Last week Anne did a lot of work on the Aunts’ bills and finances and Max cut grass and worked at Aunt Helen’s. Thursday morning we went back to Camp Sumatanga to have a closing communion service with the NOMADS team we worked with last week. It was great to be able to see everyone again and say our “see you down the road’s” to everyone.
We we had our annual checkups on Friday and so far the reports have been good and we don’t have to return until next year. After our MD appointments in Cullman, we drove on up to Athens, AL – almost into Tennessee – to stay the night at a local Boondockers Welcome site. Saturday morning we met the Lester Memorial Sleep in Heavenly Peace team at Athens First UMC. After we got all the tools, supplies and stations unloaded and set up the church fed us a wonderful breakfast before the Athens team joined us for another bed build. By about 12:00 we had 50 more beds built for children who currently have no bed. We were amazed at all the wonderful linens the Athens church donated as well. Really enjoyed meeting and making new friends from north Alabama.
After reloading the trucks and trailers for their trip back to Oneonta, we continued northwest to the Meriwether Lewis Campground on the Natchez Trace. This is a first come, first serve free campground. We were a little concerned about finding a spot on a Saturday but since we arrived about 2:00pm we still had a choice of great sites. The campground had several large sites and even more sites for tents or smaller rigs. It was great to be in a real campground in the woods again. We got to do some hiking Saturday afternoon and then again after a quiet peaceful night even more hiking Sunday morning after the Lester church service. Love time in the more rustic areas like the Trace. We visited the Grinder Stand and museum and the Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark) memorial and pioneer cemetery. Nicely done and informative.
Unfortunately, we then got a call from the nursing home informing us that Aunt Jean had passed away. We knew she wasn’t doing well but as of the end of the week she seemed to have stabilized at a lower level. We are glad that she is no longer struggling. She was 98 years old and certainly lived and exciting and adventurous life. Of course, after receiving the news on Jean we packed up and headed back to Alabama. We will pick up our Natchez Trace journey later. Yesterday we worked on taking care of Jean’s affairs and not sure what the rest of the week will bring. Aunt Helen is struggling since loosing her friend and roommate so we will stay close for now. Prayers appreciated.
So… to catch up since our last post. We made a quick road trip Sept 29-Oct 1 just for fun. We spent our first night in Ethridge, TN at Ike’s Amish Depot and General Store. This was a bit of a disappointment because when we checked, we understood everything would be open except for the produce stands across the highway from Ikes. On our arrival, most of the little shops and places to eat were closed. They are now open on Saturdays only. We never were given a definitive answer on if that is a permanent change or seasonal. Oh well, guess we will have to go back on a Saturday. We did see some beautiful Tennessee countryside, some interesting Amish farm equipment in use putting up hay, and an Amish produce auction house with some of the largest pumpkins we have ever seen. The owner of Ike’s came by when we were in his parking lot and opened his store. Many interesting antiques, and farm equipment. He also had some of the candy brands from the 1950s and 60s. For our NOMADS friends that were at annual meeting, he even sold Moxie and yes, we bought a bottle. We haven’t yet opened it for a taste. Ike’s is a Harvest Host location so we stayed overnight in his parking lot. It was neat to hear the sound of the Amish buggies with the clopping of the horses late into the night. The next day we returned to Alabama stopping overnight at Monte Sano State Park on the mountain above Huntsville. We are working to overnight at all the Alabama State Parks so this made one more marked off the list. Monte Sano has some nice hiking trails and we had a site on the ridge overlooking the city. Nice. It was a nice quiet night and the next day we returned to Pine Mountain.
We quickly did laundry and cleaning so that we could go to Camp Sumatanga on Sunday afternoon. NOMADS were working a three week project there and were a little short on workers so we decided to spend the week helping out. It was great to see some old friends and make some new NOMADS friends. Gary and Sharon as usual were great leaders. We were only there for the middle week of the project so we just tried to jump in and help out with what was already in progress. Anne worked with some of the ladies completing the window cleaning at Pool Camp cabins on Monday morning while Max worked with Gary replacing one of the signs at Pool Camp. The rest of the week we worked making repairs on the exterior of the Retreat Center buildings. It was great to be able to help the staff get some of their projects completed. We are hoping to return to camp for the closing devotion and communion Thursday. We always enjoy our time at Camp Sumatanga. Friday morning we returned to the mountain for a few days. We have some appointments next week and aren’t sure what we will do next. Hope everyone has a good weekend.
We just noticed that this post did not get published when we wrote it:
Sunday, September 26, 202
We left Elkhart as planned on Tuesday and drove as far south as Elizabethtown, KY. We drove in intermittent light rain and the trip was otherwise uneventful. We overnighted in a UMC parking lot after being given permission by the senior pastor. It was a quiet and restful night. From there we had the usual horrible traffic thru Nashville and then made our way back to Pine Mountain. We found everything at Helen’s as we left it except it was obvious there had been a lot of rain. That and a volunteer “kudzu like” watermelon vine growing across the driveway and out into the front yard. The vine was there before we left with number of blossoms but now the vine has taken over and we have four watermelons. We had to reposition the vines before we could park. All this, because Max tossed some seeds out after we ate some watermelon earlier in the summer. We doubt the melons will ever mature because we are already having a little cooler weather but….we will continue to watch.
The nursing home did allow us back into the facility to see the two Aunts, in spite of worsening COVID numbers. They have again had several staff and patients diagnosed with COVID. Out ladies are in a different part of the facility from the COVID patients and seem about the same.
Saturday our church had another bed build as part of the Sleep In Heavenly Peace ministry. Since we are in town, we were able to help with the build for the first time. Every other build has been when we were out of town. The group of about 45 volunteers built 34 beds from 8:00-11:00. That’s taking lumber, cutting it to proper sizes, sanding, all the way thru branding and staining the final bed. Pretty fast! Until Lester Memorial began this ministry, we had no idea the number of children that sleep on couches, chairs, and in the floor every night. Now we just have to wait for the mattresses to arrive. Another shortage since COVID – back-ordered mattresses. But as soon as they arrive SHP will schedule the deliveries of the beds and thirty-four more kids will have their own bed to sleep in. Next month the build will be in Athens, AL – right up on the AL/TN line. Great ministry!
It’s been a while since we communicated. We are both alive and well having survived a busy week at NOMADS Annual Meeting. A week ago Thursday evening was our executive meeting of NOMADS and then the full Board meeting was all day Friday. Those meetings kicked off a busy week. Saturday morning there were committee meetings for Anne and trail maintenance for Max. Sunday morning we all (around 200 NOMADS) worshiped together at the campground. We shared brats and hot dogs Sunday afternoon with our first time attenders and in the evening a memorial service for the 53 NOMADS who died over the past 2 years. We closed the day meeting with the auction committee as we began setting up for our charity auction. Beginning Monday, we had Bible Study, devotions, classes, meetings, wonderful dinners, and great entertainment from a gospel quartet and Christian comedian. We also had a fundraiser charity auction. We were busy from early to late with lots of fun and renewed friendships. Thursday our last dinner together was at the Bashor Children’s Home where the chef out did himself serving us a wonderful meal. The director of the home also shared the Bashor story with everyone and we are pretty sure every project at Bashor will be full within thirty minutes of becoming available on the website for a long time to come. Beautiful campus and staff that are passionate about helping their kids. They have also just built a beautiful new building that will be used for girls who have been victims of human trafficking. They are doing a good work and we as NOMADS are glad we can be a small part of their work! Thursday was also when Anne became the 2021-2022 Chairman of the Board of NOMADS. The next year should be pretty busy. Please remember to keep us in your prayers. Our NOMADS friends do great work serving God by serving others and is an honor for us to serve them in this way.
Oh, if you ever have the opportunity to see David Dean, a Christian comedian, grab the opportunity. He is great. We laughed so much and after almost 2 years of COVID, I think we all needed some extra laughter. After such a busy week we decided to stay in Elkhart for a few days to rest and catch up on some work. We will probably head back to Alabama on Tuesday. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!