Category Archives: Family News

Report and Pictures

(I wrote the below paragraphs on the final leg of our trip Sunday afternoon.)

A friendly wave from a passing vehicle prompted me to begin this blog post. Dad observes many people reading the verse on the side of our trailer. We have received numerous positive honks and waves from people throughout this trip. The only “thumbs down” that was given to us was promptly followed by a “thumbs up” in the next vehicle! It is such a blessing to be boldly identified with Jesus.

I wanted to quickly update on our last two stops. Our hosts in Chicago were very gracious, and they even had a scrumptious dinner for us. After almost every conference, people will offer to help us pack up and carry things out to the van. It’s a blessing, as packing out isn’t a quick job! We arrived in Wausau a little after three Friday afternoon. Even though it was our latest arrival at a weekend conference for set up, the boys were able to get everything done in time, plus have some time to practice. Our hosts blessed us by bringing a taco dinner to the hotel. Yumm.


(Help with set up :-)!)

The girls do a great job with setting up the book tables. (Below)


The Wausau conference was a little different than our others in that it was held at a conference center attached to a hotel. We are immensely grateful to the anonymous family who paid for the rental of the conference center. You blessed many families with this weekend. May fruit abound to your account (Philippians 4:17). Anna, Mary, and Joseph sang a new song during our music hour, and it went well. Quite a few families drove distances to come to this conference, and with the hotel being right there, many families stayed at the hotel. Hearts were very receptive to the message shared.



(Dad speaking to the fathers and sons.)


(Mom speaking to the moms and daughters.)

As this trip is wrapped up, our hearts are full of gratefulness to the Lord. This month was not spent in vain. We were blessed over and over by so many people. We pray that the Lord will bring forth eternal fruit from this trip. One father shared with my dad recently that his son, after listening to Christopher’s Success or Failure session, excitedly told his dad, “We have a lot of changes we need to make when we get home!”

Only for Jesus,


This is a picture Christopher took from our hotel room in Chesapeake of the packing out process.


Remember right before the trip we planted grass and put straw down? We were very excited to see a beautiful, green lawn upon our arrival home. Praise the Lord for a lawn :-)!

Some Interesting Trivia About Our Trip

We arrived safely home last night! Thank you for your prayers. We’ll update on the last two conferences in a later post. For now, here’s some trivia about this last month.

  • We added four new states to our list of states we’ve been to.
  • We also added one new province (Ontario).
  • It takes up to three hotel cart loads (plus many hand loads of miscellaneous things that don’t go on the cart) to pack into and out of a hotel.
  • Approximately ninety cartloads of our luggage brought in and out of hotels.
  • An unnamed person’s luggage was dreaded because of its weight. It actually had to be repacked part way through the trip to relieve the weight.
  • You can tell you’re not from the south (just hicks from Kansas), when, upon talking to the hotel clerk, she tells you about the “Cornin Company” being in the area. I told her I’d never heard of that company, and I wondered what they do. Her response was something like: “I’m not really sure, but they do dishes and such.” Oh, she meant CorningWare. Now I get it.
  • You are in and out of so many different hotel rooms, that, upon going to the front desk to get more towels, and the clerk inquires as to what room you are in, and you can’t remember, you’re suspected of being a “towel thief.”
  • When the hotel manager saw how many of us there were, he changed one of the rooms we were going to be in, and gave us a very large room. It was great as we had plenty of rooms for the two that were in sleeping bags.
  • The towels in our hotel rooms aren’t enough for nine of us, so inevitably, someone has to go and get more. One of the boys decided to use his Spanish skills, and he asked the Spanish-speaking maid for “quince towellas”. She looked at him quizzically and contemplated her cart. She took the boys back to the laundry room (and they were wondering why there wasn’t enough on her cart, but maybe she needed them for the next room she was cleaning, they thought) and grabbed a huge pile of towels and placed them in their arms. At that point, both the maid and the boys realized they had a misunderstanding. They had meant to say “cinco” (5), instead of “quince.” (15)
  • We only ate at three fast food restaurants.
  • Only one rest area was stopped at in over 4000 miles.
  • At least one hundred and seventy hand-truck loads of books and tubs brought in and out for the conferences.
  • We stayed in fifteen different places.
  • We spent the month of September and the first week of October in the North (even going into Canada), and except for a few slight exceptions, the temperatures stayed in the 70’s and 80’s. Deodorant and laundry soap were necessary items.
  • We began and ended the trip driving through heavy rain.
  • When we had our Canadian experience at the famous Tim Horton’s, a lady working there commented after serving up our chili that she had never dished up so much chili before!
  • Over two hundred capsules of Zicam cold remedy were consumed on this trip.
  • An incredible testimony to God’s grace is the fact that Dad and Mom never came down with a cold!!! What a blessing!

Only for Jesus,

Losing track of what day it is!

We have only two more stops left on this trip. As Mom shared in a recent post, we are so grateful to many people who have generously shared with us.

Our conference in Norfolk was a true blessing. After our first song, Dad introduced the family and encouraged everyone to relax and let the children enjoy the music. After a few songs, a group of little girls (2-3 year olds) gathered down front to our right, and in sheer delight and enthusiasm, skipped and bounced around in a circle, holding hands.

We gave The Christ-Led Family Conference last weekend, which is a somewhat deeper message than our normal ones. We were grateful for all the families that took the time out of their weekend to attend. We even saw a few familiar faces from previous conferences in years past.

Every conference Christopher has been giving his Evangelism session for the young people. After his session, he lets the young people take home several tracts. When he gave it Saturday, he didn’t have his box of tracts with him, and so after the business workshop we did together, Christopher told the young people that they could come up front and get the tracts. At that moment I wished I would have had my camera with me. It was such an incredible sight to see forty or more young people crowding together to pick out some tracts.

Saturday evening, a family had blessed us with dinner that we took back to our hotel. It was a wonderful time unwinding after the conference. Sunday morning, we “joined” our church back at home. Nathan called us on his cell phone, and we put the hotel phone on speaker. It was special to be a part of the service, even from such a long distance. We spent the afternoon resting. That evening, Dad took us down to the ocean, and we spent about an hour walking along the sandy beach as the sun set. It reminded us of the time we had spent in South Carolina in 2001 where a family had graciously given us two nights to stay at their beach house in January. We finished the evening with our family time in God’s Word back at the hotel.

Our conference in Abingdon last night went well. After we arrived and worked on our different areas of set up, the conference coordinator and two other ladies had dinner ready. These ladies had prepared a wonderful dinner of salad, lasagna, bread, and cookies. The table was creatively decorated, and they had even made it so we could eat together. We, again, felt very blessed.

Many people showed up for the conference early to browse the book tables. I think the cutest scene I saw last night was a little boy, maybe three years of age, saying good-bye to Mary, and he had the sweetest smile on his face as he stood there. He continued to stand there, with the cutest expression, until his daddy came for him.

We’ve seen several babies on this trip that are the same age Susannah Joy would have been. Thank you for those who continue to pray for Nathan and Melanie. It means so much to them and us to know that people remember and are praying!

We’ll be doing a conference in the Chicago area tomorrow night (Thursday), and then on to Wausau, Wisconsin for our final weekend conference for the year!

We continue to covet your prayers as the trip winds down. I can’t tell you how much we have been blessed to meet so many of you!

Only for Jesus,



I took these pictures Sunday night while we were at the ocean.

Day #18 – Hartford Area, Connecticut

Hello from the beautiful state of Connecticut! We need to give an update on our last two conferences.

We drove 700+ miles from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Poughkeepsie, New York on Wednesday. When we arrived in Poughkeepsie, our Mapquest directions took us to downtown Poughkeepsie, which well, wasn’t the area where we were expecting our hotel. We called the hotel and were able to successfully find our way out of downtown to the hotel.

The conference coordinator for Thursday evening’s conference had pizzas for dinner and salad. We all enjoy pizza, and the salad was a nice touch, since we miss salad on the road. It was great!

I am very grateful to all who prayed for my voice Thursday evening. I wasn’t sure if my voice was going to hold out to be able to give the workshop. I asked Anna if she would help me with the workshop, and she graciously agreed. As I started Womanhood, I felt my voice wasn’t going to make it. Then, as the time progressed, it was amazing; my voice actually got better! I can only attribute the change to prayer! By the next morning, I was feeling better overall, and I believe it was an answer to my dad’s prayer, who, unbeknownst to me, had prayed that Mary and I would feel better the next morning.

On weekend conferences, our family gives an hour of music and testimonies. Since we don’t have time for that on the single-evening conferences, we do three songs at the end of Keeping Our Children’s Hearts. The response from our listeners is very positive, and we enjoy encouraging families in this way.

Friday morning, we drove to Rhode Island. John says that you can’t nap while driving through Rhode Island, otherwise you might miss it! RI is a very pretty state. We arrived at lunchtime and unloaded our luggage at the hotel. We spent the afternoon at the church setting up music and the book tables. I included some photos of our setup and practice time below.

The Rhode Island conference coordinators and their volunteers had undertaken to provide Friday evening dinner and Saturday breakfast and lunch for attendees. All three meals were excellent, and they put forth much effort to bless those who came. We are grateful for all their work! They even sent us away with lots of food.

The conference went quite smoothly. The boys work to make sure that Dad and Mom are taken care of for each session. Anna again assisted in my session, for which I was very grateful, as I still needed her help with my cold.

We are so blessed when we meet families who have been greatly impacted by the ministry. What a joy. Dad shared with us on the drive to the hotel Friday evening, that families like that make it all worth it.

Saturday night, we drove to a family’s house in Connecticut. We enjoyed the pretty drive: sometimes seeing water inlets lined with trees. We are actually staying in this gracious family’s home! Several months ago they offered us the use of their house, and they were going to stay with a relative for these three days. After we arrived, they showed us around their house, and they had dinner waiting on the table for us. It was incredible. We are so blessed by having a day and a half to rest and be ready for the last two weeks of conferences.

We are looking forward to the conference in Connecticut this evening.

Only for Jesus,


Jesse, tuning Mom’s guitar.



I was talking with two of the ladies who had helped to coordinate the conference. One of their sons (on my left), helped me with some set up.


Anna was helping the boys with the sound system. Remember how we said the boys had done something different last week? Well, what Anna is holding is a part of that new thing :-).


Practicing some songs.


Day #12 – We’re now in Indianapolis, Indiana

The border crossing to Canada went very smoothly. I had worked to get all the paperwork done I thought we needed to import our books into Canada. The paperwork was approved, and without an inspection of our trailer, they sent us on our way!

This weekend’s conference was such a blessing. It’s always a job to set up for our music, but Joseph, John, and Jesse had worked diligently Friday afternoon. The boys tried a new technique for setting up the sound for suppressing feedback. We felt the sound quality was the best we’ve had yet.

Saturday’s first sessions involved one for the moms, another for the dads, another for the young ladies, and another for the young men. Christopher and I are excited to be able to share with young people in each city. The group Saturday morning seemed quite attentive. One thing I enjoy at each conference is seeing the mommies with their babies. Truly children are a gift from the Lord!

We talked to several families who had driven up to five hours to come to the conference. We are so grateful to each of you who took your weekend to come to the conference. We pray the Lord blesses your family.

We woke up early yesterday morning to get on the road. Coming back into the US was very smooth. We made it 830 miles to our hotel in Indianapolis!

Thank you to everyone for your prayers. Truly, we have felt them. This past week, we had two close encounters with almost being hit by a semi-truck. In one case, the driver was talking on a cell phone, and the only place for us to have gone was a cement wall. We are grateful for the Lord’s protection.

On a side note, we did notice some differences in being in Canada versus the United States. One that was rather trivial, but stood out, was the black squirrels! YES! They are actually black. After our raising of Chippy and Chester, we have a special interest in squirrels. It was hard to imagine a squirrel could be black, and although they were cute, Chester is cuter :-).

Five stops down, twelve to go!

Only for Jesus,


Little boy in with his parents at one of our conferences!


A group of some of us girls after the Canada Conference.


Breathtaking scenery as we crossed a bridge over Thousand Islands.


The guys loaded up all the books we left at someone’s house in New York, since we only brought a number of books we thought we’d need in Canada.

God Provides

(This is a summary of Watertown, New York, which was last Thursday. Sarah will be posting on Canada soon.)

Our MapQuest directions to the church from our hotel told us to go north on a road that runs east and west. We pulled into a parking lot, saw an employee walking out to the mailboxes, and asked her directions. She paused a long time, and finally said, “I’m heading that way in a couple of minutes, if you’d like to follow me.” After she led us through a maze of construction and roads, we realized why she paused trying to figure out how to tell us to get there. God provided just what we needed to help us just when we needed it.

Although Watertown, New York, is a relatively small town compared to some cities in which we speak, the coordinator did a great job of publicity, because we had a very good-sized group. We were also privileged to meet some friends whom we have known long-distance for several years in addition to new friends as well.

Trusting in Jesus,