Riggins 2019 Blog

LATEST FLIGHT UPDATE: The latest time they gave us was a minimum of a 2 hour delay, meaning newest arrival time is about 13:15.

Monday, July 8

We’re sitting in the airport, and what would a trip to Riggins be without one last snag? It seems there are mechanical issues with our plane and the flight will be delayed. We’re unclear on just how much and if we’ll be rebooked on different flights. I’ll keep this page updated with info. Also check my facebook page incase I’m unable to get into the back-side of my website.

On Sunday we ran the service. Many of our students sang, and Jackson led the music on guitar. They all did very well, particularly considering how nervous they all were, since few of them ha any experience on a church stage.

I preached about the Bible and the video Sarah bovey took can be watched here:

After church we had Pizza at the Salmon River Inn with the Riggins Youth group and had another teary goodbye. I would say they’ve gotten to where they don’t believe us when we leave and say we “don’t know if we’ll be back next year.” After you say that 5 years in a row, and keep coming back, it looses some of its veracity.

Thanks for reading! Keep an eye out for flight updates!

Saturday July 6

Why haven’t I been posting?

Well, there hasn’t been a lot to report, my knee hurts, I’m tired, she hit me first. Pick your favorite excuse from childhood and throw it in there.

Really, I’ve just been falling down on the job. We finish up with our work for the day at 11:30pm, and I’ll have to be up at 7 the next day, so I’ve just been crashing. The only reason you’re getting this post now is that the team went for the rafting trip, and I didn’t, what with the knee injury, and so I’m at the church doing sermon prep and writing to you all!

So… what all has happened in the last 4 days?

Well we had VBS all four days. It all went pretty well. On Thursday and Friday our numbers were down because of the 4th of July. Where on Wednesday we had 51 kids running around, on Thursday we had about 25 and on Friday we had 20. We’ve learned not to try to do VBS during a national holiday where people will go out of town or stay up until 1am the night before VBS.

Our team drove to New Meadows (about 40 minutes south) on Thursday night to watch a fireworks show, and it was a lot of fun, and a really great show.

We’ve done laundry, we’ve talked about hell, we’ve discussed depression and anxiety, we’ve laughed and cried. Basically, everything we’ve come to expect from a week in Riggins with these people we love.

Knee update: It still hurts quite a bit and the road rash is keeping me up. Yesterday I finally started to see a sizable difference in the swelling level. And I’ve been able to limp around without crtuches for a couple days now. I’m pretty confident at this point it’s at least a partial MCL tear with some meniscus damage. Please pray for healing, and that I’ll be at least well enough to drive my car home when we land in Houston.

I’m going to list some story highlights now, for your entertainment.


We had a total of 5 kids ask to become Christians at VBS this week who we think were genuine and understood the importance of it. We’ve given names to Pastor Mike to do the best he can with follow-up and discipleship.

We did our laundry at the motel laundromat on Wednesday, and Cameron did his laundry as well. However, Cameron washed his clothes in cold water, without any detergent. So he’s a well-balanced young man who makes good use of his time.

At VBS, our cue to begin the “Major Tom” skit, has been Sierra trying to start telling a story about something that happened to her this weekend, but every time she starts, she gets interrupted by Major Tom coming in the room. One of the 5-year-old girls got really upset on Wednesday. When the rest of the kids were cheering for Major Tom’s entrance, she yelled, “Guys! Stop it! Let her finish her story!”

One of the 3-year-olds told Denise he needed to go to the bathroom. When she asked if he would need any help, he replied, “No. I can wipe my butt real good.”

One of the Riggins Team, Ricky, has a little bit of trouble interpreting sarcasm. While playing basketball, one of the kids made a really unbelievable shot, Jackson said, “Woah, that was insane. Somebody slap me.” Ricky did.


Monday July 1 and Tuesday July 2

Okay, this time it wasn’t my fault! I’ve been having issues with my website on the host server and it hasn’t been letting me update pages.

Anyway, here’s the post I wrote last night, then edited again this afternoon, and have finally posted Tuesday night.

Day one of VBS went well. It’s definitely been cool handing off more and more of VBS to the Riggins team. Sierra Bovey leads music and Kate Joyce leads crafts, two kids I first met about a decade ago when they were kids attending VBS. Cameron in particular expressed a joy at being placed outside of his comfort zone (performing in the skit). And Jackson (a first-timer with the team) was pretty nervous before VBS started, but he said as soon as those doors opened and he just let loose, he had so much fun.

After VBS our teams went out canvasing, recruiting people to show up for games, sports, and the big questions of life at the elementary school park. Also, free root-beer floats. While at the park we played some football and some basketball. While on the basketball court, Clint and I collided, and I seriously hurt my knee. Nothing appears to be broken, but I think I likely partially tore my MCL and might have some meniscus issues. I’ll have a better gauge on those things once the swelling goes down. Thankfully, buck and Jeanie Fitch had a spare set of crutches I could borrow, and I have plenty of Ibuprofun to keep the swelling down.

During family time we had a really good time of discussion on the question of hell, its duration, and the question of universalism.

Stories and Tidbits

During music, Michele said to the group of 6 and 7-year-olds, “We’re singing the best song of VBS!” One of the little girls, Shaw, said, “That’s an opinion, and opinions aren’t true.”

We made the mistake of having bibles for the 4 and 5-year-olds. One of the 5-year-old girls said very matter-of-factly, and with a hint of frustration at the apparent stupidity of a leader who would even hand her a book, “I can’t read.”

One of the 6-year-olds, Jaxon, figured out that our crazy character from skits (Major Tom, an alien who’s landed in Riggins in search of the source of the universe) is actually played by Cameron. His reasoning was the best part. He said, “I knew Major Tom was Cameron, because he talked about how he ate a bunch of space tacos, and Cameron was talking about eating tacos earlier that day.” Today, when Jordan Tiff (who is 5 inches taller than Cameron) played Major Tom because the atmosphere is affecting him and making him grow, Jaxon was thrown for a loop. We’re all looking forward to tomorrow, when he’s played by Cordell Bovey after he goes through his compression (who is 2 feet shorter than Jordan).


I now have a bum knee that is quite painful, Caleb is still battling a cold, and Cameron jammed his finger, so we three could use prayers for physical healing. More importantly, some of the kids are hearing the gospel, and last night at the field (after I tore up my knee) I changed my lesson to simply addressing the “problem” of pain and suffering in the world. A few of the teens told me they’d never heard it explained that way before, so they seem encouraged. Please just pray for our ministry as a whole, that we would be effective, clear, and above all, that God’s will would be done this week.

Sunday June 30 (And Mon, Jul 1)

Didn’t know I’d be fulfilling that prophecy of getting behind on my blog post batting average quite so quickly. Yes I’m late today.

The day was JAM PACKED! At church on Sunday morning our team served with the kids and ushers, next week we’ll be doing the whole service. There were SO many kids and people. The church has grown a lot in the last year, thanks largely to the wonderful biblical teaching from Pastor Mike.

After church was the annual church picnic. We went out to the park and played games and ate amazing food. Everyone got tanned… except for Jamie who doesn’t tan. The Spicklemires did a wonderful job organizing food and grilling up some great burgers.

After the picnic we came back to the church and finished up the VBS decorating we couldn’t do prior to the church service. I accidentally fell asleep during this time (and evidently I fought my suitcase in my sleep… yeah I don’t understand either.) The team was amazing and got the job done without adults prodding them to it.

After this, we had youth group with the Riggins teens! They have been going through “Truth Project” by Focus on the Family. Many of the Texas Team have commented that they are so encouraged to see the size of the Riggins youth group. It’s made up mostly of kids who were attending VBS over the last decade.

This morning we began VBS and I’m writing this blog post in between songs.


The following are some fun or funny or interesting or serious stories which the team thought was important for family and friends to be aware of:

While at the park, Michelle accidentally threw a volleyball down the hillside toward the river. Cameron felt it necessary to retrieve the ball post-haste. So post-haste that he didn’t even put on shoes before embarking on the mission. He is a goat… and not the anacronym type like Tom Brady… just the animal who climbs on rocks.

There was a toaster fire one morning. A rather old 4-slice toaster that it seems hasn’t been used in years lit a piece of bread on fire. As Clint tells it, the flames were coming 3-feet out of the toaster, and the bread was still on fire when he got it out. We had to run box fans through the basement for a few hours to get the smell of burnt toast out.

Cameron learned how to hoola hoop. He was quite excited.

Prayer Needs

Please be praying for both VBS and Rec week with the teens. We want to communicate the gospel very clearly to both groups.

Saturday, June 29

Today we synced up the Riggins and the Texas VBS teams. After a late morning, much needed after the exhaust of travel, we came together to see who would be serving where in VBS. The Riggins team has taken over the majority of VBS responsibility. I am particularly excited about this, for both a good reason and a bad reason. The good reason: it means the discipleship process is progressing. The ultimate goal is to have no reason to come to Riggins other than just to see friends, and we are headed in that direction. The bad reason: I don’t like planning or being in charge of VBS.

During the planning, I found some old VBS picture slide-shows… and I mean oooooold. There were video slide shows of 2010-2018 on the computer in the sound booth. Watching some of those, and seeing 4 and 5 year olds attending VBS who are now teenagers leading the Riggins team was so cool. I’m planning of copying all of the videos and splicing together some shots of the kids in “before and after” sort of formats.

After our VBS planning and decorating we had a low-key rest of the day. We played a little spike ball, we canvased the town a bit, and then had our traditional dinner at Anitas. We got to see all of our old friends, Doug, Anita, Jim and Judy, The Smids, and The Chapmans. I was very happy to see Jim in such good spirits and health, and I got to talk more theology with Pastor Mike. We are quite similar people in terms of our gifts and interests, and it makes for engaging conversation when we’re not trying to make small talk and just talking about the Bible.

After dinner, we met up with the Rupps at the basketball court and played a little of what I’m calling “Idaho ball” which is essentially basketball, but where you’re allowed to wrestle the ball out of your opponents’ hands.

We finished up with showers and family time, during which we began discussing our book for this year “Is Hell for Real?” by Erik Raymond.

Church and the church picnic tomorrow, so we’ll keep you posted and I’m sure there will be stories. So stay tuned!

Friday, June 28

This morning we left the hotel and went to Walmart for our usual mass purchase of food and supplies. We spent 2 hours shopping, during which one of our team, Jordan Tiff, had a phone interview for a job interview with Samaritan’s purse. He is very optimistic, saying the interview went quite well.

After the shopping we went to my favorite place to eat in Boise, Boise Fry Company. We eat there every year. They have many different kinds of potatoes, salts, and dipping sauces for their fries. It’s always a good time.

Our drive up to Riggins was fairly uneventful, aside from picking up our final team member from Cascade, Michelle Thibodeaux. She is the grand-daughter of the former pastor, Jim Thibodeaux and has built up such a great relationship with us over the years, first attending VBS 11 years ago, and now acting as an honorary Texas Team Member.

On arrival, at the church, we unpacked quickly and joined in with a fundraiser for Sierra Bovey. She is going to Florida to compete in an international performing and visual arts competition, submitting an American Sign Language interpretation of a song, and some photography. The church was holding a dessert auction with home-made pies and cakes and cookies. It was a great time watching Buck Fitch, a lively and hilarious former teacher, act as the auctioneer. He’s a bit hard of hearing as well, which added to the comedy.

After that, showers and family time and it’s now getting close to bed time! I should have another post for you tomorrow, so keep an eye out. Until then, enjoy a few snapshots from the team.

Thursday, June 27

Well we’ve all made it safely! One half of our team arrived early this morning and spent the day in Boise. Clint and his crew had dinner with Jim and Judy Thibodeaux (yes, I’m jealous). My crew had to deal with flight delays and finally got here at 8ish this evening.

When we did, we went to a fun little place called “Pie Hole” which sold pizza by the slice.

Tomorrow night when we get to Riggins I’ll have a new post and pictures for you! Please pray for the team, that we would grow together and minister well.