Posted by: charlesdamschen | August 30, 2004

Summer Review

Well, summer is almost over and here I am finally writing the first update since May (not good, I know). It looks like I’ll have more time to devote to Special D stuff so I’m planning on writing a weekly update from here on out. Thanks for sticking with us!

We, like all of you I’m sure, have had a busy summer and can hardly believe that fall is in the air already. We have some fun events coming up—keep your eyes open for further info on our annual bus tour to the Midwest Quartet Association Convention in Des Moines, IA—November 4-7. Contact us ASAP if you’re interested!

Like I mentioned, our summer was BUSY. I wish I could write in detail about all of the places we sang and the people we met, but we’ve done 2-3 concerts almost every weekend this summer. Instead I’ll just try to give you some highlights. . .

Casino Competition

The first Saturday in June was spent singing at a church in Hinckley, MN. The church is right across the highway from a big casino right off of I-35 north of the Cities. In an effort to create a little “competition” with the casino, the church started having live gospel music outside in the parking lot on Saturday evenings! 🙂 We actually ended up singing inside due to heavy rain, hail, and tornadoes that had passed through earlier in the evening. Nevertheless it was a great time. A couple of dear friends from my college days at Northwestern drove to Hinckley to join us so that made it EXTRA special.

Happy Reunions

The last weekend in June we celebrated Hampden’s 100th Birthday! The celebration started Friday evening with an all school reunion which we were glad to be a part of. The program was filled with music and reminiscing—all provided by past and present Hampden residents (that’s where we come in). Dad graduated from Hampden so he had been on that stage before . . . he shared with the 400-person crowd that some of his “most nervous” moments had been right there on that stage. The number we sang was a patriotic medley ending with “God Bless America.” It was moving to see the community standing together and to hear everyone singing that powerful prayer.

Saturday we drove the Special Delivery van in the 100-plus entry parade and Sunday we had a concert out at the little church on the Prairie Winds threshing site. Check out the Hampden website for more details on all of the festivities. It really was a great weekend.

Polk County Fair

July 11 found us singing in the Gospel Tent at the Polk County Fair in Fertile, MN. Special Delivery has been blessed to be a guest here several times over the years. It’s always a highlight to go to the fair and this year was no exception! There’s just something special about singing gospel music under a tent on a summer day—not to mention the carnival music in the background, the crowds of people, and caramel apples, homemade root beer, and cotton candy! On top of all of this we enjoyed hours of great music by the Gloryland Gospel Team, Simply Kristi, and many other friends. Grandma and Grandpa Damschen even drove up from Pelican Rapids—we’re thankful that they are able to be a part of these events!

Knowing You’ll Be There

There have been many joys this summer. But as we all experience at some point, with certain joy comes deep sorrow. We experienced that this summer as well. Our dear friend, Ken Schindler from Praise ‘N Harmony, was diagnosed with cancer last August. We got a call from Anita (Ken’s wife) in July to let us know that they had one last hope—the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Tulsa, OK. Ken didn’t get good news in Tulsa—even after many prayers, doctor’s appointments, and chemo the cancer had spread and was everywhere.

Ken and Anita headed home to North Dakota and Ken was admitted to the hospital in Harvey, ND. Mom, Dad, Gabe, Ron, and Cathy went to visit Ken on a Wednesday evening . . . that’s an example of joy that comes with deep sorrow. They had a very special time in that hospital room, visiting and singing together with Ken and some of his family and friends. While in Tulsa, Ken and Anita had planned each other’s funerals, so before everyone left the hospital that night, they sent home a tape of the songs that Ken wanted Special Delivery to sing at his funeral.

Ken went to be with the Lord on Sunday, August 1, 2004 and we sang the songs that he requested at his funeral on August 5. Knowing our friend is with the Lord and missing him here . . . another deep joy and sorrow all in one.

Gospel Music Extravaganza in the Park

Our 4th annual Gospel Music Extravaganza was held on August 8 in Cando, ND. The weather that morning was questionable (cold and damp) but we decided to go ahead and set up the stage and the sound equipment outside in the park . . . and then PRAYED that the Lord would keep the rain away!! The clouds eventually broke up and we had occasional sunshine, lots of wind, but NO RAIN until later in the evening . . . that was without a doubt the Lord’s doing.

Throughout the afternoon we enjoyed clowning by Kountry Pockets and music by the Mennonite Quartet, Doug Langerud, Ivan Gunn, Dave Rostberg, Joel Julliard, Simply Kristi and Anita Schindler. We didn’t know if Anita would be able to join us since it had only been a week since Ken passed away, but we were so glad to see her. Everyone was especially blessed by her music and her faith in this difficult time. Please keep her and their family in your prayers.

Just as our last group, the River of Life praise team, was getting ready to set up, the rains finally came. We felt bad that they weren’t able to do their music, and at the same time we were thankful that it hadn’t rained earlier. Most of the remaining crowd scattered as the rain increased, but a few “die-hards” huddled under the shelter until the sun peaked out again. The day ended with a small group under that shelter. . . Ivan played Dad’s old acoustic Martin guitar and the rest of us sang along. We laughed and cried and sang and prayed in those precious moments and walked away from the park that day knowing that the Lord had orchestrated each event of the day—even the rain. Thanks to those of you who sang and played and listened. You helped to make the day a success (inspite of the cold wind)!

Well, there you have it . . . our summer in a nutshell. Remember to be on the lookout for info about fall events and please feel free to contact us!

–NJD


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