The one hundred and sixty acre farm on Kitten Creek Road which created the backdrop for this book has become a rich community of family and friends. Many, many people have contributed to the fabric of our lives and, as a result, have been a testimony of God’s presence and His involvement in our otherwise mundane existence.
Our family of five, Judd and I and our three children, Sara, Daniel, and Derrick, moved from Southern California to Kansas in 1981. Besides the allure of a position at Kansas State University, the move fulfilled a desire to experience serving God as a family. After eight months of searching, we found our dream home: an old farm grown up in weeds with a 950 square foot house that sported no indoor plumbing, out buildings that were falling down, a substantial, lovely old barn, and . . . lots of potential. I had the gift of vision, Judd had the gift of frugality, and we both have the gift of faith in a transcendent God, so the farm fit us perfectly. God has given us an opportunity to “unwrap” His presence throughout the years of taming the farm, raising our children, hosting incredibly gifted people, and learning to live in community.
The original farm acreage is now home to six families. Our son, Daniel, and his wife Nancy bought acreage and built a home in a beautiful setting down the lane behind our new home. They live there with their nine children and raise chickens, calves, sheep, ducks, and geese. Our daughter, Sara, her husband, Dan (yes, we have two Dans and two Nancys) with their two sons bought the original house (much improved through the years with indoor plumbing to boot), the barn and out buildings, and much of the acreage. They raise goats, cows and chickens. Our new house was built by our son, our son-in-law, Judd, and two of the oldest grandchildren. From our kitchen window we have a good view of the old homestead, and we can see from our dining room picture window Dan’s and Nancy’s family coming and going down the gravel lane. The Reppert family, with an organic focus to their farming, were the earliest to buy land and build on the farm. Down the road a bit, the Bascoms, retired missionaries to Ethiopia, live in a log home they built along with their sons many years ago. The Bascom’s son Nat and wife and children, recently returning from Kenya, built their home near their parents.
The community that formed here has had an impact far beyond Kitten Creek.
Our focus from the beginning was to live in a way that reflected an infinite, ever present God who desires to be in relationship with His creatures. Many, many people have walked though this life with us, stayed a while, and added to the richness of that reflection. With our various personalities, gifts, and visions, God has allowed us to touch the world: Kenya, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nepal as well as the inner city USA. Some had the gift of writing and have published books that reflected a continual pursuit of building the Church. The land has also been a place for solitude and silence for those who have desired to be alone with God. For this purpose we offer a few rustic cabins and some hiking trails that wind through woods and over pastures.
Last, and by no means least, is the story of Bethlehem Revisited which grew from our small community celebrating the birth of Christ thirty years ago to several thousand visitors who come each December to walk through a forty five minute guided tour telling the prophecy, birth, and resurrection of Christ. Bethlehem Revisited is a story in itself which will find its place somewhere in the pages of this blog.