After 45 years of ministry, 34 years pastoring churches and 11 years as a North American missionary. We retired this past Sunday, October 27.  The Warren Woods Baptist Church, our last place of service gave us a wonderful retirement celebration.  Their love and generosity simply overwhelmed us.  The attached video was prepared by our daughter and beautifully summarizes our years of ministry.

Now the fulltime journey has begun.  We are excited, a little apprehensive, but full of hope over what lies ahead.

We actually left on Sunday after all the celebrating was over and drove about 3 ½ hours to the Cracker Barrel in Stevensville, MI and spent our first night booncracking.  From there we traveled the Prairie Island Park which is situated on the Mississippi River just upstream from Winona, MN. We will be here for four nights. This is the last four nights of the season here and I think there is only one other occupied rig in the campground.

So, did you catch that we are in Minnesota and that it’s the last week of October?  Unless you are a polar bear, penguin, or Eskimo, I don’t recommend this. It is cold hear! Highs in the 30’s and lows in  the 20’s.  We knew it was going to be cold so we winterized the water system and are using bottled water and flushing the toilet with RV Antifreeze.  We have 30 amp electric so the furnace is keeping us warm inside and we are surviving well.  So why are we here?  We have four grandchildren in Winona along with our younger daughter and son-in-law.  We are also headed to Sioux Falls, SD where we will establish our residency.  I will write about that process in the next blog post.

As I said earlier the Prairie Island Campground is situated right on the Mississippi River.  It is a part of the Prairie Island Park which is a city park of Winona,  MN.  The land was donated to the city in 1915 by a local grocer who had a love for the outdoors.  There are 175 campsites, 107 offer water and electric and 68 are primitive sites.  There is a nice shower house and a few nice pit toilets scattered through the campground.  There are both shaded and sunny sites available.  You can rent bicycles, canoes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards and camping equipment.  There is a small camp store where you can purchase basic grocery items, firewood, ice, and some fishing tackle and bait.  You can also exchange propane tanks.  There is a boat launch and small  swimming beach, there are no lifeguards. There is also an off-leash dog park.  With our Sure Call Cell Booster we get an excellent T-Mobile signal. We are able to stream video with no problem. 

Winona is a beautiful small city with quite a bit to do in the area.  As we were entering the town we spotted and eagle flying above us.  Beyond the river activities there is another beautiful city park built around two lakes with numerous things to do.  A great paved trail encircles the park.  There is plenty of retail shopping in the area.  There are plenty of restaurants.  I must say  that Bloedow’s Bakery is one of the best in the universe!  Be prepared to wait in a line to get the yummiest donuts you will ever eat!  Trust me it is worth the wait!   About 30 miles up stream is the National Eagle Center located in Wabasha, MN. Here they study Eagles and rehab injured Eagles. This is a great place to see these majestic birds up close and even have your picture made with one.

Next week I will write about our experience of establishing  residency in South Dakota, the Big Sioux Recreation Area and Sioux Falls. Please click the follow button so you can receive notifications when new posts are available.  Also like us on  Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

5 thoughts on “THE JOURNEY HAS BEGUN

  1. A wonderful account of your life and times in your ministry. While this is a beautiful tribute to you and Mary and your dedication to your calling, it does not show the impact you, Mary, and your girls has had on the hundreds and I may say thousands of people you all have touched in the course of your ministry. May I say I am one of those people that grew to love you all for your faithfulness to my family.


  2. The Ahart clan is so blessed to have you in our lives. You baptized 3 of us, preformed a marriage ceremony and officiated at a funeral. But more important, you were an example of a Godly man. So happy for you.


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