Photo’s of our Strasburg Mennonite Church program…this was a good program…and was nice to be near home.
This is a continuation of the Indian trip…
We went north to Lamb of God on Sunday Morning. The children went to Sunday School while the guys set up and practiced a little. Family friend, Justin Stoltzfus, dropped in for the program from over in Goshen. The church also fed us a wonderful lunch before we headed home.
The road home was uneventful. Brian got to try out his “shroom burger” and put in his solid 45 minutes of driving. We arrived home around midnight. Thank God for safe travels and a good tour!
This is a continuation of the Indiana trip…
We got to Terry Myers house around 3:00 and he fed us the biggest, baddest burgers (definitely hard to sing on). It was nice to see their house almost finished and visit with our friends. Terry had just been to our church last October for meetings and it was good to catch up with them again.
Then it was on to the 3rd program of the tour, Cuba Mennonite Church, for a full auditorium and reconecting with old friends.
This was to be her last ride home-almost.
We left Harrisburg via Interstate 81, headed west on 322, north on 11/15 and than snaked our way through some back roads, and finally to the dirt lane that would take us into the “Bigger Plantation.” My oldest sister, Diane Bigger, 4 years my elder, was diagnosed with cancer merely 6 months ago.
I can hardly have it or believe it. This was a lady who knew how to love and to care. As a younger brother, I would watch her carefully remove glass from hands bloodied by a friend’s drunken stupor. Her compassion seemed to know few limits; at times I would question the sanity of some of her efforts. Fear did not seem to handicap her in any way. She would personally canvass East Reading with tracts each month, passing them at any hour of the day or night.
At 19 she fell in love with and married my teacher, Jeff Bigger. After several years of life in the city, they decided to move to the little farmette near Milton, PA, to be closer to Jeff’s family. At first it was a real adjustment for this life-long city slicker, but it didn’t take long for her to find ways to become active for God and bloom where planted. 12 years later, 5 children, and a grand child on the way, Diane has been given about a month to live.
Cancer has robbed her of some of her outer beauty, but has not touched her spirit or inner beauty. She has been incredibly strong through it all. I can only hope to have half of her dying grace when my time comes to go. So many memories flooded my mind as I followed that van home, and often I would find myself sobbing out loud wondering why it has to come to this.
The final turn into that dirt lane drew one more splash of emotion knowing this would be her last ride in that dirt lane. So many Thanksgivings before we had made that same turn and been treated to a royal feast-Oh the memories. I watched Jeff gently lead Diane out of the van and across the thresh hold of the house where he tenderly hugged and kissed her as if it was their honeymoon night.
The hospice nurses arrived 30 minutes later, and I watched Diane sign her life away-literally. She will die soon, and then she will take her final ride home-eternally. Before leaving, she thanked me and my father for escorting her safely home. I told her that I expect her to return the favor someday; she promised me she would.
I love you Diane.
We stayed in a motel Friday evening, and used this opportunity to take a few snapshots with Danny in the quartet. OK,… so the guys got a little funny. When we were out on the motel porch, we got visiting with some other people and sang a song for them. They wanted to go in and get their elderly mother and have us sing to her too! Then out for breakfast at Knepp’s Family Restaurant with Jason’s family and his father. Jason Knepp’s sister runs the restaurant. Great buffet!
This program was a kick-off for the school year for Pleasant View Christian School in Montgomery, Indiana. Jason, Joanna, and Rachel Knepp provided supper for us at the school and then the guys warmed up and worked on “Gloryland”, a new song they sang this weekend. The children enjoyed this evening, since they played outside for some of the program and there was a concession stand run by the volleyball girls.
On the road to Indiana,
We were on the road to Indiana (stopping first for a program in Ohio) at 4:00 am. It was a good trip, no bus problems. Denise stayed back since she’s expecting in two weeks, and Sheryl stayed back to take care of Andrea, recovering from a ruptured appendix. Accompanying the quartet were Brian’s two older boys, Daryl’s family, and Caitlin, Jason’s oldest daughter.
We hit the top three this weekend: Burger King, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell. All were great (a little slow)…
We arrived at David Gipe’s house for a meal before the program….
…and visited with Shirley Bowman (wife of Dwaine, affectionately known as Big Bear), and Shirley’s daughter and son-in-law, Sheldon and Kim Lavy. It was nice to look through Shirley’s memory book of Dwaine and listen to some of his CDs he recorded singing with the Hobo’s!
After supper, we drove over to Lighthouse Christian Center where the guys had sung previously other years. They had about 450 people in attendance from all different churches in the area.
We returned to David Gipe’s house for the night. They put us all up for the night, and Kim provided a wonderful breakfast for us before sending us off onto Indiana.
Andrea is recovering slowly and is hoping to be home soon.
Sheryl, Brian’s wife (Andrea’s mom) will be staying back to take care of Andrea and some of the other children.
Denise, Jason’s wife, will also be staying home since she is due with their little one this month. But the rest of us are ready to load up and head out at 4:00 am Thursday morning.
Pray for travelling mercies!
We’re all ready to head out on our Ohio/Indiana trip this weekend. We are looking forward to being in the Dayton, OH area on Thursday evening, but wanted to mention that we’ll be missing a very important person–Big Bear. Duane Bowman (affectionately known as Big Bear) was the one who would invite us to the area and welcome us whole-heartedly! He would come up on stage, kick Jason out of the quartet, and join us for a few numbers. Since last time we were there, Duane had a heart attack and went home to be with the Lord. He will be missed!