2019 is our 37th Anniversary Year



This is the Devotional and Invocation given by Ralph Baker for the
30th Anniversary Celebration of the Manateean Sams Chapter.

Manateean Sams Anniversary Devotional

Deliberating on what to do today, I thought of several biblical topics I could bring.
I thought about doing something with the missionary journeys of Paul, but we are not celebrating the aging of a travel bureau.
As I thought about it for the Manateean Sams anniversary I thought the wilderness wanderings of the Children of Israel seemed more like camping so I started looking at Exodus.
To get the whole story of the campout in the dessert though you have to read through, not only Exodus, but Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, and the story is not complete until you also
have gotten into Joshua. That is where the Bible tells about the crossing over the Jordan River into what is now the land of Israel.
Paging through those books, there are some marked differences and some marked similarities between the Manateean Sams and the Israelites. I only plan to touch on a few of them
to see how they apply and what we can learn from them.

So Here goes. I will try to be brief.
If the Manateean Sams were the Children of Israel, we would have ten more years of full timing and wandering in the heat and cold, the sand and the solid.
No full hook-ups for the Israelites. We may be shocked if we knew how they dumped their tanks.
The children of Israel lived in tents, traveled mainly on foot or with beasts of burden to haul their stuff.
I thought they would have been really happier people if they had travel trailers or motorhomes to go in. Then I thought about it.
Vehicles would have been easily stuck in the sand so a lot of their time would have been spent digging and pushing them out of being buried to the axles in loose dirt.
That would not have made for happy campers. They probably would have spent another 40 years wandering though the desert
We are lucky to have paved roads, paved sites or at least well-sodded ones and hook-ups.
Reading Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, there is a lot of wrangling among the people.
Moses finally had to appoint assistant directors, assistant assistant directors and assistant assistant assistant directors to settle all the disputes and complaints
from the people over the bylaws and operating proceedures as they wandered about the wilderness.
Think what it would have been like to be the wagonmaster for that group.
The Manateean Sams may have an occasional wrangle, but our President, vice president, secretary and treasurer are able to help keep things functioning well,
along with our membership secretary and sunshine chairperson and sheriff.

Our bylaws are not nearly as long or as complex as five books of the Bible that it takes to describe the regulations governing the wanderers and their travels.
Then we have the state and national Good Sam offices as well as the assistant state directors to help with situations that may arise.
Manateean Sams have potluck dinners and breakfasts at most of their monthly campouts.
The israelites had potluck dinners, but it turned out to be whatever God prepared for them night after night.
That probably was OK with the cooks, but the people soon tired of the sameness and complained. "Don't we have anything else beside pot roast?"
Breakfasts were manna, also provided by God, but after months of gathering up this stuff and mixing it into dough and baking it daily, they began to complain,
"Do we have to have pancakes every morning?"
Luckily Manateean Sams have always been blessed with good and willing cooks and great quatities and varieties of food.

Finally the Israelites wandered in the dessert for 40 years.
Some believe that was so because the wagonmaster, Moses, would not ask directions.
Actually biblical scholars say that God intended to keep them wandering so that the people who remembered their life in Egypt as slaves would be gone before the community passed
over the Jordan into their new homeland.
I don't think God has kept Manateean Sams wandering 30 years without purpose so that the earlier members would be gone and new ones come on.
That has happened by simple change that has taken place by our long life as an organization.
Thomases, Boyers, Wings, Woolevers. Albrechts, Myers, Evelyn Cunningham, Helen Holubeck, Walls, Scotts and many others are no longer with us at our monthly campouts.
Their posts are being filled by Okos, Kings, Gorskis, Fields, Thatcher, Thereoux and others, not so that our organizational history will be forgotten, but so that it will go on into other generations.
That is our promised land - a future hopefully as bright as our past. This 30th anniversary of the Manateean Sams is a celebration worth noting.
We have some common qualities with the Israelites, but we have some definite differences with those early campers.
Like them we look to a future of hope that our chapter -- our community - will go forward into great times, good fun and a high purpose.
Unlike them, we go forward remembering those who founded our chapter and brought it to where it is now as a viable, meaningful organization.
Those folks we do not want to forget as we do not want to be forgotten when we hand over the mantle to our successors.
We take this occasion to celebrate those people and events that have made the first 30 years of the Manateean Sams' history as great as it is.

Gracious God, we pause in this 30th anniversary celebration of the Manateean Sams to give you thanks for our chapter, for those who established it before us, and for those who share in it
with us now. We are grateful for the good friends who gather with us and for the ways our lives are touched by each of them. We thank you for the fellowship that arises from traveling
together through these parts of our lives' journeys and the many ways we have all found meaning in being together in this organization. Now as we look back over our history, we ask that you
guide our chapter into its future that the days to come may be as glorious as those now behind us. We pray that this anniversary celebration may not only be a time of looking back, but a
transitional time of going forth from where we are to where you would have us be. Amen.