Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Westminster Woods PLUS Mini-Mission Trip Blog

Click HERE to view all Graduation Pictures
Saturday, June 23:  (This is the PLUS part!)
     Rick and I left Baker City around 10:45 – I was running a little later than planned!  We went to Les Schwab to have the tires pumped up a little, then to gas and coffee, and on the road right at 11 am.  Destination?  Emigrant Springs State Park and then on to Hermiston for Wyatt’s University of Oregon graduation party. 
     Arrived at Emigrant at 12:10, selected one of the full hookup sites (B-5) and hooked up the trailer, but did not unfold the ends.  Good thing because a heck of a storm came through while we were gone!  We registered and pulled out for Hermiston shortly before 1pm.  As soon as we began the descent, we could see the black clouds stretching clear across the western sky – angry skies!  Then wind blew and while we drove through Pendleton the rain pelted down. 
With Wyatt and his girlfriend, Christina
     By the time we arrived in Hermiston at 1:50, the skies were shifting to blue and the storm was past.  Midge said it had sent the party indoors quickly!  Everyone had just finished watching the video of Wyatt’s speech at UofO….we asked for another showing later in the afternoon and got it!  This party was for Wyatt from UofO and Jordan Smalley, OSU graduate – a Civil War party!  Smalley’s have a beautiful backyard for entertaining – pool, putting green, and Ping-Pong table set up.  And we were able to head outside by 3pm as the sun warmed things up again.  Nice time seeing Wyatt and his girlfriend Christina, Margie and the kids, Cal’s parents Richard and Priscilla who used to live across the street from us on Second St.  We left around 5:30!! 
    Quick stop for gas at the Pilot and we pull into Emigrant at 6:45 – things have filled up considerably!  Two couples in the site east of us traveling from BC down to Ghost Ranch!  We visited with them for about 15 minutes, and then set up the ends of the trailer, changed clothing, and went for a good walk. 
    The forest is thick with vegetation and flowers!  Thimbleberry, Queen’s Cup, Wild Roses, Red Columbine, Wild Honeysuckle, Bunchberry, Paintbrush, and Wild Geraniums…to name a few we saw!  The rain has made everything was green.  We wandered up around the horse camp area, then to group shelter, around the cabins, and back to the trailer.  Inside to read and crossword (Rick), while I organized my GA materials, downloaded some pictures from Wyatt’s party, and wrote!  In bed shortly after 10pm. 

Sunday, June 24:
Mountain Lady Slipper
Our Emigrant Springs campsite
     Sunday morning I figured was my last stretch of six hours of unscheduled, relaxing pace for the next two weeks!  Things are going to get busy from here on out!  Rick and I spent a leisurely morning, reading & drawing.  Then we took a walk along Westminster Lane past the Conference area, spying and identifying wildflowers along the way.  We went back up to the horse camp so I could photograph some of the wild roses and honeysuckle up there.  Rick had the major find of the morning: a mountain ladyslipper!  Similar to a Fairyslipper, this white flower is bigger and has a yellow & red polka dot “sock” slipping in at the back.  A really pretty orchid. 
     Back at the trailer we showered and then eventually packed up, ate some lunch, and meandered our way down to Westminster Woods (a whole mile!) and found plenty of people have already arrived!  Tours of trailers, walks in the woods finding flowers, and visiting with Judy Wilkins and our crew occupied the afternoon while the Session members met up in the chapel. 
Dinner crew for the potluck!
     Bill and Pat Fessel drove up to join us for dinner!  That made a total of 26 for the potluck, which was a FINE spread of salads and meat entrees.  Lynn and Rick cleaned up most of the dishes and we met with Dale at 7 at the chapel, where he introduced us to the camp and its history, talked about thinning trees a little, and outlined some of the jobs ahead of us over the next two days: staining the decks, ramp, and parking lot sides of the dining hall and dorm, rubber molding along the baseboard in both sides of the bathhouse, spreading bark chips on the trails, weeding around the chapel, new border “tree poles” along the walk to the bathhouse, and thinning and pruning some trees. 
Working HARD on devotions!
    After Dale was finished, we dove right into our first Devotions.  Katy is gone this coming Sunday, so our devotions are going to focus on preparing the liturgy for worship and each writing a portion of a sermon, which Amber will deliver since NONE of the rest of us will be in church!!  Tonight we discussed Genesis 1 and our role and responsibility in God’s call to care for Creation.  We all agreed we didn’t like the term ‘subdue’ used in NRSV, but rather like to figure we are to tend and care, be responsible for, the natural world which is God’s gift to us.  The opening hymn for Sunday was also selected. 
Lynn is dynamite at
holding those sticks!
     Then campfire time!  Music books, instruments, guitar, and s’more fixings were taken down to the campfire.  Rick worked hard to get it going – things were damp!  But successfully done and music flowed….in sorts!  By 10 we headed up to sleep!  Amber and boys are in one end of the dorm, Nanette and girls in the other end, Katy in a tent up in the meadow field, Conks, Lynn, and us in our trailers. 

Monday, June 25:
     I am up at 6 to head to the dining hall where I write, draw, and put the cinnamon rolls into the oven for heating up!  See Dale arrive around 7am, and eventually everyone stumbles in to find some breakfast! 
     Our task for the morning, which started out sunny and has turned cloudy, was the bathhouse and the staining.  The forecast for Tuesday is rain, so we want to get the stain on with a chance to dry.  But the clouds aren’t looking good.  An opening prayer asking God for a little time, and we are blessed with a BEAUTIFUL day of sunshine!! 
Kate and Michelle stain away!
Darrell lays down molding
     Bathhouse:  It took most of the day, but Darrell, Rick, and Nanette accomplished this task, with a little help from the three girls at one point right before lunch.  Thanks to Dale for bringing up e-directions on how to turn the ‘corners’. 
     Staining:  Katy, Cherrie, Lynn, Amber, myself, and the three girls painted all morning.  Katy and I went up to the chapel and applied a coat on the air conditioning cover as well. 
     Tree crew:  Dale took Benny and Carl and they applied bark chips to both playground areas, plus helped Dale cut down a few trees, one of which will be used for the border of the bathhouse path. 
     Late morning, Laura Harriman arrived with Corey and his friend Corbin, to work for the day.  They joined Dale and boys and did some more tree thinning. 
Benny & Carl cut down a tree!
     We broke for lunch around noon. 
     Afternoon jobs saw Katy, Amber, Laura, boys and girls all go with Dale to start spreading bark chips on the paths up by the chapel, as well as around the trees in the aspen grove.  Lynn, Cherrie, and I began work on the bathhouse path, while the molding crew continued their job!  They finished!! 
     Work closed for the day around 4:15.  People were tired, backs and knees were sore (old folks), or enthusiasm had waned (kids!).  Showers, games, exploration followed. 
     Lasagna dinner around 6!  Still eating up the leftovers from last night’s potluck as well. 
S'more time again!
     Evening was devotions (based on Matthew 4:8-11) and the writing of the Confession and Assurance of Pardon and selection of the second hymn.  Campfire included the “Spontaneous Melodrama” skits of the Prodigal Son and Daniel and the Lion’s Den.  We have some great actors and actresses in this group!  More songs and s’mores created with peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies.  (The PB was actually a prop for the skit, but it it delicious on a s’more as well!)
     Earlier to bed tonight.  People are tired! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
    I awoke around 1:30 to hear the sounds of raindrops on the canvas of our trailer, and then a funny sound, which I finally figured was the raining hitting the plastic vent cover in the bathroom!  It rained steadily all night and it still raining now as I write at 6:45 am.  It could be a wet work day! 
Tuesday work crew
     The group gathered in the dining hall around 8:45 to finally meet with Dale – nearly .8 of an inch of rain has fallen since it started shortly after midnight.  Forecast is for rain off and on all day long, heavy at times.  What to do? 
Michelle, Kourtney, & Nanette wash chapel windows
     We meet up at the chapel for Dale to share a presentation on trimming trees and forest management.  Interesting, but a little over the heads and interests of our younger workers!  And still too wet to actually go out and put it into practice.  So we put most of the crew to work giving the chapel a thorough cleaning – bathrooms, windows, etc.  Rick and I went outside and weeded the area that has been planted with a low growing drought resistant ground cover.  We got caught in a couple of downpours, so quite wet when done! 
     After lunch we got enough of a break in the rain to finish up the log borders on the bathhouse path, finishing just as the skies opened again and it poured!  By this time, Will had arrived to cut a few of the final logs. 
Afternoon hike!  WET!!
     Back to the dining hall to hold early devotions and finish up the liturgy, “sermon” and hymns for Sunday’s service.  Katy and Will then left after taking down Katy’s VERY wet tent.  Quiet afternoon, but around 4:45 we decided the sun was momentarily shining and we would take a walk up to the Oregon Trail ruts: Lynn, Cherrie, myself, Amber and the boys.  A wet hike, but we saw tons of Mountain Lady slippers, plus some of the invasive species that Dale had discussed this morning: Hounds tongue and St. John’s Wort.  I learned a little!
    Dinner was Wolf Meal as Lynn put it – scrounge and find something to eat!  Leftover lasagna, hotdogs, beans, spaghetti, watermelon, etc. all put out and most consumed!  I also cleaned out three cupboards in the kitchen where the dishes had been piled up helter-skelter.
    No campfire tonight.  Too wet out.  Evening enjoyed with a few games (Cherrie and Lynn played a round of cards) while I played a few games left by the PYGS four years ago with Amber and boys.  All out of the dining hall by 9:30 and into bed.  I stayed to write and draw for a few minutes, plus to read through a few of the overtures for GA. 
    We have dropped down to just 8 by tonight.  But a good time is still enjoyed by all. 

Wednesday, June 27:
     We awake to sunshine and beautiful skies!  Thank you God!!  I arose early to finish a final composite scribble of the mission trip, and after breakfast the cleaning began.  Nanette and girls had already tackled their side of the dorm, while Will and Katy checked to make sure the bathhouse was in order.  Major clean is the kitchen dining hall area and then to  cover the grounds for any trash etc.
     All cleaned, checked out, and on our way by 10 am!!  Rick and I took Amber and boys home in our truck, which seemed to be a great adventure for the boys! (although Benny fell asleep!)
     Mission Accomplished!!  When Ed checked us out, he was filled with praise for the work the group did and the conditions of the grounds as we left.  Great job Baker City Presby!!  Westminster Woods is in better shape because WE WERE THERE!!  

Click HERE to view all Westminster Woods pictures
Click HERE to view all wildflower pictures

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