Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sarasota Revival/ Sail and Sing Cruise

In February we Started out our time in Florida with the friday evening Chicken BBQ G.E. Fundraiser and Singing at the Pinecraft Park. Here; The Sean Bontrager family,new last fall with the ministry.
A walk to Big Olaf's for a cold treat afterwards was a good way to end the evening. 
And we went back to how the Florida  Gospel Express Auction all started in Florida on a smaller scale and at the park instead of setting up the big tent on Palm Grove School's Ball Diamond.
                                                Four of the Miller singing here...
After  what we call "A Blitz of the Gospel" in short form from Nelson,he is leading them in time of personal prayerful response.
Now for our "daily dose of medicine ;laughter for the day " brought by Ryan and Friends choosing this time to make a fool of Dave as a novice puppitier using "granny"to make it even more awkward.We all know and have accepted, that the involuntary people he "uses" on the Stage..can't win no matter how hard they 'd try.But it's all for the expense of a good hearty ,healthy laugh for the crowd! I'd say Dave showed the character of  a real good sport.

So after the Auction,and Sunday afternoon singing we all worked hard to pack back up all our dusty system and products and load to head south towards the Port in Miami. I have never had such a challenging setting for packing before. Upon arriving in Miami late Sunday night,we wearily went to sleep knowing we'd not packed yet and needed to be at the port by ten. I got up at five and we got our luggage from the trailer and lined up the largest suitcases (we call Africa-cases) out in the Wal-Mart Parking lot in front of the bus with the other 6 carry on sizes opened up inside on all the couches, beds and booths...and began selecting items needed from all our bus closets,bins,nooks and crannies.Unlike the cruises that you just take casual clothes,we crammed those and four dressy outfits for programs etc.x7,and had to leave all our hangers behind in order to fit them all in to our 13 check in bags not counting 2 carry-ons per person including each one's instruments. How many the Wissmans had, we don't know? Here Shantaya and Brianna( sit'n pretty) are two of the many of us patiently waiting at the port on the four bus driver dads trying to overcome the obstacle of pre- arranged parking gone sour,as they circled the city following a parking manager attempting to find a  safe place to fit these homes and trailers for a week.

               Dining at it's finest was one of the blessings we all so appreciated and enjoyed...
Here's the Stutzman's starting out the 1st of good times of worship,laughter,teaching and fellowship that happened amongst the believers daily in this reserved auditorium. (Note; Because of a Dining schedule change by the ship,each night whoever sang first  and 2nd had to skip 2 courses of the meal to make it to sound check in time.)
Here,Ryan (and Gayle)Bomgardner,who are the vision and founders of "Sail and Sing".)...once again including a dear Mullet involenteer in his ventriloquism...to our groans and laughter. He works hard to keep these events all running smooth and being all that it is to all the  personal guests aboard.
We all so enjoyed getting to know  Edward Clausen and his family and hear him play his harp amazingly and share "his humble beginnings in South America" testimony,to the Glory of our God.

                                                    Formal night in the Dining Room....
                                 Mullet Family Ministering to us through song...
Loren Wissman's turn for Ventriloquism....and character building humility ..as everyone enjoys his attempt to open and close  granny"s mouth under gramps and Ryan's proddings of "Open,Close!Open Close!"He really did well :).
We had the privilege of having the whole Wissman family aboard except Bethany and family who had just had a new baby prior,and wasn't old enough for the ship's approval to come onboard.Here some of them are ministering thru  music and singing.
                     Night scenes of Nassau,Bahamas from Deck...my favorite place on the ship.
Deborah and I got to experience the sunrise one morning amidst our busy schedule leading up to and on the ship, it was truly a privilege and  great blessing as long as you remembered you weren't there for relaxation.This was another cruise ship whom we were visiting the same island with daily following afar  in the vast seas.
    Can't think of any place on earth more majestic to greet the Lord in the Morning.
    The Masa Mara Safari in Africa came close.
While others went off on an island the girls chose to stay on and have  room tea,ending with giggles on loungers in private deck corner .
One evening we swapped our boys for daughters of Steve's and Leroys' .Tanisha brought UNO to enjoy the wait on the main course's arrival.
We even had our dear friends and staff,board members.Melvin and Amy Kuepfer and their son John and Miriam Kuepfer all the way from Kitchener on the cruise this year.So enjoyed catching up again with them.
     This was the young men's dining table one night after we sapped their girls for our boys. Reunion.
Here was a table of Holmes County friends..the 2nd and 4th one on the left are Dave's nieces; Katie Mae and Marilyn.
No I've not taken up opera singing it was my involuntary night of character building along with Mathias Wissman and Edward Clausen used as Ryan's puppets that night.
He was trying to match the face to his baby voice Ryan gave him..his  and Mathias' expressions were great.
            Thursday was a packed schedule. Live music at seven in the Morning breakfast buffet. Derek's still in his waking up mode I think.Too many late nights,maybe?

Now onto Children's class at 9:00a.m. for those children whose parents  are taking in the teaching break out sessions. During this time on Thursday many of the ministry parents were teaching several workshops leading up to the evening meal and program.
Our children had so much fun working with the Wissman family who have had much experience in drama that they can do whatever impromptu and well.
                                 I think the teachers had just as much fun as the children...
I think these are Israelite women during Moses leave up MT Sinai... adorning themselves in all their"bling" ..whatsoever props  were found at their hand.
                                            Oh no, they worshipping the golden calf!

              Pharaoh still refuses to let them go in spite of Aaron's pleas and Moses"stick"and the little  maid with the pillow fan tries to  keeps him cool.
ahh..the parasailing adventure our boys enjoyed with Ryan and the other youth that day!
                             A new bronze island acquaintance Gracie made...

                                                     Oh dear..and Larger than life!
                                           Making memories on Key West.
Majesty of The Seas....
We received it as gift of an opportunity and we had plenty of those to be involved in people's lives,whether individual or corporate workshops etc.it was fulfilling and very pleasant setting to say the least for it.
Whatsoever we do we want to "do  heartily as unto the Lord "and to always be ready to "share of the hope within us."We are grateful to God and for all who helped make it possible for this gift of time, special experience and opportunity for our family at sea.                                                     Ruth Ann

Sunday, February 16, 2014

WeCare and Gospel Express Prison Crusades

In the past few weeks our family has had the privilege to be involved in two different prison crusades. 

We were snowed out of both. 
This called for great adventure and fellowship. 

Praise the Lord we were able to have at least two prison services during each crusade, but the rest were canceled. We were so grateful for our cozy bus, all being together, and delightful friends to be inspired by during each crusade, despite the disappointment of not being able to have more ministry time in prison. 



Renew Hope Prison Crusade (WeCare Ministries)

 Prayer before the Rally Service on Sunday morning. 
Wissmann Family shares in song on rally/orientation day. 

Snowed in at a hotel together! sharing...
times of prayers...
getting to know each other...
singing...
hanging out...

  We loved the mini concert the Durocher family gave for us in the hotel conference room. ;) 

Hoping that the snow would clear up by the next day, we, along with the Marlin Bontrager family, headed to another hub where our services were to be the next day. Needless to say, because of ice and stuck vehicles, we were dead stopped from 5:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m.
  We had so much fun! We were very blessed with warm buses, all being together, and good food! Running back and forth from bus to bus...
Making brownies late into the night...

Playing games of "Church" (Mafia, redefined.)...
Then, when all our heads are bowed in playing the game and the parents have given up and gone to bed, an officer knocks on our window! TRAFFIC IS MOVING! EVENTUALLY we finally made it to WeCare head-quarters at 2:30AM. 

 Pictured above is Daddy in his PJs taking a walk up the road to see what's going on. :) 

At our second hub we enjoyed delicious food and more times of games and fellowship, since the prison services were not able to be held after all. 
Mini concert by the Bontrager family! 


Ryan & Friends humored us. :) 


 The next morning some of us ladies were able to go shopping at the WeCare thrift store. The daughters. ^

The mothers. 

Our family was blessed to be able to stay a day longer at the crusade to get in a service after the prisons re-opened. It was such a blessed service! We were so grateful to leave on that note. 

Gospel Express Prison Crusade, SC

The Glick Family singing at the Sunday Orientation/Rally. 

These homes on wheels just get tight sometimes! Taylor extends the borders and users the parking lot for needed, pre-service domestics.

The first day went all as planned with blessed services. By the next morning we had to make some sad announcements about weather conditions. We were, again, snowed out (of prison) and in (together).



 Snowed in together calls for pizza-a-plenty in the motel breakfast room! 

 Daddy's Smartphone photos of some ministry time. 


 We enjoyed hearing from all the different families at our hub. Here we have the Brubaker family 
 The Beachy family. 
 "It's beautiful outside", they said. "Any photographer should be out there", they said. I sighed. Nature photography is my least favorite and it was COLD! A fellow photographer who out-does me in skill offered to take my camera and to the honors for me. Grateful. Thanks Delmar Penner. The results: 




Meanwhile, in the motel conference room, music sessions were commencing, and games and snacks were to be had until wee hours. 


 Games of "Confusion" were held-- guys against girls. 
SO CLOSE TO winning! But they just can't remember the last guy's name. :) 

 On-looking mothers. 
 rousing games of "Swat" for all ages. 


  We look back on both crusades with fond memories. However, there was disappointment in not being able to fully minister to the inmates as you we had hoped. It was also mentioned several times: "If we think we're disappointed, think of what the inmates are feeling!" But there are details the Lord knows that we don't. And He used the time for other ministry and teaching us things we weren't anticipating.  I'm so grateful our family was  able to be at both crusades! 


~Deborah 

Disclaimer: Please do not come to either of these events in the future with anticipation of game-playing and pizza-eating until crazy hours. :) There is some real ministry that goes on here. Our lives are always deeply effected by the crusades...as much as the inmate's lives. We don't have pictures of the prison services because one has to have special permission for such things. So, if all you see is pictures of game-playing...just understand we don't go to these things to party. :) 

*Several of the WeCare Crusade pictures were given to me by Miss Chelsy Renee