day with his head.

Then again for him, and his two tall sons, she had the whole inside gutted and torn down to the studs, and the rafters that he kept hitting his head on, removed! 


She had the porch closed in so we could use it all the time, instead of only when the weather was tolerable. 
The porch has been the scene of our family and friends bigger summer celebrations.  

When the kitchen was gutted, she moved a cupboard that was knocking Rick's knuckles when he rolled by, and widened a door. 
Are you getting the picture here?  Most of our renovations have been to help someone in the family. I like that!  It's a camp for people, and it's very structure has changed for the people it serves.  
( I don't think there have been any specifically for me, but I am GRATEFUL for the shower that was added when I was in my 20's.  We made it that far with "spit baths" and swimming in the lake, but I'm thankful now we have a hot shower when we need one.)
I'm grateful this camp has been our go-to place for fun and family my whole life.  It's beside still waters, sometimes, and it's the place I go to in my mind and in my memory for tranquility. 
So as I lay there musing, I determined to compile at least this partial list of the place that my Mom has fixed up for our family.  Proverbs 31:27-28 says, "She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.  Her children arise up and call her blessed."

I call my Mom blessed!  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Name Changer

 When Clarity Faith Ford was born on August 30, 2017, she did a LOT of name changing. 
She turned us from Paul and Vicki into Grampa and Grammy!   Yee-haaa!  We like our new names!

She turned Evangel right into a Mom! 

 She turned Evangel's Mother in law, Sandy Ford, into a Grammy too.  (Please try not to notice that bulgy, ultra bulgy diaper.  :- )   Mom was still getting used to packing all the details for darling new daughter, and we had to go borrow (or should I say "beg"?) an adult one from a shelter.  How's that for humbling?  And funny.  It was huge on her! 
 Daniel Ford became Uncle Daniel...
 and obviously is doing a good job with his new niece.  Nothing more bonding that sitting around with  hoodies covering your faces. 
 Josh became Uncle Joshua, inTimidating Tim became Uncle Tim, and of course, Ryan became Daddy.  A girl needs a team like that behind her! 
 Ryan's two sisters went from ordinary girls to become Aunt Holly and Aunt Ivy.  (BTW, that's aunt in the New England sense, not "ant".
Clarity is obviously amazed and delighted to find she has so much power as a name changer. 
 My Mom was thrilled to become a Great Grandmother!  I suspect Clarity will just call her Grammy, but we'll see.  She could be More Grammy like my great grandmother was, but she doesn't like anything that implies. 

 Did  I mention that I was also thrilled to become a grandmother? 
                                       Four happy generations together. 
 Ryan looks like he caught on to the Dad title and its responsibilities within minutes. 
 My sister Wendy became a great aunt.  She's a good one.
We're laughing at how much younger we are as Grammy and Great aunt than our Grammy and Great Aunts were. 
 Ariel also became an aunt!  Second cousin just wasn't the right enough title, so she is Aunt Ariel. 
Yippee!  Three cheers for new names! 

For I am fearfully and wonderfully made!!! 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

That stinks!

 Look what my sister Wendy found in the trash can on Monday morning after the Sunday baptism/picnic at the camp!!!!

She came to the bottom of the stairs, and whisper yelled, "Hey, Vic, do you wanna have an adventure?"  I yelled for Josh who has the good camera, and we went out to meet Jimmy the Skunk. (Anyone besides me read Thornton Burgess's books about animals, including Jimmy the Skunk?  I loved them when I was about 7).

 This skunk had made himself very easy to catch.  We just put the lid on the trash can, and put him in the truck.  We took him to a shooting range/sand pit about 2 miles from our camp. 
 This sign made us giggle.  We were pretty sure it didn't pertain to skunks.
Rush hour traffic went by (three or four cars) and I'm sure they all thought we were wicked trash dumpers. 
And there you have it!  The dramatic release, with the aid of a water ski rope.

So now you know what we do for fun in Maine.  And we didn't even get squirted.  I think we can hang out our shingle as "Skunk Removal Experts".  

"The beast of the field shall honour me...."   (Isaiah 43:20a)