Category Archives: Gettysburg14

Gettysburg Team – Day 5

Our final day at Gettysburg started wet and cold, but our kids were troopers anyway. We walked Pickett’s Charge in the rain and mud, imagining the bravery of the men who did it in heat and gunfire. We then got to tour the cavalry operations of the third day of battle, followed by touring the national cemetery at Gettysburg. Talk about powerful!

We followed up our box lunches with a tour of the Hall of Presidents, seeing replicas of the presidents and their First Ladies and hearing a brief description of each.

From there, we loaded the bus and are on our way back to BWI and, from there, gorgeous Atlanta!
Thanks be to God for the terrific kids we’ve had on this trip. No complaints and great attitudes and punctuality and responsibility! Thanks be to God for safe travels and no illnesses or injuries. He is abundantly good to his children; His love endures forever!

Zack Shaffer

Gettysburg Team – Day 4

Gettysburg Day 4 was yet another blessing from the covenant God in Christ Jesus. A safe drive to Lancaster, PA, got us to the Sight & Sound Theater, a theater dedicated to producing high-quality Christian stage entertainment and bringing the Bible to life. We got to see Moses; it was a fantastic production. Matthew Hendrix said he was impressed! Many thanks to Hannah Jarvis for arranging for us to see this remarkable production. What an example to us of how Christians can produce works honoring to Jesus and excellent in the eyes of man. It was a great example to us of how we can model working together to challenge minds, cultivate hearts, and impact culture.

From there, we went to the Mennonite Information Center, featuring a tour of the full-size replica of the tabernacle. Considering the show left off at Moses getting the Ten Commandments, it was a smooth segue into Moses’ Tabernacle. The tour guide did an excellent job connecting the different points of the tabernacle to Jesus’ sacrifice for us. At the Mennonite Information Center, we also got to learn about the history of the Amish and Mennonites, descending from the line of the Anabaptists (a great moment for the church history teacher and his students!).

The Lord brought us safely back to Gettysburg, where we’re about to head out to enjoy General Pickett’s Buffet and, afterward, the hotel pool and hot tub (after, of course, hearing a great devotional from Mr. Hendrix!).

Thanks be to the God of all comfort, who has been pleased thus far not to give us trials of faith like illnesses, injuries, or bus difficulties. Praise be to him who orchestrates all things, from battles to birdsongs, according to the counsel of his will and for the good of his people, as proven and secured by his Son’s work on the cross.

Zack Shaffer

Gettysburg Team – Day 3


Gettysburg Day 3 was another day of remarkable blessing from the Lord. We began with
a rousing tour of the events of July 2, 1863, in 30-degree weather with 30-mile-an-hour winds. Our kids did a tremendous job of taking it in good stride and spirits and listening to the guide in spite of the difficult weather.

We got to do lunch at General Lee’s headquarters, the home where a Gettysburg widow ended
up hosting Lee for much of the battle.

The early afternoon saw us at the Seminary Ridge Museum, which gave an overview of the
history of Lutheran Theological Seminary (which first served as a lookout point for Union General John Buford and then became a field hospital for both sides) and particularly the use of that building as a hospital.

Our next big stop consisted of a tour of Gettysburg College (which was, incidentally,
started by Samuel Schmucker, the same man who started Lutheran Theological Seminary).

We then finished our afternoon at the Jennie Wade house, where the sole civilian of Gettysburg
was tragically killed while making biscuits for Union soldiers. We got to hear the heroic story of how she and her family were caring for Union soldiers for the first two days of the battle before Jennie was killed by a stray bullet about 8:30 AM on the third
day. After her death, Union soldiers moved her remaining family to the safety of the house’s basement.

We had our delicious dinner in the Dobbin House, where we got to see where Reverend Dobbin
hid slaves in a secret compartment between the first and second stories of his house. Our evening then closed with a ghost tour of Gettysburg (sorry, we didn’t sight any apparitions).

Every day is a gift from the Lord, but this one was particularly a blessing. Things have
gone very smoothly, with minimal adjustments to “the plan.” The kids are in great spirits, with very willing spirits. A particular praise to our seniors, who are serving the underclassmen, and to the men, who are taking opportunities
to serve the girls first. May the Lord continue to bless this trip. Thank you for your prayers, all (especially Ms. Allen’s class!).



Gettysburg Team – Day 2

Gettysburg Day 2 started early: leaving campus at 5 AM! Our kids were the model of doing justice by being on time and having a great attitude as they loaded up to head to Baltimore.

After a pleasant cruise on a flight with plenty of space, we landed in Baltimore and got to meet our super-pleasant coach bus driver, Jim, who was himself a 20-year veteran in the Army.

After a fun stop for lunch at a local gas station/Subway (with lots of flavor!), we arrived at the Gettysburg Visitor Center about 1 PM. Our tour of the museum showed us some amazing artifacts and stories: for example, one of the soldier’s Bibles with his handwritten instructions on the inside front cover that, in the event of his death, the Bible be sent back to his wife.

We then got to experience the Gettysburg Cyclorama, a depiction of Pickett’s charge based on Paul Philippoteaux’s 42′ by 377′ painting (the largest oil painting in North America, by the way). As we saw the story unfold, we heard terrific quotes from the soldiers who experienced the battle, several of which bear repeating:

“The man who does not dread to die or to be mutilated is a lunatic. The man who, dreading these things, still faces for the sake of duty and honor is a hero.” -Captain John William DeForest, Union

“In great deeds, something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear, but spirits linger, to consecrate the ground for the vision-place of souls… generations that know us not and that know not of [like NCCS Gettysburg spring term!] are heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them.” -Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.

From there, we went to see where and by whom great things were suffered for us: we went on a two-hour tour of the events of the first day of the battle. Our guide told us of great events, like when a Union artillery group shot their shell directly into the barrel of the opposing Confederate battery, or the story of Confederate General John Gordon, who, on finding Union General Francis Barlowe injured on the field, sent a messenger through his own lines to find Barlowe’s wife.

Our dinner was a great buffet provided by The Pike Restaurant (terrific pie!), after which we got to check into our hotel. We had a terrific debriefing time talking how how we saw examples of men doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly before God in the battle of Gettysburg and giving thoughts on how we could imitate them. Some of the students then got to close out the evening enjoying the hotel pool and hot tub.

God has been good to us! Looking forward to Day 3, with more historic guides, a visit to Gettysburg College, and more fun with the Lord and his people!

Zack Shaffer

Gettysburg Team – Day 1

Gettysburg Spring Term opened perfectly: we got to go to Ms. Allen’s class and pray with our SHINE class! Each one of us have a particular child praying for us; they made and gave us beautiful cards to remind us that they are praying for us. Fantastic!

The next part of our morning consisted of packing up supplies the students brought in for a deployed Air Force unit, writing cards to them, and praying for them. Our super-generous kids brought in 203 pounds of coffee, candy, and other goods for our soldiers. Blessed be the Lord God!

The remainder of our day was spent in learning about Gettysburg, first from a segment of the Ken Burns documentary The Civil War, and then by viewing the film Gettysburg. We got to see tremendous examples of faith and courage to emulate, like Winfield Scott Hancock, the Union officer who remained on his a horse to keep up his men’s courage while they were under cannon fire: when asked to get off his horse for his own safety, he responded, “There are times when a corps commander’s life does not count.”

Here’s to hoping the remainder of our trip is one of service like that modeled by so many at Gettysburg!

Zack Shaffer
Bible Teacher

PS: Joy to God, too, that we got to watch these films in our wonderful new Fine Arts Building (thank you, Mr. Hendrix, for the big screen!).