Archive for September, 2006

August in Review (and parts of September!)

Posted in Uncategorized on September 12, 2006 by christopherhopper

Dear Friends,

Thought I’d start off with this really cute of little Eva. Couldn’t resist…

It’s been a doozey of a month…and a half! Is that even a real word? Are authors allowed to use word’s that don’t really exist? Is that sacrilegious?

This has definitely been the busiest summer on record for us Hoppers. I’m so ready for school to start back up and welcome the order that fall seems to herald.

Our teen and college ministry at church, 33 Live, has been inundated with visitors which is very exciting. Youth groups from all over the state have joined us almost every week. Even visiting youth pastors and senior pastors have dropped in to worship with us. It’s been such a blessing to meet new people and see them coming to little Depauville, a place where God is moving in a big way. I tell you what, I feel so tremendously blessed to be here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. This county is our promised land, a place of abundance and blessing.

(PIC: Hannah St. Croix as herself)

33 Live took our first out-of-state trip this year two weeks ago to Elkton, MD. I had been asked to be the guest speaker for a youth conference at Spirit & Life Bible Church; but the invitation was extended to whomever I wanted to bring with us. So we made it a youth group trip. What an awesome time in the Lord it was! Many new friends were made, relationships built, and churches networked. Not to mention all the lives that were touched. Many thanks to Pastors Chris and Amy and your wonderful team. We love you all immensely!

(PIC: A crazy youth pastor interrupting a skit)

Directly following Maryland our house became “company property,” and I mean literally “company.” We had company everyday through the following Sunday. It was a joy to catch up with old friend Paul Mitro, and our dear freinds Steve and Heather Ciferri. If you own either the Vertical or Live records, you’ll know Steve’s guitar work.

(PIC: McEwen Library Director Wendy Newell)

Last week I did my first book signing on a United States military base! Thursday evening we hit Ft. Drum up here in northern NY. A few friends stopped by along with a couple of soldiers. Even the base’s press stopped by for some pics and an interview (of course, it helped that we are really good friends with them). Thanks Hannah! We had a wonderful time and many thanks go to Wendy, Hope and Alan. Thank you for making us feel so at home!

As you may or may not know (from the e-mail we sent out), we played Rokla. Yes, the first game (or gita) of Rokla ever to be played on planet earth is now in the history books. For those of you not familiar with Rokla, or for those who have not read Rise of The Dibor, Rokla is the “national” game of Dionia. It loosely consists of four teams, each with their own goal at the apex of a square field. Two balls, the “stri” – which adds a point to your team when scored with, and the “kafe” – which deducts a point from the team you score on. +5 points wins the round or “gita,” while -5 points against your team removes you from the game.

About 20 of us gathered at Lion’s Field in Clayton, NY under overcast skies and a mild drizzle. Very medieval if I might say. After spending the first half an hour explaining the game (and trying to remember what I wrote!), we spent the next half an hour trying to set it up and think through it. There were many heads being scratched and questions being asked I had never thought about.

But to see something I’ve envisioned for years in my mind now playing out before my own eyes was a very moving, rewarding, and exhilarating experience! When the first gita commenced (thanks to a scream from little Leah Gilchrist), the two fastest players from each team surged forward toward the center of the field. It was just like in the book! I was charging forward with Luik and Hadrian–but this time it wasn’t a story; it was real. Talk about an adrenaline rush!

After the first few minutes, one thing was very clear; the perfect race of Dionians could run much longer than we could. I don’t think there was one person not gasping for air. Rules were examined and changed, strategies ironed out, and teams made even. Soon we changed from a simple two-hand-touch rule to full tackle for the guys and two-hand-touch for the girls. This made things much more interesting and exciting.

I must say that Rokla is a very intense and draining game. And people who are normally restrained and calm in other sports seemed to become different people! I had one friend of mine ask me to replace him (as my team had reached -5) because he was so upset! Normally, this guy is totally cool, calm and collected! I had to laugh! I think it must have something to do with how you fight and fight and fight for just one point and then suddenly you return to your side of the field only to be informed that someone scored on your team with the kafe thus nullifying your hard-earned victory. It’s very debilitating!

Only one mild injury for the day, and that was a heel in the jaw during a tackle. But he recovered quickly and was back in within minutes. The only other complaint, aside from being completely exhausted and spent beyond measure, was how sore everyone was for the next few days–yours truly included!

(PIC: The 1st Rokla Team)

It’s clear that the Dionians have a few up on us in terms or endurance and durability, but we earthlings sure had a ball! (Pun definitely intended!).

Check out the video when you have time!

A special note on Amber. On Friday August 25th, dear friend Dee Lousia Kontos and her amazing team of volunteers, put on a beautiful, fun-filled benefit for my sister-in-law in Ednicott, NY. The event was not solicited by any of the family; it was all Dee’s idea.

CHB traveled south to play for the event and had a great time. We caught up with many old friends and family members as people came out to meet Amber and hear her wonderful story. Even the news came out! After the interview that Amber and I did together, the anchor remarked, “You know, it’s so good to be putting news out on TV that actually inspires people. I’m sick of the drudge.” WOW! What a comment! Needless to say it opened up a huge door for ministry. And in the end a few thousand dollars were raised to help off-set Amber’s medical expenses. THANK YOU, DEE!!!

(PIC: Lou Rathbun, editor extrodinaire!)

BOOK II has been sent to the senior editor! Yes, for those of you dying to know what happens next in The White Lion Chronicles, the second installation has been shipped. After nearly two weeks of “cleaning up” the manuscript (an extremely long and tedious process), the final edition is “in the books” (or at least until I get the re-writes!). Special thanks goes to Lou Rathbun for driving all the way up to kick the editing process into high gear. We brewed a pot of coffee and dug right in. Also, thanks to Sue Crawford for her corrections. Their help has made Book II far better than you could ever imagine!

Thanks for reading!