Things are going so very well here in beautiful Emporium! We are right at our 6-month mark since arriving here, and as summer gains momentum, we are loving the beauty of this country like we never imagined it!
We have been keeping busy with our vegetable garden, and even some flowers, fellowshipping and serving in our church, and having lots of visitors and even traveling a little.
Jeremy just found out that he will be assigned to the Pittsburgh Reserve Unit for his reserve duty when he becomes a chaplain (yes, he finally DID get approved by the board and is waiting for more paperwork to be processed for him to raise his right hand as an officer.) We are so happy that they will work with him around his commitments here at our church in Emporium. It looks likely that he will be able to serve in the reserves and not have to miss many (if not any!) Sundays!
In the meantime, we continue to love ministry here, and the opportunities are endless for serving the body of Christ and reaching many who do not know Jesus.
Today Jeremy was thrilled today to do his first baptisms – eight in all, including our own Elijah.
Videos of the baptisms can be found on our youtube account: http://www.youtube.com/faithemporium The setting was absolutely beautiful in the creek across the road from the church, and when the last person was being baptized, a deer crossed the creek only feet away from us! It was AMAZING!
Jeremy will be posting his sermon (one of the best explanations of baptism I have ever heard!) from this morning on the church website http://www.faithemporium.org
Elijah finished first grade with honors and is excited for second grade to begin in just about two months. Merry is very excited for Kindergarten to begin as well.
A few days ago I asked some advice of someone at our church about a small garden plan I had. He gave me the advice that I should build a garden box, and said he had some scrap wood if I wanted it. I told him I would take it, as long as he didn’t need the wood for something else. The next day we return home from some errands to find him and his wife building me a MASSIVE garden box behind our house (12X24 feet).
Elijah really wants watermelons to come out of the garden, and has mapped out what should go in my garden box near the front porch, and what should go in the new big garden. The little ones are planning on pumpkins in the fall.
Today the weather was beautiful, and so we headed up to a cow farm to get some of their “black gold” and on the way up, the children had some lively conversation about farming.
Merry said that her teenage neighbor friend’s dad had lots of money because he bought her friend two baby ducks. Is that all it takes? Then Micah announced that he wanted us to have a cow. The cow would live in the house, of course and they all agreed that it would potty in the toilet so the house wouldn’t get stinky.
Then Merry vetoed the whole idea, “Micah, we aren’t wasting our money on a cow, but you can waste your money on a cow if you want to.” It seems that “spend” and “waste” are synonymous in this five-year-old’s mind. Oh yeah, and how did she get the authority to decide if Micah could buy a cow?? Yet no one questions her, not even Jeremy or I, we are too entertained by this conversation to interject some reality.
She seems to be on a kick about buying/spending/budgeting/acquiring lately. Earlier today while she and Micah were playing, I overheard her saying in a very lecturing tone: “Micah, you can’t have everything you want.” Watch out Dave Ramsey. . .
Tonight one of the children announced that another one “smelled.” And they did, but it was a good thing, because they smelled like dirt, and sweat and. . .the outdoors. . .the best smell to this grown-up farm girl. The island farm girl who’s far from the ocean but strangely back in her element in the warming-up-mountains of the NORTH.
Small-town experiences have kept us smiling lately:
- Everyone knows your name, even if you don’t know theirs,
- We are enjoying the laid-back quiet that only small towns can offer
- Filling up on gas only every other week at the most
- Small-town news. . .our greatest source of entertainment (details to follow)
Only a few weeks after our arrival, someone very concernedly asked me if when we were leaving. Apparently, rumor had it that we were picking up and leaving already.
Of course we had to have a little fun messing with our deacon, then just this week, Jeremy traveled to McGuire AFB to interview for a reserve Chaplain position closer to us here (he is bi-vocational at the church so he is free to continue his reserve duty periodically, and this affords us military medical insurance). While he was away, I got another phone call, and I was informed of more small-town news:Jeremy was interviewing at another church in New Jersey, and if he got the job, we would apparently be taking that position and moving away from Emporium. Wow! The funny thing was, I probably was the one to start that rumor, because it was no secret that Jeremy was going away to interview for a reserve position, but I probably just mentioned in passing to someone (who didn’t know the details) that Jeremy was out of town interviewing. And of course they filled in their own details.
Small-town news starts in first grade, it seems, because yesterday Elijah came home from school insisting that there was no school today (Thursday). He named several children (obviously very reliable sources) in his class who had informed him that there was no school today. We assured him that there was no holiday until next week. Still, he woke me up this morning, still in his pajamas (he usually gets up and dresses himself before most of the house is up) and kept insisting that I call the school or check online to see if there was school today. I told him that his classmates had it wrong, and it wasn’t true that school was out today. ”Get dressed and go downstairs. The bus will be here to get you at the regular time.” He obeyed, but seemed still convinced that I was misinformed. After I got everyone off to school and got ready for the day, I sat down to my computer to find this google search open in my browser:
“is there going to be school today”
No county, no school name. Just that simple search. Just to be sure, I checked, and Jeremy had not done the search. I can’t stop laughing as I picture him coming down here confidently to do some real “RESEARCH” since mom apparently wasn’t in on the loop of the school calendar!
Enough fiction, here’s some of the REAL news in the Caskey house today!
Easter will mark our third-month anniversary here in Emporium, and we have SO much to praise God for!
- Jeremy has preached through the book of Haggai, and will finish 1 Thessalonians this Sunday. (His sermons are all on our website www.faithemporium.org) If you only listen to one sermon, I’d recommend the one titled “A Life Pleasing to God” it is so practical, and probably the clearest exposition of that text I’ve ever heard.
- Children’s Sunday School has been added
- Jeremy completed the church website and has been keeping all his sermons on there
- Preparation of the membership class curriculum was completed and this Sunday Jeremy will finish teaching the FIRST EVER membership class in the history of the church! Most of the current membership and several candidates for membership attended, and have gleaned a lot.
- Jeremy has preached at two inter-faith/inter-denominational events here in town (and boldly preached the Gospel of course!)
- Both Jeremy and I have been discipling men and women individually, and in a few weeks we will be starting a Ladies’ Bible study.
Psalm 139 verses 1 and 17 says, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”
When we were seeking God’s will for our place in full-time career ministry, I have to say I struggled with worry. Not worry that God would provide, but worry that we might not go the right place.
Since moving here, God has proven Himself as a God who KNOWS us through and through. We had no idea how right this town, this church, these people were for us. We joked when we came to interview here that we could move here because they had a really good pizza place. You know pizza is pretty important! We joked because we knew that if God had chosen for us to serve here, HE would work out the details. HE would make sure we were cared for. I just did not fathom HOW well and how perfectly the God who made us would lovingly and carefully show us His providential care.
I’ve already shared on this blog about the provision of school for the children, friends for us and our children, a loving body of believers to worship with and love fervently and deeply. I can truly say that our church has become like family to us. But the details. . .oh, the details that God has orchestrated that meet our needs and many of our quirks and desires.
Tonight was no exception.
One of Jeremy’s favorite treats is a cherry-dipped ice cream cone. He used to get them from Dairy Queen, but it seems that in the last several years, he hasn’t been able to get them anywhere! The last few places we’ve lived, he’s given up on even trying ice cream shops any more. He doesn’t even ask. So when we candidated here, we noticed a little ice cream shop downtown. It was closed up for the winter, but I said, to Jeremy, “we’ll have to go down and see if they have cherry-dipped cones when they open in the spring.” He dismissed me, saying that if we couldn’t find a cherry-dipped cone in big towns nowadays, there was no way they would have them in this little town.
It has warmed up enough even here in the mountains for ice cream, so tonight we took the children down and got some really yummy CHEAP soft serve. When we got to the window, Jeremy asked the lady, “do you have dipped cones?” “Yes,” she said, “chocolate and cherry.” I about jumped through the window to hug her!
God in his goodness has given us something we did not even ask Him for. Who would think to ask God for a cherry-dipped cone? I didn’t, but He gave anyway.
Thankful tonight for a God who knows every personal detail of our hearts and delights to show His goodness to us in ways our particular human heart can recognize.
Matthew 26:25-32 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”
Disruptions are something I’m learning to appreciate. Today I had my schedule set up, and I was on track, headed in to the church to practice piano, to hear Jeremy’s sermon (I’m in the nursery this week, so when that happens I try to listen to his sermon earlier in the week so I can encourage him and get the sermon all at the same time). Then the phone rang and someone gave us information that put us in the car to visit someone in a matter of minutes. I thought for a second that this was going to mess up my day. But my day is God’s and HIS kingdom is more important than mine, right? So as we went to the home of one of our members as her husband was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, I had a choice: God’s priorities or mine?
As we return to our house from that call, we get another call with the news that compelled Jeremy to offer to preach on Sunday at another church that has a service later than ours. Jeremy is already preaching at 10 and 2 on Sunday. But he offers to preach still another time on Sunday, because it’s a God-given opportunity that Jeremy would never think of passing up.
I forgot to tell Elijah that we were picking him up from school early today, so I decided to make a detour (waste of time if you look at it from an earthly perspective) and stop into his school. I got to spend some really sweet time with him at lunch with his classmates, and talk with some of the lunch monitors.
Our day is only half over, and already we have had so many wide-open doors for sharing Christ, encouraging the Body and loving our neighbors. What more am I looking for? In view of heaven, I can label our day amazingly successful! When my heart is in heaven, then the glories and priorities of heaven are my mind and heart’s measuring stick. How humbling and exhilarating it is to have heaven’s tasks handed to such broken, deteriorating and sinful people as us.
Don’t think for a second, that this is just a choice to not complain about things not going according to my plan. This is, in fact, me laying down my INFERIOR schedule and plans for TODAY’S perfect, SUPERIOR ordained-before-the-foundation-of-the-world plans of Almighty God!
Oh, God, make us faithful to bring glory to YOU in all the tasks you set before us today!
Today I’m linking up with Christine Hoover, at Grace Covers Me as she launches her new book, “The Church Planting Wife” one of the most encouraging reads I have read in a long time! Check out my review on Amazon too (it’s the first one there), and pick it up to read and share with someone today!
Filed under: Faith Baptist Emporium
One thing we have enjoyed about our church is the spirit of love and joy we know when we are there. A few Sundays ago, our family was “loved” in a particularly humorous way, as we arrived at church to find this “newspaper clipping” about our family:
The body of the article reads as follows:
Louisville, Kentucky – USA TODAY learned the truth behind statements “Hard Knocks” and “Crime Doesn’t Pay.” A Louisville gang leader and his gang were tried by District Judge Peter M. Marcus for various high crimes and misdemeanors at Jefferson County Circuit Court, 600 West Jefferson Street, Louisville. Gang leader
Jeremy Caskey and his Lieutenant Adina Caskey were tried jointly along with other members of the Caskey Gang. The gang was caught red-handed based on information provided by informant Dr. Denny Burk. It appears that the Caskey Gang was involved in a variety of crimes, some of which could not be discussed in open court because of their sensitivity.
Jeremy Caskey made trips to Iraq where he photographed Special Forces groups conducting unmentionable acts during field activities. Caskey returned to the States where he led a men’s group in various nefarious activities.
The Caskey Gang lieutenant, Adina Caskey, although not directly involved in these actions, fully supported them. Caskey then used his successes in these and other activities as leverage to enter the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he partook in clandestine operations. It appears as if this brazen bunch used many different Christian groups as cover for their activities. Jeremy was an under cover itinerant preacher in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. He made missionary trips to Sikkim, India and Cordoba, Mexico and no one fully understands what he smuggled back to the states. Unsuspecting church leaders across this great nation allowed them to use their spaces for unspecified activities, among these were Kenwood Baptist Church, Waller Baptist Church, Riverdale Baptist Church and Yigo Baptist Church in Yigo, Guam.
The jury found all members of the Caskey Gang guilty on all charges. Judge Peter Marucus then sentenced the gang to 25 years to life at hard labor at the FBC Work Farm in Cameron County, Pennsylvania. Warden Richard Beck took charge of these hardened Christians on April 15, 2012 and immediately put them all to work. Jeremy will also serve as prison Chaplain. They will be paid a meager stipend for their work that can be used to support themselves. Warden Beck reports they will get increases in their allowances as productivity increases. USA TODAY will monitor this situation and report additional information as it becomes available. Please see Page A11 for additional information.
Yesterday the snow was falling thick, but the temperature was above freezing (go figure?) and I saw someone out in their short-sleeved t-shirt as I loaded my grocery bags into the car. . . bags that filled with snow in the few minutes from the store to the car.
And since when does a fleece count as a jacket?
It has been a mild winter for here (I do agree it has been very pleasant!) and so people are really taking advantage of the “balmy” weather with open-toed shoes, open jackets and rarely a hat, glove or scarf.
I guess I really look like the newbie here, decked out in every warm-weather piece of apparel I have. Don’t look at me weird, please. It’s freezing out here people. . .LITERALLY freezing! Merry, on the other hand, our thick-blooded Nebraska-born beauty goes out in her lightest coat, often un-zipped, in open-topped hot pink Sleeping Beauty shoes. At least she’s wearing socks. . .most days.
Filed under: Faith Baptist Emporium
Questions can often be the hardest and best parts of being a parent, a counselor, a friend, a pastor or pastor’s wife. Here are a few of the most recent questions asked in our house lately:
- Do you have boogies in your ears?
- How much is this going to cost? (Micah, as we rolled the full grocery cart up to the register)
- Does my daughter need to be baptized?
- Am I still a Christian if. . . ?
- How can I worship a God who allowed xyz to happen to our family?
- Will I need to be baptized?
- Are we members?
- Aren’t we already members?
- How long are you going to preach for?
- Can I take your laundry and do it for you? (Yes, someone DID ask me this question!)
- Do you take anything in your coffee? (Most common answer is “no, I drink coffee.)
In case any of you are wondering. . .at our house, it’s real life. Some questions I can’t post here (the best and funniest ones, actually!) As you can see, there have been many surprises, many joys, heartaches (mostly shared with us in others’ lives,) but the Body of Christ to share it all with.
On a sad note, the former pastor of Faith Baptist Church went to be with the Lord the day before yesterday. We grieve for his family who miss him and all those in this community who were so lovingly ministered to by him for 25 years.
Filed under: Faith Baptist Emporium | Tags: baptist church cameron county, baptist church emporium, baptist church emporium pa, baptist church near allegheny forest, baptist church near elk state forest, baptist church near smethport, Church emporium pa, faith baptist church emporium pa website, faith baptist church website, pa, southern baptist church pennsylvania, traditional baptist church emporium
We have a website for Faith Baptist Church in Emporium, Pennsylvania!
Check it out, listen to a sermon, and praise God for HIS great grace toward us these first few weeks!
Filed under: children, Faith Baptist Emporium, Pictures | Tags: Emporium PA, Faith Baptist Church Emporium
Here is a picture of the church taken yesterday from our upstairs window. Jeremy’s office is the first window on the left, and we can see it from our upstairs hallway.
The sanctuary of the church, with the fellowship hall, Jeremy’s office, Sunday school and nursery rooms off to the right.
One of my favorite windows in the house with some flowers one of our members brought to welcome us. This window looks out from our kitchen and dining room to the church.
These are the steps going upstairs to the bedrooms, with some of my favorite people being goofy on them (my children and some of the cousins)
I can’t say it enough: we serve a GOOD and merciful God! Jeremy’s first sermon yesterday went well, and many aspects of this move have been better than we could ask or think. We look back and see that God has been leading us here for a long time, and has been preparing this church and location for us. We could never have imagined this in a million years. God is perfect, even if things don’t seem perfect to me, HIS ways, in the end are always right, just, and better than anything my sinful heart and mind could have come up with on its’ own!