The Quest

I’m a gentleman homesteader. That means I don’t want to pull a calf, muck a stable or harvest a duck or chicken. I lived with my grandmother several times. I collected eggs, ate tomatoes in the garden and wondered about the storm cellar. I tried to talk her into opening a restaurant called, “The House of Grits and Gravy.” I have never been or do I want to be a farm boy. There is something inviting to me about a farm or homestead. An empty commercial building or house is painful—I usually calculate what kind of business will fit in the building and neighborhood. On a Monday morning in Indiana, Isaiah 58:12 demanded attention. “That’s you!”
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins      and will raise up the age-old foundations;  you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,      Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. 
I’ve dug and framed footings, roughed in houses and laid sod. Still, that doesn’t qualify me for 58:12. Following that Monday morning, I searched for land, staked out buildings downtown and parked in front of old mansions that reminded me of Ante-bellum construction. All I lacked was about a million dollars more than I had. One day I was standing in my office when urged to grab a legal pad and two pens and go to a coffee shop. (Two pens in case one went dry.) “I will…tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). Before I left the coffee shop that day, I had outlined “Gone To Southwood,” and was instructed to build with words and stories what I had seen and people I would meet on a land-based Conference grounds named Southwood. We lived on a Bible Conference Grounds when our kids were preschoolers. What we experienced during the summer camping seasons ignited visions. Nothing occupied our dreams more than a Retreat Center. We sang, preached and seminared at Bible Conference facilities in Michigan, Florida, New York, Connecticut. We saw what God did and we wanted in on it. I studied historical camp revivals in Kentucky and New York. Whenever we sang “Impossible Dream” or put a cross-stitched plaque “The Quest” on a wall in our tour vehicle it always included visions and prayers about a retreat center. Over 40-50 years in a progressive revelation, Southwood Conference Center grew. It has been populated with stories we heard across the country and put legs under our various burdens, visions, and callings. One evening in a Bible study at church, I drew the acres of property and buildings of Southwood. Even I was surprised at the construction styles, detail and planned building and ministries. With the late fall 2022 publication of The Carafe Conspiracy, the 5th ebook in the Southwood series, it would be a good time to “visit” Southwood and meet the staff, team and guests.
“It had been a plantation with no name. Now the acres house a faux antebellum mansion, a glass and steel seminar structure, Bethany Lodge houses court appointed kids and pieces of families in healing mode and a fine coffee shop. Populating other buildings is a core of teachers, therapists, pastors, healers, builders and those with day jobs like Sally who is a UPS driver, a native of Sudan. The TV-Internet visibility draws clients and conferences. This tribe authentically live their faith to embrace, equip, encourage and empower each other and those who visit for a weekend and those who stay until they are well.”

The Southwood ebook Collection

Gone to Southwood The Whales are Singing Pillars & Porches Depot—On Track Carafe Conspiracy These books and other non-fiction books by Dean can be reviewed at:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.