On The Way to Mississippi

Saturday, September 23, 2017

We were up at 6:00 preparing the rig to travel today. Anne went to Middle Amana to pick up our order from the bakery. So good! Cinnamon rolls, bread, cinnamon bread and chocolate chip cookies. Yep that’s why we gain weight on these trips. Got to get back to work. On the way back there was a beautiful view of the sunrise. Gorgeous start to the day. While Anne was out and about Max dumped holding tanks and got the coach almost ready to roll.

After enjoying our cinnamon rolls it was time for our last “goodbyes”, “see you down the roads” and then we were on the road again. We left at 8:50 headed south with plans to make it to southern Missouri today. From Amana we drove back through Tiffin. Should Tiffin Motor Homes have their home office be in Tiffin, Iowa? I’m pretty sure Mr. Tiffin would say no, especially since he doesn’t like cold weather. But it would be sort of cool. It would be too far for us to go for service, so guess they better stay in Red Bay.

Mark Twain statue in Hannibal, MO
A bad picture of a Mark Twain statue in Hannibal, MO

We were very thankful that we started the day with almost no wind. We did have a little wind this afternoon but nothing like yesterday. We drove US 218 and US 61 to I-70 to I-270 around St Louis, then on I-55 and are spending the night at the very nice Missouri welcome center near mile marker 40 tonight. We could have driven further but we are going to Jackson, Ms tomorrow and don’t want to get there too early so this was a good stopping place. Supper of chicken salad in the rest areaWe had chicken salad (made by Max) and watermelon for supper and are settled in for a quiet night we hope.


Last Day in Amana

Friday, September 22, 2017

NOMADS pulling out
Many of our NOMAD friends pulled out of the RV park today.

Today was a sunny and hot. There was also a hot, dry wind. Glad we weren’t driving the rig today like many of our NOMADS friends were. The crosswind would have made for a long day. We hope to head south in the morning and hopefully before the wind whips back up.

Today we went to the Hahn’s Hearth Oven Bakery in Middle Amana at 7:00 expecting to be there in time to get what ever we wanted. WRONG! We got the last 2 cinnamon rolls and there was no bread. The cinnamon rolls were excellent and we placed an order for tomorrow. She said she would have them ready by 6:00 so we won’t be late leaving. They also bake excellent bread which we ordered. Mrs. Hahn, the baker, bakes bread for the restaurant where we have eaten twice since being here. She baked seventy loaves for them today. She uses the only original hearth oven still in operation in Amana Colonies to bake her breads, cookies and sweet rolls. Very sweet lady who really knows how to bake.

After arriving back to the RV park we discovered that our friends Darryl and Mary Alice had RV troubles. Max went to work trying to determine the problem. It seemed to be an electrical problem. Darryl got the help desk for his rig on the phone, but that didn’t get much help. Max and Mike kept working and finally Max found a 175 amp fuse that was bad. One of the things that makes solving electrical problems in RVs so hard is that they have fuses everywhere. Sometimes like today they seem to be in very random places. Fortunately, we had a 200 amp fuse that would work so Darryl could now raise his night shades so he could see out the windshield and side windows to drive. It also got his steps working again. Mike and Ruth were going to follow behind Darryl and Mary Alice to be sure they made it home okay.

NCSML signAfter we got cleaned up from that, we picked up Cheryl (only about 1 ½ hour late – sorry) to go to the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids. There was a Chihuly Venetian exhibit we wanted to see as well as the permanent Czech exhibits. Cheryl’s grandparents were from Czechoslovakia so she was interested in some of her history and was able to talk to someone in the library about how to gather more information. The Venetians were incredible. The chandelier was composed of 1500 individual pieces of glass that arrived in 1500 individual boxes that were made specifically for the particular piece of glass. The curator at the museum then assembles the chandelier sculpture with no instructions. No two exhibitions of the piece are the same. The order of the arrangement of the pieces of glass is always different. Pretty amazing. So glad we got to go to the museum.

We returned home after a short stop at the local Walmart to resupply. We started putting away the inside items for travel tomorrow. Then at 5:00 we went to dinner with some of the NOMADS that are still here. Most everyone pulled out today but there were about 24 or 26 of us that went back in to Amana for dinner at the Ox Yoke Inn. It was another good meal and better fellowship. We will be heading south fairly early tomorrow. Please pray for safe travel for us and our NOMADS friends.

NOMADS Annual Meeting Winds to a Close

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Today was another busy day at Amana, Iowa. The weather was nice – didn’t get nearly as hot as predicted since it was cloudy early in the day. It was hot this afternoon when the clouds burned off, but there was such a strong wind it didn’t seem quite so hot.

Thursday morning devotionAgain our schedule was basically the same with Bible study, worship, business meeting then seminars. Worship today was very good. Rev. Bill Poland, assistant to the Bishop of Iowa brought the message, which was excellent, and then served communion. Scripture basis was John 13, 1-17. He shared his personal testimony and then reminded us that if we don’t love our enemies we will soon become like them. Jesus doesn’t give us the choice of who we love. He loves us all and likewise we are to do the same. Very powerful service.

Announcing the 2018 Memphis Annual Meeting
Announcing the 2018 Memphis Annual Meeting

We spent time this afternoon planning next year’s NOMADS Annual Meeting. Next year the Southeastern Jurisdiction is responsible for the meeting – which means us. It will be in Memphis and work actually began 2 years ago when the site was chosen but now the detailed preparations will be started in earnest. It takes a lot of work to host this event. Fortunately, it appears a good number of our southeastern members are volunteering to help. Some good ideas today.

Tonight was a “Classic Iowa Reunion Feast.” It was a wonderful meal of grilled pork chops, roast beef, potatoes, carrots, green beans, salad, fruit, and peach and apple cobbler with ice cream. It was a feast indeed. After the meal the choir gave a wonderful concert. Don’t know how they sang after that meal, but sing they did. Then it was over. The 2017 annual meeting was over. We started helping clean up the hall and saying all our goodbyes and ”see you down the road”. NOMADS is family and it’s hard to say good bye. Some of these friends we will work with next week and next month but some we won’t see again until next annual meeting in Memphis. Safe travels everyone. See you down the road.

Almost forgot to tell you. The Love Auction raised $56,900.00, all of which will go to purchase necessary supplies to support disaster relief work, and work at children homes, church camps churches and community outreach. These people are amazing since we only had about 300 people attending this meeting. Extravagant giving. Extravagant love. In addition to raising money to support projects, we also collected over 400 pairs of black shoes to send to Mexico where the children can not attend school without black shoes. We also made over 200 school supply bags. That means cutting out and sewing the bags and then filling them with notebooks, pencils, colors, eraser, and other items.  These will be taken to Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Chatham, IL to be shipped anywhere in the world they are needed.  We had 20 sewing machines to do that job.  Thank you God for a wonderful week, and the opportunity to serve you with this incredible group of people.

Classes Begin

Wednesday, September 20 ,2017

What a difference a day makesWhat a difference a day makes! Today we had a really nice sunrise and pretty day. It was quite warm with a high of 87 which is unusually high for this late in September, according to the TV news. Tomorrow is predicted high of 90. This may break their record high. We have been watching the weather in Alabama and the Amana weather is about the same as Alabama. How bizarre is that? We thought we would be enjoying some cool fall temperatures while here but no such luck. Oh well. It’s still been nice.

Today we had the same morning schedule as the previous two days. Light breakfast, Bible study, worship. Today’s message was give by a pastor from Iowa who used Matthew 28:18 for the scriptural foundation. He shared some alarming statistics about the decline of the Christian faith, stating we are declining by one half with each successive generation. That type of decline should serve as a wake up call. The church has got to wake up and be the church. We must get serious about being God’s people and doing God’s work. He told us that in years past regular church attendance was considered 3 out of 4 Sundays a month. Now many seem to consider regular attendance one Sunday per month. Do we not care? Are we so self centered that we don’t care that others don’t know of the love of Jesus Christ? That certainly is not the attitude of a Christ follower.

After worship we had another business meeting with reports by various committees. The focus was really on the promotions committee. Since so many people still have never heard of NOMADS, we are working to get more visibility and awareness. Our administrator reported that we have had a record number of volunteer hours worked this year. We don’t have the exact number yet but have surpassed previous years. Yea, NOMADS! However, we know there are still so many unmet needs, so much else to be done (refer back to statistic given during the message today). That’s why it is so important that we also work to promote awareness of NOMADS and recruit new members. We have about 100 members each year that have to move to alumni status due to health or other problems, so we have to recruit 100 new members each year just to stay stable. It’s a challenge.

Today was also the start of our two days of educational seminars. Today, Anne attended a laminate floor installation class while Max went to the electrical class. Yes, we done laminate installation and a good deal of electrical work but we usually learn something in these classes. We both attended the disaster rebuild (DR) leader training as a refresher and to share with the people who are interested in becoming leaders. We always pick up some new ideas listening to others. We know that if we just pick up one thing that will help us be better leaders, it is worth our time to attend the session. There was also a session on the new background checks that we will now be having every four years.

After sessions we over, tonight we had a Potluck (pitch-in, covered dish) with fourteen people at each table. We were each assigned main dish, bread, salad, side, or dessert with 2 of each category so there was lots of food at each table. We shared with our table of 14. We all ate way too much, but it was all so good. After dinner we had a concert present by the The Browns. They are an Iowan farm family who have been singing and playing professionally, full time, for 17 years. It was a very energetic fun performance, with some Christian music, and some secular. Three (2 brothers, 1 sister, youngest 21 years old) played the violin and guitar and one (the mom) was only vocals. Dad drives the RV. One of the seminars today was a line dancing class so The Browns played three songs for the class to line dance. It was a fun evening. One more day tomorrow, then Friday morning we will have our closing session. Already dread saying goodbye.

Auction Tuesday

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

foggy morningThis morning was very, very foggy. According to the news there was a horrible wreck due to the fog, with at least one fatality. Fortunately all our meetings are in pavilions here at the campground so no one had to get out on the roads. The fog didn’t burn off until late morning. By mid-afternoon it was warm and sunny again.

Again today we started the day with some pastries, juice, and coffee, then our Bible study on angels. After a short break we again had our worship time.  Morning devotional was a lesson on Martin Luther and church reformationToday we had music and praise and then a presentation on Martin Luther as we look toward the 500th anniversary next month of Luther’s posting of his 95 theses, starting the Protestant Reformation. It was an educational and thought provoking presentation.  After that was a welcome and presentation on the Amana Colonies by the curator of the Amana Heritage Museum. We learned a lot more about the Colonies and how they transitioned from communal living. After some house keeping items and a little business, we moved into the main event of the day and an important part of the annual meeting of NOMADS.

Each year we have a charity auction which is really just a fun way to raise money to support our projects. There is a silent auction and a live auction. We all bring items, usually new but some lightly used items, food items, handcrafted items, anything we think might raise some money. We then select a few to use for the live auction and the remaining are available in the silent auction. So really we are just selling all this stuff to ourselves. Today two quilts sold for $1,000.00 each and a watermelon sold for $250.00. The person who bought it cut it in half and then auctioned half again and got another $150.00. It’s radical extravagant giving. Tomorrow we will find out how much money we raised this year. The highest ever was over $50,000.00. Last year was over $30,000.00. All auction funds are used to give grants to agencies to help cover some of the costs of materials we use on projects, either regular 3 week projects or disaster rebuilds. You see, NOMADS not only give of their time and energy and gifts to build and repair things for people in need, but also give of their money. An amazing group of people. We feel honored to be a member.

A geocache hidden in plain sight
We went for a short ride this afternoon and found a few caches. This one was really difficult. 🙂

Tonight we had a jam session. Various members shared their talents, singing, playing an instrument, telling stories etc. It was a fun, relaxed time to just have fun together. Another great day!!

Amana Monday

Monday, September 18, 2017

Morning Bible studyIt was a cool, clear, morning, 50 degrees. Everyone had on jackets when we went to Bible Study. But before that our hospitality committee had breakfast snacks and coffee and juice for everyone. This year our Bible Study is on angels and led by a fellow NOMAD who is a retired pastor. Today he talked in general about angels, as an introduction. Tomorrow we will look at what the Old Testament teaches about angels, Wednesday, New Testament, and Thursday the Angelic Rebellion. We should learn something and I suspect our leader will challenge us and make us think. Not a bad thing. The Bible Study was at 7:00. At 8:00 we moved to the larger pavilion and had about 15 minutes of singing. Then 8:15-8:55 was our devotion led by Rev. Kiboko Kiboko, one of the Iowa District Superintendents. He is from the Congo and delivered a compelling devotion based on Matthew 4:18 where Jesus is calling the disciples. Jesus calls us to “follow me and do the same as I do.” Rev. Kiboko told us the story of his brother who was imprisoned in the Congo for calling for justice for a woman who was shot because she protested against the government. Excellent devotion.

It was then time for everyone to go on the various sightseeing tours available while the auction committee worked to get everything ready for tomorrows auction. People brought their items to the main pavilion throughout the day. We didn’t plan on any of the morning tours so after getting our items to the auction committee, did laundry, took a nap and visited with friends. We had scheduled an afternoon tour but did not do that either, rather we rode bikes into Amana and picked up a few items, and did a little geocaching.

Tonight was movie night with popcorn and watching Field of Dreams. Everyone seemed to have a good time and now it’s time for bed. 7:00am will come early.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

It rained most of the night with wind blowing. The rain was much needed as they are way short on rain here.  The wind was still blowing this morning making it seem much cooler than the 62 degrees on the outside thermometer. It remained cloudy and windy until about 11:00. Then it was sunny and back to short sleeves. Tonight as soon as the sun started down it was long sleeves again. Right now at 9:00 pm it’s down to 56. Guess it’s going to be fireplace weather in the morning.

NOMADS Morning WorshipToday we had worship with all the NOMADS in one of the pavilions here at the campground. Our friends Larry and Joan brought a message came from Ezekiel, the dry bones story. It was a wonderful message and service. It is so great to worship with all our NOMADS friends. We then went to lunch with friends and potential NOMADS. We had a meeting with the experienced team leaders this afternoon to received some updated policies from the Board and to discuss any problems any of the leaders have had recently. Otherwise it was a restful afternoon. Tonight was our Celebration of Life Service remembering the 15 NOMADS members/alumni that have died this year. It was a very sweet service of remembrance. It was another wonderful day here in Iowa.