This year, Pastor Jean-Paul Sankagui will be honored. Pastor Sankagui “knew the danger … He knew that his safety was at risk … and, yet he also knew the call of God … He decided, in his heart, that answering that call was worth any risk.”
We share this year’s “Day of the Christian Martyr” video so that we may be inspired by those who came before us. We ask that we all pray for pastors and church leaders serving in places where they experience a daily threat of public humiliation, opposition, and violence. They ask us to pray that they will love their enemies and remain faithful to God’s call to be a witness for Christ to those who hate them.
As always, let’s all pray for our own commitment to Christ, that we may be a bold and faithful witness no matter the opposition we face.
“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body” (Hebrews 13:3).
Let us also … as we survey what is happening “over here” … not forget what has been happening for so long, and continues to happen to our Brothers and Sisters, “over there” …
Recently, I “attended” the first Voice of the Martyrs Virtual Conference, which was amazing. The first speaker was Joni Eareckson Tada, who shared her story (it had been 50 years since her accident), and how this had coincided with the 50th anniversary of the release of Richard Wurmbrand’s book, “Tortured for Christ.”
I was searching for the video of her address when I came across this message, from Ken and Joni Tada, taped at their home in California.
So … I’d like to share this with you … a message for now … and, really, encouragement for “always.”
We continue to be blessed to support the life’s work and ministry of Joni and Ken Tada … and Friends. The way they love Jesus, and each other, is a great witness and inspiration to us all. For now, and for always.
A beautiful lake, surrounded by Mountains. Jericho Mountain State Park (also referred to as Jericho Lake State Park) is located just outside of Berlin, New Hampshire.
As beautiful a spot as it is, it has in the last few years taken on even more popularity with the addition of ATV trails. With 85 miles of ATV trails within the Park, it is also linked to the 1,000 mile “Ride the Wilds” trail system. In fact, this was the first network of all-terrain vehicle trails on state land in New Hampshire.
There are many different points of interest along the trails, like “The Windmills” on top of Jericho Mountain (2,454-feet), and the awe-inspiring views from The Warming Hut. We’ll cover each of these locations in later videos.
Many of the ATV trails are also snowmobile trails during the winter months. The trail system is operated and supported by the Androscoggin Valley ATV club and by the White Mountain Ridge Runners Snowmobile club, both of Berlin. The ATV club hosts the Jericho ATV festival that takes place every summer at the park near Jericho Lake. Through a maintenance agreement with the state, the club is primarily responsible for the trail maintenance of the ATV trails. They do a great job, and for many, these were the first trails ridden, and the Park has been responsible for introducing many, many riders to the trails.
We’ve been to Jericho Mountain State Park many times. Last Summer, I was able to take photos of the area around the Lake, and the Welcome Center. I think it will serve as a great introduction to the beauty of the Park, and surrounding areas.
You can ride downtown in Berlin, New Hampshire (and Gorham), and you can ride your ATV on the highway … until about a quarter of a mile from the Park entrance. To get to the Park, if you are on an ATV, you have to leave the Highway, and “go around” through the woods, and ride this trail to the Park. So, the first few slides you’ll see is of this “entrance trail” to get to the Park.
Easy to say “I can’t wait to get back out there,” as, like most of you right now, you “can’t wait to go anywhere!”
Every year, I seem to look more and more forward to Summer, and for us it’s always an added bonus. Keep in mind that we had snow here on Wednesday, just 3 days ago. Tomorrow, Sunday, there is 3”-6” of snow in the forecast. That’s three to six inches. Yeah … we’re looking forward to Summer. A week from yesterday is May 1st. ‘Ol Timers here will speak of the time, when they were in School, when they had to cancel May Day celebrations (remember when that was a big deal?) because of snow. So, yes, especially this year, looking forward to when the Lake, and the Mountains look the same as in the video.
Several years ago, around the second week of June, a close friend from Georgia joined with our family for a visit. I had asked him to share his pictures … which he did … a few years ago …
I knew I would get around to them …
I think this was his first time in the North Country, so we tried to get in as much territory as possible.
I’ll never forget something my Mom said shortly upon their arrival. Looking out from our front porch (some folks call it a deck), she was in awe as she exclaimed: “Everything is so green!”
Early June, and they already had brown grass in Georgia. Up here, the snow wasn’t that far from making its exit, and we had gotten a lot of rain.
We’ve been to all these places many times since, and taken a lot more pictures in each individual location (which we’ll share along the way), but all these photos were taken by our friend, and we want to fulfill our promise to him first.
I’ve working on these photos for about 2 months, long before there was any threat of our current situation. I’ve thought about whether “now” is a good time to share them. For 2 very different reasons, I think now is a good time:
I just sat through the slides again, and the same thought comes to mind: “Everything is so green!” Keep in mind, it’s still Winter here, we still have snow in the yard (got several inches last week), and the forecast calls for 3-6 inches of snow in 2 days. Yeah … looking at all that green … clear skies … shorts and t-shirts … Yeah, it seems like a good time …
I have written much about how one of the great blessings we so often take for granted in the United States is the ability … the freedom … to just get in our vehicle and travel … from place to place … from state to state … what a great blessing, what a great freedom that is … that we often just take for granted.
Looking at these slides, covering a few states in a few days … at our leisure … traveling “all over the place” … stopping wherever and whenever we wanted … I’m thinking that I won’t ever take that freedom, that blessing, that privilege for granted … ever again …
Just being able to do that, again, would be “Trippin’!!!”
Now, we feature the English vocal version of the song, by the fabulous Ray Conniff Singers. Plus … this version includes the lyrics/words of the song in English!
The words “Eres Tu” is translated “It’s You,” as in: It’s You, It’s You, Eres Tu.
Joseph Raymond Conniff was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, on November 6, 1916. His father was the leader/trombonist of the local Jewelry City Band and his mother played the piano. He learned to play the trombone from his father, and he studied music arranging from a course book.
He served in the U.S. Army in World War II. He joined the Artie Shaw band, writing many arrangements for him. He started working for Mitch Miller in 1954, at Columbia Records, working with several artists including Rosemary Clooney, Marty Robbins, Frankie Laine, Johnny Mathis, Guy Mitchell and Johnnie Ray. He wrote the arrangement for Don Cherry’s “Band of Gold” in 1955, which sold more than a million copies. Hit singles he backed with his orchestra included “Chances Are” by Johnny Mathis, and “A White Sport Coat” by Marty Robbins.
Early in his career, he produced records for Columbia’s Epic label under the name of Jay Raye, which stood for “Joseph Raymond.”
Between 1957-1968, Conniff had 28 albums in the American Top 40. Becoming a top-selling artist worldwide, he also was the first American popular artist to record in Russia, in 1974. In 1959, he started The Ray Conniff Singers, consisting of 12 women and 13 men. In 1966, when the album “It’s the Talk of the Town” was released, it included the biggest hit he ever had in his career: “Somewhere My Love. “The album reached the US top 20 and went platinum, and Conniff won a Grammy. The single and album also reached high positions in the international charts. The first of four Christmas albums by the Singers, “Christmas with Conniff,” released in 1959, was also successful.
In 1979, Ray Conniff was hired to re-arrange and record a new version of “Those Were The Days” and “Remembering You,” the opening and closing themes to “All In The Family,” for its new spin-off, “Archie Bunker’s Place.”
Ray Conniff was in the music business for over 65 years, and he recorded over 100 albums, selling 70 million albums worldwide, and he would continue recording and performing until his death on October 12, 2002.
Enjoy the final segment of our series, as The Ray Conniff Singers sing “Eres Tu.” Credit for the presentation is included at the end:
I love God’s Word. Because it is just as true, and as powerful, today, as yesterday. And, it will be just as powerful … just as true … tomorrow.
And, just as in the past, I will always need to read His Word more, understand His Word more, and apply His Word more.
I often write about how important it is to “post” His Word where you are sure to see it every day. On the refrigerator, on the dresser, by the mirror, on your visor in the truck. At work. On your desk. In your locker. Everyone has somewhere this would be a great idea. And, it could be different for everyone.
I still believe that one of the best ways to do this is through a calendar. Something you see every day. In the right spot, something you’ll see every time you enter the room. Somewhere, if you have a home office, you can often just lean back in your chair, and “stare at the calendar.”
I still believe that this is one of the very best gifts you can give someone, for “all the reasons stated above.”
I also still believe that this is one of the best gifts you can give to someone that you want to witness to. If they will take it, just like a Bible, and “leave it open,” you just never know. Something they see every day. It’s “right there … in front of them.” You never know … maybe one day, they’ll be kickin’ back in their chair, thinking about a certain problem or trouble they are having … and then … “they just stare at the calendar.” You just never know.
Also: There is just never a good time to not be exposed to God’s Word, and His promises.
I was reading the text from the last “Calendar” slide show I had done, and read this: “What better way to meditate on the future … than remembering God’s favor in the past?”
The North Country is so beautiful, and there are over 1,000 miles of connected ATV trails to enjoy. As a life-long hiker, I’d always dreamed of hiking these mountain trails I had read so much about, as a child. Well … after well over 10 years of living in the North Country, I could count all the hikes I’ve been able to complete on part of one hand.
My brother-in-law, an avid outdoors enthuist, came up to visit one weekend, and he brought along an ATV … then, on another trip soon thereafter … he brought up a “Side-by Side.” The rest became part of our history …
The very first trail we rode, and still one of our favorites, is the Success Trail. We love all of the bridges … a lot of bridges … and, mountain views. Plus, the trail is well maintained by local ATV Clubs.
This is something that Carol and I can enjoy together, and let me just say that there are places, beautiful, spectacular places-close by … that I didn’t even know existed.
I guess it’s about time to start sharing our travel adventures … we have been so blessed, and even more blessed to be able to share our adventures with our friends.
Blessings to you, and your family. And … yes … Happy Trails to you …