A Long Way Home.

Summer tour has been wrapped up. My good friends have come and gone. Here’s pictures of it all.

Butte, Montana

We had a day where we got to go hike around the falls in Idaho where the Snake river takes a plummet. I forget where these houses were but they really cracked me up. They apparently live in the same house but everyone gets their own colors and stuff. The one with the different size hedge looks straight out of ‘Picture Perfect’

George: ‘Yeah, and here’s a joke for you: I think your pathetic hedges are a violation of the homeowner’s code. ‘

Vickie: Oh my, illegal shrubs. Whatever will I do?’

We parked at Mike’s parents’ house in Canton, Ohio for part of a day. While there they were kind enough to put my name on the cake along with Michelle’s and Abby’s.

We went to the Bruneau Dunes in Idaho. The picture of Mike on the right does have a story. He’s just beginning a valiant charge down the dune. Little does he know scalding, sun-baked sand awaits his tender phalanges. He was thoroughly singed and soon after reported that he’d, ‘had enough sand dunes for forty years.’

some interesting signs..

Collin and Colson came and hung out for about six days. We  really enjoyed the coast. This is Cannon beach..not where I had intended we go..but it was a cool beach nevertheless. I thought we were headed for the place I’d been earlier..turns out there’s more than one place on the Oregon coast with big pointy rocks.

Javen.

Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania

Here’s pictures from our week in Goshen. We had a nice meal in a beautiful old barn and then later in the week was the annual ‘all team sing’.

While in Goshen we stayed with Ron and Julie Martin..they took us swimming..

..and fishing with a friend on Lake Michigan..

That night Everett and Charlotte Martin came over and we ate fish. #fresh

A few more from the road..

Javen.

Recording and Ambling On

The kids finished recording their new album after three days of hard work with the guys in the Gospel Echoes studio. I think it turned out pretty well. During the recording I didn’t have a whole lot to do besides observing the process.

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Tim and Todd.
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the guys who make it happen
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During the time we were in Goshen, I got to see the Ron and Julie Martin (Dad’s sister) and family. I hung out with their church’s youth group Friday night and stayed the night at their house. They were very good to me, and it’s always good to see faces you know the names for.

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the Martin house

We headed out of Goshen Friday the first of July bound for Michigan. We met up with Mike’s parents (and his sister Christine) who were gracious enough to buy our supper at Bob Evans..which serves up a pretty good salad.

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Mike. Elmer. Martha. Christine. Lars. Debbie

A group of about 60 people gathered in a Walmart parking lot on Saturday morning to get ready to do a prison rally. We headed to the prison and played music and served ‘pop’ to many many inmates. It was a fun thing to be a part of, and you could tell the guys really enjoyed the fact that people came out and served them. Then we drove several hours up into the first finger on the left side of the Michigan hand to Corwin and Trenda Schrock’s house in Traverse City where we parked for the night. They are really nice people. We used their shower, petted their dog, ate their pancakes, and played at their church on Sunday morning. It was an a cappella service which was difficult for us since we don’t ever sing a cappella at services. They were kind enough to serve us a good lunch in the basement church afterwards before we drove downtown to see the Blue Angles air show over the bay of Lake Michigan I believe. Someone told me this is the first show they’ve done since one of their men crashed and died. It was a good show and a beautiful day.

Does it get more American that the Blue Angles on July 4th weekend?

After the show we hit the road and got back to Goshen in time to see fireworks from Jim’s yard..along with quite a few others. Good food, sweat tea, good times.

We’ll be here in Goshen for the rest of the week for the annual planning meetings. My family is coming on Wednesday I think. I look forward to that. Take care my friends.

Javen.

Thousand Oaks Gospel Camp

On Friday the 24th we arrived at the annual gospel sing event that happens in Winkler, Manitoba. It’s a great gathering of people (about a thousand) who come to camp, hear music, and spit sunflower seeds. I found their spitting method peculiar. They put one seed in their mouth at a time instead of loading in a whole handful. We definitely weren’t in America anymore. Our team sang four times over the course of the three days, and we were privileged to sing alongside the legendary John Schmid  in one set. He had also been traveling with us several days that week and doing services in prison with us. He’s a great storyteller, singer, and even throws in a little rap now and then: I definitely enjoyed hanging out and laughing with him all week.The man is a walking library of great tales and abides by Mark Twain’s advice to ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’. We were also privileged to travel with Corbin one of the nicest John Yoders I’ve ever met. John is the director of Gospel Echoes Canada and did the speaking/preaching in the prisons we visited. He also took us out for Denny’s and Tim Horton’s quite a few times. The man has given up the fight and is unashamedly addicted to Tim Horton’s coffee.

There were quite a few different groups that came out to sing, including the Wissmann family. Basically you jumped up on stage, plugged in whatever you needed, and performed for 4o minutes and then someone else came on. It was fun..hard for me though as we had to dig deep to play different songs for 4 sets..and I didn’t know most of them. So I either tried to look like I knew what was doing or chilled in the white tent to the left of the stage (pictured below). The weather was beautiful Friday and Saturday. Sunday was rainy and cold..so the  musicians were at times about 100 yards from the audience taking cover under the big white tent.

Below are pictures from Thousand Oaks and the road towards it..

Traveling.

Around Thousand Oaks

We left Manitoba on Sunday night, parked at a Walmart in North Dakota, and then got to Indiana Monday night. Now we’re in Goshen where the kids are recording their new album. Thanks for all your prayers and good words.

_____

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me

____

Javen.

Oh! Canada

Today about 5 p.m. we crossed into the second greatest country in all of North America..it was pretty exciting. We entered Canada with no trouble at all. Right now I’m sitting in the McDonald’s of the Walmart Supercentre where we’re parked for the night. I hear Maroon 5 on the speakers, so apparently they have access to some of the same music here. About an hour ago I purchased a large pack of Canada Dry and a big bag of all dressed chips. Those are two areas where they’ve really got something going for them.

So now actually I’m mooching off the wifi in a Best Western motel in Canada. Wifi is rather hard to come by on the road. Today was another long day. We went to bed about        1   a.m. and got up about 7 a.m. (I’m getting to see both sides of many days 🙂 and then played 2 services in a prison. We loaded up and then drove 3 hours to another prison and played another service. We’re getting better and the services are becoming enjoyable. I didn’t have much fun the first couple times we played, but it’s getting better. Tomorrow we’re joined by the man, the myth the legend: John Schmidt. Should be a good time. Last I heard we’re in Manitoba. Long way from home eh?

Here’s some pictures from the journey so far. (I’m still pretty bad at navigating this site so bear with me as I learn)

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a really cool joint in Conrad, Montana where they made me a cherry, vanilla Coke. The girl comes outside and takes your order with the change thing on her belt..super cool.
Hood River, OR
Home for the night.
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My faithful companions awaiting our first gig in the Conrad Mission Church.