Fires in NW Montana Still Out of Control – We are Praying for Rain

The fires are still raging in NW Montana. There was a little rain yesterday early morning, which subdued them a bit, but they gathered up momentum again during the day. In the last week, 26 fires have started from lightning in the Kootenai National Forest (which is the forest that surrounds The Shepherd’s Place). We ourselves are not in imminent danger yet, but many properties are. One of the ladies who works for LT had to evacuate her 25 horses (she is a horse trainer), and her family is on stand by to evacuate should the fire get any closer.

The good news is that a Type II team arrived from Alaska yesterday, and they are taking over management of the main fire, which is a few miles from us. Dave and I drove around early this morning to check things out, and we came across the spot where the team has made camp. Here are some photos of what we saw. There are between 100 and 200 firefighters that have arrived. You will also see a lot of heavy equipment that is going to be used to create fire breaks in the mountains.

By the way, our author Ray Yungen arrived a few days ago for a visit we have planned for months with him. He is here to work on some writing projects for about a week. He didn’t know that NW Montana would be on fire when he got here.

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The old red fire truck is just an antique that sits there all the time, but the army truck and trailer arrived last night. Most likely, it’s not owned by the US Army but was purchased by the US forestry department to transport firefighters.

May the Lord bless these firefighters who are risking their lives.

My brothers run the company that my dad started 30 years ago, which manufacturers fire fighting equipment. My dad was on the Vancouver, BC Fire Department for 10 years before moving his family to the US. Today, my nephew is driving out from Oregon with a used reconditioned slip-on tank assembly that they are giving to The Shepherd’s Place. While the slip on may not be able to stop a fast moving raging forest fire going through our place, it could put out single fires threatening our buildings. We will be hooking it up today to a 500 gallon water tank that we have on site. Dave has also been cleaning up dead branches and trees near the buildings. We are doing what we can including praying throughout each day for rain.

Here are some pictures we also took this morning of the mountains that are on fire.


The sky is smoky, and the sun was blood red when I took this photo from my office window yesterday morning.


You can see the mountain on fire from a distance.


The trees were “torching.” The evening before last, the place looked like a war zone.


A picture of trees “torching”


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Forest Fire A Few Miles From The Shepherd’s Place – Please Pray for Rain

A forest fire has started about two mountains and a few miles away from us. Please join us as we pray for rain. The forestry department had to pull off the ground crews because it was too dangerous, and most of the water helicopters and planes are fighting fires in Glacier Park and other places in the state. We are not in immediate danger, but the fire quadrupled in size today and is now considered out of control.

We know we are in His hands, and we trust Him.

Dave and Deborah Dombrowski
Lighthouse Trails



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New Concrete Work at The Shepherd’s Place


Matt and his two sons, LT volunteers, came to The Shepherd’s Place this week and laid forms and poured concrete for a porch way for our shop.


They also poured a 10′ x 20′ pad on the side of the shop (the Light House building) for a lean-to workshop for Dave. We hope to get it framed and dried in before winter as we really need this workshop/tool storage section. Thank you to Matt and the boys for doing this!



In the meantime, Dave is finishing up the lapsiding on the lodge. This is the last side to be done. Then he will stain it, and later, he will put up the cedar shakes on the gable ends.


One of our 37 new trees. This one, I believe, is a sugar maple.



An early morning view of the lodge taken from the creek area.

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A Summer Visit

Five grandchildren came to visit from Oregon and Hawaii. They loved The Shepherd's Place.

Five grandchildren came to visit from Oregon and Hawaii. They loved The Shepherd’s Place.

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Staining the Lodge


Dave stained the front face of the lodge yesterday. He thought he’d get it done since we have the scaffolding until Monday morning. The rest he can do on a ladder. It was scary watching him work three stories high, but he is always very careful.


We chose a dark brown stain called Oxford Brown. It’s got a rustic but rich look to it. Hard to tell in these photos.


The light brown strip around the building is the ledger for the deck we hope to build next spring.


One of the trees we planted this spring. We cut down about 100 trees to make way for the two buildings, and we have now planted about 37 to take their place, including: 8 quaking aspens, 5 poplars, 6 apple trees, 1 flowering crab apple, about 3 or 4 maples, 1 oak (the kind that will grow in cold weather), and some other varieties. Also planted about 12 raspberry bushes. Our tree budget is just about depleted now, but we have also been transplanting fir tree seedlings that are growing on the land, putting them where some trees were cut down for utility ditches and such.


We have to wrap chicken wire around each tree so the deer won’t get to them.


And look at this, the first fruits from our vegetable garden!


And last, it was a beautiful late afternoon yesterday. Clouds and wind were rolling in from the Rockies, cooling everything down.


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Siding on Lodge Going Up


The lodge at Shepherd’s Place is getting sided. Daniel and John came and volunteered for several days to side. (Click on any photo to enlarge it.)


There’s Dave on the work site helping cut the pieces of siding. We are using a cedar drop siding.


The three story scaffolding wasn’t high enough. Daniel is on a step ladder to reach the highest peek of the cathedral window side. Yikes!


Almost finished. Putting up the last pieces on this side. After all the siding is done, we’ll be staining it an oxford brown. Next Spring, we hope to put up the deck.


In the meantime, five of our grandchildren came to visit us. Here Daniel (our son) is working with four of them, loading up to pickup with branches to take to the landfill. You can see these children really love Montana. Thanks for helping kids!


After the work was done, the children headed down to the creek on The Shepherd’s Place and cooled off in the mountain creek water.


Shiloh and Taylor take some time to float down the creek.


The men climbed a large tree overlooking the swim hole and put up a rope.


A couple Sunday’s ago, we took Isabella to Carpenter Lake and went out in our little fishing boat. She caught a small trout.


It was a beautiful day. Isabella swam in the 90+ degree weather.


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Deck Ledger Board Installed on Lodge Building

This week, our local carpenter attached the ledger board onto the lodge. The ledger board is what will hold up the deck, which we hope to do next spring. The board had to go up now though in preparation for the siding job that will begin next Thursday when two volunteers will arrive. You may notice in these photos that the window header trim was also put on this week.

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A Sunday Trip to Canada

Dave and I (and Jacob) drove up to Fernie, BC, Canada on Sunday afternoon (about 50 miles away). We go a couple times a year. We went for a three mile hike and came across this beautiful little lake. You can see the Rocky Mountains in the background. Most of the snow is melted now.




At the city park, we were visited by these young ducklings. They were heading our way until they saw Jacob.


While on our hike, we came across this sign. We learned from another hiker that it was a large moose and her baby. Mama moose apparently didn’t want any humans coming around.


It was a wonderful relaxing day. We are so thankful to the Lord for His beautiful creations. We wore sweaters on Sunday because it was actually a bit cool.

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Update on Happenings at The Shepherd’s Place

No pictures of the land on this post but wanted to give an update on how things are going.

1. We have been doing clean up on the grounds: removing several pick up loads of branches and also remaining unusable scraps from the building work.

2. We had an excavator come with his equipment and grade the land near both buildings. It really needed it, or rain water would be causing large pools of water. He also brought in 4 truck loads of top soil (at a very good price), and we have planted our first large patch of Montana wildgrass and wildflowers. It’s very hot this week so we are having to keep the seeded area watered all day long – once it sprouts, that will be nice.

3. Finished planting the garden and also finished with the 8 foot high deer fence. Now and then I spot a couple deer standing just on the outside of the garden fence. I can tell they are longing to be in that garden. I notice that deer are very curious creatures. Dave says they love to eat the branches from recently dropped trees. No doubt they would like the tender leaves of lettuce, peas, and spinach from the garden too.

4. The most important thing going on right now is the preparation for the lodge siding job, which will begin on the 25th of this month. This week two fellows, Steve and Justin, are putting a water sealer on the backside of every single piece of siding and staining all of the window trim boards. We decided to go with a dutch cedar drop siding. It’s a horizontal siding technique. This photo is a picture of drop siding (you can click on the picture to see it up close).

Next week, our local carpenter, Dean, will be putting up the window trim headers with flashing and also the ledger boards, which are the boards that will hold the deck. I’m pretty sure we won’t get the deck up until next spring, but the ledger boards have to go on before the siding.

5. In addition to all of this happening, LT released its latest book, and it has been a very busy release week. A lot of people are showing interest in this book. I think it shows just how concerned Bible-believing Christians are regarding the state of the world today.

Our prayer is that the Lord can use The Shepherd’s Place for His glory and for the edification of contenders of the faith. Thank you again for your prayers and support.

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Recent Photos of the New Shop


Still needs the porch in front, a maintenance lean-to in the back, and landscaping.


A few views of the inventory room


Finishing up the siding. That’s Dave climbing down the ladder.

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A Rainbow at the Shepherd’s Place


While working in the garden this evening, this beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky.


The amazing thing is that this rainbow lingered for at least fifteen minutes. You can see that it is getting darker. Also, can you see a second rainbow faintly to the left?


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Shepherd’s Place Fence and Garden Are In

Last week, Vernon (a friend from Kentucky) and Dave put up the garden deer fence. The fence is 8 feet tall, and we will add another foot of protection with a line of wire. This weekend, we planted more than half the garden, which included a row of raspberries and Montana blackberries, carrots, onions, lettuce and greens, potatoes, and corn. The tomatoes and peppers will grow in the greenhouse this year, and we still have to plant squash, beets, zucchini, kale, spinach, swiss chard, cabbage, herbs, and a few other things. As you can see in the photos below, some of the rows have Agribon over them to protect the plants from the cold Montana nights (even in the summer). But the days are getting very long. It is still  light out at 9:30 PM.

Dave will get back to working on the electrical wire at the lodge tomorrow, and we are preparing for the siding of the lodge for late June when two of our sons will be coming here and will do the siding. We have chosen a cedar dropsiding, which we think will look very nice.


This is our 10 x 16 greenhouse. We hauled this from Oregon in 2015 when we moved to Montana. It’s 18 years old (with new plastic, of course), and it has been an integral part of our gardening system.


This is a view of the newly planted garden and 8 foot tall deer fence looking down from one of my office windows. The garden is 40 x 42.


Another view of the garden with the LT shop in the background. One of our helpers is using the ladder to put the cedar shakes on the gable ends – not the easiest job to do.

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A Beautiful Sunset on the Koocanusa River


Eric from Wyoming, who has been helping us for a few days, captured this beautiful sunset a couple evenings ago when we took him and his father, Vernon (from Kentucky), to the Koocanusa River. This view is looking northwest, up into Canada, which is just a few miles from us.

I haven’t taken many photos lately as we have been so busy just trying to get established on the land since moving onto it a month ago. Everything is operational at LT, but still so much to do. Electricity not done yet at the lodge as Dave is pulled in many directions every day, but it’s coming along.

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Electrical at Lodge Beginning and Logs for Deck Taken to Mill

This week Dave has begun installing the electrical wiring at the lodge. We had a volunteer here for a week who helped us prepare for this job and who also helped us get our greenhouse up. Tomorrow after work we are going to a farm and picking up some manure for our garden. The weather is wonderful right now. And being on the land with LT in the new shop is so great.

Please pray for Dave as he does the electrical job this month. It’s a big undertaking. He hopes to complete it by the end of the month.

When we finished with the move about two weeks ago, we were very exhausted, but we are regaining our stamina. LT was only down for two work days, which was amazing, and things are running very smoothly now. In fact, our office crew has been stuffing envelopes all day with the May/June journal that will be mailed out tomorrow.


Last week, a local logger came and picked up our two piles of logs and took them to a small saw mill up by the Canadian border. They are going to cut our logs into lumber, and we will be using it to build the lodge deck. It cuts the cost of lumber for the deck by more than half.


These two piles of logs are from the trees we had to cut down in order to build. Dave and I both love trees, and it was hard to watch them come down.


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An Evening Stroll

This evening after work and supper, before it got dark, we took a walk on the land. It was a beautiful spring evening. Thought we’d share some photos we took.


It’s hard to tell in this photo but the meadow is starting to really green up after winter’s snow cover. The sun in the west was shining on the meadow and the mountain. As we get closer and closer to summer, the days will get very long here. By the third week in June, there will still be a little light at 11pm.

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I zoomed in and caught this deer running through the meadow. There were actually about five of them.


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The Move is Over!

I can’t remember when I have been so exhausted, but thanks to the Lord’s faithfulness and a hard-working moving and unpacking crew, we have completed our two-phase move. Lighthouse Trails is now in its new home, and so are we! Below are just a few shots we thought you might like to see. Incredibly, while we still have many boxes to unpack, we became operational by the end of today and will be fully functioning Monday morning.


My office.


This is a shot of half of the shipping room. We divided the room into two. This section is where our booklets are made as well as put into shrink wrap bags. Behind that white board is an office cubicle where orders are processed. You can see our tea on the shelves.


This is the second half of the shipping room, where all the shipping takes place and where the books and DVDs are shelved. There are three shipping stations in this room. We’re no Harvest House or Thomas Nelson (that’s probably a good thing), but you’d be surprised at how much we accomplish. We are currently shipping out 400 orders a month. Many of them are small booklet orders, but it encourages us to know there are many believers out there who are on the front lines and finding help with our materials.


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On the Eve of Our Move

Tonight is the eve of when we will move Lighthouse Trails onto the Shepherd’s Place. It feels like a historical moment. Not because LT is some big famous publishing house because it is not, but because it feels like this is the end of one season and the beginning of a brand new one.

We began LT 13 years ago in a small 1943 two story house in Silverton, Oregon. Our first shipping room was about 7′ x 13′. And my own office was a corner in an attic room. We actually ran LT out of that house for eight years, expanding office and shipping space until it just about took over more than half the house.

Five years ago, we moved to Montana, eventually bought some bare land when our little Oregon house sold, took a detour to go back to Oregon (books and all) to take care of my dying father, and now here we are, about to move onto this 10 acres of beauty with a shop LT can call its own.

Our in-office staff will remain small in number, but if you add up all the authors we now represent, the web assistants, the researchers, the advisers, and the editors, we number over 45 people. None of us make much money, but that isn’t the reason any of us are doing what we are doing anyway. God has opened our eyes, and He has given us the strength, fortitude, resources, and courage to keep going year after year. None of us feel like we are anything special. On the contrary, we often feel very unworthy and inadequate to carry on such a mission. But we know it is by His wonderful grace and mercy that believers in Jesus Christ can serve Him, and on this eve, in the middle of these Montana Rockie foothills, I thank the Lord for His love and also for those of you who have stood with us (and allowed us to stand with you) in this battle for truth.

For those reading this tonight, please pray for us tomorrow (Friday, April 17th) as we move over 20,000 pounds of books and DVDs, multiple shelves and desks, computers, and other office equipment including our large Xerox machine that prints the Booklet Tracts and journals.


The upstairs entry room and Internet station


The shipping room is ready.


And so is the employee bathroom


I grabbed a shot of the front double doors tonight with our two new porch lights. Still lots of equipment and debri laying around as the siding is being finished up.


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Outside Work on “The Lighthouse” Building and a Layer of Fresh Snow


“The Lighthouse” entry way.


This is the main entry that will be used. The north side of the building is where the porch will be.


We are almost finished staining the first coat, and the cedar battens are being applied over the rough cut wood. This is the side where the porch will go. It will run the full length of the building.


This morning we woke up to a thin layer of new snow! And to think I was thinking of the garden yesterday. You can see the blue sky in the background. This snow will be most likely be gone by the end of the day. Our two young Canadian volunteers left yesterday. We miss them. They were two sweet precious brothers in the Lord. And boy, did they ever know what they were doing in putting up this siding.




Caught this photo yesterday driving back up to the land from town. On a typical day, we see about 50-60 deer. Pretty amazing. Things are starting to green up now too, so they have plenty to eat.



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“The Lighthouse” Siding is Going Up

Our two Albertan volunteers plus our local hired carpenter and Dave are putting up the siding on The Lighthouse building this week. For this building, we are doing a rough-cut plywood with cedar battens and cedar-shake gables. We found cedar at a local, family-owned lumber company for very good prices. The photos you see below are just the rough-cut plywood unstained. I’ll post more pictures when the staining and bats are up.


The view I saw today when I was driving up to the land. I had to go to Columbia Falls today (about 45 miles) to pick up some materials for the guys.


You can see the rough cut board up on two sides. The horizontal wood strip going along the wall above the front door is the ledger where the porch roof will be built. There will be a nice porch for LT visitors to sit in the summer when they are not at The Lodge.


The door and windows are covered in plastic and blue tape as Dave prepares to spray the stain on that. Hope he is careful when he climbs that scaffolding.



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Phase 1 Completed – Sleeping Under the Trees at “The Lighthouse”

We have successfully moved our personal effects into the 1 bedroom apartment, which is above the LT shop. The move went smoothly even though it was very exhausting. I am calling this Phase 1. In less than two weeks, phase 2 will take place, which is moving the publishing operation into the shop. Now THAT is a big job! We have about 10 people lined up to help with that – yes, it takes that many to move thousands of pounds of books, a huge printer, desks, and many shelves.

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Photo of an elk

While this has been a very stretching time for Dave and I, it is wonderful to finally be living on this land. We fall asleep looking at the stars through the window and wake up before the sun comes up and see the silhouette of the trees right outside our window. On our first night there, Dave and I went out to the forest to gather up some firewood that we had cut up last fall, and we heard a strange noise very close by. We suddenly realized it was the sound of an elk, not more than a few yards away! This is Montana, and there is lots of wildlife.

Yesterday, two dear fellows, who happen to be experienced carpenters from, came down as volunteers, and they are helping Dave and our hired carpenter put up the siding on the shop this week. We are so grateful.

We have been trying to come up with a name for the shop/apartment building. The other building is The Lodge, and thanks to the suggestion of one of our sons, we are going to call this building “The Lighthouse.” That seemed to make a lot of sense.

Thank you to those who have been praying for us and also to those who have donated to help us hire help. In two weeks, with the help of another volunteer, Dave will begin putting in the electrical wiring in The Lodge.


The apartment kitchenette


A sitting area outside my office for Internet connection


The bathroom in the apartment


The apartment living room – small and cozy.


Dave’s office, which we are using for a guest room until the lodge is finished.







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