A Personal Testimony
February 18, 2019

On February 10, 2019, our ten-year-old granddaughter Genesis Avila was baptized. I had the privilege of administering the baptism.

Here is Genesis’ poem testimony, which she read to the congregation just before her baptism.

MY STORY

God had a plan to create something big
One day he created day and night
God separated the sky and water on day two
On day three he made land and sea, plants and fruit
He hung the sun, moon, and stars in the sky on day four
On day five sea creatures and birds appeared
God filled the earth with animals on day six
The God said let us make man in our image, in our likeness
God saved his best for last
God created me in his image and he calls me good

I was born on January 27, 2009, in Los Angeles
At three months, I moved to Guatemala
Church and serving pancakes to street youth taught me to be kind and compassionate
God created me and he also created my street friends in the park in his image and he calls us good

I’ve heard about Jesus in church, at camp and at home
He loves me, cares for me, and died n the cross for my sins
I gave my heart to Jesus at Roxbury Camp
God created me in his image and he calls me good

Today I want to show my love for Jesus and desire to follow him
I show this by being baptized here today
Thank you Kidventure for helping me to grow in m faith
God created us in his image and he calls us good

The Joy of Bluebirds
September 24, 2012

As you may know from previous blogs, one of my hobbies is nature study, especially bird study. And the Eastern bluebird is of special interest to me because of the beauty of the creature and the situation with their nesting behavior.

This photo of a male Eastern bluebird is from Cornell Lab of  Ornithology – Cornell University. The female is less brightly colored than the male.

While bluebirds are fairly common in PA, and indeed in all of eastern USA, they are  quiet and somewhat unobtrusive, so many people have never seen one. Most people are more familiar with the blue jay, which is larger, noisy and very aggressive at bird feeders.

Back to the subject of bluebirds’ nesting behavior, they are cavity nesters but cannot hollow out cavities themselves because their beaks not designed for hammering or drilling like woodpeckers. The natural nesting sites for bluebirds have diminished in the 20th century because of changing farming techniques. So humans have discovered that bluebirds are quite willing to nest in man-made boxes. Therefore, thousands of birders, including me, set out nesting boxes, hoping to provide a safe home for these birds.

Here is the box across the street from our home here in the suburbs of Harrisburg, PA.

I paint the roof of the box to preserve it longer. The light blue color is incidental. Any color would do.

This year, 2012, is probably my best year for successful fledging (flying out of the box) of bluebird young. I had 21 boxes out:  6 in this area, 4 at Grantham on and near the campus of Messiah College, and 11 at Roxbury Holiness Camp which is located at the village of Roxbury, not far from Shippensburg.

In these boxes the female bluebirds laid a total of 74 eggs.

Number of eggs that hatched – 57.

Number of young that fledged – all 57.

I also had 9 tree swallow chicks that fledged, 6 house wrens (all in one box), and one chickadee.

I know these numbers because I am a bluebird fanatic, keeping record on index cards of every box and the activity in it.

I also set out on our deck dried mealworms and suet and raisins for the bluebirds, and occasionally, but not every day, they come for a snack.

What do you do for fun? If you enjoy your hobby as much as I do mine, I am happy for you.

More about Roxbury Camp
September 16, 2012

At camp meeting I had the privilege of baptizing two older teens whom I have know since they were small children. The creek on camp property is dammed up to form a swimming hole, which served nicely for the baptism. Our tradition is to have the person kneel in the water; then the minister dips the person forward three times in the name of the Trinity.

On the second Saturday of camp meeting we had the children’s parade – on the theme of Christmas, which was the theme this year for the children’s department, which is known as the Sunbeam Center.

Two angels led the way.

My sister Eileen Blowers, who is director for the Sunbeam Center, and I were the parade marshalls, riding in a decorated golf cart.

Three of our grandchildren walked in the parade. Jeffrey was the king!

Our daughter Melanie and her husband Julio Avila and their two daughters, missionaries to Guatemala, were at camp meeting for the second half of the week. The two girls pictured above are their daughters, Samaya (center) and Genesis (right).

The board of directors devised a gracious plan for honoring the fact that I was retiring after 35 years of serving as camp director. Knowing that birding is a favorite pastime of mine and that I put up nesting boxes for bluebirds,the board encouraged people to write notes of appreciation to me on bluebird-shaped note cards and to give donations  for me and JoLene to go on a major birding trip of our choice. People could drop the notes or donations into a modified,  over-sized nesting box, beautifully decorated with bluebird art!

Such creativity! We were overwhelmed by people’s kindness.

After researching various options for a major birding trip to Central America (the dream of every North American birder), we decided just last week that we will take a ten-day trip to Costa Rica, starting December 29.

Skills for Getting Along with Others
November 3, 2011

These days, October 30 through November 4, I am attending a Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills workshop at Roxbury Holiness Camp at Roxbury, PA, near Chambersburg.

We stay at and meet in the commodious Byers Conference Center.

There is still some striking fall leaf color here.
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Trip to Kentucky
October 28, 2009

I attended a Camp Meeting Leaders Conference held in Wilmore, KY, on October 7-9. I went because of my role as Director of Roxbury Holiness Camp here in PA.
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