There’s a Spot for You!

We are just a two short weeks away from the Allegan Western Days!!!
As excited as we are, and as amazing as it has been to watch God step in and prepare every detail of this event, we still need to remember that each of us must do our part to reach out to our community and make this event happen.

So, we are once again sharing a list of needs for this years event. Remember we are all a part of the body of Christ, and it is such a beautiful thing when God’s people – a.k.a. “The Church” unite and function according to His design.

Western Days is not about being a cowboy. It is about being the hands and feet of Jesus, it is the live action of the Church reaching out to our community and fulfilling The Great Commission starting right where we are.

So, I encorage you to read through this list. You know the gifts and talents God has given you, or even the ones that have yet to be developed. Let’s all step out of our comfort zone and serve God and our community wholeheartedly.

On behalf of the Ministry team, Thank you.

Western Days 2017 Allegan, MI

This year’s event will be held June 17th-18th. You can find a detailed schedule of this years event on our website: https://www.westerndaysministries.org/
Also, keep updated about our events on our FaceBook page:
https://www.facebook.com/Western-Days-Ministries-1543022115955344/

If you would like to help us out with getting the word out about western days here are a few ideas:
1. Call your friends and invite them. Let them know (especially if they could use encouragement) that cowboy or not Western Days is a great way for families to spend the day together, and be encouraged. There is something for every age at this event. So, don’t be shy, the worst they can say is, “No.” But, who knows how many might say, “YES!”I

2. Share our Facebook event posts, or even better open them and invite people. These FB Events are public and that means you can invite anyone on your friends list. If you can jot a quick note to your friends and let them know you really care and would love them to come, even better!

3. Have you seen our brochures around town? When you do grab one, but don’t keep it to yourself, give it to someone; your neighbor, a friend, a stranger on the street. It doesn’t matter, just let people know you care and that this event is for them.

Tuesday Nights

We have just TWO prayer/planning meetings left before Western Days! This Tuesday Night at 7pm our Prayer and Planning is at the Allegan Fairgrounds. The last one will be at Rectify (728 River St., Allegan) and will include our favorite Christian Country Music Artist, Tommy Brandt! Don’t miss these meetings if you are (or want to be) involved in this event.  From the very beginning Western Days has been God’s event and therefore we want to keep Him in the forefront of the preparation and planning. We can testify that God has done mighty things to ensure the success of our past events and we look forward to what is ahead.

Saturday June 17th

This is our “Big Event “ day and we will have a lot happening. There will be complementary food available throughout the day as well as food available for purchase from a local vendor, but feel free to bring a picnic lunch if you’d like. Toss a blanket or some lawn chairs into your vehicle and plan to spend the day with us.

  •  Life Walk: Back again this year, Positive Options will host their annual Life Walk fund raising event. Participants will begin the walk inside the fairgrounds. Contact your local Positive Options on how to get involved in this special event.
  • Family Bible Camp: This is a unique opportunity for families to learn biblical principals in a truly “cowboy” way. Camp is currently scheduled to run from 10am – 1pm and will include several learning stations, each complete with life lessons from the Word of God and hands-on activities. Plan to participate in this one-of-a-kind camp with your children or grandchildren. If you would like to volunteer contact: Sue Sowle (269) 650-6288 or email her at: solwesue@gmail.com
  • Cowboy Eventing: ENTRIES FOR THIS EVENT ARE NOW OPEN! Contact Brian Sowle to enter: 269-720-7690.
    We are also looking for volunteers to help with set-up/tear down. Contact Kyle & Rita Gleason to help: 269-370-8108
    This event features obstacle challenges for horse and rider teams that mimic what a cowboy might experience “home on the range.”  Cowboys must be proficient in all areas of horsemanship, as well as be able to ride hazardous terrain to search out stray or loose cattle. The horses that were required for this work also had to be adjustable, in that they had to transition easily from job to job. Cowboy Eventing requires horses and riders to be efficient in three events.
    1. Cowboy Dressage
    2. Open Range
    3. Cattle Sorting.
    Winner of the event will be determined by the highest score from all three events.
  • Ushers: We need about a dozen ushers to help with various tasks on Saturday. These jobs could be greeting, helping direct people, Security, and Safety Staff. Please Contact Brian Sowle (269-720-7690) if you can help.
  • Set up/Tear down: If you don’t mind a little manual labor, we could really use some strong men or women to help with the set up and tear down of this event. The more the merrier. As the saying goes, “Many hands make for Light work.” Brian Sowle is the contact for this as well.
  • Evangelism Team: If God has laid it on your heart to share the gospel, then please contact Marcia Wright (616-218-4916) Don’t be shy, anyone can share God’s love.
  •  Chili Cook Off Judges & Participants:
    Are you a Chili connoisseur? We’re looking for a couple of judges to choose a worthy winner of this friendly competition.
    On the other hand, do you cook a mean Chili? Then you’ll want to get your entry in A.S.A.P. Contact Patricia (269-793-0138) if you want to help with this part of the event.

Sunday June 18th

Happy Father’s Day! We hope you will join us as we close out our weekend with a pancake breakfast and a community church service.

  • Pancake Turners: We are still looking for Pancake turners for the breakfast starting at 8am. If you can help us in this area, please contact Patricia (269-793-0138)

Last year we not only had a multitude of people come forward to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior during the weekend events, we also had over 20 people come forward during the church service to be baptized cowboy style – in a water trough. Plan to lift your hearts and voices together as “The Church,” in Allegan while we praise and worship our Heavenly Father.
If you and your congregation would like to become more deeply involved in this outreach ministry, please contact Sue Sowle for additional information. [sowlesue@gmail.com]

He Needed to be Forgiven

Genesis 4-4

This past weekend we went to a new church plant. We went to support friends who are stepping boldly forward and answering the call of God saying, “Here I am, send me.” We went to support a friend looking for a place to worship. 
But, I had no idea that what would happen in that little service would tear open our hearts, clean us out and fill us with the water of life. Quenching that insatiable thirst and yet leaving me craving, praying, worshiping all day, like I could never get quite enough. 

And it all came out of the mouths of babes. 

Cain and Abel

Adam[a] made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.[b] She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth[c] a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you

But, God was doing something greater. 

The pastor, asked the congregation, “What was the difference between Cain’s offering and Abel’s. And we thought it was rhetorical. We know the story. We get that it was a heart issue. Yet no one offered to put themselves out there and answer the question. 

But one young boy raised his hand. 

In the sweetness of his seven years, he shyly put together the words, “He knew he had sinned and needed to be forgiven.”

……

He (Abel) knew he needed to be forgiven.

I still have to soak that one in. 

You see, as many times as I ever heard this story… as many times have I have recounted it’s meaning. I have never once thought of Abel, the son who brought the best offering as a broken sinning soul. 

I have never once thought that Abel, understood something about the disconnect of sin, and the need for atonement. The longing for restoration and connection with God. 

I thought Abel had it all figured out. I thought he was the good boy who knew how to do the right things. That he was so pure of heart that he never messed up. 

But, today a sweet seven-year-old boy taught me a lesson. Abel, was bringing that sacrifice, bringing the best of what he had to the Living God, not because he had already done all the right things, but because he wanted to be restored. He needed to be forgiven. He needed to be right with God. 

yeah. 

 

~Rita

 

How You Can be a Part of the Allegan Western Days

Western Days 2017 Allegan, MI

It’s that time of year again! Planning is underway for Western Days 2017 at the Allegan County Fairgrounds. This year’s event will be held June 17th-18th. Since this is a community outreach event, our ministry team would like you to be well informed of the many available opportunities for you and your congregation.
We invite you to share your God-given gifts and talents and love on your community. .
If you have any questions about our ministry we invite you to check out our web site: www.westerndaysministries.org and send us you questions through our Contact US tab.

Below are some of the areas where you could bless this ministry and your community:

Prayer: Community prayer meetings are happening every Tuesday evening at various locations around the community. Please check out this LINK to view the complete schedule. From the very beginning Western Days has been God’s event. These prayer meetings are an integral part of the planning of our events.

Bake Sale Fundraiser: We are once again having a Bake Sale Fund Raiser at the Allegan Farmers Market. Fundraisers like these are part of why Western Days is FREE to the community. You will find us under the community tent by City Hall at the Markets new Locust Street location. We have reserved the Community Tent for May 25th And June 8th. We are seeking Volunteers for both dates to put their baking talents to work and also, help with set up/tear down and taking a shift in collecting donations.
Please Contact Rita Gleason (269-370-8108) if you can help with this event. Of course we need people to come and buy the delicious treats as well. Your support in this way is greatly appreciated.

Evangelism: Above all things, Western Days is an outreach ministry designed to present the gospel of Jesus to a lost and dying world and to minister to the needs of the people as the Spirit leads. If this is an area of passion for you, we could use your help throughout the event. Contact Sue for further information.

Camp Workers: We are looking for several volunteers to help with the family bible camp. Specific positions include registration, teachers and camp guides. We will be happy to train you so no need to worry about experience.

Kitchen Ministry: People love to eat, and we enjoy providing them with food. As in the past, we will have food available at no cost at different points of the day on Saturday. We are in need of multiple volunteers to minister to the community through food service.

Food Truck: We are looking for someone with a food wagon that will help cook hot dogs to distribute after the Round’em Up Bible Camp. This person will also be able to sell food later during the Bull Riding. Please Contact Brian Sowle (269-720-7690 for more information.

Chili Cook off: We need a volunteer to organize this valued part of our event. We are also seeking outstanding entries to submit their favorite chili recipe to share with the group. This has always been a hit and this year it will be judged again with a trophy to be given to the winner! We would love to get a pot from each church in the area! Who’s your best chili maker?

Information, Medical & Security: Those looking to minister in this capacity should be comfortable being on their feet and on the go. The primary responsibility will be to provide guests with information about time schedules & events as well as location of the food court, restrooms, etc. We do not anticipate any security or medical issues, however, volunteers should be on the lookout for potential problems and be prepared to assist guests as needed.

Flyers: Once again Western Days event flyers will be available for distribution in the community. We are looking for volunteers to put up posters throughout Allegan County and to distribute flyers to businesses or door-to-door. This could be a great opportunity to involve the youth of your congregation.

Banners: Banners to advertise your church or business are available for purchase. These will be displayed at various locations throughout the fairgrounds and will be returned to purchasers after the event. Talk to Sue for further details.

Set Up/Take Down: Perhaps you are more of a hands-on, manual labor type of person. No problem, we have a place for you. We could use committed volunteers to help with the set up and take down work during the day on Friday and Sunday. We tend to have a good turn out for set-up and could use some equally committed individuals for take down.

Donations: Western Days Ministries is now a 501C3 corporation under the covering of World Ministry Fellowship. If you would like to make a financial donation to Western Days Ministries to help cover the cost of this year’s outreach events, please visit our webpage at https://www.westerndaysministries.org

The One

Luke 15-4

Most know I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love it because it allows me to stay in contact with far away friends and family, who otherwise I would not hear from except for the annual Christmas card. I love that it allows us to peek into each others lives and remember that none of us are alone in our struggles. I love that it has given me and this wonderful ministry as a platform to share God’s word and his love for all people. Of course there are many things I don’t love about it, but for today, lets just stick to the positives.

It was because of the blessing of social media I was able to witness baptism of someone I once knew growing up. This proclamation of faith and baptism has stuck with me and I have been rejoicing over it for days. You see, though I don’t really know this person anymore, I did know of the love and prayer and continual reaching out of this persons family. A family who both knew Christ and who was new to a personal relationship with Christ. I knew this person needed Jesus too.
So, it was such a wonderful surprise when the video of this baptism popped up in my news feed. My heart literally stopped as I heard the confession of faith and watched in awe that someone who I had no idea was looking, yet I knew soooo needed Jesus shared the testimony of how God had intervened in their life, And here they were getting baptized, not just this person but his children as well! Can we get a Hallelujah in here!!!

It got me thinking about what Western Days Ministries is all about. You see, even though this ministry had nothing to do with leading this person to the Lord, we rejoice because of the ONE.
Our theme has always been, “Gather’n the Strays.” Though we love putting on events that are family friendly, that seek to draw the community together and unite churches, it is really all about the one. That one person who thinks they have no hope, that one person who needs to hear that God loves them. That one person who feels, …lost.
I’ve heard it over and over, since the beginning of this ministry that if what we do brought just one person to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, then it was worth it!

The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Luke 15:1-7

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons
who do not need to repent.

This is our Calling. Leaving the ninety-nine and going to look for that one. 

The question is, will you join us?

~Rita

Living Well

1 Corinthians 9-24-25

There are many things in life that seem so far out of control. When a new mother prepares to give birth, she has no control over the day or time that her baby will be born. Thus on the other end of life, we have no control over day or way a person’s life here on earth ends. 

Last week I made a trek to the mountains of Southern California, to honor the life of my grandfather who had passed away. It was a time to mourn and a time to reflect.

Death, to me, is still one of the most unnatural parts of life. I don’t believe that mankind was created to die. God’s original design for us was to live and to thrive in His beautiful earth creation, and to have direct fellowship with us. Unfortunately sin broke that fellowship and the consequence of death was introduced to our once perfect existence.

This morning as I start my day, I find myself reflecting and remembering the funeral service for my grandfather, and trying hard to store the memory and the stories of the extraordinary life of this man. I also find myself pondering about living life well. A value that my grandfather truly embodied, and a desire he clearly had passed on to his children and now grandchildren.

I suppose this is the mercy of death. As someone we love passes on, we cannot help but look at the way we are using the time God has given us here on earth. Facing the reality that our lives are so temporal. That we truly are but a vapor. It causes us to take time to realign priorities and remind ourselves to live with purpose.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last,
but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Corinthians  9:24-25

 I’m sure many of us have read this Scripture before. Is this not the goal? Is the idea of finishing the race, and getting the prize what we put our focus to when we read these verses?

But what about the in-between? I know, at least for me, I get distracted easily. Life has many urgent moments and moments where we get into survival mode. There is so much going on that if we are not careful, if we do discipline ourselves, we can very quickly go from living well, to just trying to get to the other side.

Now, I’m no runner. But I am a horsewoman, and I did compete for several years. In my experience it was sometimes very hard to not rush the horses I was bringing along. I had goals, and those goals were admirable and even good, but I was often tempted to take a shortcut and/or push the horse to do more than he was physically prepared to do. I would forget the benefits of developing my horse slowly, and carefully. My vision would get clouded and I would loose sight of the goal of not only winning, but of improving the connection I had with my horse. The connection which was developed in all the moments in-between and before the competition. The connection which was properly developed when we trained with self-discipline. Which in the end made the winning much easier.

Even as a parent I can see the pressure to hurry through the childhood of my children. It takes an extreme amount of patience  to not rush my kids through their school, or tying their shoes to get out the door. I must remember that all those little moments in-between matter. That I am training them in matters greater than the task at hand. I must be aware that how I respond to these in-between moments decides the outcome of the end moments.

With the destination as our focus, the journey will seem to be in the way. Living well goes deeper than that. It is the time in-between the goals that count. The moments leading up to the completion of the race that determine the outcome. So remember, you are in training. Live well so that you will receive that prize that will last forever.

~Rita

 

 

 

Equipped

Eph 2-10

When I started a little blog 6 years ago to share our adventures as ranch hands in Montana, I had no idea if I would make it past the first post. I had never been a writer before. If I’m completely honest I barely paid attention to my language arts lessons in school. Who needs to know how to structure a sentence, anyway? I was probably the only senior in high school I know who still had a speller to work on. Though I always loved literature, I was never known as the “Creative one.” Goodness, I still struggle to make up fairy tales for the kids! So, believe me when I say, no one is more surprised than I am to find myself writing.

I think often when we think of our lives, and especially in our spiritual walk, that everything must fit in its little box. Then on each little box, we mark ourselves finished, and when opportunities arrive we are oh so quick to say, “Sorry, I can’t do that.” or “Sorry, that is not my gifting.” We judge that just because we have never been able to do something before, it means we will never be equipped or qualified to do anything more.

I know it is so much easier to point out our faults. Honestly, if you asked me, I still struggle with calling myself a writer. I still am not a great speller (thank the good Lord for spell-check) and  when I go back and re-read my work I often see all those grammatical errors that probably cause all your toes to curl. Even when I google how to correctly place a semi-colon, I still second guess if I’m doing it right. Yet, it seems like all day long words are filling my head, and eventually they meet a point with God’s word and suddenly they spill onto the page and before I know what I’ve done, I’ve written something. This is certainly not something within my nature or natural ability, it is a gift from God. 

You’ve I’m sure heard the saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” Well, what if we believed that? What if, when we first feel that burning in our hearts to do something for the Lord, that we really believed that he can equip us to complete the work?

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2:10

When God formed you in your mothers womb, you were not a mistake. When he knit you together in the hidden places, he already had a purpose in mind and a plan for your life. 

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16

He already knew every gift you would have, and He knows every gift yet to be bestowed upon you. Our job is to have faith that He will complete it. Not for our gratification and fulfillment, but for His.

~Rita

Western Days at the Lenawee County Fair 2017

Hello Western Days Supporters,

We are so blessed and excited to be asked back to the Lenawee County Fairgrounds for next year. We just found out it will be Tuesday July 25 which is Kids Day!!! What an amazing opportunity to share Christ in our community! We could not have done it without all your support. We thank you for partnering with us to reach the lost and promoting cooperation between churches to reach the community together. We received many comments about how wonderful it was to see the churches work together in one mind and one accord.

Our good friends and missionaries Syd and Liz Doyle, Founders of Nations Light Ministries (http://nationslight.org/index.html),  who have ministered in 54 nations seeing 10’s of 1000’s making decisions for Christ, will be heading up the “Partnership Team”. They will be recruting churches to take part in the events and organizing prayer  meetings for Western Days.

 Their mission is this:

Partnering with the Local Church around the world to fulfill

“THE GREAT COMMISSION”.  

I wanted to introduce them to you as you will be receiving updates and emails from them concerning Western Days.

The last few weeks I’ve been meditating on Luke 5. One of the things that I have taken notice to is there were so many fish they had to call for their partners to help and share in the catch.

Luke 5  New Living Translation (NLT)

5 One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee,[a]great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon,[b] its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

We have no shortage of lost souls around us. Let us partner together for the catch!

Many Blessings ,

Annie and Jacques Schiller