Sunday, October 30, 2011

MBA Father-Son Campout 2011

I am not sure exactly how long this event has been going on but this is the second one that has taken place since we have been at the camp.  Chris Wilson from Willowbrook is in charge of organizing the event and lining up a missionary to speak every year.  This year we had Mark Busby who has been serving in Japan for 20 years. 

I spoke with Mark a few minutes, "Hey Mark, I heard you are from Sand Mountain?" 

He said, "Yeah that's right; you know something about the mountain?" 

I told him I'd  heard that there used to be some snake-handlers up there, and asked if there was any truth to that?  He grinned and told me that oh yeah, there were, but he was never in that group.  We had a laugh and then talked ministry for awhile.  He did a great job with the kids as the groups rotated in and out. 

The day started out rather iffy as at noon it was still raining at the camp and the Weathermen said it would be rather cold on Saturday morning.  I called Chris and he said things were still a go.  There were over 100 father/sons registered to come and while the weather did affect the attendance some, there were still a great turn-out as 88 showed up! 

One of the first ones to make it up was Sam Kelly with a truck full of equipment.  Sam is always prepared for whatever comes and is one of the most resourceful guys I know.  He is one who is out doing what needs to be done when everyone else is still thinking about what needs to be done. 

I am not sure how many churches were represented but my conversations revealed at least three different churches.  Right before supper I saw a familiar face from the Fire Department, Brant Maynard.  Brant is pretty good ol' boy and runs and owns an equipment place out on Highway 72.  I have heard good reports from those who do business there. 

The boys were divided into three groups when the day began on Saturday morning.  Each activity was about 30 minutes to an hour long.  There is the missionary group, the trail walk and then the events.  Under events there is an air rifle shoot, bow and arrow, slingshot and a hatchet throw.  Now the hatchet throw seemed to be the hardest one but I will say the guy in charge of this event was good, he could put an axe in the wood no matter how he threw it or from what distance...he reminded me of Grizzly Adams. 

The last event of the day, after lunch on Saturday, was some sort of pumpkin chunkin' contest.  There were two groups who'd built launchers and everyone gathered up in the top meadow to see which team could chunk their pumpkins the furtherest.  Denise and I rode up on Easy to check it out.

Originally we'd parked behind the launchers, but a friendly fellow came over and said we would probably be safer somewhere else.  He went on to add that he'd looked the launchers over pretty well and we really probably did want to move!

We went off to the side and watched.  The team got ready to shoot their pumpkin up in the air.  I had my camera poised, ready to catch that pumpkin mid-launch.

Huh.  Nothing but clear blue sky.  I wonder what happened to the pumpkin?  Oh . . . that's where it went.  And I think it actually rolled most of the way there!

Everyone seemed to have a good time and we are always glad to have them up.  It seems I missed the banjo picking and wash tub playing that went on late Friday night involving the missionaries.  Not sure this was a Japanese custom...must have come straight out of Sand Mountain!  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ladies SS Class from FBC Gurley

Todd and I made some fast and forever friends during our service at First Baptist Church Gurley, among them was a great group of senior ladies. We've kept in touch with them and they were terrific to us after the accident and brought meals and sent their love, prayers and encouragement. We wanted to have them up to the camp and have some fellowship with them, so we picked a Sunday afternoon that worked for everyone, and we scheduled a fish fry.

When the day came, Todd got a station set up for the prep and cooking area. We've gotten the stove up and running so there's now a pretty decent cook station at the upper end of the pavilion.

The day was beautiful. Though it wasn't sunny, it wasn't too cool and there was no wind.

The Camp is looking glorious now as Fall displays her wonderful color scheme.

At around 3:00 pm we heard a car coming up the drive . . .

Yep, they were here!! All told, including Todd and I, there were twelve of us.

And even though we'd wanted to do this for the ladies, they insisted on bringing slaw and baked beans, drinks and DESSERTS! These ladies can cook, too -- and their wonderful offerings were definite proof of that.

Look at this lovely group of ladies -- it was so nice to see their smiling faces and hear their fun chit-chat and catch up with them all. But here they were congregating up front when Todd had build a warm, wonderful fire in the fireplace.

So we all headed down fireside to continue chatting and catching up, while Todd and Ed (Ann's husband) manned the fryer end.

They were hard at it, too! Todd's got a pretty incredible system for cooking the fish, french fries, and hush puppies.

And as soon as the chow whistle blew, we were back up at the business end of the pavilion!

The food was plentiful and delicious.

And I think pretty much everyone went through the line at least twice. And quite a number of us went back a third time, I think!

All I know is that there were not a whole lot of leftovers when it was all said and done.

After a lunch, several of the ladies took off to do a little exploring. One of the ladies who'd stayed behind noted the two walking away into the woods and commented, "That's why I asked if there were restrooms up here, so I didn't have to take a walk in the woods." We all laughed and laughed, watching the other two walking around, looking like they were looking for a "safe" spot! It was a fun afternoon.

All too soon it was cooling off and dusk was rapidly approaching. The ladies packed up and got ready to head home, but not before we got in some good hugs and promises to continue to keep in touch!

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Life Community -- A Service and a Picnic

I regret that we were not able to spend time with New Life Community, who recently came out to hold a morning service and then have dinner on the grounds.  They were coming in as we were headed out to church and because of a couple of stops we had to make they were already gone when we got back.  Brother Paul seems to be a very friendly man and the group is very nice as well.  They came out last year for the first time and we did enjoy our time with them, I do remember.  We hope they'll be back next year, too!

Neely's Chapel Fall Picnic

Earlier in the week Pastor Lamar McGriff from Neely's Chapel called with some questions about the camp.  He wanted to have the church up for a picnic and come out for a pre-visit as well. 

We made the arrangements and he and the youth guy from the church came out for an official tour.  Brother Lamar was very down to earth and easy to talk with.  He also told me several stories as well.  He said that it just might have been him who brought the first group up here back in the late sixties early seventies. 

Plans were made and early Saturday afternoon folks began arriving.  All in all there was about 35 or so folks who made it out.  The aroma of food on the grill filled the air as I wondered on over to do a little socializing.  Everyone seemed to be having a great time and I even thought I heard a ballgame or two from a radio here and there. 

While a deposit is required from every group that comes up to the camp there is no charge for groups that are officially affiliated with the Madison Baptist Association.  I was pleasantly surprised when Brother Lamar handed me a $50.00 check and said they wanted to help out the camp.  What a great bunch of folks and I hope to see them use the camp even more in the future.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Morningside Baptist Church

As far as I know they had never been up to the camp before.....I know the new youth leaders, Darin and Christian Lightfoot, had not been up here anyway.  So far these last two months, all groups who have been here have enjoyed near perfect weather. 
Morningside stayed for a long weekend, since Monday was the Columbus Day holiday, and from what I have been told they had a great time.  My time spent with the group was limited as Denise had surgery but I managed to get a few pictures and talk with Darin a few times. 

I have noticed that many youth ministers also play guitar and sing, but I discovered that Darin and Christian had been doing praise music for several years.  Darin gave me a CD he'd made and I will have to admit it was very good. As a matter of fact one particular song, Keep My Eyes On You, really blew me away and is my favorite song right now!  Here is a link to some of their music: Praizenet.   Now the version of my favorite song here is pretty good but nothing like the CD. I look forward to the time we get around to visiting them at Morningside to hear them in person and having them at the camp again as well.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Whitesburg RA's and Challengers - Fall Camp Out

It is always good to have the group from Whitesburg up to the camp.  The RA's and Challengers do a group camp out in the fall and a separate one in the spring.  The more I get to know these men the better I like them.  Tim Lawrence, Richard Silar, Ray Romine and John Crocker represent quite a few years in the ministry when you add it all up....somewhere around 1,000 I believe. 
The older group, the Challengers, were looking for a service project and just so happened there was one to be found.  I took Tim and Richard down High Ridge Trail--the one the tornado in the spring had completely shut down--to look around.  Now I was not expecting much as there had already been groups up here who had taken one look and were overwhelmed by the destruction.  I said, "Gentlemen, I know there is not much you can do with this, but anything you can do will be a huge help."

Now this trail is probably the steepest in some places and has some narrow spots so really the only way in would be to carry the necessary equipment with them.....well that's what I thought anyway.  On our way back out I heard Tim mumble something to Richard about his truck being four-wheel drive and he was sure they could take it down there.  It is a good thing I am not a betting man because I would have definitely bet against the truck making it in and out again.... without any damage anyway! 

Ten minutes after I had gone to get the camera I heard voices from down in the hollow and chainsaws firing up.  I went back down the trail and there were men at work everywhere.  I got a few pictures and then left them to the task.  It must have been a couple of hours later when they finally came back out.  Once they were gone I snuck back down there and saw where they had made some huge progress.  As a matter of fact there was really only one bad spot left!  What an outstanding job by the whole crew !

Earlier I had been over at the Pavilion talking with Ray Romine, who seems to have drawn the role of camp cook.  I usually get to sample at least one meal from every group but not this time.  Oh, they offered, but I had other things to attend to.  If memory serves me correctly, Ray cooks every time they come up here...probably because he is pretty good at it. 

The group brought a surprise with them when they came up this time...a brand new grill.  John Crocker told me that they wanted to donate this to the camp.  I thanked them all many times for this most generous gift as it is a wonderful asset. 

Speaking of John, I heard him mention something to the younger guys about the Lake Monster.  Just when I thought this had passed completely out of memory.  Very few know anything about this and we had hoped it would just remain a legend, but there John was talking about it in broad daylight!  Now he should know that only on certain nights when the moon is full is the thing even capable of leaving the lake, and even then for just a few hours.  There really is no need of me even talking about this ... but there have been a couple of times when whole suet feeders have come up missing, coupled with strange sounds outside of the RV.  Oh, and there was that one time down at Serenity Pond where I saw a head come up out of the water that was so big that.......oh wait it surely had to be an Alligator Snapping Turtle.

Anyway, I took a few more pictures and then most everyone pulled out around lunchtime.  I secured everything down and then later settled into an afternoon of college football.