After the grueling day Monday of weeding and cleaning out the debris in the labyrinth at Camp Sumatanga, the work continued Tuesday morning. It was more of the same – weeding and cleanup and digging up rocks marking the trail that had, over time, become buried in the dirt. It was amazing the improvement by the end of the day. We finally had the entire labyrinth revealed. A couple of us actually walked the entire path and found it is ½ mile walk to the center and back out. There was also more grass cutting and bush hogging. Three of the ladies also began creating a sign for the labyrinth. Wednesday after working on the labyrinth until mid-afternoon, we celebrated the completion of the labyrinth and the installation of the sign. It was very much a team effort with the entire team contributing to the effort. We are very pleased with the outcome. We are praying that people who visit the labyrinth will find a place to pray and meditate and leave with a closer relationship with our Lord. There was also more general landscaping, mowing, and other work done each day.
Thursday the pastor at Gary and Sharon’s church in Snead, AL came for our morning devotion and served the team communion. It was a sweet time. Thursday we also cleaned out the kitchen in the lodge of out-of-date food and did some cleaning. Then in the afternoon we returned all the tools, mowers and the tractor to the maintenance shed. Sumatanga provided a wonderful barbeque lunch for us at the pavilion.
Some of the team members left Thursday after lunch and the rest left today. As we were preparing to leave today the incoming camp director came by to thank us for our work at the camp. Please pray for him and his family as they bring the camp back out of COVID hibernation.
Friday morning we were up early to drive to Cullman. As most of you know this is where Anne worked before we retired. We had to have fasting lab work so we wanted to get an early start so we could have some breakfast. After getting blood drawn we went to one of Anne’s favorite places – Duchess Bakery. A few months ago there was a news story on one of the TV stations on the closure of Duchess. We were really happy to find when we returned home that someone had purchased the shop along with all the recipes. This was our first chance to visit under the new ownership. The new owners are doing GREAT! They changed the chocolate iced bavarian long johns to milk chocolate and it was so good. The doughnut holes are better than under the previous ownership. We think there are better than Krispy Kreme and that is really saying something in our book. So, while on a sugar high, we ran errands and brought groceries on the way back home.
Saturday was a cooking and laundry rainy day. Hurricane Delta was coming through and we had lots of rain. Fortunately be the time it reached north Alabama we had very little wind. We did a little work and watched a good movie. A relaxing day. Sunday we again went into Oneonta to worship at Lester Memorial and then returned to camp. Gary cooked us up some really good barbeque ribs Sunday afternoon with the rest of the team furnishing various sides. Every thing was so good! It’s still seems strange to socially distance at team meals but we make it work.
Today it was back to work. Gary, Gene, Stel and Jodi spent the morning taking down a fence. Max and Phil completed the repairs to the children’s playground while the rest of the team began the work of reclaiming the prayer labyrinth that is just off the lake trail. The labyrinth was extremely overgrown to the point we really couldn’t locate some of the rocks marking the path. We made good progress today but still have a long way to go. It was a tiring day, but good.
It’s been another busy, beautiful week at Camp. The leaves are beginning to turn but have a ways to go before we have full color. The temperatures are definitely fall-like. We have had the fireplace on a few mornings to take the chill off Fred. We are expecting some rain and possible storms this weekend as Delta passes by but it now looks like we will miss the worst. We will be prepared for what ever comes.
So what have we accomplished this week. The camp looks like a different place. There was an amazing amount of grass cut, low limbs removed from trees, string trimmer work, and debris removal. We lost count on the number of truck loads of debris taken to the dump. All five retreat centers now look great. We also cleaned and cut around the log cabin and made it part way down the lake trail. All the grass along the road sides, soccer field, and around the tennis courts was cut and trimmed. Both fire pit swing circles where also cleaned out and now look so nice. Wish we had gotten before pics on all this work but really would hate for people to see just how bad things looked. We also took the team on a tour of the entire camp. We opened the lodge, Hutto auditorium, McKinney, the log cabin and the retreat centers for everyone to see. They had already worked at Pool Camp and up to the top of the mountain to the Chapel and Cross. Today Max and Phil worked in the play ground beside our campground. There was a damaged slide that really could have hurt a child and it is now safe again. We know it is safe because Phil tried it out for us – and not just once. He wanted to be sure it was safe. It was a busy week. A good week at camp! Even though we haven’t had the usual construction projects to complete this time, we have certainly completed tasks that the camp really needed someone to tackle. Not glamorous work but much needed work. Great work team! Hope everyone has a great and safe weekend.
We have been having picture perfect fall weather here in North Alabama. Saturday was a relaxing day with some work, some play. We cooked our meals for the week. Anne enjoyed watching the Alabama ball game and we got some good exercise. Sunday was of course worship at Lester Memorial and a quick trip home to pick up the mail and enjoy a beautiful fall afternoon. Today it was back to work. First Mary Ann led us in a devotion titled “The Green Lifesaver” and of course gave us all a Lifesaver. We didn’t all get red ones but we will think of her devotion every time we see Lifesavers.
It was a very physical day. We worked with Mary and Phil on the Retreat Center today. We moved furniture outside to get some sunshine. They are having a little mildew problem so we will be cleaning some furniture and it began with some sun. We also cleaned the gutters and trimmed the bushes. We are very tired tonight. Others worked on landscaping and used the weed trimmer by the lake. Some moved the tables and chairs and garbage from the Chapel back to the lodge and cut grass. It was a great day to be working outside. Hope you had a good start to your week!