Archive for November, 2012

Tioga County, PA
November 26, 2012

On November 24-25 we took an overnight trip to see the town of Wellsboro in the Christmas season. The main attraction for most of the Christmas time is a 3-block section of stores, gifts shops and restaurants.


The town is quiet today, unlike next Saturday (the first Saturday of December), which will be  “Dickens of a Christmas,” when many vendors, all in Victorian outfits, set up their wares on the street, and 25,000 visitors flood this little town!

We checked out a few shops and then we drove 6 miles into the country to stay at a Bed and Breakfast called Arvgarden, a Swedish term for Inheritance Farm. The owners and operators are Keith and Hilma Cooper. Hilma is Swedish, and Keith is an honorary Swede, if such a thing is possible! The house is laid out as you would find in Sweden. The Coopers raise sheep and weave various products from the wool of their own sheep.

We woke up Saturday morning to this delightful scene from our bedroom window.

Occasional snow squalls continued all morning. The elevation of the farm is 1,954 feet.

Here is the house.

And the table set for breakfast.

We were the only guests last night, so we and the Coopers had far-ranging conversations over a top-notch meal that included, among other things, lemon pancakes and blueberry-orange muffins.

We highly recommend that you come for a stay at Arvgarden. You will be delighted with everything about this place, including the price. See their web site:

Most of the Coppers’ sheep stay in the barn, corral or fields, but this one stays indoors.

Leaving the farm, we drove ten miles to the Grand Canyon of PA. It was cold and windy, so I walked along the main observation area and did not take the half-mile hike to a second overlook

Back in Wellsboro, a wall on one of the stores invites you to come back and see the summertime view.

There is much more to see in this county, but for us that will have to wait for another day.

Visit to Philadelphia
November 25, 2012

On November 18 we spent the afternoon and evening in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. The purpose of the visit was to give  short report on missions in the evening at the Circle of Hope Church that meets at Broad and Dauphin. It is one of the four Circle of Hope communities of faith that meet in the greater Philadelphia area.

But with free time in the afternoon we went to South Street, located south of the historical area and Independence Hall.

Just north of South Street we found this pavilion farmer’s market.

The fresh produce looked great. We bought a cluster of large red radishes to take home. I got a cup of homemade butternut squash soup to eat on the spot. It was perfection!

Next we saw an Irish pub, Paddy Whacks – what a name! It reminded us of pubs we have been to in London, so we stopped and shared a fish and chips platter. The chips were sweet potatoes – a surprise that was super-delicious.

We walked above a busy interstate highway on the South Street Bridge.


This took us to Penn’s Landing, the waterfront area of the City Center along the Delaware River. I was impressed with seeing a large sailing ship, with sails furled.


Learned later it is the world’s largest four-masted sailing ship still afloat – the Moshulu, originally owned by a company in Germany. The name means fearless in the Seneca language. As a cargo vessel, Moshulu traveled around Cape Horn 54 times, plus many other voyages. It is now moored and is a floating restaurant.

After this we drove to a French eatery, Cafe L’Aube (named after L’Aube Torrefaction coffees) on 17th and Wallace Streets, to meet a friend in his twenties whom we knew from our years at Manor Church in  Lancaster County, PA.


Outdoor murals are common in the city. Across the street from the cafe was an impressive one.


At last we came to the Circle of Hope that meets on Broad Street, just north of Temple University, near the corner of Broad and Dauphin Streets. Here you see the band practicing.


The group has two meetings, one at 5:00 and one at 7:00. In both meetings I gave a short report on Brethren in Christ World Missions and fielded questions. Jonny Rashid is pastor here, but he had exchanged places with Joshua Grace for the evening, so Joshua gave the message, a thoughtful talk about  Jesus calming the storm, and Jesus’ outreach to people outside the Jewish community, and epistemology (how we know what we know), and the importance of balance between the objective and the subjective in our beliefs, and the challenge to be learners from people from other cultures in our understanding of the Scriptures. As you can see, a far-ranging and mind-expanding message!

At our literature table JoLene and I had good conversations about mission with several people, and with Joshua’s message in mind we had much to talk about on our drive home and much to ponder for several days.

Fully recovered
November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day 2012

A few blogs ago I told you about my fall from a horse while riding in KS.  The pain and muscle spasms continued for two weeks or more before subsiding enough for me to put on my socks and shoes myself. I have been going to physical therapy – it will be a total of 12 sessions – and it helps a lot. The therapist gives me various stretching exercises to do at home morning and evening. I have been back at work for a few weeks and  am now fully recovered.

Today we hosted part of my family for dinner;  the others had other commitments. My mother, age 92, was able to come.

Our hearts are overflowing with thanks to God for all his mercies seen and unseen.