Joseph Herrin (07-24-2015)
In previous blog posts I have shared some of the experiences of a brother in Christ named Jeff Higdon, and how the Father led he and his family from Texas to Idaho.
A Testimony for the New Year (2012)
Tornado Alley – Navigating Storms by the Spirit of Christ
Jeff and his wife Mary purchased five acres of land and have been working on it for a couple of years now. He has had limited funds to work with, and has acquired many items free, or very inexpensively, through Craigslist and other sources. This includes their 35 foot long park model trailer that has two slide-outs. This serves as the home for Jeff, his, wife, and his three daughters who remain at home. Jeff’s daughters are very much involved in the home preparations. They are into animal husbandry; raising sheep, goats, and chickens. They are gardening, and have created some raised garden beds using discarded tires that were left on the property.
Jeff’s property is not serviced by utilities, so they built their own outhouse and have hauled water in with a trailer. Jeff has a couple of solar panels and some batteries for power. Their lifestyle would be considered primitive by most Americans, but it will be far more sustainable in a time of societal unrest and the disruptions that will come with it.
Last week, Jeff and his family marked a major improvement on their property as they now have their own water source. Jeff dug a well, and with the aid of his three daughters he has installed a pump and now no longer has to haul water in on a trailer. A LOT of work went into this project. As I have looked at pictures Jeff has shared with me of the project, I was reminded of Noah and his three sons working on the construction of the ark. Jeff, has had the assistance of his three daughters. These daughters are harder workers than many sons, being quite willing to get down in the dirt and embrace whatever task is at hand.
A number of readers of this blog assisted by sending financial gifts to enable Jeff to purchase the pump for this project. There is a blessing in helping others, and Jeff anticipates that his land will be used to offer a place of refuge to others in the coming days. Jeff tested his well and he is getting a flow rate of 17 gallons per minute. That is quite adequate to supply the personal needs of his family, as well as their animals and garden. Following is a photo montage showing the progress of this project and describing what was involved.
(Click on any image to view larger)
Back in December, the week before Jeff fell while stepping out of the log truck he was driving and slipped on an icy pavement receiving a serious concussion, he borrowed an excavator from his employer to begin the hole needed for a well. Jeff had hoped to dig a deeper well, but the sides of the excavated hole began collapsing making it difficult for him to go beyond 20 feet deep.
At a depth of 17 feet Jeff found water and the water soon rose to a level of 15 feet.
In the above image, you can see the walls of the hole caving in, making it impossible to dig deeper using the excavator. Jeff then used the excavator to set the concrete dry well in place. This round piece of concrete pipe with holes in the sides weighed 1,800 pounds.
Dry Well Set in Place – Note the snow falling.
Jeff acquired a dump truck load of wash rock to go around the dry well to keep sand out as he back-filled around the well. The sand and rocks act as a natural filter for the water which flows into the dry well. Jeff had received some 4 foot diameter fiberglass pipe free from a local manufacturer. He used a section of this to form the well shaft before filling the rest of the hole back in.
Fiberglass Shaft Rising from the Excavated Hole
The above picture was taken on December 28th, 2014. The very next day Jeff had his accident while at work and the project was on hold for the next few months.
Cutting the Pipe Down to Ground Level Before Finishing Fill Job
Jeff also put a second pipe into the ground as the hole he had excavated was quite large. This second pipe was 6 feet in diameter and is to be used as a root cellar. The temperature down in the ground is in the low forties year round.
View Down the Well
Jeff needed to deepen the well further, and had hoped to be able to dig an additional 5-6 feet down, but this proved difficult to do. He was able to dig about another 16″, and had to place cinder blocks around the edges to keep the dirt from filling the hole back in. Jeff then changed strategy and purchased a sand point, which is pictured below.
The sand point is driven into the ground. The screen around the sand point allows water in while keeping out larger pieces of dirt and rock. This had to be pounded into the ground using a jury rigged pile driver. Jeff first welded together a large steel A-frame. He planned to position this over the well hole and attach a pulley to it to raise a weight that could be dropped acting as a pile driver to pound the sand point into the ground. The A-frame turned out to be too large, and he could not get it set upright over the well. This led to plan B.
Jeff and His Daughters Pounding Sand
Jeff attached a pulley to the end of a pole, and leveraged it with his tractor. The job consisted of repeatedly raising a section of pipe and steel that weighed about 100 pounds, and dropping it onto the end of a section of pipe that was connected to the sand point. After about an hour of doing this himself, Jeff had to employ the labor of his daughters. Finally, the sand point was driven sufficiently deep into the ground.
View Looking Up From Inside the Well
Jeff then needed to cap the top of the well, building a steel frame around the top and concreting it in, providing a base to attach the well head and pump.
Jeff was running short on funds, so instead of purchasing ready made Sakrete which is more expensive, Jeff purchased a bag of Portland Cement. He made a screen to separate sand and gravel, then made a mix of 3 parts gravel, 2 parts sand, and 1 part cement to form the top of the well.
Jeff’s Daughter Kim Separating Sand and Gravel (You Go Girl!)
Jeff then welded a piece of steel to the top (Don’t want anyone falling into the well), with an opening for the PVC pipe which carries water up from the ground.
On top of this, Jeff installed the Simple Pump he had purchased. This pump can be operated manually, or with an electric motor. A brother in Christ supplied Jeff with an electric motor which Jeff is attaching to his solar panels and batteries to operate the pump electrically. Jeff said the water temperature in December was 41 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the middle of July it was 44 degrees. There is some sand coming up with the water, so it will have to be filtered before using it for bathing, cooking, or drinking. The Simple Pump can deliver water at a flow of 3 gallons per minute, but doing it manually at an easy pace, the rate is closer to 1 gallon per minute. Praise the Father for water!
This is just one project of many that Jeff and his family have been working on. It is interesting to consider all of the labor that Noah and his family carried out to build the ark and gather food for themselves and the animals that would live aboard the ark for more than a year. It was an immense job. Similarly, I have observed Yahweh leading many of his sons and daughters to invest much “sweat equity” into whatever preparations He has instructed them to make for coming days.
Yahweh’s provision for one brother was to purchase an old 32′ motorhome in poor shape and to spend many hours renovating it. One couple was led to purchase a piece of undeveloped land in the Arizona desert and build a home from scratch with their own hands on a very limited budget. They began this project about ten years ago and now it is quite impressive with raised gardens, a chicken coop and bird pens, and a rain water collection system. Speaking of myself, the Father directed me to purchase a 1972 model Carpenter school bus and to convert it to a motorhome. After months of work, I moved into the bus on January 1st, 2011, and have been making improvements to it along the way.
Yahweh could have simply opened up the storehouse of heaven and gifted each person, or family, with a sizeable amount of money, enabling them to purchase a new, fully equipped motorhome, or property, but that is not what He has done. As He did with Noah, He has given direction on what to do and then required that each individual put forth effort to bring it to pass.
One other similarity I have noted in each case is that all of those following the leading of the Holy Spirit have been led to adopt a smaller, simpler, more humble lifestyle. Aside from the fact that such a lifestyle is far more easily sustained, having fewer requirements of energy or monetary resources, I believe Yahweh is testing His children to see if they will be content, even thankful, for whatever type of life He chooses for them. So much sin and wickedness in this world has resulted from covetousness, and a discontentment with God’s provision. It is pleasing to the Father when He finds a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving for the simple things in life; expressions of praise for receiving the bare necessities, and rejoicing when we are given even more.
Yahweh is leading His people into a wilderness experience. Although they may not all live in a literal wilderness, Christians will be tested as the Israelites were. The Israelites left behind their permanent homes in Egypt and dwelt in tents for forty years. They gave up the fish and meats and melons, garlic, cucumbers, leeks, and onions of Egypt. They ate manna and water for forty years. They complained bitterly about this, as if they were suffering greatly. This murmuring displeased Yahweh.
What I observe in Jeff is a heart of thanksgiving. He is grateful for all that God is doing for him and his family. His wife and daughters are content with the provision Yahweh has given to them. They are pursuing interests where God has placed them, making the most of their situation, rather than sitting around moaning about what they gave up when they left Texas. Because he has willingly embraced the path God has appointed to him, Yahweh is enabling Jeff to make steady progress in getting all things in readiness for the coming days.
Attitude is huge! What is your attitude in regard to what Yahweh is leading you to do? Is your heart filled with misgivings, complaints, and excuses? Are you constantly throwing up arguments about how the way before you is too difficult, or that God is requiring too much from you? The way will be very bitter for those who manifest such an attitude. The Israelite experience in the wilderness reveals this to be true.
Brothers and sisters, the time is late. Surrender your will to God with a good heart. Resolve to go wherever He would have you go, and to do whatever He would ask you to do. Do so with a heart of thanksgiving, clothing yourself in humility, and the grace of Yahweh will be abundant in your life.
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