Monday, July 21, 2003

post date: July 21, 2003

4:29 PM This note is late in coming because it took me a long time to figure out how to establish an Internet connection. We’re staying at the First Settler’s Lodge on a hill overlooking the “Million-Dollar View” in Weston, Maine, about a mile from Living Waters Bible Camp. We’re at the lodge because the camp is jammed this week—mostly with teenagers but also with plenty of adults, lots of them RVer’s who are here for the week. The camp is nestled on the western shore of East Grand Lake. Cross the lake and you are in New Brunswick, Canada. So we’re about as far north and east as you can get and still be in the lower 48 states. It’s cooler here than in Schroon Lake. Northern Maine is sparsely populated.

There are 200 people who live in an area roughly the size of Chicago. The rest is vast, dense forest for as far as the eye can see. When I say dense, I mean the trees-pine, fir, birch, spruce—seem to grow impossibly close together. This is moose country and there are warnings about moose hitting cars. It’s also potato-growing country. The First Setter’s Lodge is a lovely, five-year-old establishment built by Elbridge and Judy (don’t know their last names) on land that has been in Elbridge’s family for 200 years. His ancestors were truly the “first settlers” of this area. He is a Master Maine Guide and spends a great part of the year leading hunting and fishing groups into the vast wilderness of northern Maine. Folks here tend to be informal, friendly, and self-reliant.

We’re here this week with Billy and Paula and BJ Speer. They’re doing a wonderful job providing the music. Billy has an amazing gift for connecting with the congregation, making them smile, putting them at ease and ready to listen to the Word.

After the message this AM, Marlene and I drove to Houlton—34 miles north of here—and a gateway to New Brunswick. Around these parts, if you say, “I’m going to town,” that means Danforth—population 200. If you say, “I’m going to the city,” that’s Houlton, population 6000. If you say, “I’m going to the big city,” that’s Bangor, 2 hours away, and population around 30,000. Three years ago I thought this was one of the most beautiful part of America. I see no reason to change that opinion today. I’m preaching 10 times this week. The whole atmosphere is quite different from Word of Life—it’s much smaller, only one camp, and very informal, and very much a family feeling. Things are off to very good start.

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