Joseph Herrin (12-31-2015)
View of My Home December 31, 2015
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I took the photo above just a few moments ago. We have had an unusually rainy December here in South Central Georgia. The average rainfall for December is about 3.5 inches. It is now the last day of the month and we have received close to 13 inches of rain, nearly four times our average. I am not in any danger of getting flooded out as there are no rivers or creeks nearby, and I am not in a flood plain. I am largely surrounded by level ground, but when this much rain falls it has to go somewhere. I estimate that we had 2 inches of rain this morning and the ground was already saturated.
The image above shows the view from the doorway of my bus. I step down into about 2 inches of standing water. On the far side of the pine trees there is an artificial pond. It is about 12-15 feet deep. A month ago it was dry enough to walk across the bottom of the pond in boots. Now it is full and overflowing. The fields surrounding this location slope slightly in this direction, so the runoff is largely channeled through here.
Fortunately, both of my dogs love the water. When I take them on runs they will seek out every puddle and go splashing through it. They don’t have to go looking for puddles now. It is more of a challenge to find dry ground.
Here is a view of my driveway. It looks more like a canal. At the tree line in the distance the drive turns right and goes about the same distance to the road. Yesterday the county transportation department closed the road heading to the right as one leaves the driveway as it has become a quagmire. That was partly their fault as they dumped a large amount of dirt on the road a few days ago. The additional rain since then turned it into a mud bog. I can still turn to the left on the road, and since that is the direction of the town of Montezuma where I have my post office box, I am not hindered from getting the newsletters out to men in prison. When the road gets this bad the mailman will not deliver, so it is necessary to take all mail to the post office. I have far too many newsletters to fit in the mailbox anyway.
This is what the roads look like when they are dry. I took this photo last month when I was riding my recumbent trike and taking Champ and Girlfriend on a run. We normally do a five mile circuit, all on dirt roads. It is a delight to them. They start barking and acting crazy whenever they see me getting the trike ready for a run.
My Recumbent Trike
I was thinking this morning of what a marvelous thing Yahweh has done in moving upon the hearts of some brothers in Christ to purchase a vehicle for me back in August. The prisoner newsletter ministry was dramatically increasing at that time. It was becoming necessary for me to make more frequent trips to town to collect the letters I was receiving from men in prison and to send them material. I had been using my recumbent trike for more than a year to make weekly round trips to town which were about 30 miles in distance. Now I find myself needing to go to the post office 3-4 times a week. Aside from the fact that these trips on a recumbent trike are very time consuming, usually taking about 3 hours out of my day, the weather this Fall and early Winter would have made it impossible for me to get my trike down the roads. I have to traverse about 3 miles of dirt roads before I get to the pavement, and these roads are muddy and rutted now.
I was thinking of Yahweh informing Noah to build an ark BEFORE the rains began to fall and it was needed for survival. Even so, Yahweh provided a Toyota RAV4 for me BEFORE the ministry was brought to a halt due to my not being able to get my trike down the roads. I swapped the road tires on the RAV4 for some mud capable, all-terrain tires a couple months back and they have worked out very well.
As I look back on 2015, it has been a year of tremendous grace and increased fruitfulness in ministry. Yahweh blessed me with a much more capable printer. The Xerox Colorqube 8880 was a $2,200 investment of resources, all of it paid for by a brother in Christ who wanted to contribute to the ministry to men in prison. The quality of the print is excellent, and the printer has operated flawlessly. I have been using it since late August, a span of about 4 months, and I have printed more than 70,000 pages of ministry material in that span of time.
Shortly after receiving the printer I mentioned the need of automating the prisoner newsletter mailing list and tying it into the publishing program I use to print 144 distinct editions of the Parables Bookshelf Newsletter. Previously, I had to pull up each edition of the newsletter separately and select the recipients from a pop-up menu, comparing them to printouts I had for every man on the mailing list to see which newsletter they were to receive next. A brother in Christ responded and developed an application that has made mailing list management and the weekly printing a very simple and streamlined process. Now all I have to do is open an Excel spreadsheet, press two buttons, one that calculates the next newsletter for each man, and the second to send them all to the printer, and the job will run without any further input from me. I can sit back and watch as the routine opens Microsoft Publisher, loads each individual newsletter, selects the recipients for each edition, and spools them to the printer. It has saved me many hours of labor each week.
I typically print the newsletters on Saturday. The printer will run 5-6 hours non-stop. About once an hour I will have to load another ream of paper. This automation has allowed me to recover a solid block of time as I can answer correspondence or work on new writings while the newsletter application does the work I formerly had to do.
The cost of the prisoner newsletter ministry is now running close to $1,000 each month, with half of that amount going to postage. Yet day by day Yahweh has moved upon the hearts of His people to spontaneously send in financial gifts. At no time in the past year have I had to delay the printing or mailing of newsletters due to a lack of funds. Oftentimes the money would come in on the very last possible day in order to avoid a delay, but it has always come in.
In a sense, I see the abundant rain we have had in Georgia as a parallel to the blessings of the Father during the past year. When many areas of the country have been experiencing drought, we are receiving an abundance of rain. So too, I can look back on 2015 and testify that Yahweh has been faithful to supply every need. I am deeply grateful for the many members of Christ’s body who have supplied what has been needed to carry on the work of the ministry. I have been blessed to give freely to others of every spiritual treasure Yahweh has given to me. Others have freely given of their material blessings. All things have worked together for the building up of the kingdom of God.
And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.
I do not know what experiences the year 2016 will bring, but I am confident of Yahweh’s unfailing love and unwavering faithfulness throughout it all. A river of Yahweh’s grace has run throughout the entire span of 2015 and I anticipate it continuing in the coming year.
Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063