Riggins 2018 Blog


July 28, 2018

I know, I’ve been MIA for a few days. We’ve just been so busy! So where did I leave off, I’ll bring you up to speed.

Thursday night was our final field night where we had a home-made slip-n-slide and talked about Paul’s shipwreck at sea.

Friday was the final day of VBS and a FULL day. We had a shortened VBS schedule, at the end of which, family members and parents were invited to attend a program put on by their kids, in which we let them know what we were learning all week, both biblically and musically. It finished off with a video Daniel put together of clips from his go-pro and photos taken throughout the week. That video is linked below.

After VBS ended, we did a quick debrief and then recovered (I did laundry and prepped my sermon for Sunday) for Hot Summer Nights. Hot Summer Nights is an annual mini-carnival held in the city park of Riggins with games, food, and a talent show on Friday, and then a car show on Saturday. The Amelia Chapman and her dad Mike, the new pastor at SRCC, competed in the talent show, so it was cool getting to watch them perform “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Amelia is quite the violinist.

We got back very late from HSN, so we quickly showered, then hit the hay. This morning, six of us hiked up School Marm, a “mountain” right behind the church that hangs over the city of Riggins. The selfie from the top is below.

Let me know what you’d like to know about the trip in the comments, and I’ll make sure to include them in the next post.



Is Emmaline a Type of Peach?

July 26, 2018

Yesterday was another good one. The kids had a great time learning the gospel, we all got a lot of rest in the afternoon (I in particular, slept from 2-4, and it was wonderful). At the field Daniel Phillips talked about the baptism of Jesus and, to be completely frank, this produced some awkwardness as differences in interpretation about Baptism came out during the lesson. The good news from that is that by the end of the discussion everyone was disagreeing as brothers, without animosity. It was a good teaching experience on how to handle conflict and disagreement, and ultimately come to a place of unity without sacrificing conviction.

The majority of today’s blog post will be stories from VBS as there were a lot of cute or funny moments.

– Jared and Leah had a favorite answer given to them in Bible story. While reviewing the previous day’s story (about the parting of the Jordan by Joshua) Jared asked the group, “What were the people of Israel supposed to follow into the river?” Looking for the answer “the ark of the covenant.” Emmaline, (Pictured Below) immediately and confidently supplied the answer, “The ark of the government!”

– Another Emmaline story relates to Michelle and Sierra, two Idaho teens, who convinced Emmaline on the first day that they didn’t know the ABC’s. She was astonished, telling them, “You really should know that.” Yesterday, she marched into VBS holding a piece of paper, on which she had written out the alphabet, saying “You might wanna read this.”
– The lesson was Naaman being healed by Elisha of his leprosy. During crafts, the kids made little Naaman puppets where he has leper spots on one side and he’s clean on the other. Nathan encouraged his 1st and 2nd graders to call them “Leopard spots” and Daniel had to sort them out in Bible challenge. According to Daniel it was actually funny and they got it worked out by the end of the day.

– One of the kids, Colton, had a loose tooth. He and his grandmother let me pull it yesterday, and we put it into a plastic baggy. He insisted on keeping it in his pocket throughout VBS. Well, predictably, he lost it and we could not find it. When trying to console him, he said, “It’s okay. If you can’t find it today, you’ll definitely be able to find it tomorrow, because it will be money then.” Let’s put it this way: this morning, my wallet was one dollar lighter.

– Caleb with his injured foot, has gotten a bit better each day. However, he was still limping around on his heel, and yesterday we went to breakfast in town, walking there at 6:30. Watching Caleb hobble on his heel (he insisted), through the smoke that morning, and still dealing with a bit of bed-hair, he truly looked like something from the walking dead.

Be praying for today as we are preaching the gospel to the kids, via the story of the baptism of Jesus.



Broken Promises

July 25, 2018

Okay, my first major broken promise related to the blog: I didn’t post last night. I promise more will come. (Let’s hope that’s the next one. If it is, that’s the sort of thing you would say to a robot in Star Trek to make its head explode… but I digress.)

So, my lame excuse is that I Was embroiled in important discussions from the taking of showers at 8pm, until 1:30am, and I decided to go to bed instead of write a blog post.

Here’s what went down yesterday.

VBS was great. I think the last-minute adjustments we had to make because of smoke ultimately made us work as a team all the more. Rec adjusted to an indoor obstacle course and it worked wonderfully. Bible story was crammed into a little double room that cooked them like an oven, but they kept their smiles and the story was taught well.

After VBS, we went and raked a hillside of dead grass so that it won’t be a fire hazard on Hot Summer Nights (a rather large town event this weekend with a big talent show and carnival-type games). I saw a few kids working their tails off and they didn’t complain at all. We figured out that we saved somebody about 10 hours of work by showing up and doing it for them. Unfortunately, we had one injury, Caleb Smith, who hurt his foot while walking on the hillside, so please pray for his recovery.

At the field, we called and audible and held our event at the elementary school instead of the football field. There were a few soccer goals, so we played froccer (an old favorite of our group) and then talked about Naaman’s healing in the Jordan River.

We had a lively family night discussing the “unforgiveable sin” and then a lot of worthwhile discussions afterward.

– Clint told me a story that happened at the Spicklemires’ house. They have 4 grandkids going to VBS and they open their home for showers. While at their house, Cameron and Jared were jumping on the trampoline waiting for their showers, and Clint was inside talking to Ronda. He noticed that they stopped abruptly and formed a circle. After a moment he realized that they were praying together. Jared told Clint later that one of the kids suggested praying for those affected by the fire. It was a sweet moment.

– A similar moment took place during VBS, when Daniel was teaching about the gospel, that all are sinful and all die because of it. Drebe, one of the VBS kids who has a learning disability, so she’s much older than the other kids, but mentally she is a child, shared that her aunt has cancer. All of the kids wanted to stop and pray for her salvation.

– On a lighter note, Denise shared in family time a praise. The craft had hot glue guns involved and she was worried that kids might burn themselves. At Family time she reported, “There were no non-self-inflicted burns today.” Turns out both Cameron and Nathan wanted to make a thumb print in the hot glue and intentionally stuck their fingers in the molten glue. We really should’ve known who to watch… the signs were there, we were just too naïve to read them.

Please be praying for our injured, for those affected by the fire (including those on our team with asthma, which all this smoke aggravates) and for the town of Riggins to glorify God, hopefully with our help.


Where’s Smokey When You Need Him?

July 24, 2018

Hello All, sorry I didn’t post last night. There were two things going on that prevented me from doing so. One was our VBS debrief during family time. It went a good while. The second, was the major prayer request we have. There is a big fire burning at Rattlesnake Creek, that’s about 15 miles south of Riggins. We in town are safe and sound. We are protected by the river on all sides. However, we have a few congregation members who have been ordered to evacuate their houses, and last night we were told that we might be needed to help in the middle of the night in moving people and some of their possessions out of the projected path of the fire. With that possibility, we hit the hay as early as possible.

Please pray for those on the outskirts of town in the path of the fire. This morning, the town was covered in smoke, and we’ve made some adjustments to VBS to accommodate being all-indoors, due to the smoke. In the picture below, the faint outline of the mountain is normally completely visible. It’s not mist, it’s smoke.

Okay, the pressing issues out of the way, let me tell you about day one of VBS. It went very well. We are adjusting as a team to some changes to VBS, but nothing we can’t handle. The kids had a great time, and I have to brag on Jared Smith and Leah Tees in particular, who did a great job teaching the bible story. The preschoolers were able to give me the entire story in detail, after they were done.

Probably the funniest moment came from the 1st graders. When it was asked of the group, “What is sin?” The rousing reply was “Cinnamon!”

Thanks so much for reading, and a more detailed post will come tonight!



Family Picnics and Family Nit-picks

July 22, 2018

Today was church. We did not run the church service today, but we will be next Sunday. Pastor Mike delivered a wonderful sermon from the parable of the talents. He is a very gifted preacher and engages the congregation well. A few students gave me raised eyebrows in approval after his sermon.

After church we went to the annual SRCC (Salmon River Community Church) picnic. At the picnic, Sierra Bovey gave a great performance of her nationals sign-language piece. She will be going to Houston Texas at the end of the week to compete!

We had a great time catching up with family, throwing around a football, and got to witness a newer member of the congregation, Danny, get baptized in the river. I burned the back of my head, because baseball caps do not provide 100% coverage, everyone was very sorry for me.

Then this evening, we had youth group. The Riggins youth group has about 12 students in it. It is remarkable to see, considering 9 years ago when a Texas team first came to Riggins, and there was only one high-school aged attendee of the church. Daniel led us in a few songs, and I taught on Exodus 2 (and the larger story of the Bible which points us to Jesus). I would venture to say it was not my best lesson, but God is good and has used some pretty terrible lessons and sermons to make some good impact, so I’m just praying he used it to his glory.

Fun Stories:
– We made it to showers pretty early tonight (everyone was out of the church by about 7:45) and I thought we would be able to finish family time early to finish final touches on VBS. For showers tonight, Denise was supposed to drop some girls off at Anita’s house, take some girls with her to a different house to shower, then go pick up the girls at Anita’s. Unfortunately, she forgot step three. I was waiting with all those who had showered, and time ticked on by (with us all thinking the others were getting things in the other room, on their way, or writing last-minute encouragement letters) and finally I asked Rielly if Denise had picked up the other girls. She was confused at first and then, realization dawning on her, her cheeks flushed red as she admitted they had forgotten. The best part? two of the four girls forgotten were Denise’s daughter, and Rielly’s twin sister. Leah was swearing up and down that she would hold this over her mother’s head for years to come. Denise tried to play it off like Leah was nit-picking… hence the title of today’s post.

– Please continue to pray for VBS. Many are quite stressed (I think unnecessarily, because it looks a lot more organized and ready-to-go than when I was in charge of it) and they could use some divine relaxation.
– Nathan may have injured his ankle at the park, and we are praying that healing will take place tonight so that he will be 100% tomorrow.
– Pray for the kids who come to VBS, that they would believe the gospel!

Rielly and part of Laila’s head, in the first jail cell of Riggins which now sits on display in the city park.

Sierra performing her sign language for the congregation in the Park.

Pastor Mike, announcing how to get the food for the picnic.

Day One=Done!

July 21, 2018

We began the day as all hard-workers do… by sleeping in. Since we didn’t make it to bed until about 1:30, we decided to have a late start.

So, at 1 o’clock, all of the Riggins Team and the Texas Team joined up to knock out our VBS Prep.

For any who don’t know, I, Stephen, have taken an entirely hands-off approach to VBS this year. I have focused entirely on non-VBS things on this trip and have delegated VBS to others. I cannot express enough gratitude to Nathan Rawlins for stepping up for the past few months, and today in particular, to be the point person for VBS. He worked with Riggins leaders spectacularly to execute a well-organized VBS orientation day. He is amazing and wonderful, and I gravel at his feet. (That’s grovel… not gravel. And don’t, he’s not the king… okay, I might have gone on a Lion-King-quoting side-mission. Sorry. Back on topic.)

So VBS prep was great. I was particularly pleased to see that students from Riggins were taking ownership of this event. One of our goals has always been to equip the Riggins locals to do VBS on their own, and it’s nice to see that starting to come to fruition.

After VBS prep was over, we went and had a wonderful dinner at Anita’s house, as is becoming tradition on our first evening in town. We had pork sandwiches and great conversations with old friends.

Speaking only for myself, this dinner was a perfect glimmer of what I imagine some of the feasting in the New Jerusalem will be like. Old friends, Anita, Doug, Carl and Linda, and Jim and Judy, and new friends, the Chapmans, the family of the new pastor at SRCC, and the Fredericksburg team, all united in our common faith in a coming savior. What a glorious thing to experience.

Finally, some prayer requests:

First, Denise Tees’s bag was lost by the airline. Most important in it was her prescription medicine. Praise God, Denise and Clint were able to drive to McCall and get an emergency prescription filled today, but the luggage is still not here. It is supposed to be delivered within the next 2 days. Pray for speedy delivery to ease Denise’s stress and burden.

We have a few students whose relatives have died in the past few days, and one student who found out yesterday that an old friend committed suicide, as well as a recent death of a prominent citizen in Riggins. Pray for the survivors of these losses, and ask God that these deaths would bring the living to a stronger faith in Him.

Pray for our team unity as we continue to get to know each other better.

Pray for VBS as a whole, that Children would believe in Jesus and desire to obey all that he commanded.


We Have Arrived!

July 20, 2018
This is just a quick post, since we are all dog-tired. I just wanted to let you know that we arrove happy and healthy. Having arriven in such a state, we wish to sleep so that our areeval will be well-received by the locals. tomorrow.

All lazy and weak joking aside, I’ll give ya’ll a proper update in the morning. For now, thank you for your prayers for safe travels! We are glad to have them. Now, our first challenge… on to VBS!