By God’s grace, I hope to create an illustration. I don’t like to repeatedly use the perpendicular pronoun “I.” However, yours truly has experienced almost one year of sickness, stress, and hard work. I recognized it and others recognized it. When I shared with CARE residents that I was planning a brief trailer trip, they encouraged me. “Go get your battery recharged.” You’ve seen all the pictures taken during Little George Havens’ Cowboy Camp Meeting. Frequently, I needed to remove the battery from the Canon camera, insert it into the charger, charge until the green light came on indicating it was ready to go again. For this illustration, I had to rely on a picture of the battery because, obviously, I couldn’t take a picture without the battery. Conclusion: It makes sense to me that a well-used battery (Lorraine) mustered dwindling energy to get to a power source (Camp Meeting). The battery was charged, the vessel is ready for additional service.
Little George Havens’ Cowboy Camp Meeting – (Monday, June 30, 2014) – Departure
5:00 AM; 77 degrees inside; tiny breeze outside. The night was hot: 9:09 PM, 89 degrees; 12:45 AM, 84 degrees; 2:25 AM, 81 degrees. I was “in bed” at 9 o’clock last night, with just a sheet, door and windows open, and two fans—and Citronella candle burning all night. Didn’t sleep well, so many thoughts. Up at 4:30, 78 degrees, and made coffee before heading to the shower. (It took three matches this morning… and one match remains.) Almost everything that bounces around has been moved to the bed for a safe ride home. I’m waiting for sunrise so I can unhook the electric cord and depart. Sad to say, I’m ready to put “primitive” away for a while (until the next camping trip??)!!
5:20 AM, 78 degrees and I’m ready to turn off the computer and pack it safely in the car. I’m waiting for “Mr. Sunrise.”
I got a late start because the gate was locked. I tapped lightly, twice, on Miss Lucy’s door; I didn’t want to disturb her. About seven, she responded—and told me Nell had the combination to the lock. So I walked back to Nell’s trailer and, gratefully, she was up—and unlocked the gate.
The pictures tell the story. That old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
1:00 PM; 91 degrees outside; extremely windy. At 12:37 it was 96 degrees inside the KIA. I do not travel with the air-conditioner on while pulling the trailer. It might be OK but I don’t want to strain the KIA engine.
My GPS failed me this morning; I sensed it was not working correctly. The Garmin took me into Fort Worth—and I hate city traffic and freeways in big cities!! I finally spotted a Mall entrance and searched for a shady area. I worked with the Garmin settings and finally had a small measure of success. I got back on the route toward “home” and Garmin wasn’t moving—it was frozen. By unplugging from the cigarette lighter, then reinserting, it finally began to give me the map and instructions I’m accustomed to.
I learned from my trip west to Little George Havens’ Camp Meeting that gas stations may be few and far between. First (this morning), gas in Brownwood; second, gas at Love’s in Midlothian. Too many cars and trucks at Love’s so I selected the nearby Walmart. I’m really tired from the heat, and driving; I’ve been up since 4:30. The wind, shade, and green grass under my feet all feel so-o-o-o-o good!! ~~ 1:30 PM and 93 degrees in the shade. ~~
It felt like I was “wasting time”—just sitting—so retrieved the laptop computer from the KIA. Nothing more to add so will do “nothing” until I feel like getting back on the highway. 6:30 PM; 96 degrees outside and inside!!
I’ve been in the Walmart parking lot since 12:30 and do not want to get out on the highway and be buffeted by severe wind. I’m no expert but I speculate at least thirty-five miles per hour. The minute I stand up, the lawn chair blows over!! In a manner of speaking, I’ve gone from the frying pan into the fire!! Hot at the Camp Meeting, hot here, but now I’ve added a wind-burn (equal to a sunburn). It never occurred to me—while sitting in the shade of the tree—that I was getting burned. All afternoon I was so grateful there were no insects; I traded one discomfort for another. ~~ The horizon is a cloud of dust; Central and West Texas have suffered a drought. (Cowboys [at Camp Meeting] were thankful for over three inches of rain last Monday.)
Sitting on a little patch of grass, under a nice shade tree, I enjoyed a home-grown bell pepper and a remarkably good-tasting apple. So-o-o-o many meals served at camp, I’m going home with food in the refrigerator (food I brought with me). This morning—for breakfast—I pulled into a picnic-area and enjoyed two hard-boiled eggs and whole wheat sandwich “thin.”
I’m hoping the wind dies down tonight so I can complete the trip tomorrow. I won’t drive at night. I believe the sensible thing—for this old lady—is the security of a well-lite Walmart parking lot.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
I’ve been reading an inspirational book titled Thirty-one Days of Praise by Ruth Myers. I recognized myself on page 32.
“I have worshiped the Lord for many years; I know how delightful praise is and how much it stimulates my faith. So why do I ever get so busy, even in my quiet times, that I bypass the delightful opportunity to extol and adore my wonderful Lord? Why do I, time and again, get so busy and absorbed with the pressures of daily life that I forget all about praise? And why do I at times feel reluctant to praise in the midst of everyday trials; when I hear news that makes me anxious about someone I love, or when I face a major disappointment, or when I’m angry or under a lot of pressure?”
Ruth continues: “Could it be that one of Satan’s major strategies is to divert us from praise? ….”
I (Lorraine) am conscience-stricken as I think of the way I’ve acted because I was criticized for hanging the Texas flag upside down. Major victory for Satan!! Could I have handled the situation better—ten months ago—when I was ghastly sick due to moth balls in adjacent yard?? (Could-a, should-a, would-a….)
9:30 AM; 80 degrees inside; strong wind; bright sunshine. However—even with bright sunshine—I’m sad. I listened for the breakfast bell. None. I walked over to the dining area—with my camera. No breakfast; nobody sitting around visiting. Men were busy working: The inflated “castle” (for the children’s enjoyment) was being folded up. A Chuck Wagon was being loaded. The fire-rings and open-fire paraphernalia were gone—only ashes to mark where they had been. Three big cargo trailers (to transport Chuck Wagons) are gone—the area is bare. (At this very minute [9:45], a tractor is being driven into the large storage building. An extremely large fifth-wheel trailer has pulled up to the dump station and may leave the Camp Meeting shortly thereafter.) During the night, the cattle were loaded and are gone. During the week, this campground was a beehive of activity; now there are only a handful of people doing last-minute chores.
Recently, Nell said she wished she could live this life 365 days a year. I understand and agree. Yes, the heat has been uncomfortable; the insects have been a nuisance. But (in my humble opinion) we crave the comfort of fellowship with like-minded Bible-believing folks; we’re “fed” by messages from God’s Holy Word. We’re reluctant to return to the everyday activities in a world that has become increasingly hostile to Biblical principles.
Pastor Sam Stone’s message (last night) was about “Spitting in the eye of God.” Christians sitting on their hands, allowing prayer to be taken out of the schools, killing babies, legalizing marijuana, accepting homosexual marriage…. (I don’t have to list them all; if you are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ you know our Nation embraces immorality and corruption.)
In Camp Meeting, we get a taste of what Heaven must be like. We long for praise and fellowship to continue 365 days a year!!
2:00 PM; 95 degrees inside and probably likewise outside. The music was good (albeit too loud for this old lady); the preaching was inspired. “What would you do if a poisonous snake bite you?” was the title of the message. Find the scripture in Acts 28:3 and additional commentary.
I started this day saying I’m sad that Camp Meeting is drawing to a close. Since 9:30, I’m even sadder!! For morning worship, there were only twenty-four individuals sitting in chairs listening to the music (four talented artists) and twenty-three attentive to the cowboy preacher. I imagined the parking lot would be full of cars, trucks, and a bus or two—and the tent would have standing-room only.
8:20 PM; 93 degrees outside; blistering hot inside. The evening worship service is over, everyone is gone; I’m the only one on the property right now. Miss Lucy, Nell, and others have gone out to eat and will return. There were very few attending the evening service; I didn’t have the heart to count.
I have a heavy heart; I am very sad!! Look at the pictures: The recreation vehicles owned by cowboys are gone; the trailer with extra restrooms and showers is gone; the chairs have been folded and stored in the red cargo trailer and it, too, is gone. As Nell said, too bad we can’t have camp meeting all year.
Dear Reader: Are you affiliated with the American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches?? Have you been to Little George Havens’ Camp Meeting?? Can you relate to the activities I’ve enjoyed the last eight days?? Will you join me next year (Lord willing) so we occupy every camp site—and fill every seat at evening worship service?? You’ve read about the heat and the insects; this isn’t a “five-star” resort. Put away your electronic gadgets for a week and receive a blessing. ~~ Not a part of the American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches?? Hey, this was all new to me; I’ve received a warm welcome.
Every day, there were activities for the children. (I didn’t think to write about that earlier.) Come as a family and let the children play with the goats and ride the ponies. Let them participate in “mutton busting and kid’s ranch rodeo.”
Maybe you are reading this but live in Montana, or South Dakota, or another distant state (or country) and it is physically impossible to attend. You have a tender heart for “the good ole days” when life moved at a slower pace. You grew up watching Western movies and remember names like Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, John Wayne, etc. You followed television series like Bonanza, The Big Valley, Wagon Train, Lonesome Dove, etc. Please make it possible for Miss Lucy’s dream to continue; send a donation to Sam Stone, P.O. Box 896, Putnam, TX 76469. Sam’s email address: BrushyCreekCowboyChurch@Windstream.net.
Now I want to make it indelibly clear: I am not affiliated with the American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches. Nobody asked me to take pictures and write about my visit. If you donate…, I will not see a dime of that money. I’m a senior lady (three quarters and counting [age 79] ) extremely blessed by this new experience in my life. I want to “pay it forward”; I want to “pass it on.” ~~ THANKS for reading my blog. Sincerely wishing you God’s richest blessings.
8:45 AM; 79 degrees; overcast and windy. Yesterday I learned biscuits and gravy were served for breakfast. I groaned and said “Wish I’d known; I would have been there.” Just for me, this morning, biscuits and gravy, bacon, and jelly. A very small group… fine fellowship.
My next-door neighbor, Nell, arrived in a special outfit–saying she was so embarrassed—ready to have her picture taken. Short story: Nell supports the Republican party and received the bright-color socks from the senior George Bush. The younger George Bush said—in a letter—that he wanted a picture of Nell wearing those socks. I’m very happy to be the photographer!! Special note: Nell has been a long-time supporter, and worker, at Little George Havens Cowboy Camp.
Recap: The cowboys were ropin’ until after eleven o’clock last night. The wind rocked the trailer most of the night; I didn’t sleep as soundly as previous nights. Eighty-one degrees at 1:46 this morning, Even while I am in bed, insects are biting. First thing today, I was dabbing Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream on welts. Now—so I can face the remainder of the day—I’m heading toward a shower.
10:10; 82 degrees. After my shower and before I was dressed, I took pictures of three areas with bites (waist band, thigh, and under arm). Suddenly, out the window, I saw a Chuck Wagon on a flat-bed trailer behind a pickup truck. I thought it was leaving and wanted to document…. I quickly got dressed!! No, they were just arriving so I was able to capture the scene.
There’s a lot of cowboy activity this morning. Men are rearranging portable fence and “gates” in the arena area (in preparation for tonight’s “Ranch Rodeo”). ~~ Gotta go; almost time for morning Bible Study.
12:30 PM; 87 degrees; overcast; windy; flies are a nuisance!! Like the cowboys taking care of tasks before “breaking camp,” I must do a few things before it gets too hot. I declined going into Coleman for lunch.
1:30 PM, 90 degrees. KIA radiator is full; additional water in T@B fresh water tank. No picture needed to describe my lunch: Organic peanut butter, and preserves, on a whole wheat sandwich “thin,” and Oikos Greek non-fat yogurt with craisins (Ocean Spray dried cranberries). Plenty of protein, IMHO, and won’t upset my stomach and intestinal track.
The trailer was “too hot” so I went to the screened dining area to read. There was a wonderful breeze and very few flies!! Miss Lucy invited me to take a nap in the old house (with a window air conditioner). I couldn’t fall asleep; too many thoughts running through my mind. Back to the screened area after a quick check of the open fire cook area. The men were preparing fajitas—for dinner.
The fajitas were delicious; the cobbler was wonderful. I must confess that I bit into a jalapeno pepper and it was so hot I started crying, and dancing down the aisle to get a large cup of water. It burned…, and it burned…, and it burned!! Everyone got a kick out of my response to that pepper.
Moments ago (8:17) I ran out to get a picture of a Chuck Wagon being loaded for a return trip to its home church. Not like the old days!! It travels in a cargo trailer behind a powerful pickup truck. My grandmother was the cook for ranch hands during harvest, in Oklahoma. I wonder if her chuck wagon was as nice as those being used here this week. (I’ll never know, but “I wonder….”)
10:25 PM; 85 degree inside; windy and “too cool” outside to stay any longer watching the rodeo. A “wind breaker” jacket would feel good. Interesting… but I “lost interest” because same thing over and over. I can still hear the announcer and I have a picture in my mind’s-eye of what is happening.
7:25 AM; 78 degrees; dark and gloomy. As I said in an earlier message, I didn’t want to get out of bed while it is cool and pleasant. I want to stop “time.” All too soon, we’ll have heat and insects.
There are many interesting people here; numerous stories. One woman was born in Santa Anna, Texas, and has lived there her whole life. (Santa Anna about five miles east of the Camp Meeting.) Personally, I have “no roots.” I’ve had more addresses than I can remember; I’ve lived in many states and traveled extensively. Entire families come, annually, to Camp Meeting and fellowship with family and friends. I’m jealous of Grandmothers surrounded by children and grandchildren. (Who knows? Maybe they envy my freedom to travel.)
Wherever I travel, the T@B attracts attention. I’ve had several folks wanting to see the inside (and, of course, I’m always eager to oblige). One lady owned a T@B with orange trim and momentarily (when she drove in) thought it was hers. She regrets selling… and is planning to purchase a Casita. I have the opportunity to share details of my travels. There is no end to the curiosity about what brought me to Texas. (My “accent” gives me away, [ha!].) I’ve “talked up” CARE and the Escapees RV Club and Parks. Speaking of accents: Frequently a person will say “You’re from California.” I question: “How do you know?” Reply: “You have a California accent.” Then I pretend to argue with them: “New Englanders have an accent; New Yorkers have an accent, Southerners have an accent; Californians don’t have an accent.” However, apparently we do. Texans have an accent; I’m hearing it at Camp Meeting. It isn’t as pronounced where I’m living (CARE) because the residents (RVers) are from all over the nation.
Interesting people: Earlier, I mentioned Ike Akers. His father was famous–and the son followed in Dad’s footsteps until the accident. The business card given to me by Ike says “Donations accepted and greatly appreciated.” Yesterday I gave Ike a $20. bill (for the foot and hand massage the day before). Last night I watched him put it in the offering.
8:40 AM and, strangely, 77 degrees—one degree cooler than when I got up. There’s a strong wind buffeting my trailer. ~~ OK, I’m on my way to take a shower and embrace the day.
Interesting story (IMHO): Before the American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches started using the site (twelve years ago), Miss Lucy (with others) prepared Camp Meeting meals from this kitchen–in an old building George bought for $300. and moved…. Before that, Miss Lucy prepared meals in the Airstream trailer. (I hope I have my facts straight.)
2:30 PM and, decidedly, nap time!! Extremely windy so 90 degrees doesn’t seem unbearable. It has been a day filled with activities!! The pictures tell the story: First my neighbor, Nell, suggested we get Miss Lucy and have coffee and banana bread; second: Bible Study; third: we (three) checked the cabins to be sure they are ready for those folks coming to Hispanic Camp (next week). Most recent: Miss Lucy, Nell, Ike and yours truly went into Santa Anna for lunch. I was told “the best fish dinner in the whole wide world.” I took pictures… until another guest insisted he take a picture so I am included. As usual, I argued that “I don’t want to break the camera” (by being in the picture [ha] ). But, honestly, I appreciate being documented with an event occasionally. (Last night I asked Sam to take our picture because I thought perhaps my only opportunity to be photographed with Nell and Lucy.)
8:25 PM, 92 degrees inside my little trailer. It was equally as hot, or hotter, under the tent for the evening service. I finally moved a chair out were I could catch a breeze. We’ve had a strong wind all day but, for some strange reason, it doesn’t sweep under the tent. Look at the pictures (taken late afternoon) of the flags standing straight out. ~~ Now (8:45) everyone is preparing for “team roping” in the arena.
The noon meal of fried catfish and french fries upset my stomach. I ate very little for supper but wanted a small portion of the stew (but no beans). Too bad I can’t let you sample Darla Stone’s prize-winning Dutch-oven open-fire cobbler. Yum-yum!!
I skipped Miss Lucy’s evening Bible Study so I could listen to the musicians. I may skip the “team roping” because I’m weary from the heat. This isn’t a complaint, just a comment: The heat is awful, the insects would try the patience of a Saint!! I’m extremely grateful for the cool nights and pleasant early mornings. No, I’m not going to “high tail” it home because I’m receiving such a blessing!!
9:45 PM, 85 degrees inside…. I watched some calf roping but have no energy for this late-night activity.
Up at 7:00 AM but I wanted to stay in bed hoping to delay the inevitable heat and insects. Currently 76 degrees; 81 degrees at 11:30 last night; 78 degrees at 1:30 AM; 75 at 6:20 AM (I’m a “clock watcher”). Furthermore, looking at the clock this morning (“inquiring minds want to know”), I wondered why the alarm awakened me at 5:00 AM the other day. Answer: The clock has two alarm settings!! (Notice 6:30 in the picture.) ~~ Here’s another bit of worthless information: There’s a skunk in the area.
9:30 AM; 74 degrees inside the little trailer; dark and gloomy outside; perhaps another rain storm; the shower (as in “bath”) sure felt good. I may have to reach for a sweater because the strong wind makes it feel cooler than 74. Out the window, I’m watching Ike play ball with one of the boys. The doctors said he would be in a wheelchair the rest of his life–but Ike relies on “the Great Physician.”
11:30; 79 degrees inside the little trailer. Time to fix some lunch but want to document that Sam was singing Stuart Hamblen‘s This Ole House. Later, the young cowboy preacher, Beau Sessums, wove a story about John Wayne (Marion Robert Morrison) into his message, with many scripture references. Beau closed reading the entire fourth chapter of Second Corinthians from New Living Translation. (His message last night was about “discipleship”.)
Two o’clock and I was awakened from a wonderful nap because I was too hot (in my sweater), and flies are numerous—and very annoying!! Look, the temperature jumped nine degrees in about two hours. Sun is shining, beautiful sky!! ~~ Maranatha!!
Three o’clock and 92 degrees; time to abandon my little trailer. Awful observation: The “dump” station is only a short distance from my trailer. In addition to livestock on the property, that is probably one more source for flies.
9:30 PM; 90 degrees inside the trailer. After the evening worship service there was a “sortie.” Hey this old lady doesn’t know a thing about Texas ranch events so folks patiently explained. I haven’t any pictures of the event because too dark. Prior to…, I took pictures of cattle, men and boys on horseback, and pictures of the many horse trailers. Nothing spectacular; just a record of a cowboy and cowgirl activity.
FYI: I spent the afternoon in the screened dining area visiting with the folks who prepared our meal. (A very nice breeze blowing through….) “They” called it by another name but I call the meal “taco salad.” I had a very tiny portion of ground meat and lots of lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cheese. I was near the end of the line and the guacamole was gone. The cherry-pineapple cobbler was delicious!!
Then, woman’s Bible Study with Miss Lucy. She is an awesome person; a great teacher; an unsung hero of the faith. She has a remarkable memory at 90 years of age. She advocates memorizing scripture and is a marvelous example. She recites whole chapters with scripture reference.
After the evening worship service, and before the “ranch sortin,” a girl about ten or twelve years old approached me with a zip-lock bag in her hands. “My mother and I make these crosses. Would you like one?” Truthfully, I said: “I don’t have any money with me.” She assured me they are free and I can take my choice. The first one I picked up has Galatians 2:20 as a scripture reference. I’ve claimed that scripture since I was saved under the ministry of Miss Lucy’s husband sixty-four years ago.
Now, it’s after 10 o’clock and I’m going to bed. The “ranch sortin” continues; I can hear the announcer.
8:00 AM; 76 degrees inside my trailer. It was 78 degrees at 1:00 AM and 75 degrees at 5:00 AM. Handling the clock (to take pictures), I accidentally pushed the button for the alarm. I was awakened from a sound sleep and pleasant dreams at five o’clock. ~~ Another complaint: Yours truly only left one small box of matches in the little trailer (probably a dozen small boxes “at home”). This morning it took five matches to get the propane burner lite to heat water for instant coffee. The mud puddle isn’t drying up!! If we have more rain, I may be forced to stay into the following week when Hispanic services are held. I’ve heard Hispanic Camp Meeting is very well-attended. Sadly, I do not speak or understand beyond “no hablo Español” and “gracias.” ~~ “Miss Lucy” is fluent.
Here’s a useless piece of information: The little Brookstone “weather” clock must work off Verizon towers. A message keeps blinking in the upper right corner saying “no coverage.” As I mentioned in an earlier message, I have no Internet connection so the details of my stay at Camp Meeting are typed into the Open Office word processing program. (Later “cut”and “paste” into Three Quarters and Counting.) Both my cell phones are on their chargers. I surmise they were constantly searching for a signal and exhausted their power. Remember when I went to Livingston and no AT&T coverage? I had a lengthy battle with TracFone and wrote numerous blogs about TracFone Nightmare. Out of curiosity, I wonder if people who travel extensively need two phones so they always have coverage. Why do I have two Verizon cell phones? I needed one for my volunteer responsibilities at CARE so purchased (and rely on) the Jitterbug phone. (Gospel truth: Because the phones are on their charger, I just received [at 9:10 AM] a call from a lady-friend at CARE. ~~ (I’m“Gone but not forgotten.”) ~~ I’m told it has rained hard every day since I left.
Not only is Camp Meeting a throwback to an earlier era, likewise attendees are experiencing a simpler lifestyle. I doubt there is television; I’ve experienced no Internet and limited phone service. Blue skies, fresh air, friendly people!!
The cowboy preachers (to my knowledge) have not been to Seminary; they speak from intense study of the Holy Bible. I compare this experience with my years attending Old German Baptist Brethren Annual Meeting. Likewise my OGB Brethren cousins have not been trained by professors; they have learned from The Creator of the Universe, the Mastermind. “Annual Meeting” is held in a large tent; meals are simple; fellowship is sweet.
To digress: Ten years ago, at this very period of time, I was volunteering at the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio. I had been to Old German Baptist Brethren Annual Meeting in Springfield, Ohio (over Pentecost Sunday). Several years earlier, I published Frantz Families—Kith & Kin; I was well-versed in Brethren history and Brethren families. I was learning library science from a graduate who majored in archiving collections. Prior to his arrival, the Brethren Heritage Center had stored and displayed to the best of their knowledge. I was in “seventh heaven”!! My Class-B mini-motorhome was parked behind the building; an electric line provided power for my little refrigerator; the local sewer disposal plant allowed me to dump my tanks free of charge (the local KOA wanted $15. for each dump). I spent long hours in the Center applying new knowledge to needed projects. Repeat: I was in “seventh heaven.” (I had not begun to prepare blog messages; I can’t provide a link to take you to those experiences. By God’s grace, I fondly remember that period of time.) ~~ It’s 10:10 (81 degrees) and I’ve spent two hours reminiscing and preparing this blog message. Now it’s time to brush my teeth and join the group (at 10:30) for Bible Study.
Sam Stone, Director of this Camp (under the auspices of American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches) spoke about “peace.” The entire message was inspiring but I want to relate one specific story he told (paraphrased and condensed). A couple of weeks ago his $2,500. prize bull was struck and killed by lightning. Sam doesn’t have the money to replace it. But he was not anxious or fretful, he had peace that the Lord would supply his needs. Several days ago (in his pasture) Sam found a brand-new calf—and he didn’t even know the mother was pregnant. It is a bull calf.
8:00 PM: The big tent seemed a likely place to find shade and hopefully a strong breeze blowing through. Shade, yes, but hardly any wind movement. I found the lawn chair and intended to read. However, Ike Akers found me—in “his” chair—and insisted upon giving my feet and hands a massage. Soon we were joined by Michael (and later Charlie) and we spent time sharing our testimonies about God’s goodness in our life. Ike was a champion bull rider; he has many trophies. A horse accident placed him in a coma, multiple injuries, and doctors said he would never walk again. Ike has defied the odds; learned to do reflexology; generously works to relieve pain in the individuals he meets. Confession: I’ve avoided Ike because it is very hard to understand him; the accident affected his speech. I was embarrassed when he would ask a question, expect an answer, and I didn’t understand what he said. Example: “Do you know Clyde? Do you know Clyde?” Spending time with him, this afternoon, was a blessing!! (Ike lives in Clyde, Texas.)
The first relief from the heat came at supper time; there was a gale-force wind blowing through the screened dining area scattering plates and cups. Against my better judgment, I ate the sausage, onions, and peppers prepared over the open fire (it looked and smelled good). Before 7:30 I was suffering; my body rejects meat. I left the service early. Hominy, and baked beans rounded out the main course; bread pudding for dessert. All prepared in those big kettles over an open fire. (My sympathy to the cooks.)
Notice the pictures with outside temperature. I brought the clock-thermometer back into the little trailer (shortly after 8) and it is 82 degrees at 8:35 PM. I’m hoping for a cool night for sleeping comfort. Eighty-one degrees at 9:00 as I prepare to go to bed early.
Havens Cowboy Camp Meeting the real deal
Posted: Saturday, June 24, 2006 12:00 am
SANTA ANNA — Where can you find wagons, horses, cowboys, trailers and be treated to a chuck wagon breakfast and supper?
For two more days, all that can be found at the 40th annual Little George Havens Cowboy Camp Meeting in Santa Anna. The camp opened June 16 and will conclude Sunday.
Authentic cowboys came for the Goat Tying and Roping School led by Director Jamey Burrus, but they were also there to hear a message. Since its founding, the camp has been designed to encourage people to get closer to God, but to do so in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.
Its gospel singing and preaching services held under a tent attract many worshippers besides cowboys, as well. At the chuck wagon supper, meat and fried chicken are provided. Potatoes, cole slaw, beans, rolls, banana pudding, cakes and ice cream are also served.
Many of those participating this year are associated with cowboy churches.
“We want to do church radically different from conventional churches,” Burrus said. “At cowboy church, we tell it like it is. It’s plain and simple.”
At the chuck wagon supper, meat and fried chicken were provided. Potatoes, cole slaw, beans, rolls, banana pudding, cakes and ice cream are served.
Burrus has a goal for each person attending, whether it’s at the Havens camp or his own cowboy church in Graham.
“If he doesn’t feel like we’re doing church just for him, we’re not being very successful. He’s likely not coming back.”
Prior to breaking into Bible study groups at Wednesday night’s service, attendees spent time visiting with each other. They included cowboys and city residents from throughout Texas. Many of them spent only one or two nights at the camp, while others are there for the duration.
Evangelist Jeff Gore, who was born in Brownwood and is a singer and cowboy poet, was among them.
“I think God is in something on this hill,” Gore said. “This thing should’ve fallen by the wayside years ago, but God didn’t let it. Thousands of people have been saved on this hill.”
Gore questioned some people’s motives for attending conventional churches.
“It’s all about where they’re from, how they’re dressed, how they smell, and how they look,” he said. “People are not willing to get out of their comfort zones. Some people consider this (worshiping outside) roughing it.”
Burrus observes some pretensions too.
“Sometimes, I’ll attend a conventional church,” he said. “I’ll walk in with my hat, jeans, and boots on. The preacher will snub me. Then when I tell him who I am, and what I do, he treats me nice.”
In the true spirit of cowboy preachers, Burrus is also a competitive goat roper. He will compete in the World Championship Goat Roping Competition on July 22. Burrus has been teaching some of his goat-tying tips to the youngsters attending the Havens Cowboy Camp.
Bobby Machen, co-pastor and minister of education at the Brownwood Cowboy Church on High Mesa Drive, preached for about 30 minutes at the Havens Cowboy Camp Wednesday night.
“The preaching here is down to earth,” he said. “There’s not a lot of theology. The camp is interdenominational. I like to hear the good news. Also, what you see is what you get.”
Machen expressed some concerns about conventional churches.
“We have too many people who make an idol out of their church. There are personality-driven churches. That’s OK, if you’re following the right kind of people.”
The Brownwood Cowboy Church started in 2000.
“We’re a family church,” he said. “Everyone looks out for everyone. We have about 120 to 150 in church every Sunday. We wanted to break down the barriers. You just come as you are.
“We don’t even pass the plate in our church. We just put it in the back.
After the Havens Camp concludes Sunday, an Hispanic Camp directed by evangelist Sammy Fuentes is scheduled from June 28 to July 2.
It’s 7:30 AM and a dark, foreboding sky. We will probably have more rain before the morning is over. Again, I enjoyed a good nights sleep. When I awakened, briefly, I checked the inside temperature: 79 degrees at 2:00 AM; 72 degrees at 5:00 AM; 75 at 6:30 AM. “Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need; mercy drops ’round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.” The words of that old hymn came to mind as I walked back from the shower room. Showers of blessing, indeed!! I really enjoyed my shower!! (When one can smell oneself, they’re overdue for a shower.)
Wherever I walk, I look carefully at the ground. I’m told there are rattlesnakes here. Everywhere, repeat: everywhere are fire ants. They are difficult to avoid!! I have bites all over my feet and legs. (I did not think to bring a portion of my supply of fire ant poison. Next year?!) I’m wearing plastic bare-foot sandals because they can handle the wet grass, mud and water. I won’t wear my white fabric tennis shoes!!
It’s almost 9 o’clock and I’ve just returned from breakfast. This time we had “flapjacks” in addition to sausage and eggs burritos. En route back to my little trailer, I watched several men unload another chuck wagon from a very large cargo trailer. ~~ Inside temperature (of my tiny teardrop trailer) is a very comfortable 77 degrees. Still dark and gloomy!!
11:30 AM; still dark and gloomy; 82 degrees inside…. ~~ Question: What animal is it that sits around scratching themselves? Seriously, I’m trying to remember. That’s me: scratching, scratching, scratching!! I itch all over from bites. I’m told some… can be attributed to chiggers. I’m not complaining; all part of this adventure!! ~~ I’ve met the nicest people here; I’ve spent the morning visiting with a single woman. My life has been glorious compared to her “hard knocks.” I’m counting my blessings!!
3:10 PM: I came back to the little trailer (89 degrees inside) for insect repellent. For two-and-one-half days I have resisted applying the smelly stuff but I’m desperate for relief. The bugs are eating me alive!! I have an organic Deet-free repellent named EcoSmart. The label says “fresh natural scent” but (IMHO) a strong offensive odor. But I’ll tolerate the odor if it keeps the insects off me!! No exaggeration: I have welts as big as a dime. Furthermore (slight exaggeration) it looks like I have the measles!!
Consider this: I’m mingling with people who are “on fire” for the Lord Jesus Christ; they are boldly, unequivocally in-love with Jesus, God and Country. Yes, they’re passionate about restoring morality, and faith, in our Nation. Some have been advised that they are on an Obama “hit list” because of their preaching the “old time religion.” One was offered one million dollars “to drop out of sight.” No, I’m not with a Jim Jones, David Koresh, or Warren Jeffs type of cult. These are “down home,” “good old boys” –ordinary folks. They don’t preach health and wealth and/or a watered-down gospel; they preach “If God said it, I believe it.” ~~ For this narrative–my small contribution–different lyrics to a chorus or hymn with the title: “If God said it, I believe it….”
Changing the subject to make a point: In an earlier blog I told how Google and other search engines “troll” my (our) e-mail and blog messages. “They” know from my messages that I am a Christian. **I** may be listed in a data-bank as a subversive, or terrorist, because I’m not “sold out” to the current administration in our Nation’s Capital.“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 King James Version (KJV)
8:15 PM: Evening service is over; I’m back in my little trailer; 84 degrees inside…. ~~ An exceptionally good day; less humidity; insect repellent is working. I’ll be honest though; I have one complaint: Folks bring their dogs and pen them up in their truck or horse trailer where they howl and/or whine for two hours (during evening service). Perhaps I’d be more tolerant if I had a pet but I always considered it unfair—to the pet—to keep them penned-up if I were traveling or while I was working or volunteering. Frankly, I’d be conscience-stricken to sit in a worship service and hear my dog howling or whining!!
I’ll read for a few minutes and then go to bed.