Worlds Apart: Responsibility

We, the Speckhals family, make our homes in Red Lion, Pennsylvania–in the south-central part of York county.  The closest city of any size is, of course, York, then a few nearby cities are Harrisburg and Lancaster–each about 40 minutes away.  However, we are also in the middle of it all!  Most would never guess just how close we are to the epicenter of our American government: Washington DC.  In fact, Camp David is only about a drive worth 45 minutes through the rolling hills.  Washington is two hours away on average–give or take some time with traffic.

I promise you, the county we live in is one of the most conservative in the nation!  We almost never hear anything about Democrats unless it’s in jest or in the news.  The average person in York County is either a fifth-generation PA Dutch farmer, a suburbanite transplant who moved up from the Baltimore area for quietness and a lower cost of living, or a non-unionized contractor.  All of our elected officials are conservative, and this county has not voted for a Democratic president since Andrew Jackson.  Really, the only liberal bastion of this area is the inner-city of York.

“Just around the corner” one of the largest partisan debates is being held in our nation’s capital over “healthcare.”  When the town-hall meetings were happening across the country last August, I desperately wanted to go to one.  The funny thing is that our district is  so conservative that there weren’t any meetings for miles around.  Then, there was the big gathering in Washington on 9/12.  We thought for a second about going, but ended up not going.

We are a conservative district in the midst of a somewhat liberal state.  All you have to do is look at Pennsylvania’s two senators: Arlen Spector (a once liberal republican recently turned democrat) and liberal Bob Casey.  Our governor is an Obama-lover too: Ed Rendell.  Thank you Pittsburgh and Philadelphia!

From what I see about this healthcare battle, I am glad that the country has stepped back and taken a big breath…and looked at the proposals.  The more we hear about this government run “option” the more we dislike it.  We, as Christians believe in benevolence and love, but also for personal responsibility and choice.  When someone who is able to work and provide for himself (anyone without a SERIOUS mental or physical handicap).  Our tax dollars are not to provide a living for anyone else.  Our tax dollars are for our protection.  They are not to pay for anyone else’s insurance/health.  “What about single mothers with multiple children?,” some may ask.  First, it was their responsibility to not get into the situation to have children in the first place.  I answer the last question with this question: “Why does my responsibility have to pay for someone else’s irresponsibility?”  I believe the only true welfare for the unfortunate and irresponsible is the Gospel of Jesus Christ: just the way the Bible says.  The only true hope for all of mankind is the Gospel.  Providing healthcare for the irresponsible will only breed more irresponsibility.

Then their is the issue of the House bill that will force me into the same irresponsible system.  I will have to be under the government-run plan over the next several years.  Basically all of us will.  It’s just one step closer to a single-payer system: our President’s goal, according to his own words (on the record).

What can I do?

Vote and pray!

What Are We Doing on the Front Page?


Last night I got a call from one of the pastors at church, Bill Hardecker, about something insanely crazy!  He asked if I had read or seen the York Daily Record for yesterday, the 25th.  We don’t have a subscription to the newspaper, so I said no.  He said he was sitting at the barber shop reading the paper while getting a haircut.  All of the sudden, he noticed us right smack-dab on the front page!  Now the York Daily Record is no little newspaper either.  According to their website, their circulation is 475,000.  Anyways, here’s the story…

Thursday was my day off this week.  In the morning, we decided to go shopping for a few things in York: specifically a hole punch.  Andrea had a couple of classes to teach in the afternoon, so we knew that we didn’t have a huge amount of time.  Near to where we were at, a brand new restaurant was having their grand opening–Chipotle Mexican Grill (a Fresh-Mex chain based out of California, I think).  I had heard about the opening on the radio and through hearsay, mainly because of what they were doing as a gimmick: free burritos and pop all day.  It has been quite the local hype.  Well, here we were just a few hundred feet away, and our clock read 10:45am.  They were opening at 11:00am!  The line was about 20 people long so far, and seemed very inviting.  What are we supposed to do?  Say no?

To put it mildly, we both unhesitatingly jumped in line.  We got there just in the nick of time; because by the time the the doors opened fifteen minutes later, the line had quadrupled or more.  So we had the choice of chicken, steak, barbacoa, carnitas, or vegetarian (are you kidding me?  Vegan?) with all the toppings we wanted.  Andrea was happy to get some real guacamole with huge pieces of avocado in it.  I was just happy because we got a huge “out to eat” lunch for free!

The burritos were delicious!  Filled to the hilt with steak, rice, beans, your choice of salsa, sour cream and guacamole!  And so huge even I could not finish mine!   And we saw the camera man shooting all of his close-ups of the first lady in line taking a bite out of her burrito, but little did we know we would also be “famous”!

Read the entire article here.

Chipotle2 copy

Special Music: Harmonica Style

On to our most recent York County experience–a harmonica special during our Sunday evening service.  Now really, has anyone heard of that?  I remember hearing about it at Mt. Zion about a month ago, but forgot until last night.  We have a few dear, godly older couples in our church, and one of them is the Witham’s.  They are constantly asking if we need anything, and telling us that they are praying for specific things in our lives.  I believe that their interceding for us produced answered prayer in finding our beautiful home and other great provisions from God.  They even brought their car to help us move, and helped all the way.  We really love them.

Well, last night just before the offering, Mr. Witham walks up to the pulpit, reaches into his pocket, and pulls out a small box.  He opens the box and pulls out a shiny harmonica.  After the prayer, he begins to play one of the neatest specials I have ever heard!  We could tell he had been doing this for a while–it was flawless in our eyes.  He played, What a Day That Will Be, with several different chords of harmony and melody.  The best part, however, was that we knew it was coming from his heart.  Before his special I had rated harmonica playing just one little notch above playing a kazoo.  Now, we are looking forward to hearing it again!

Oh no! Am I Becoming a Country Bumpkin?

Well, for all of you who didn’t hear me voice my expectations before moving to Pennsylvania, they were not necessarily the most favorable.  The only thing I knew about Mt. Zion Baptist Church was Marcia (Starr) Hardecker –WOW!, and the fact that Marcia’s mom sent my mother a canned cake one time.  Who ever heard of canned cake?  And WHY?  I mean, Y2K scared some people, but what was the worst that could possibly happen?  We would be back to living off the land and cooking from scratch!  And wouldn’t dry cake mix keep just as long as cake in a can, and how do you even can cake?  Who was the person that came up with that idea?  It was all beyond me.  Then I found out about the quilting ministry!  What kind of a church has a quilting ministry?  And do I have to be there every week, as an assistant pastor’s wife?  I thought, Here I am going to this church in the wilderness, to can my life away, and quilt, and probably much more!

Well, it wasn’t that  bad at all!  Actually, I am very happy here.  It is definitely a country church, but there is something special about that as well.  Most here are very hardworking and eager to help whenever anyone needs it.  They are faithful soulwinners and ministry-minded people.   And of course, God knew exactly what He was doing placing us here.  It is a strong, Bible-believing church; the people, like born-again, Godly people the world round, are very kind, helpful, generous, and hospitable.  As for the quilting ministry, it is composed of a handful of dear ladies who make quilts and give them to our missionaries; AND… well, I am even adapting to the canning!!!  I have this strange knack for adapting to wherever I am at.  In Mexico, a friend said, you are almost, almost Mexican, the only thing you lack is to have been born in Mexico! (Minor detail!)


And now, in “Country”ville (A.K.A. the middle of nowhere!), I am canning tomatoes like a native!  Last Wednesday, Mrs. Starr said her and Heidi (daughter), were going to can tomatoes, and if I wanted, I could come.  By the time I arrived Thursday morning, they were done with the first batch.  “Do you want to go get tomatoes and do some for yourself, Andrea…our first batch went very quickly…go ahead!”  So, Heidi and I went, bought tomatoes, and headed back to the house to start my batch.  I think I got twelve quarts out of that first half-bushel of tomatoes.  Then, Marcia (other daughter) called…”Marcia, we’ve already got everything set up to can, if you want to, come on over and do some for yourself –Oh, wait, Andrea says bring another half box of tomatoes for her to do more!”  (What, Andrea? The one who did not want to come to this Countryville Church?)  Yes!  So then Marcia came, and we did another box for me and one for her!  Does it ever end?  And I walked out that day with twenty-six quarts of canned tomatoes!  What are Dustin and I going to do with all of those?  Well, they will last through the year, and I can give them away to friends also, such as my Mother-in-law, my Dad back home, and others.  But, when dear old Mrs. Whitmore asked me in church Sunday, “Could you use some more tomatoes?”  I said, “Well, I think we are good for now, but thank you!”

…we will officially have internet on Monday the 24th, which will be nice!