Monday, July 26, 2010


Lottie Moon

Recently Virginia and I had the unique experience of spending a week with the organization known as Campers On Mission in their annual National Rally. The program title theme was LINCOLN UP WITH JESUS. In the "land of Lincoln" what a creative thrust! The setting was the State Fair Grounds in DuQuoin, Illinois, one the only places big enough to park enough RVs to house 300+ Campers, most of whom spend the greater part of the year traveling from one mission site to another to minister in a hundred different ways, while sharing the good news of the gospel.

George Mueller

They had originally slated us to stay in a rented RV, but determined that a motel next door would better meet our needs for space and convenience, particularly with the number of costumes and quick-changes required. You see, we were to be a part of the program each day, providing dramatic dialogue presentations and other leadership at each of the sessions throughout the week. It was the most challenging engagement of our Living Portraits Ministry to date and we thoroughly enjoyed the test of our creative "mettle".

Fanny Crosby

For those of you that have not heard of our ministry, let me share a brief explanation. Since 1996 Virginia and I have been building a repetoire of historical characters and their period dress for dramatic presentations in a variety of venues. We have "played" before many elementary schools in Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, and Arkansas, in the characters of George and Martha Washington and Mark Twain and his wife, Olivia. Conventions, conferences, churches, nursing homes and a variety of clubs, professional and civic organizations have had historical visitors from the past, as well. We've had them appear to groups in Massachusetts, Illinois, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Missouri, and our home state of Arkansas. To name a few beside the Washingtons and Twains: Missionaries William Carey, Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, and Luther Rice; Hymn writers like Fanny Crosby, John Newton and Horatio Spafford; and other greats like George Mueller often appear from the past. Many times we've been given assignment to develop a specific character of interest, and when sufficient time is given to prepare the script and costumes, these have been delightful visitors to portray. One such early missionary named Elder James Philip Edwards was a significance influence on the American scene in the early 1800s, as he started some 30+ churches and was instrumental in beginning 3 associations of churches in Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri. His work produced the first Baptist church in Arkansas. Needless to say, our preparations for these have given us a rich sense of our Christian heritage and we are blessed as much as we pray those have been who witness these "visits from the past".

Now, back to the COM Rally in Illinois in June. The characters chosen to appear during the week were arranged to lend themselves as program highlights amid the music, speakers and a variety of training conferences. Lottie Moon and Luther Rice appeared in a sawdust covered pavilion as a part of morning Bible studies based on the Acts 1:8 missions call of our Lord. I, as myself, had the privilege of delivering two of these Bible studies to lay a foundation of challenge to the campers.


Other programming included presentations from a Horse "Whispering" missionary and his steed, a singing cowboy and the sharing of a modern day motorcycle ministry. During sessions inside the exhibition hall during the days of meeting George Mueller, John Newton, Fanny Crosby and even Mark Twain and Olivia made visits. It was in the conference sessions here that I was asked to lead two workshops on Storytelling, which I found to be a rewarding addition to our drama ministry. Helping others to discover ways to share and convey the message of Christ through such was a rewarding challenge I look forward to repeating in the future as a part of our ministry.

Mark Twain

On Wednesday evening's session we met in the large arena and were blessed to see an equestrian group perform on horseback, bearing flags that represented the basic parts of the Christian plan of salvation. Sharing by others included a welcome by the local Mayor, awards to outstanding campers and a program of music by a family trio. At this, George and Martha Washington appeared and lent their recollections of their own Christian heritage to the gathering, with its added patriotic atmosphere, displayed beautifully by another equestrian group. A challenging and rewarding time was enjoyed by all.

John Newton

At week's end, as we packed our own "OUR V" Dodge Caravan (did you get it?) and headed north for St. Louis, then south to northwest Arkansas, we reflected on a week of busy ministry, but one we would never forget. These people serve, and most that are retired, and they are passionately carrying the gospel around our nation. We pray that what we did was entertaining, inspirational, and perhaps, gave them an ideal of how they, too, might share the gospel in a creative way. That certainly is one desire we have in doing it.


Sunday, July 4, 2010


My country 'tis of THEE,

Sweet land of liberty,

Of THEE I sing:

Land where my fathers died,

Land of the pilgrim's pride,

From every mountain side

Let freedom ring!

My native country, THEE,

Land of the noble free,

THY name I love:

I love THY rocks and rills,

THY woods and templed hills;

My heart with rapture thrills

Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,

And ring from all the trees

Sweet freedom's song:

Let mortal tongues awake,

Let all that breathe partake;

Let rocks their silence break,

The sound prolong.

Our fathers' GOD, TO THEE,

AUTHOR of liberty,

To THEE we sing:

Long may our land be bright

With freedom's HOLY LIGHT;

Protect us by THY MIGHT,


Our land, indeed, is a gift of freedom from our great GOD and KING. Despite all that many do who attempt to discount the true AUTHOR of LIBERTY, our country "it is of THEE" and THEE ALONE! Everything for which our FATHERS died, this country where the PILGRIMS TOOK PRIDE in a place of religious freedom, it is all from THEE, oh GOD, and every ROCK and RILL, WOOD and TEMPLED HILL does THRILL my HEART - and send its yearning reflection on that which one day I will know in YOUR HEAVEN ABOVE!

But, Father, the land seems not SO BRIGHT at times, and freedom's HOLY origin of YOUR LIGHT has had a shade put upon it by those who would not recognize YOUR prior claim, or even the PROTECTION of YOUR MIGHT to preserve it. Oh, FATHER, on this day when our nation's fathers penned our declaration of independence from earthly king's rule, and truly our renewed DEPENDENCE on YOU, OUR GREAT GOD and KING, may we be reminded and rekindle our song of REPENTANCE and be RESTORED to YOUR REALM OF LIGHT AND LIBERTY!

For we know the counsel of YOUR WORD to be true, that "If YOUR people, which are called by YOUR name, shall humble ourselves, and pray, and seek YOUR face, and turn from our wicked ways; then will YOU hear from heaven, and will forgive our sin, and will HEAL OUR LAND." (Restated from II Chronicles 7:14)

Oh, FATHER, may it be so and begin WITH ME! This is my DEPENDENT prayer on this anniversary of our INDEPENDENCE!

Be encouraged, my fellow Americans, and I pray, UNDER GOD!

(An added P.S. - the Hymn MY COUNTRY, 'TIS OF THEE was written by Samuel Francis Smith, a native Bostonian and a ministerial student at Andover Seminary. He was 23 years of age and had been inspired by the missionary work of Adoniram Judson, America's first Baptist foreign missionary. He developed a passion for world evangelism that stayed with him through his own ministry as a Baptist preacher, pastor, college professor, hymnist, linguist, writer, and missionary advocate. His son became a missionary in Rangoon, Judson's field of work. He was active until his death in his late eighties. His legacy in this patriotic hymn is one that TRULY NEEDS TO BE REVISITED AGAIN AND AGAIN!)