We had a very nice weekend+ at the meetings in Rhinelander in June. I will write a little about them.
Rhinelander is about 3 hours north of us, in the northwoods of Wisconsin. The area is generously speckled with lakes...so many lakes that they number some of them, I think. There is a little fellowship up there which we esteem highly. About twice a year, they host special meetings. The summer one is aimed towards young people.
The main draw is the preaching. There is no water-skiing or climbing walls at this gathering. There is also a high proportion of parents. The food is provided by the fellowship there, and it is wonderful too! Home-fixed and nutritious, with the possible exception of lots of yummy cookies which we suspect are single-handedly prepared by Pauline Whittaker!
We were really thankful to get to go this year, as Joy Clark, a friend of some friends, was speaking to the young ladies. A former missionary to Ghana, Joy shared some really valuable lessons learned in her 30+ years as a single woman. Challenged as a young girl by a family friend who told her "Joy, your name is Joy, but you're not doing too good at showing it!", she delved into the Bible to learn some important things that God says about contentment and joy. It was really a good message for all of us, single or not. Joy spent a lot of time with various young ladies throughout the weekend. We really enjoyed visiting with her and hearing about the old days...
The other main messages were very good. I don't know if they coordinated them in advance, but they all complemented one another very nicely.
We showed up a little late to the first meeting, Thursday night, to hear Roy Daniel ( son of Keith and Jenny Daniel of South Africa) discussing evidence for a young earth from Mt. St Helens! Wow -- its only one of our favorite creation evidences! Roy is a single man of 25 who really loves the Lord. He also had a good message on family life, which included the statement "When they're 18 is not in the Bible" or something like that. This is addressing the arbitrary setting of 18 as the time when young people can do whatever they please, because "now they are adults." (Reality check: those who determine to follow Jesus are supposed to do whatever HE wants, not whatever THEY want, right?) The 18 idea is exactly what Dave shared in our "Don't Shoot Yourself in the Foot" message at the Wisconsin homeschool conference this spring, so the girls and I were majorly elbowing each other during that juncture.
There is the world's idea that you learn leadership and independence (dependence on God, rather) through trial and error, just jumping in, making your own mistakes, etc. Then there is the Bible's idea that humility and servanthood are prerequisites for godly leadership.
Brandon Martin had a good message on how the family priorities of youth are indicators of spiritual maturity and growth. Rather than rushing out the door to "serve the Lord", we should be serving our family in the home first. I think it was he, or someone, who brought up the verse about "corban". Jesus rebuked those who neglected serving their parents because they were too busy "serving God".
Timothy had a very convicting message about how young people raised in a Christian home, because they have had so much opportunity to hear the gospel, would be accountable for that to God. Kind of like "To whom much is given, much will be required."
The accommodations at the Whittakers are always first rate. We slept in Abigail and Pauline's room, which has a very comfy bed, as well as two huge windows open to the south. So it was no problem waking at 3:30 AM every morning, as that was sun-up! We intended to weed some of Jackie's vigorously growing garden, to earn our keep, until our hostess-ettes got out the arsenal of trucks and dolls! Our little ones were just barely getting over their fear of huge dogs, when one came in for the night scented with SKUNK. He was temporarily banished, and I have to confess, Gideon and Sammy were not too sympathetic. (The goldfish, however, probably enjoyed the distance that the fear of Queenie kept them from his tank.)
I wish we could have brought our digital camera, so we could share some smiling faces and show off the new crop of babies! We left it at home to document the kitchen remodel. We did get some video footage, primarily greetings to the folks we left at home. Ben Wissel blessed us with an impromptu diesel primer. Every little bit helps. I enjoyed finally meeting the mother of the Bale family, Terri, a very sweet sister. We got to chat with the Dewings, whom we hope to have come visit us soon (hint hint)! We also got to have some nice farewell visits Monday on our way out, as the remodeling crew encouraged us to take our time. We played an the park and lunched with Alicia Whittaker, Rachel Conjurske, and their charges. They have such a heart for orphans; may the Lord grant them the desire of their hearts! Lastly, we stopped in to see the Brainards, under the ruse of picking up our bug spray (which we failed to do!). Sammy, Gideon and Susanna especially liked playing and getting chased by Roy D. who was still at their home. "Come and play with the African!" he tells them. (Didn't have the heart to tell him that they really think he's Austraillian!)
We trust the Lord really worked through the messages and testimonies shared and we are hoping to get the recordings of these talks so we can share them with the kitchen remodeling crew who had to stay home. Maybe they can send some of Pauline's cookies too!