In 1988, I was asked to be the dean for a week of Wilderness camp at Woodland Lakes Christian Camp in Amelia, Ohio. In Wilderness Camp people sleep in tents, cook all meals over the campfire, do a lot of hiking, swimming, canoeing, rock climbing, basically any kind of outdoor activity. With all the hiking we did, I thought, I need a good walking stick. So I picked up a stick off the ground and used it for hiking. Well, as the week went on, I tried carving in the stick. Using my old pocket knife, I carved the name of the camp, the dates of the camp, as well as everyone’s name who came that week. (pictured to the left)
If I could do that with an old knife and an old piece of wood off the ground, I wondered what I could do if I started out with a really sharp knife and a nice piece of wood. Off to the hardware store I went. I bought an X-acto knife and a three-foot dowel rod.
It took me several months, but I carved a stick with a variety of designs. It started out with a little guy on top. He is funny looking and has “89” on his shirt because that is the year I carved him. The kids from my church said I put “89” on his shirt because that is what I will look like when I am 89 years old. Some of the other designs I carved on the stick were checkers, baskets, rings, bricks and my name. (pictured to the right)
I showed it to everyone, especially the people at my church. A very close friend of mine looked at it, and all he could say was, “What are you going to do with it?” I couldn’t believe it, no compliment, nothing but “What are you going to do with it?” I answered, “When I turn 89 and I look like the funny man on top, I will use it to walk with.” But I was thinking, When I turn 89, I will use it to hit you over the head. Well, that was the motivation I needed. I decided to carve something I could use for a real purpose, as a teaching tool. Soon after that, I carved my first Bible Stick.
(click on photos to enlarge)