Author: phinehas

An Update from Idaho

Hello everyone! The complete restoration of the “Peck House” (named after Captain Augustus Peck) has been finished. Built in Middlebury, Connecticut, in 1783, it was taken apart and moved to Deary last summer where a crew (under Brother Kevin Durkin’s care) restored it to its original beauty. The defining feature of the house, its massive stone chimney, was carefully rebuilt by Brother Gary Moore, along with the brick oven, excellent for baking pizza.

The house features original hand-hewn oak timbers, doors and woodwork, and new 12-over-12 pane windows. The accommodations sleep six, with one king-size bed in the second-floor loft, a full-size bed in the original first-floor bedroom and a queen-size sofa bed. The full kitchen opens to the dining and living area, and the back addition includes a screened porch facing the surrounding pine forest. The house includes two full baths and radiant floor heat. It is available for guests to rent on Airbnb.

Forging an Idaho-Virginia Bond

In late January, the John French family traveled to visit the community in Nickelsville, Virginia. They were away two weeks and shared a wonderful time with the brothers and sisters there. We hope to see more of the Virginia folks here in Idaho. During our peak months of summer, we will employ about five additional bakers, baristas and servers at the bakery. We are always looking for fresh recruits!

Welcoming New Neighbors

The Reed family has joined us in Idaho! Sister Sarah and her son Noah arrived from Texas right after the Tindell wedding and are living in a small house in Deary. A moving truck was rented and driven here with all of their belongings. Upon arrival a group of young people unloaded the truck, helped unpack and moved Sarah and Noah into their new home. Welcome back to cold country! (Sister Sarah is originally from Maine.)

Upgrading Pie Safe, Community Buildings

When the Pie Safe building was first completed, there was room in the back to house the offices for the Pie Safe, Creamery and Quality Contractors. But, as the bakery and creamery have grown, they have run out of space for storage in the back. So the offices moved across the street to the rear of the Heritage Fine Crafts building. The void in the Pie Safe building was quickly filled when the contents of the shipping room next door (which served as a temporary storage room) were emptied into the former office space. The shipping room has returned to its original purpose.

Community Building

We are in the process of finishing out the upstairs of the community building into a conference/office room. After the building was completed in the fall of 2019, the upstairs was forgotten about until this winter. We began the construction over a month ago and progress on it whenever we get a chance. 

The Borman boys are making two custom wood doors, and we have just finished installing shiplap on the walls. The young sisters are making useful furnishings to enhance the space, such as baskets, table runners and a throw for the couch. It will have a small bathroom, utility room, storage closet and main room with a desk and furniture. 

Since the building is already somewhat under construction, we have emptied it and are lightly sanding the beams to their original color. The sanding process has created quite a dust bath! We will apply a clear coat of finish to the beams as a final touch.

Celebrating a Wedding

In late February, a few families traveled to Texas to attend the wedding of Brother Joe Tindell and Sister Amanda Nolen. The newlyweds will stay in Texas for a few months and then come to live in Idaho where they will be a great asset. We can hardly wait!

Prior to the wedding, we hosted a groom’s fellowship for Brother Joe. A good time was had by all.

Early in the season we received several big snows, but the cold was not deep enough for it to stay long- term. It took some time, but after a relatively mild early winter season, real winter finally hit northern Idaho. We received 75% of our snow in February. March is warming up, and spring is just around the corner.

Lambing is almost complete at the Webb Frenches with 20 new lambs so far.
The Bormans had a visitor try to get into their kitchen. Elijah took care of him. 

An Update from Waco

As we approached November, our community wondered whether safety concerns would keep us from hosting our annual fair for the first time in over 30 years. But we felt strongly that the fair could bring hope to those outside of our community who grappled with unrest and confusion as 2020 drew to a close.   

We were granted permission by the county to hold the annual outdoor event with the exception that we not have regular concerts such as the music presentation in the large tent. After much prayerful consideration, our community decided to proceed with the fair. Several weeks of busy preparation followed, as we produced more crafts, set up new parking areas, built pathways, cooked, baked and made booth displays.  

However, as Thanksgiving weekend approached, the forecasts indicated very unfavorable weather for outdoor events. We decided to postpone until the first weekend of December. But since Thanksgiving weekend is when people expect the fair to be open, we held an informal opening for folks who wanted to come early. Despite the occasional rain showers, 3,000 people showed up to tour the craft displays, visit the petting pen and sample several tasty options at the food booths. 

December Fair

The formal opening of the fair occurred Saturday, December 5. The morning dawned gray and threatened more bad weather. Yet despite predictions of showers throughout the day, it only misted a couple of times! The weather failed to dampen our guests’ plans or spirits. Hundreds of visitors showed up, then thousands as the day progressed!

This year we added a barnyard treasure hunt, which proved popular for children and their families. The treasure hunt featured hidden clues throughout the model homestead and offered as prizes either a free hayride or tickets to hands-on activities. The hay-bale maze was also a favored choice for young folks. 

All three food courts saw continuous lines of hungry people looking for old favorites such as the southwest burger basket, beef pepperoni and chicken Alfredo pizza, fettuccine Alfredo or chicken and cheese tamales. We also added a booth this year offering specialty waffles (both sweet and savory options) as well as a food trailer from Cafe Homestead featuring three different gourmet burgers.

Lunchtime on Saturday held a surprise for our guests. At 1:00 PM, Sister Helen walked up the path alongside the food court followed by a group of young folks singing an a cappella version of “Lean on Me.” Everyone enjoyed the music, and many were singing along by the end of it. Not wanting to attract too big a crowd, we ended with “This Joy That I Have” even though the fair goers clamored for more.

Many Joyous and Grateful Attendees

Over the two weekends, more than 15,000 visitors attended our fair! We feel very blessed that God used the fair to answer questions and to minister hope and joy to many fair goers. Here are comments from a few of them:

“We loved the music! We were there Saturday and Sunday. Great weather, great fun, amazing artisans and wonderfully kind, God-fearing people. Thank you for sharing your faith and families with the world.”

 “We had the best weekend! Thank ya’ll for giving us a fun family event to enjoy!” 

“We attended today and had a wonderful time! Our first visit but definitely not our last!” 

“Thank you, Homestead Heritage! We were there today and with God who provided beautiful weather. The delicious food and festive atmosphere were blessed and refreshed.”

Klingensmith Wedding

Nathaniel Klingensmith and Aridai Lozano were married at the Fellowship Hall on November 6. Natt grew up in our community here in Texas and became interested in learning Spanish several years ago. He has since become instrumental in translating our church literature into Spanish and has made several trips to our community in Monterrey, Mexico. Ari grew up in Veracruz, Mexico, and only recently moved to Monterrey to join our community. Natt and Ari grew to know each other through their work in translating.

Ari’s family and friends from Monterrey faced several legal obstacles as they attempted to come into the States, but the Lord made it possible for everyone to make it to the wedding on time.

We wanted some of the wedding music to be in Spanish, so for a couple of weeks we practiced “Once In A While.” Yet without a Spanish speaker to help with our pronunciation, we learned several of the lines incorrectly. Thankfully, Brother Éder arrived a week before the ceremony to help us. He pointed out that we were singing, “Dog know in Jesus they do,” rather than, “But I know in Jesus they do!” We believe we sang it correctly at the wedding!

Celebrations after the wedding were conducted in a safe manner appropriate for the pandemic, but they were nevertheless joyous. Brother Éder introduced us to a Spanish hora song. Even those of us who did not understand the words felt the vibrant joy in the music, especially those who danced to it.

An Update from Mexico

As 2020 drew to a close, we could not believe time had passed so quickly. The challenges and opportunities that we experienced during the year offer a new perspective as we begin 2021. We feel great expectations for the coming months and are excited to welcome a new year.

November

At the beginning of November, we were very happy to receive a visit from Sister Camila Broquet, who arrived from France. We were very grateful that she stayed with us for two weeks. She showed us how to make French bread, which we enjoyed baking and eating! During her visit, we also took walks, visited the homes of the families close by and had a fun adventure boating on the pond at Brother Oscar’s land. 

In late November, various members of our community traveled to Waco for the Thanksgiving Fair. Among those attending the fair for the first time was the family of Brother Bernardo Badillo. Brother Éder and his family, along with Nohemi and Ana Limon, went as well. They all took advantage of the opportunity to visit with brothers and sisters and to learn more about the Texas community and the crafts. 

December 

Two days after our travelers returned from the fair, the Caleb Gonzalez family from the Texas community arrived in Monterrey. They joined us for Christmas and the New Year. On Christmas Eve, a few families got together for a delicious dinner and to celebrate Sister Ana Gonzalez’s birthday. The night was very cold, but we were so thankful to be together. New Year’s Eve offered a time for meaningful conversation amid a potluck supper with most of the families here.

While visiting, Brother Brandon Gonzalez helped a few people continue to improve their pottery skills, including Brother Bernardo’s daughter, Emma. Emma brought back a new pottery wheel from Waco, and now she is practicing at home in Bernal. 

We also had the honor of celebrating the birthday of one of our ministers, Brother David Borda. We laughed and shared memories, and many expressed their love and gratitude for Brother David. Gathered in a circle, we began to sing, “All my life You have been faithful; all my life You have been so, so good. With every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God.”

Winter Births

December was also the month when two families were blessed with new little ones!

Brother Javier and Sister Sarahí Guerrero had a baby boy on December 4, Jaír Sebastian. He weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces and measured 20.4 inches. (See also the last page.)

Brother Gerardo and Sister Lorena Benitez had twins on December 15. At 2:24 AM, Eliel Sisay was born. He weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces and measured 20 inches. Elizabeth Sisay was born at 2:26 AM and weighed 5 pounds, 15 ounces and measured 20.8 inches. (See also the last page.)

January

In January, we had the privilege of meeting a man in the small town of Cadereyta near where many of us are now living. This man brought his tractor and helped us prepare the ground at Brother Oscar’s property. So we are ready to plant at the beginning of next month!