Hullo the Camp~ good Ranger folks! (this email was sent out to the somorr email list and it encouraged me)
Allot of you may not know me, unless maybe as Commander Richard Michael's daughter (of Outpost 133 in Branson). My name is Jennifer Napier. I've been a Ranger Kid commander for about 13 years. I am a proud mom of 2 Royal Rangers myself, and if you know my dad, and the years he's been in Rangers then you'd understand the family joke me and my mom have of that it feels like I've been helping 'pack for powwow' near my whole life ;) Ha! Yep. We're Rangers through and through.
I took this picture as a kind of momento for myself today, of me doing what I've done countless times over the years, and that may seem mundane, but today it struck me as rather something more. As I continued to work and think about it, I decided to share it with my fellow Ranger family in hopes that it will encourage someone else.
While I had other plans I was very much looking forward to on this wet spring day, sometimes your plans get changed for you, giving you the choice to either moan and complain, or choose to make the best of it by redeeming your time in some way. Some of today I won that battle and chose for good.
Neither the news, Face book, or Wal-Mart are a very big part of my life, so while I am aware of what's going on, I've not been out and about enough to get too excited about the panic phenomenon of empty shelves for myself. God will provide.
It seems my phone has been constantly buzzing with texts and emails these last few days with cancellations, closures, and postponements of all kinds- my kids school, Derby, Commanders Conference, a backpacking trip, my local library, my tickets for the Springfield symphony where they were going to be playing music from the Civil War (that would have been way cool!) and even the annual Model Train Expo and Swap Meet which, to my boys, ranks up there with Christmas.
One by one, events are deleted from my calendar, my 'to-do' list really.
While Yes, many of the cancellations I was genuinely excited for and looking forward to, I have to say that a big part of me sees and anticipates (almost even more) this seemingly imposed 'break' from life's normal pace.
Which brings me back to this day... this bit of 'found' or 'extra' time.
We at Outpost 133 are gearing up for another GMA at the end of this quarter. Nathaniel Brinson starting in Rangers as a boy at Central Assembly under Mark Jones. Years ago his family moved to Taney County brought him and his brother Evan, to our neck of the woods, where we met them at Outpost 343 Grace Community Assembly. Now a Senior in High School, he is set to earn his GMA here at Outpost 133 in Branson, before heading off to Evangel University in the fall.
We Commanders have 'been on' both the boys to bring in all their patches and vests to make sure everything is sewn on properly and up to date.
Well~ last Wednesday they came in hauling a backpack stuffed to the seams and held it out to me like it was Christmas morning, saying 'Commander Jennifer! We brought you a present!' ...It was HEAVY;)
I don't know whose smile was bigger, theirs or mine.
I am the official unofficial seamstress of Outpost 133 who, along with 'The Badge Beast', (my trusty $5-thrift-store-1970-something-Kenmore sewing machine (Which I might add has never failed me, (ok except for once- I may have had to resort to a glue gun, but that was my fault, so we wont talk about that;))) have been sewing on Ranger patches (and yes even the occasional MPACT badge;) for many a good year now.
I absolutely LOVE to see the boys in our outpost outfitted with their vest, watching them fill up as the years go by. I love it when they get so crowded that I'm practically sewing them to the armpit because there's literally no more room. I love it when the boy grows so much in the 3 years that the vest that nearly swallowed him when it was fresh and new now looks almost comically short and maybe wont even 'close' in front, because its stretched so tight;) but they keep wearing it. And they wear it PROUDLY. I love to see their faces when I give it back to them after another COA, another round of badges earned, and their excited faces when they see the new additions. I love to see the older boys showing theirs to the younger boys, telling their stories, their TESTIMONIES really. Because each patch IS a story... an experience, a lesson, a memory, an adventure. Truly a part of their lives, of their their testimony.
As a Commander myself I look and see the countless hours that went into each of those patches, even before those boys even knew it existed. Allot of that is because of allot if YOU reading this... Then I see how each boy takes all that is given and makes it his own, a part of his own life. It's quite a journey.
In this picture I'm just sitting at my kitchen table, vests and badges in little piles, reloading the bobbin (the thread that makes the bottom stitch) with the very last of another vest colored spool of thread. While years ago I joked with mom that I should have kept count of how many patches 'The Badge Beast' had sewn (I like nerdy stuff like that;), but there's really no telling...
Using up the last of this spool got me thinking and adding up yards of bobbin thread though. In my head I can account for at least 900 yards, which puts me just over the 1/2 mile marker.
Earlier today, after reading an email on the somoevents group about the change to this weekends upcoming backpack Mark Jones over at Ozark Assembly was hosting, that got me to thinking about miles again. Hiking miles. (Some of the best kind of miles they make by the way;) I looked up one of Marks famous Youtube videos from a back pack last Spring, where my son Matthew and I got to go with a great group of folks down around the Buffolo River to the 'Eye of the Needle'. (INCREDIBLE place by the way) Truly a remarkable adventure for my son. Mark is in it for the boys and it SHOWS in those backpacking trips. I know my son will remember the trip and his experiences for a lifetime. I don't remember how many miles that particular hike was... not many really, but when you're climbing, crawling, crossing, and slipping nearly the whole way along, even a few miles can be chock full of fun and adventure!
But back to my thread...
My mere 1/2 mile of thread.
If you've been on a Mark backpack you know you can burn a half mile easy just collecting firewood;) (but hey who doesn't like a big fire!;)
So while my half mile may not seem like much out on the trail, a half mile, one stitch at a time, one patch at a time, is another story.
My point is for you to view what you do in the right perspective. As part of the whole, (your part in the whole) a half mile IS a big deal. Don't ever think that even the small things you do for Rangers doesn't help to add up to the whole. No one person could do it all. (Well... unless your name is Jerry, then I'd say you've got a pretty good chance it it;) BUT, nevertheless;) that's not how it's supposed to be done. God gives each of us a talent. When we are willing to use that for His purpose, things get DONE!
Today I sewed on a couple handfuls of patches.... Bible merits, skill merits, leadership merits, quarterly patches, year end patches, activity patches... you name it these boys have done it (and have apparently been hording their patches up until now;)
Some of those patches I sewed on today could not have been possible if some of you reading this had not put in so much of your time, your prayer, your skill, your effort, your devotion, and lets face it, sometimes your plain 'old hot sweaty WORK.
You are making a difference. What you have done and continue to do, great AND small, is making an ETERNAL DIFFERENCE in the lives of SO MANY BOYS.
Galatians 6:9 says Do not grow tired of doing good. For in due time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up.
I just wanted to remind you of that. To tell you how thankful and proud I am to a part of such an incredibly devoted-to-the-work-of-the-gospel group of people.
I myself have 2 boys who have worked their way up, learning and earning everything they could from Rainbows to Rangers Kids, to Discovery to now Adventure Rangers. I SEE the benefits. I SEE the impact. I SEE them developing into Christ like men and lifelong servant leaders. THANK YOU! Thank YOU for doing YOUR part!
So whatever your part in Royal Rangers that has brought this email to you, know that your role is important. It matters. There may be times you feel your contribution is small, only '1/2 mile', but put in the right perspective, it is BIG! It's vital. It's making a difference. It's changing lives for the good, and pointing people to Christ. KEEP IT UP!!
One of my favorite verses to teach in Ranger Kids is Col 2:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord, not for men.
So if you too find yourself with a schedule a little out of whack, try to take it in stride. Choose to see the good in it. I encourage you to see the time as a blessing instead of fretting about everything that needs done.
See it as a little R&R if you will. After all, every good soldier needs it once in a while. I don't know about you, but I asked God this morning if he could just go ahead and come on back and pick me up and take me home.... but alas, I'm still here, waiting, working, pecking out a probably-too-long-letter with my thumb on a tiny screen;) So it looks like the battle is still on~ And we, my fellow Rangers, are called to fight, each our own 1/2 mile at a time.
Lets make it count:)
Branson First A/G