Joseph Herrin (03-14-2015)
Kristin Delivering Solar Tracking Mount
Back in September of 2014 I wrote about the Lord giving me much grace to revamp and upgrade the solar auxiliary power system in my bus/motorhome. I did a complete redesign of my first rudimentary efforts for solar power in The Dreamer. I kept the four original solar panels I had purchased a couple years previously, each panel being rated at 140 watts per hour for a total of 560 watts per hour. I upgraded my battery bank so that I now have 459 amp hours of storage. The redesign included a much more capable inverter to convert the 12 volt DC power from my battery bank to 110 volt AC power to run various appliances as needed. It also included an upgraded solar charge controller which takes the incoming power from the four panels and charges up the battery bank, insuring the batteries are charged efficiently while protecting them from being overcharged. New wiring, connectors, and a Tri-Metric battery monitor rounded out the new system. The details can be found in the following posts which comprise the series I titled Solar Ruminations.
If At First You Don’t Succeed
In Defense of Austerity
More Methods of Alternative Living
Some Assembly Required
This last writing which was posted on October 14, 2014, exactly five months ago, left off with all of the internal preparations completed on my solar power system. The final task, and a major one, which was left, was to design and fabricate a mount for my four solar panels which will be installed on the roof of my bus where a rear deck is located. The mount would allow the panels to track with the sun so they would produce the maximum amount of electricity each day. It would include both horizontal and vertical tracking. This job proved to be beyond my personal skill set and tools, as it would require metal working and welding. I was blessed when a brother in Idaho (Jeff Higdon) heard of my plans and graciously volunteered to fabricate what I needed.
As many such jobs turn out, there was much more time, material, and labor involved than Jeff and I initially envisioned, but Jeff persevered, taking every available moment of free-time he had to work on the project, and yesterday it arrived by truck-line at my daughter’s place of business. (The plywood crate with the tracker inside weighed 210 lbs., and was much more economical to ship to a business location with a loading dock than it would have been to deliver it to the location where I have my bus parked.) Kristin was able to borrow her employer’s company truck and fulfill the last leg of this relay.
During the five months of waiting for the tracking mount to be fabricated I researched the electronics which I would need to control the tracker. I wrote about acquiring this necessary component back in January of this year.
News From the Homefront
Solar Stalker STA-1000
This nifty package is manufactured by a man in North Carolina. It includes a light sensor which can detect whether the panels are aligned directly with the sun. It has a control box which is programmable. It also includes an anemometer (wind speed sensor) and can be programmed to position the panels in a flat position when the wind reaches a certain threshold speed. This will minimize exposure to wind forces and prevent damage to the system.
All that is left to purchase are two linear actuators which are the motorized components which will accomplish the actual vertical and horizontal movement of the system. I needed to wait until the tracking mount arrived in order to take precise measurements to know what size linear actuators I would need. The actuator has an arm that extends and retracts, accomplishing the necessary movement of the solar tracking system.
A Linear Actuator
My daughter informed me of a young man who lives only 3 miles from my location who does welding and fabrication. He has agreed to come by Monday and weld a steel plate to my roof deck to insure that I have a solid foundation for the solar tracker. Hopefully, he will also be able to weld the base of the tracker to the steel plate. The rest of the work of assembly and wiring I should be able to accomplish myself.
This past week Jonathan, a brother in Christ, came to visit me. I was blessed to have him stay for four days. I had thought his visit might coincide with the arrival of my solar tracker, as Jonathan is very eager to help me with any projects I am working on. The last time he was here, Jonathan helped me with the expansion of the mailing list for men in prisons, assisting in the printing, and preparation for mailing of hundreds of newsletters. I did take advantage of Jonathan’s presence as he was once again eager to help out.
My tankless hot water heater (which I have had mounted outside the bus because it runs on propane and was not made for indoor use) had frozen up during a cold snap we had here in Georgia. The freeze burst some of the internal plumbing, destroying the unit. This was the second, or third time this had occurred, so I looked for a better solution this time. I found a very similar tankless hot water heater which was advertised as “ventless.” It was safe to mount inside and did not require a vent to the outside. However, it did require placement in a well ventilated room.
I mounted the tankless hot water heater inside the shower which is convenient as it allows access to the controls for water volume and temperature. My bathroom is quite small, and very tight. It had no ventilation, and moisture build-up when taking hot showers has been a problem as it would leave the walls damp with condensation and the medicine cabinet mirror fogged up. It would not be good to run a propane heater in the bathroom without ventilation.
Tankless Water Heater in the Shower
To provide ventilation in the bathroom, I purchased a pair of louvered vent covers to mount on my bathroom door. Jonathan took the door down for me and cut a hole in the lower portion which we covered with the louvers.
Bathroom Door (lower half)
I found a through-the-wall vent with a 12 volt fan to mount in the bathroom. It is sold for vans as a roof mounted vent and fan combo. However, I could not mount anything through the bathroom roof as the deck where my solar panels will be mounted is located over the bathroom. Consequently, I chose to go through the wall over the bus’ back door.
Outside View of Vent (Rear of Bus)
The vent has a rain cap outside that can be raised and lowered, or, when wall mounted, extended and retracted. You simply push a handle which opens the vent outside and then push a button which starts the 12 volt fan.
Jonathan Modeling the New Fan/Vent
I am very pleased with how the new vent has worked out. I have tested it by taking a hot shower with the bathroom door shut. There was no moisture on the walls, and the mirror was not fogged in the least. This should cut down on moisture in the bus considerably.
Close-up of Exhaust Vent
Of course, Jonathan’s stay wasn’t all work. We had some wonderful times of fellowship. I had introduced him to the local Mennonite restaurant on his previous visit, and we were able to enjoy some good food there together once more. Jonathan is also a regular runner. On two occasions he took Champ with him on his daily runs. Champ is now his friend forever.
Recently, I have been hearing of numerous testimonies of Yahweh’s faithfulness in the lives of His children who place their trust in Him. The manner in which Yahweh provides for my life is certainly remarkable, but it is typical of that remnant of believers who follow Yahshua wherever He leads and who place their lives in His hands. I received the following remarkable testimony from Randy and Kathy Furman who reside in the Arizona desert on 40 acres.
Just wanted to share a little of what has been going on with us lately.
We were able to pass along part of the blessing that you sent to us. Last Tuesday on our way to town we saw a man near the entrance to the Love's truck stop. It looked like he might have been wanting a ride to town so we stopped to offer him one. He said that he was headed in the opposite direction and was just trying to get a little money for some food for himself and his son. He motioned to a small tent just off the road and said that he and his son were traveling and heading home to Texas. We didn't have any money on us. We were actually on our way to withdraw some from the PayPal donation you sent. We also needed to run some errands and do some grocery shopping.
One of the things we had to do in town was pick up a mattress and drop it off at Goodwill. This was in exchange for several bookcases that were given to us. We didn't know that all of the second hand stores had a new health regulation that prevented them from accepting donations of mattresses. So we were stuck with a mattress in the bed of our truck. We didn't have a need for it but it was a nice twin size mattress so we figured that we would take it home.
We did our grocery shopping and picked up a large bag of trail mix, some granola bars and bottled water for the man at the truck stop. Trying to think of things that would have a high nutritional value and be easy to pack along. When we got back to the truck stop the man had been joined by a second. We assumed it was the son. We gave them the food and some cash. And they said they were trying to get to US93 to head south to Wickenburg. Well, that is the exit that we get off on when we head home, so we offered to take them there. As we drove, they shared that they were trying to get back home to El Paso. Since they were walking and hitchhiking they had to stay off the main interstates because they are not allowed to walk along the shoulder of an interstate. They had to stick with state or county roads and avoid large metropolitan areas like Phoenix.
It was a cold, cloudy day and just as we approached the turn out to drop them off, it started to rain and sleet. The place where they would have been standing to try to get a ride had no shelter and it was 30 miles to the next town. We couldn't leave them there. We asked if they would like to come home with us and stay the night since it was getting late and the weather was bad. We live just 2 miles from that location. They said yes. Just as we turned the truck around and started toward home, the rain stopped.
When we got home they helped unload the mattress. They had been on the road for over 2 weeks and had not had showers. They only had the clothes on their backs. They took showers and Richard, 51, said he felt human again. Robert (about 25 years old) was not actually Richard's son, but he had taken him under his wing when his real parents kicked him out. I think Robert might have had a bit of autism. Both men were very polite and very appreciative.
A month or so ago we had a little extra money so I bought a 12 pack of socks for Randy, knowing that he would need them soon. The day before we picked up Richard and Robert, I had opened the pack and taken them to the Laundromat to wash. So we had clean, brand new socks to give them. They threw their old ones away because they were in such bad shape.
We fixed supper and afterwards they got on their computer (they had a laptop with them) to try and figure out the best route to El Paso. As Randy and I heard the challenges that would be involved in their getting around Phoenix we wondered how we could help. So, while they were in the other room discussing their options, we checked Greyhound to see if maybe we could help with tickets, but they were way out of our reach. Even if they stayed for a week to get the lowest faire it would still have been over $120 each. We placed it back in the Father's hands and asked Him to show us what we could do.
After that the four of us visited for a while. They shared a bit about themselves and we were able to share some spiritual things with them. After that Randy was on line for a little while looking on Craigslist. He was looking for additional water containers to catch rainwater for the garden and fruit trees. Right now we have 2 that hold 300 gallons each, one that holds about 100 and several 55 gallon drums. When the rain comes they fill up quickly and it is so sad to see the overflow running out on the ground. There were several different size containers listed, but the prices were pretty high. Randy explained to Richard the reason for wanting a holding tank for more water. (Randy and Kathy do not have public water lines available at their location, and drilling a well is prohibitively expensive (I think around $30,000). So they truck in water for home use and catch rainwater for their gardens and outdoor needs.)
Then we let the men relax while we drove down to check the mail. The mailbox is about a mile down the road. As we drove, the Father showed us that we could drive the men down to Florence Junction. That would get them through the last major city, Phoenix, between here and El Paso. It is about 240 miles south, so we would be traveling close to 500 miles. But the Father provided a Toyota van for us over a year ago that gets pretty good gas mileage and there was enough left from what you sent to cover the fuel. So we knew that this was what He would have us do.
When we got back home we told Richard and Robert the plan, but they would have to stay an additional day because we had several things that we had to do the next day. It sounded like a good idea to them so they decided to stay an additional day. The mattress that we brought home came in handy. We put it on the living room floor and Richard slept on it. Robert slept on the couch. Yahweh knew that we would need an extra bed and He provided.
The next morning Randy went to help a neighbor who was moving a double wide trailer. He brought Richard and Robert along to help. Another neighbor, Marvin, was also there helping. Marvin said to Randy, "Hey, I really appreciate all the things you have done to help me. I have a water tank that I'd like to give to you." It is a 1,700 gallon water tank that would cost about $1,000. It was an answer to prayer. But the neatest thing was that Richard knew that Randy was looking for a tank and he was able to see Yahweh provide it the very next day. After that, Randy took them in to town and went to the Goodwill store. He was able to get them both some pants and shoes. Robert had walked holes in the pair that he was wearing. That night we had a wonderful time of sharing the truth of the Gospel, the love of God and the miracles of how He provides for all of our needs. They were very open to listen because they had experienced it with us.
The next day we drove them down to Apache Junction. After dropping them off we stopped in Mesa where Randy's cousin lives. Mike has several citrus trees that were covered with fruit so we were able to pick about 200 lbs of grapefruit, oranges and lemons. We brought them home to share with neighbors. The excess we will take to the flea market to sell. It was around 2:30 P.M. when we finished picking the fruit and we were ready to head home, but Mike and his wife wanted to take us out to eat. That was a blessing. We didn't realize how hungry we were till we sat down to eat. We had left home early in the morning and had not eaten all day. It was a delicious meal. Once again we thanked the Father for His provision.
The next couple of days Randy was busy working on a neighbor's roof. When he was done with that he went to start working on digging out the water container. The tank was dry, but it was buried 5 feet down. The dimensions of the tank were about 12 ft long x 5 1/2 ft wide x 5 ft tall. He had to dig down 5 feet by hand all the way around the tank. He had help from one neighbor on the digging - that was Ken who is about 72 years old. Once the tank was free, Marvin was able to lift it up with his tractor and put it on a trailer for Randy to drive it home.
One of the covers was cracked and because it was at ground level many lizards, mice and other desert creatures had fallen into it and met their demise. It was also home to many black widows. So it needed to be cleaned out. Randy lowered a step stool into the tank and I suited up with mask, gloves, scarf and long sleeves. Ewwwww!
But all went well. Sometimes a blessing requires a bit of co-laboring from us. It was well worth the effort. :-)
Be blessed and keep in touch.
Love, Randy and Kathy
I found this to be a remarkable testimony, and I wanted to share it for a couple of reasons. One is to encourage the faith of Yahweh’s sons and daughters who are either walking in dependence upon the Father’s provision and care for them now, or who are sensing the call to do so. The time is at hand when all will be required to either look to Yahweh for all of their provision, or turn to the Beast System of this world government to supply what they need to survive. Many Christians will choose the Beast System out of fear and a lack of faith in Yahweh. The consequences will be disastrous as the next testimony I will share demonstrates.
I also wanted to declare what the proper attitude is that Yahweh would have His people manifest in relation to money. I have known Randy and Kathy for many years. The first time I physically sat down with them was in 2003 and we have had much interaction since then. There have been many times when they sent financial gifts to me, oftentimes meeting some pressing need in my life which they were unaware of. Yahweh has at times allowed me to do the same for them. As this testimony they wrote demonstrates, when they receive a gift, they do not automatically assume that it is to be spent exclusively on their own needs. They look to the Father to show them how the money is to be spent. They take delight in ministering to the needs of others, and often do so even when they are spending the last dollar they have on hand. They trust that Yahweh will supply their needs as they present themselves as a willing channel of His blessing to care for the needs of others.
This is the same attitude the Spirit of Christ has directed me to have with the resources He sends my way. You will not find on my websites any merchandise page, nor any gimmicks where I am enlisting the help of “ministry partners,” binding people to make pledges of support monthly, or at various intervals. Yahweh has told me that as I go where He says go, and do what He directs me to do, He will be the guarantor of all my needs. He supplies above and beyond my personal needs. Consequently, I find myself routinely asking the Father how He wants me to use the money which the members of the body of Christ send to me as gifts of love and obedience to the Spirit.
I do not store up excess money in savings accounts for a rainy day. I believe if I did so I would soon find the flow of Yahweh’s provision to be extinguished. He desires that we live by faith, not to be driven by fear. Yahweh frequently shows me that I am to send money to various individuals whom He brings to my thoughts. I am very blessed to observe that these ones, such as Randy and Kathy, or Eliana, the young missionary from England I have written about who is now in Mexico, take the money that is sent to them and they use a significant portion of it to minister to the needs of others. Yahshua said:
“Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
I have found that the less selfish I am with the money I am given stewardship of, and the more I surrender it to Yahweh to be disposed of as He directs, the more He gives to me. This is a principle of His kingdom. There was a time when I was employed in this world system and, although I made a good salary as a computer professional, I viewed the money as mine, to be spent on self and my family. Consequently, I found myself living paycheck to paycheck. I rarely sowed into the lives of others financially.
Since 1999 when I left the world of secular employment and began to yield myself to the leading of the Holy Spirit in such areas as the disposition of my finances, I have been enabled to give much more money away. This in the eyes of the world is inexplicable. How can a man with no job and no church supporting him, be giving financially to others? It all is made possible as we begin operating by the principles of Yahweh’s kingdom. Yahweh funds and supports those who yield themselves to go where He sends them. Those who give freely where He directs, He supplies with fresh resources. We need not lay aside a retirement account, or savings against a rainy day. There is no retirement in Yahweh’s kingdom. There is only promotion from this present life to the one to come. There is no need to worry about tomorrow, or to lay aside savings for it, as Yahshua has taught us to pray “Give us THIS DAY our DAILY bread.” Yahweh wants His sons and daughters to trust Him to supply them each day with what is required for life and godliness, even as He supplied the Israelites with a single day’s worth of manna each morning during their forty years of sojourning in the wilderness.
The last testimony I will share with you reveals the flip side of what will occur when mankind, including the children of Yahweh, seek sustenance and succor in the Beast System of this world. Jeff Higdon, the brother who so graciously spent days, even entire weeks, fabricating my solar tracker for me, was injured on the job back around the end of December. He received a serious concussion and has been on worker’s comp at the orders of a neurologist since that time. When he was first injured, he anticipated it would be some time before worker’s comp began sending him a paycheck which could have caused a hardship for his wife and his three daughters who remain at home. Consequently, Jeff applied for food stamps with the state of Idaho. Jeff did not pray about this. It was simply an act that people are conditioned to do as they live in this world which is becoming more and more accustomed to looking to the government for provision in a time of need.
I do not share this as a criticism of Jeff, and I am confident he would want me to share anything that may benefit the body of Christ that may be gleaned from his own experiences. Jeff wrote to me recently about the consequences of applying for food stamps.
Hello Brother Joseph,
I wanted to tell you of something else we have going on right now. Back in January we applied for food stamps while I was waiting to get paid from workman's comp. That took a really long time to go through. It was supposed to take no more than 15 days, but ended up taking well over 30 days. We got them a few days before the beginning of March.
Just a few days ago they contacted us and Mary (Jeff’s wife) and Kim (Jeff’s 18 year old daughter) had to go in. Idaho now has a requirement that all adults 18 and over not in school are required to look for work and attend job training while doing so. It sounds good. However, they do not acknowledge homeschooling as valid. Therefore, Kim is required to attend this training. She has to spend 20 hours per week looking for a job with a librarian, or the people she is applying to, signing off on the amount of time she has spent searching for a job in their presence. She is also required to find employment of at least 30 hours per week. Once per week she is required to go to Sandpoint and attend job training as well. The training is held at Goodwill, about 35 miles from us. Kim doesn't have her driver’s license yet as it adds too much cost to the insurance. The Suburban is getting tired as well, so that is an issue, and only having one vehicle to share amongst everyone.
Mary is also required to look for work, though her requirements are less, she is only required to spend 5 hours per week and attend the weekly job training class. She is also required to find a job working 30 hours per week or more... If we were to do this it would be very disruptive to our house and the Honda is only running on two cylinders so the Suburban is our main transportation. I don't think we will continue with the food stamps. There is no flexibility built into the program and I can see how many people are going to be sanctioned and taken off of food stamps due to not being able to fulfill the requirements. It will be touted as a great success as the people come off the rolls...
In a way this is good though. With what is coming, this will wean many people from a dependence on a handout. In applying for the food stamps I kind of feel like Abraham "helping out the Lord." We can see how his decision turned out, I hope mine doesn't have such far reaching consequences. That all being said, I can look back and we did pretty good without help. A day or two after Christmas we bought groceries and we did not purchase a full bill of groceries again until the first week of March. Mary cooked from our food storage and we only purchased perishables such as milk, eggs and some meat.
I am in Sandpoint now, I intend to cancel our food stamps this morning. Mary and Kim are at the job training again today.
With a desire to add clarity to this brother’s decision to cancel the food stamp assistance from the state, I wrote Jeff back and shared the following counsel.
Dear Brother Jeff,
I was immediately concerned when I read you had applied for Food Stamps. I sensed at once that this was NOT Yahweh's provision for you. Brother Jeff, we live in an hour when it is very important that we do not step out of the will of the Father. It is very easy to allow fear to influence our decisions. A concern that we might not have food to feed our family can lead people to look to the arm of the flesh to supply that which they need. This is not the Lord's will, however. Many will be driven into the arms of the Beast System in coming days as fear and desperation over a lack of food, shelter, medical care, or other needs exert influence upon them. Rather than waiting on Yahweh and manifesting faith in Him, they will turn to the arm of flesh and come under bondage.
This is precisely what the Lord is showing you through these new regulations in Idaho. If you receive their assistance for food, you become subject to their rule. They will tell you what your wife and daughters must do in order to partake of their benefits. Ultimately, every man, woman and child will either look to God for assistance and come under His rule, or they will look to the Beast System and come under its rule. I pray you would understand this principle very clearly that you might escape the trap of the adversary.
Brother, as you look at the ways the Father is going before you, you must see how He is providing for you. He has given you a free chicken house, a free storage building, free wood chips, financial assistance which has been timely and has come from unexpected sources. He will try your faith, but He will never fail you."The eyes of Yahweh roam to and fro throughout the earth that He might strongly support those whose hearts are wholly His." (II Chronicles 16:9)
I am glad to hear that you determined to cancel your food stamps and deliver your wife and daughters from the slavery of the Beast System. Let my own words serve as an affirmation on this. It is a very important matter. Seek Yahweh always BEFORE you turn to the system of this world for your subsistence.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,
This was not the end of the story, however. After Jeff had canceled his food assistance with the state of Idaho, he was immediately tested in regard to provision for he and his family. He wrote me back the following:
Today I have been hit with something. Workmans Comp sent a letter saying I will receive no further compensation until I submit a list of all the doctors I have visited in the last 10 years and they send off and receive my medical records.
I have spoken to the lady this past week and she made no mention of needing this, though it shows March 6th on the letter.
This comes right after canceling the food stamps. :)
This is a test, I repeat, this is a test. Ha ha.
We do not lack in anything right at the moment. When the time comes that we do need something I'm sure the Lord will provide it.
After receiving this letter from Jeff, I sent him the testimony of Randy and Kathy Furman as encouragement, demonstrating how Yahweh has cared for this couple who have quite frequently been reduced to no money on hand and no gas in their vehicles, yet Yahweh has always seen them through. I reminded Jeff how Yahweh has provided for his family quite apart from employment and the state on numerous occasions lately, even as he just gave Randy and Kathy a 1,700 gallon water tank at no cost to them. Yahweh even provided the home Jeff and has family are living in at no charge. It was a park trailer with slide-outs which a man advertised on Craigslist for free if someone would come and move it.
Jeff’s Free Trailer
Jeff relocated the trailer to his property and built a roof over it. It is small, but adequate for his five family members. More recently, Yahweh gave Jeff a free storage building. It is ten feet by 24 feet with two rooms built in it. Again, all he had to do was arrange transport to get it home, so for $300 he received a building that would have cost far more just for the lumber from which it is constructed.
Jeff’s Storage Building
Jeff also recently received a free chicken house.
Aside from this Jeff has received free fiberglass pipe from a local company, some of which he has used for a well on his property. His employer also gave him free use of an excavator. With this loan, Jeff was able to perform thousands of dollars worth of work, saving him having to pay someone else. And the ways Yahweh has provided goes on and on. I am not surprised that Yahweh has given these things to Jeff so graciously and freely, for even as Randy was given a water tank while freely assisting a neighbor with a project, Jeff has been given many things while freely assisting me with my need for a solar tracker, and helping out others in need. Yahweh gives freely to those who are giving freely to others.
Before Jeff received my letter of encouragement, he had sent me back a follow-up message.
Hello Brother Joseph,
Mary and I prayed about the Workman's Comp letter. We praised the Lord for receiving the letter and we both felt in a celebratory mood.
A few minutes later Workman's Comp called and said to disregard the letter, everything was taken care of and that I will continue to receive benefits until I return to work.
Praise the Lord!
That is the manner in which Yahweh wants us to respond to our trials and the needs in our lives. The apostle Paul admonished the body of Christ with the following words:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Yahshua.
Brothers and sisters, trust in God. His eyes are searching the earth for those who will wholly trust in Him that He might strongly support them (II Chronicles 16:9). Our faith will be tested, for that is the only manner in which to perfect it. Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Won’t YOU please Him today?
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