We decided that our excursion to Maine would become a 2-1/2 week journey. We plotted a route, and decided that we would stop in Erie, PA, Niagra Falls, Canada, Syracuse, NY, Boston, MA, Acadia National Park, ME, and then end up at the Waiting School in Fairfield, ME. As we were travelling, we decided that it would be fun to come back through New York, NY, and see the Statue of Liberty.
We camped for three nights in Erie, PA. Our campsite was at a YMCA campground, and absolutely beautiful! There were no other campers closeby, so it gave us some nice privacy for rest and relaxing. Although our campsite was literally on a bluff over Lake Erie, it wasn't a great beach for swimming (much too rocky). So we drove each day to Presque Isle State Park where they had really nice swimming beaches.
When we left Erie, we were bound for our next camping spot in Syracuse, with a slight detour to see Niagra Falls. The Falls were magnificent, of course, and I'm glad I can say I've been there. We didn't stay long. It was about a 20 minute walk to the Falls, and we left the parking lot just 2 minutes before the hour we had paid for was up.
We then camped at a newly renovated Christian camp near Syracuse, NY, called Adam's Eden. It is run by a large homeschooling family. We were their first campers, and they were so excited that we were also Christians and amazed that someone in Illinois had found them. The weren't expecting that people from so far away would be the first ones to reserve a camping spot. We also visited a Vineyard Church in Syracuse, and attended the Saturday evening service. The pastor's message and the vision for that congregation was a confirmation of Chuck's conviction that it is most important for the church to be "outside the building" reaching out to the community and sharing the good news of the Gospel.
From Syracuse, we went to Uxbridge, MA (near Boston) where we stayed with one of Chuck's close friends from high school and his family. They were like family to us right from the start, and we had a great time there.
Our next stop was Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine. We drove in rain and drizzle all day. By the time we got to the campground, we were at least able to pick out a spot and get our tent up without it pouring on us. We did some exploring of the tide pools, which was fun since the kids had studied tide pool life in Pagoo the previous spring. We saw lots of barnacles, mussels, and even a crab. No hermit crabs, though!
As we neared time for the Waiting School, we could sense the enemy starting to strengthen his efforts against us. The frustrations began to increase, and along with that tension began to mount. It wasn't always obvious that these were spiritual attacks, which made it difficult. The enemy likes us to not recognize him, and when we don't, there tends to be an accompanying prayerlessness.
Finally, we made it! The Waiting school was such a blessing! God was there in a marvelous way. Sitting in the sancuary, I felt not like I was thousands of miles from home, but right at home. Because wherever God is and His people gather, we are family.
Although we attended one Waiting School without the kids, it is so meaningful to be able to attend with the children as well. Red Nose Ministries www.rednoseministries.com has been at each Waiting School, and the kids not only love Pastors Steve and Janet, but grow closer to God through their ministry.
During the "awards/recognition" time, we were overwhelmed to find out that we were the first people to register for the Maine Waiting School, and Elaine gave us a lovely gift. We were then recognized as workers, and then called up another time and given an envelope. When we opened the envelope at dinner, Chuck and I were shocked to find a check from the Maine district that covered our travel expenses. We both thought there must have been some mistake. We weren't expecting anything, although Elaine had generously offered to pay the cost of our hotel. When I asked her about it, she just said, "Isn't it such a blessing!?! That's what happens when you follow God!"
We are currently making plans to attend the Feb '09 Waiting School at St. Simons Island, GA., and praying that the Kingdom of God will continue to grow in the hearts of His people during this and other revivalistic endeavors.