The TIOGA Saga – Man-Camps ‘R’ Us

Tioga, ND
July 14, 2013

It’s been awhile since my last entry and for that I offer my apologies. It’s been busy, but I’ve not been as much busy as perhaps distracted by all the busyness…and then not writing when there has been time. I’ll do better.

First, I start off with congratulations to Jonathan and Cassie Lara. OK, technically, Cassie is Cassandra Lara-Jensen, but she’s still Cassie to me. I’m sad to have missed the ceremony, but at least my Sweetheart Val was there. She reported that everything was beautiful, especially the Fellowship Hall, and that the marriage went off without a hitch…OK, there was one hitch- THEY GOT HITCHED! Yea, I know … really bad joke. Nevertheless, they are finally married. So very thrilled for them both and also for The Corner. It was our first wedding under the new name! And Val has a video of Josh on his stilts. Now if she can just get a copy off her phone and to Josh…

As most of you know, I am driving a bus here in Tioga for a couple of weeks taking crews from the man-camp just west of Tioga into the Hess gas plant, a trip of about 10 miles each way. My runs here are much shorter than the last time I was out here two summers ago. Then I would often have to drive 1½ hours each way. Now it’s about 30 minutes each way.

Here’s my schedule:

3 am   Awake
3:30    Inspect (pre-trip) the vehicle
3:45    Leave the camp for the plant
4:05    At the plant waiting for the crew
4:35    Parked back at the camp

6:00    Back on the bus to pick up the day crew
6:20    Pick up and take to the plant by 6:40.
7:00    Parked back at camp

5 pm   Pre-trip for the afternoon run
5:15    Depart camp for the plant
5:35    Pick up crews for return “home”
6:10    Parked for the night … usually

Rinse and repeat daily.

There have been wonderful times of fellowship with both Christians who are out here, and, multiple times, I have been introduced to guys that really needed to talk about their lives and their difficulties or how God has impacted them. Just AWESOME!

This evening as we were eating supper, one of our bus drivers walked up with a gentleman I thought I recognized. As Gene was introducing those of us at the table, he started to introduce me. At that point, the gentleman said, “Oh, I know Talmadge. He married us several years ago.” Very cool experience! It IS a small world.

There has been much turmoil in his life in the past several years, including him moving away and trying to start a new life alone. As we sat and talked, I remarked, “You could be the very reason I’m out here in the oil fields right now. I am so very excited to see you.”

He and I will talk more as the week goes on. Hallelujah!

Val will pick me up in Jamestown next Monday and we will head south to Aberdeen – MY HOMETOWN! – from there. I can’t express how much I appreciate all of you in Aberdeen who have done and continue to do so much for the Lord in our city. And the truth is,  [cue music] “we’ve only just begun” to discover what God has in store for us as we travel with Him. He is already preparing hearts for His seeds to be sown. We simply must indiscriminately be “seed-sowers.”

I have used this period to spend delicious alone time with the Lord. There are several sermons that have been started and much more. I haven’t read as much as I’d have liked, but there is still time next week. I have jotted down a schedule for next week to be more effective and efficient with the time God has provided.

A special thanks goes out to Craig and Marie Cleveland for stepping up and preaching today [July 14] and next week. You have been left in very capable hands.

REMEMBER: The next meeting of the Launch Team will be July 21, Sunday evening at 6 PM. We will send out an e-mail reminder closer to the date. I have most of your e-mail addresses, but, just in case, pass the word to those who may not read this on the web, to send an e-mail to so we can have everyone on board. If they don’t have e-mail, make sure Val or I has a phone number for them.

I’m going to bed early, since yesterday I was up at 3 am and didn’t get to bed until 11:55 PM. Why am I complaining? I did get a 30 minute nap!

If you feel moved, drop me an email to .

In and through Him alone,
Pastor Talmadge

One thought on “The TIOGA Saga – Man-Camps ‘R’ Us

  1. This is the first time I have visited the site and read one of your blogs. Isn’t blogging fun. You can be as random as you want. Anyway, I didn’t even think about the fact that our wedding was the first wedding with the new name of the church. Also, I understand you couldn’t make it to the wedding but I was really glad Val could be there.
    Love ya Pastor :) And thanks for all you encouraging, strengthening, uplifting words.

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