Common Ground Ministries
Well, the winter seemed so long. We couldn’t get any work going, which is Common Ground work helping others with home improvements, repairs etc. As I’ve said before we spent the fall and early winter taking care of Mom and going to doctors’ appointments and meeting with caregivers that were working with her. We could see that she was in her last days. It seemed totally consuming. She passed away in Dec. so we turned more of our attention to Dad’s needs. We moved him to a single room unit at Vintage Park and dealt with financial concerns, several hospital stays, and doing what we could to help him. Again this was a consuming chore. However, these are labors of love and so rewarding, but frustrating as they seem to take precedence over everything else. Dad is living now at the Baldwin Care Center and seems to be settled in pretty well since his move there the 1st of April.
At about that time to our surprise the phone began to ring and although we didn’t know but what Common Ground may be finished, it began to resurface. Folks began calling us to help them and now we’re almost overwhelmed with work.
If you remember after the 2013 Garnett Area Paint Project, we agreed to help finish up several projects. We did a couple and our priorities shifted to those with greater needs; like the wheelchair ramp and painting of a house in Kincaid. We tried to set it up for our church to do so I gathered the materials and did the preliminary work here at home. Then on the weekend that we were to work the forecast called for heavy rain so we called it off. We were able to work on Saturday with a couple of helpers from Worden and we put most of the ramp together. Then Norma and I went back and finished it. We plan to go back to finish painting the house with our youth group now that school is out.
My aunt in Oskaloosa is moving and has to get rid of a lot of things that have accumulated over forty years so we have been going there to help her clean out her basement and garage, and to mow her lawn which she can’t do anymore. It needs it every few weeks now.
We’ve made contact with R.C.I.L. (Resources for Independent Living) and made plans to build a couple of wheelchair ramps that are yet to rise up the priority ladder.
We met with the new Disaster Response team for Five Rivers District a few weeks ago and helped to set up an introductory job in La Harpe, Ks. The team went that next week and started tearing out plaster and lathe from a house that had been struck by lighting and caught fire. At this time we almost have it all gutted and the debris hauled away. It looks like we will follow up with this project to put this home back together. This will involve insulation, sheetrock hanging and finishing, trim work, installing windows, and kitchen cabinets etc.
We have two grandkids that just graduated from high school, one graduated from college, and several just finishing track meets and concerts. We’ve had too much rain. Norma has her garden in. And God is good! I think I better go sit down.
I went with Kim, our church youth leader, and showed her around Camp Chippewa west of Ottawa. She’s excited about getting more of our youth out there this summer and about all the opportunities there are at the camp.
Common ground has come back in full force and the future looks busy and bright. When it’s time to end our involvement in the Common Ground ministry God will let us know, but for now we feel blessed to continue and are so thankful for God’s guidance and strength. Call us at 785-331-8272 and come join us anytime for a chance to work for God at helping our neighbors. We’re back!
We wrote this newsletter in May and our computer went south, so we didn’t get it sent out, but as I reread it, it’s still relevant. The LaHarpe project did get handed over to us and we’re working with the electrician to do framing and whatever we need to do to frame up closets and walls for him to stay ahead of him. It’s July now and we’re taking a break for a few days over the 4th. When we get back to it we still need to paint in Kincaid and insulate and hang sheetrock in LaHarpe. I figured that it would cost about $12,000 dollars to put everything back together there, and we have about $3,000 dollars to work with at this writing. So the future is uncertain. Pray for us and call or e-mail us if you would like to help in some way.
We love you all and thank God that we’re still able to help folks to have adequate housing.
Rog and Nope w/Common Ground 785-331-8272 firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to recap a few things that we talked about in the past letters of Aug. and Dec. of 2014. In August I talked about visiting with my Aunt Millie, also I talked about the Resource Center for Independent Living (R.C.I.L.), and about preparing our parsonage for our new pastor. We’ve been involved with all these different projects and or people during the last several months. Since August we’ve replaced most of the windows in the parsonage.
I last wrote on Dec. 5th telling of our work with Dad and Mom and their problems with disorientation. On Dec. 15th Mom passed away and we had a wonderful life celebration for her. Dad was struggling so that even though he was there he doesn’t remember any of it. He had a spell probably pneumonia, and had to be hospitalized only a couple of days after Mom’s funeral. As a matter of fact I was returning from the airport, taking my brothers family to fly back to Florida and my phone rang telling me I needed to go get Dad and take him to the emergency room. He returned to the rehab after a couple days in the hospital, the same place where Mom had been just across the hall. Then he had another spell and had to go back to the E. R. and spent a couple more days in the hospital. Then back to rehab having swallowing problems very much like Mom had. He has not been able to rehabilitate enough from that so we had to move him from there to the nursing home and move his furniture out of the assisted living facility that had been their home. It’s late March now and he’s not doing well, still doctors are changing medicines and working with him to try to help with the swallowing. He’s lost a lot of weight and weighs only 140 lbs. down 40 to 60 lbs. from what he weighted most of his adult life. He will be 92 yrs. Old in June. I do not have to help him so much now as the nursing home even takes care of transporting him to doctor visits and etc.
Needless to say, for the past several months we do not feel that we have been very effective in keeping up with our usual routine and projects because we have been so consumed with tending to my parents. I really began to think that we may have to discontinue Common Ground. We went into this time with about a dozen requests of folks needing help, but it seemed I couldn’t commit to anything that required me to be out of town. I felt that I was like the employee who doesn’t show up for work. We met with our dear friends who help support us and told them how we felt. They were gracious, understanding, and encouraged us by referring to the work that had been accomplished in the past and were sure we would continue as best we could. What a blessing those of you are who walk beside us in this ministry!
In the early stages of Common Ground God gave us a special scripture that is found in Psalms 37: 3, 4 that says, “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” At that time, at least 10 years ago, that was the confidence we needed to step out, but now looking back I realize that our desires have changed. It’s no longer desire for things that occupy our minds: it’s now a desire for relationships with like believers that he provides. We learned that as we step out to help hurting folks that the relationship we’ve built with these folks and those who have supported us physically and financially are the desire of our hearts and also the greatest need of hurting folks. For you see, when the world caves in around you, relationships with folks who know God’s way is the way of healing and comfort. It is the most prevalent need. All the physical needs will come our way as recovery happens but, without seeing the love of God healing won’t happen. As we walk the path of needs that we can’t provide for ourselves God reveals to us what our ministry must be about.
Now March 24th, it’s a cold day, not real good to work outside. We’ve started on a wheelchair ramp to be assembled in Kincaid and we also need to finish painting the house there. It’s a project left over from the Garnett Area Paint Project of 2013. I just called the director of R.C.I.L. about two more ramps waiting in Vassar and Burlingame. As I’ve looked over the unfinished projects of the past two years there are about 20. I’ve made Contact with most of the folks and we’re preparing to begin in just a few days as the weather improves. We get tired easier than we did 10 years ago but God continues to give direction and rest. We spoke in a couple churches last month and some new folks are interested in joining us.
Ain’t our God something! I’m more keenly aware as the years pass how He paves the road ahead. He just asks us to walk the path He has laid out for us.
I’m excited about the future. I heard an amazing perspective on our world’s dilemma. This pastor said, “The darkness is getting darker, but at the same time the light is getting brighter,” This is the light of Christ living through His followers. If you can’t get excited about this light provided by the fire of the Holy Spirit then your woods wet!
We love you and are looking to connect with you in ministry through this season of spring, summer and fall ahead that will allow for planting, cultivating and harvesting of a new crop of souls
With Common Ground Rog and Nope Rog.email@example.com
P.S. IN an attempt to follow up on previous stories I will tell you that we got another call from Aunt Millie who lives north of Oaksloosa about 50 miles north of us. Since her son, and my cousin Larry, passed away she can no longer afford to stay in the country home and at 89 yrs. Of age can no longer keep up with the 50 acres and home to maintain, so Norma ,J.D., and I have worked 2 or 3 times at hauling away trash and disposing of belongings. We still have to make a couple more trips up there to help her. Please keep Aunt Millie and nephew Daniel in your prayers as they still have to sell their home and find a place to live.
God blessed us with a small dump truck a few years ago and it’s amazing how many times we’ve been able to help folks just hauling away junk. Norma and I enjoy the old truck and going to the dump. Must have been the way we grew up.
And that’s all I have to say about that! Rog
Call if you would like to connect with 785-331-8272
What does it mean to be disoriented? What would it be like to not belong anywhere?
I had a dream that my wife and I were traveling and stopped at a place to stay the night, much like a campground only there were a lot of single beds just out in the open. We were very tired so we just picked out a couple, lay down and went to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night I woke up needing to go to the bathroom. She was apparently not sleeping soundly and asked me where I was going. When I told her she said she needed to go too. I remembered seeing a bath house at one end and so we set out in what seemed the right direction. We walked a long way and came to the bathrooms, but when we came out of them we were both confused about which direction we needed to go. So we walked what seemed far enough, but, it being dark with only a small amount of light we couldn’t find our beds. As I said earlier there were a lot of them sort of like in a parking lot. We found a couple and went back to sleep. When we woke up in the morning we were totally disoriented! The place looked like a roadside camp where people had been displaced and someone had set up these beds. It was a scary feeling not knowing where you belonged.
I woke up from my dream and lay there for a moment wondering where I was. I thought about my parents both in their nineties. One is at an assisted living facility and the other one is at a nursing home and both are disoriented. I thought about how scary that must be. Mom was moved to a rehab center after a bout with pneumonia and what we now know was a stroke. She spent about three months there and couldn’t go back to the assisted living place with Dad because she had gone downhill in her recovery. So we moved her to the nursing home in a new room with a roommate. As a result of her moving out of a large room at the assisted living center and the cost of it and having to redirect her income toward the nursing home Dad also had to move to a smaller room. We hung Dad’s clothes in a new closet and in a different location and then he couldn’t find the pants he liked to wear. He thought someone must have lost them. I found them in his chest of drawers in his closet but he was so disoriented that he didn’t know where to look. Being in a different part of the building even the nursing staff was different and they couldn’t help much because they weren’t familiar with what he had been wearing.
As I was waking up or trying to go back to sleep I began to think about people displaced by tornadoes, earthquakes or poverty who at least temporarily do not have a place to call home. I just recently came back from a mission trip to Haiti where many folks lost most of their family, neighbors, and even their neighborhood to a large earthquake. It’s estimated 200,000 people were killed in a few hours. The quake only lasted thirty seconds, but some lived a short time under the rubble. Talk about disoriented!
Then I thought about how blessed I am. I have a place, a home. I can get up in the dark and usually find my glasses, my bathroom, and a drink of water. I have a garage full of tools. I can go to my toolbox and find ½” wrench or a hammer, my four children live within twenty miles, I have many friends who can be depended on to help me, my church family are wonderful folks who are supportive and even help pay my wages as I do local missions work. I could go on and on counting my blessings, but I know that so many people are disoriented due to failing health, loss of jobs, natural disasters, or other tragedies. These are the people I work for, trying to help put their lives back together. It is a daunting task and yet I feel like this dream has shown me the urgency of our work as Christians. Even Jesus said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has no place to lay his head.” Luke 9:58 Wow! Are we called to live like that?
I feel like God blesses us with the things we need, but we should not be so wrapped up in our own lives that we don’t take time to reach out to folks who are disoriented, don’t have a place, and maybe don’t know that the kingdom of heaven is our place if we believe. So as we help people recover from their situations we also need to share about the kingdom, not only of heaven but also God’s kingdom here on earth; a place to belong even when we may have temporarily lost our way or our place to belong.
I am thankful for this dream that has helped me to gain a new perspective about the terrible feeling of being disoriented, not knowing where home is.
I pray that through Jesus example I can learn to care about others and continue to help them find a place to belong, a coat to wear, food to eat, and to maybe be a friend that can be depended on.
This has been my “Orientation”. My wish for all of you this Holiday season is that you find orientation in your life.
Rog and Nope w/ Common Ground
This summer has probably been the busiest time we have ever hadsince we started Common Ground. It all actually took off in April or May when the weather broke and it was warm enough to work outside.
We started helping build a wheel chair ramp for a couple who live just south of Baldwin and who have worked alongside of us for many years. She had broken an ankle. We then moved on to Chetopa to build another one with help from Lonnie. Next we went to Camp Chippewa to build two Ga Ga pits (large enclosed areas where the kids play a game much like dodge ball.) During and after these jobs we made several investigation trips to see about other projects that we may get involved with.
On one of these trips we stopped north of Oskaloosa to visit with my Aunt Mille and Cousin Larry. He had been battling pancreatic cancer and he passed away the next day after our visit. We were so glad we took the time to go see them. Later we returned for his funeral and got to see other family members also.
I drove a bus for the Baldwin School District toward the end of the year when things got really busy for them.
I had planned to build Norma a garden shed before things got real busyso we started on that in April and, of course, seeing to Mom and Dad with ailing health issues is and ongoing mission of its own.
During May I transported Molly a few times to K.C. That’s a labor of love. She’s such a blessing. She’s the young woman from our church who had a stroke and has to occasionally go for rehab.
I met with a young man from Osage City who is with an organization called R.C.I.L. (Resource Center for Independent Living). They help folks with things like wheel chair ramps. We agreed to build one there in Lyndon for a man with definite need. With help from several guys from Worden and others we finished that one just recently. Thanks to all of you who helped us.
We helped set up a work day project at our church parsonage in reparation for our new pastor and family to move in. In the mean time we had had a call from the youth team out of K.C. who has worked with us several times before and they wanted a project for a mission’s trip during the early part of the summer. We had a small roof rebuild to do in Fort Scott. It seemed real workable in the planning stage, but they were with us a week and we did not get finished because it rained off and on nearly all week. We had our 5th wheel camper there and a real neat couple to host us and make a place for the team to stay at their lake home but who would guess there would be so much rain. We had fun anyway and Norma and I went back the following week to finish.
I’m still trying to look at my calendar to share what happened and I realized that I had forgotten that earlier during the cold months there was an elderly couple in our church that needed a ramp. Again there were several of our own church folks who came and worked. We are so blessed to have so many folks with skills and a missionary spirit at Worden. It was fun doing this project and reconnecting with these men and women. Several of them commented that they would like me to let them know when we would be working so they could come and help. Praise the Lord!
Our former pastor who has now moved on to western Kansas had to have a hip replacement before he left so I had the opportunity to preach in his place one Sunday. It was the same day of the White family reunion (Norma’s side) in Garnett at the lake so after church we headed south. We enjoyed visiting until it was time to go meet the Bristol Hills youth team in Fort Scott at a parking lot there.
Got a call from some folks in Baxter Springs wanting us to help with setting up a long term recovery team to respond after a tornado damaged fifty or more homes this spring. We did that and were able to meet some new leaders with The Great Plains UMC Conference and establish connections with them.
On a weekend in June Norma and I went to St. Louis for a reunion with some of the guys that I had served with in Vietnam. That was one wonderful experience!
We just yesterday made a connection with some folks in Effingham that we plan to build a ramp for. And I just got off the phone for arranging a roof repair project in Colony, Kansas next week.
See what I mean? That’s busy for a couple of old timers who are fast getting used to an afternoon nap. But, God is blessing us in so many ways and we’re thankful for health, wealth and spurts of energy that keep us
Thanks for all you do. Pray for us at Common Ground and give us a call if you would like to be more involved in this exciting ministry of disciples of Jesus Christ. We love you all!
Rog and Nope 785- 331 8272
We’ve had a regular old winter this year; some snow, lots of cold weather but its spring now and warming up more every day. I love Kansas, it keeps you guessing. Never leave home without boots and a heavy coat or a t-shirt and a light weight jacket.
As I looked back over my November letter it seems like history repeats itself. January 2014 was some planning time, contacts about new projects, etc.
This year my parents who are 91 and 90 years old have required much more of my time. Mom had a bad choking spell a couple of months ago and after a trip to the hospital had to move to a rehab center in Baldwin for a time. They think she may have Parkinson’s. She’s had so many tests ran and between her at one residence and Dad at another and both needing doctors help regularly I spend lots of time trying to keep up with it all. Some weeks we have had four or more days going to their appointments. Dad had to have two teeth pulled recently but did fine with all that. I’m so blessed to be able to spend this time helping them. They spent at least twenty years doing the same for me as I grew up.
We have successfully completed the changeover to Worden as our headquarters for Common Ground rather than the Kansas East Conference Office in Topeka. Megan, our treasurer at Worden has spent a lot of time helping me, and at the same time expecting her first child (which arrived early by the way). She just delivered a boy and both are reportedly doing well. Rhonda left our church for another church secretary job and Susan took her place. Susan has also helped and is very effective in supporting us along with all her other chores and office duties.
Norma is busy babysitting our great granddaughter, Lane and keeping the home fires burning, literally. We have gone through a lot of wood this winter, but so glad Lane’s Dad and Mom, Chris and Whitney, keep us supplied with aged hedge.
Norma spent a lot of time preparing for Mom’s 90th birthday party which was on Sunday March 23rd at Baldwin Care Center. I was filling the pulpit for Pastor Bud for both morning services at Worden and then led the church service at 2:30 that afternoon at the care center after which we brought in the cake and ice cream and had a big party for Mom at 3:30. Most of our kids were able to be there. It was a great day! I did need a nap after all the excitement though. Norma did a fine job of holding her recliner down too. We’re getting good at that.
We haven’t done a lot of actual work this winter, but have helped several people who needed propane or plumbing help or encouragement because of the extreme weather conditions. We have a small porch to build in Lawrence, another wheelchair ramp to build in Chetopa, a roof project to complete in Ft. Scott, and several repairs need to be done on a house in Michigan Valley. There are several small projects to finish in the Garnett area that is left over from the Group work camp of last year. We also need to meet right away with the pastors and helpers in Garnett to plan another work camp for 2015. There is also some talk of helping to plan a work camp in Holton in the next couple years.
Knowing that as we grow older we won’t be able to do the heavier carpenter work, we have hoped that we might be able to do some consulting and leading others to do some of it. Not knowing how to make this happen, we’ve just prayed about it. But we’ve had two calls already earlier this year and I made a trip to Burrton, Kansas which is out by Hutchison, to look at a church that needs some repair. I met with their Board of Trustees and just shared my thoughts of what they might do. Then I’ve had a contact from another community closer to home who wants to do a cleanup there and plan to place several dumpsters around town and then approach their neighbors about the church people reaching out to help those who may not be able to move heavy items alone. They wanted me to meet with them and give advice on how to approach people without offending them. I think if this comes about I do have some experience that would be helpful, so please pray for us and our ministry as we look to the future that doors will open and God will use us effectively in whatever ways He deems best.
Although we’ve enjoyed an extended break this winter from the construction projects the future looks busy. I had a call just a few weeks ago from a youth group in Kansas City who wants to help us on a project In June. Norma and I worked Saturday the 6th at Camp Chippewa down by Ottawa on a cleanup work day event that will prepare the grounds for summer youth camps. Instead of cleaning up an area we helped build “Ga Ga” pits. Look that one up on the internet. They say it’s a game that the kids just love to play. It looks like fun.
I so much appreciate all of you who are so faithful with your support, financially and prayerfully, and those who come along side to physically help. Once again I feel like among men I am most richly blessed.
God is good – all the time and all the time- God is good!
Rog and Nope
W/ Common Ground
P.S. Norma and I plan to attend a reunion of the Army unit that I was in while in Vietnam with the 243rd, a Chinook helicopter unit. We’ll meet in St. Louis in June.
I shared awhile back about our 45th high school class reunion. It seems our lives are full of connections with people from all walks of life. Pray with us that in all these ventures we’ll be faithful witnesses to God’s love for us.
The next most exciting news is we’re counting the days until Norma retires and joins me, now less than 100 days. This has been a growing process for us, trying to get on the same page, realizing that if we both get on God’s page, we’ll be on the same page. Then we went to Kansas City a couple of weeks ago to the Christian book store to pick up a pastor’s appreciation gift and look for some new reading material and Norma found this book that was the current best seller entitled “Crazy Love” by Francis Chon. She bought it, brought it home and began reading and then started telling me how on target it was for her. So after she finished it, I began reading it and boy it hit me right in the target as well. I would challenge you to pick it up and read it. I don’t want to spoil it for you but feel like I should quote several parts of it. But a line caught me in the middle of the 5th chapter. He was quoting someone else when he said “our greatest fear as individuals and as a church shouldn’t be of failure but of succeeding in things of life that don’t really matter”.
I think that this resource along with everything else that is going on in our lives has set the stage for a new attitude toward our ministry. God is calling all of us who call ourselves Christians to be His light in the world, to reach out in love, unconditional love to every person that we meet. One test that this pastor gives us is to read 1Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 and everywhere you find the word love, replace it with your name and see if when you’ve finished it that it doesn’t point out some lack of obedience on your part. When I did this exercise, I said the people who knew me would say “that’s not the Roger I know”. I think Norma and I are seeing that God expects much more from us than we have been giving and then He promises to bless us when we give talents time and all.
We’re going to take a 3 or 4 day vacation over halloween and then start on a couple of roof jobs in Weir and Columbus, Kansas. I pray this letter finds you well and maybe it will challenge you and your family or church to answer the call to serve.
Give a call 785-331-8272 and I’ll put you to work, helping hurting people.
See you around the corner…
Rog & Nope
Email us at: Rog.Nope@yahoo.com
Pray for us that we start spending out time on things that matter.
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