Walking on G street

All the Columbia team members came together late last night and reorganized to head back to Anchorage, bright and early in the morning.  When I said bright and early, I mean the cargo van with Kent and Ken left with all of our gear at 6am.  The rest of us followed in the blue van within a half hour after.  We arrived in Anchorage just before lunch and once again regeared, regrouped and planned the day’s outing. And here is today’s story…

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By now, most of us have heard the cliche “You are the only Bible that some will ever read”.  This became very evident to 5 of our team members as we were walking down G street in downtown Anchorage.  I was in this small group who were slower than the greater group because of the extensive window shopping that was happening.  I got slightly ahead of this group by just a few feet, but it brought me close to a table where two gentlemen sat.  The younger of two asked me who my mother had been with to give me a Korean brother.  I looked at him and instantly realized that he mistook our small group as a family, thinking Sharon was my mom and Grand my brother.  I corrected him kindly and told him that Grand was Chinese and that we were not a biological family, but a group.  He instantly stated, “You’re a Christian.”  This started a heart aching and heart warm conversation with Gary and his Uncle Melvin.

Gary’s story started with a proclaimation that he was a Christian, but he has fallen away from God recently.  He shared a story that included a lot of old pain and some very fresh hurts.  He shared his Uncle’s story as well.  Their stories had so many close relations who have ended their own lives because of alcohol and other hardship “of the North”.  There was hurt of a divorce, hurt of a strained parent-child relationship, and confusion over where God is leading.

What did we have to offer in a world of such hurt? A prayer.  Gary with his tear stained face and Melvin in his intoxicated state joined us for prayer.  A prayer for restored relationships and guidance for what was to come in their lives.  What did we have to offer in a time of discomfort? A motherly hug and act of kindness which Sharon offered so freely that it allowed our conversation to reach greater depths.  What did we have to offer to those who feel unheard?  Ken, Grand, Emma, Sharon, and I just listened.  What did we have to offer a lost sheep?  Hope.  We talked about the prodigal son and how the loving father, like our own Lord, waits with open arms to restore our relationship.  We talked about how God has made us for a purpose and Gary’s purpose is to be revealed yet, that is why he is still among us.

BUT what was left to be offered came from Gary.  Gary shared that his favorite book of the Bible is John.  Wow what a book!  He didn’t stop there.  He began reciting the book of John, adding his joy of each verse.  We together recited John 3:16.  The tears of hurt began to subside and joy and hope began to reign on his face.  Our conversation went deeper and Gary shared with us his love for Jesus.

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Well Done, Good and Faithful Servants!

Today’s post is by Kate and Colin Ross.

Kate:

Today was the last day of VBS, and all the kids were sad to have to leave.  They want us to come back next year!  They liked learning new songs and they learned about how the Bible helps us stand strong.  They like to sing songs about God and how He loves us!  Today we learned how King Josiah led his people back to worshiping the one true God.

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Colin:

I was an actor in the VBS opening.  I played Sir Wally.  He was a knight in training and he learned to stand strong for God.  I felt nervous in the beginning but I was happy that I got to help out.  I had fun helping spread God’s word to people.  I got to see a bald eagle, mountains, and the beach.

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Seldovia Report

Yesterday was interesting here in Seldovia. We started with Sharon not feeling up to snuff. Her back really hurt and she had some tummy issues. When we got to VBS we ended up sending one of our little guys home with a fever! Apparently there is a 12-hour bug going around! We are leaving Friday and we are hoping none of the rest of us experiences this! The boat ride back would not be fun.

We wrapped up our VBS at the Community center yesterday and sent home the Legos and the Psalm 23 bags. Jen Pierce spent a good deal of time figuring out how to put all 5 memory verses on Legos. The students having been then building with the blocks and finding the daily memory verses.

Our Noah has been asking every day to highlight the new verse in his Bible!
We’ve made friends with Robin, Noah’s mom and Elena, Ivan’s mom. They have been giving us good ideas for next year. We are hoping Gretchen, the DCE from Homer, will be able to do some follow up with them.

We are looking forward to our closing picnic on the outer beach tomorrow with the kids and there families!

In the morning Ken will be going over to the Seldovia Library and playing his guitar for Preschool time. Merlin is coming to pick up later in the day, we assured him that we are not bringing back as much stuff! Sharon has been our one to take pictures and I don’t have access to them. We will add extras tomorrow!

Thank you for all of your prayers. We daily see multiple God sightings! One of these God sightings happended on the walk up to the community center. We met a couple walking by who asked us for directions, this happens often! We stopped and talked a bit. Turns out they are Lutheran and from Grand Rapids. They said they would pray for our VBS!

In His Service,

Beth

Trusting God everyday

–Posted by Grand Yang

How time flies! Our vacation bible school has only one day left. Today is a wonderful day that all of us stand strong together. The theme of our bible adventure today is trusting God helps us stand strong. We need God, just like we need fresh air to breath. We love God, just like mice love rice. We trust God, just like the son believes in his father.

Although I am the only Chinese in this group, I never feel that I am a foreigner because we are just like a big family. We work together and care about each other so much. We decorate the church together with the paper walls, wooden cross, balloons, and all other stuffs. Our kingdom rock has five cartoon characters each of which will teach us something. Today our character is a lion which teaches us trusting God helps us stand strong.

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In the Bible adventure of yesterday, I was playing the role of Nehemiah who rebuilt the city of Jerusalem. At first, I was concerned that I cannot play this role well because of my non-native accent and Asian face which may make this role seem a little bit weird. So I prayed to God, told God that I really want to do well. Also, Pastor Kent helped me a lot. We rehearsed together, and he made me relax and be confident. Although I do not have perfect native accent, I tried my best to make my voice loud that all the kids can listen. Hopefully I can get their attention as long as possible. In the meantime, we need to build the paper boxes which stands for the walls of Jerusalem. Amazingly we have a perfect mocker, Sir. Bryan, who really did a good job to mock us. Because our lesion is to pray when someone made fun of us. I really appreciate Pastor Kent and Sir. Bryan who help me greatly in this part.

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In the Bible adventure today, we showed how Jesus died for us on the cross. He is so innocent who did not sin at all. All our sins are forgiven, and his blood sets us free. However, he rose again three days later and his reign begins. We are so lucky to have our king, Jesus, Lamb of God. You are my strength when I am weak, you are the treasure that I seek, and you are my all in all.

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Look at these cute faces! We have 27 kids total in today, five of them are in our group. Those 22 kids are from local families, who are really funny and awesome. Our VBS only lasts one week, happy time is usually very short. However, I really wish that we can plant the seed of God that can renew their lives, and live in the glory of God.

God at Work in Anchor Point

– Wednesday posts provided by Brennen, Norah & Emma Pierce

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Today at VBS we shared the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem.  He prayed to God to send people to work on the wall.  God blessed him by sending so many people that the wall was finished in just a few days.  My friend, Grand, played Nehemiah in our Bible Adventure.  Grand is a member of our church, part of our mission team, but he also comes from China.  It was special to teach Grand about Nehemiah when he was preparing to play the part.

After lunch, most of our team walked into Anchor Point and then down to the beach along the Anchor River.  I got to play in the water, throw rocks, and even saw some Salmon swimming upstream.  God blessed me with a great day.  ~ blog by Brennen

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Tomorrow I will have a role in the Fanfare Finale.  I will explain how God plays a big role in our lives.  He is the one that shows us the right path, even though we may want to go on a different path.  ~ blog by Norah

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Today, we were invited to dinner at the house of church members where we are staying.  They cooked over a bonfire and we also roasted marshmallows. We had walked to the house since it was just down the road, but on the way back we took a shortcut through the woods and enjoyed each others company and laughter. ~ blog by Emma

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Day 3 in Seldovia, Alaska

Blog by Ken Greimann~

Today is Wednesday, hump day, and we decided to go for it and pack as much into this hump as possible.

We three men folk (Aaron, Tyler and myself) got to spend the morning doing manly things. The little A-frame church here in Seldovia called St. James Church, which is used both by the Catholics and the Lutherans, was pretty much buried by this humongous evergreen tree. We were provided a chainsaw and pruning shears and we gave that tree a haircut. Now you can actually see the little church from the street. Even the locals not connected with the church thanked us for our clean-up contribution.

Our VBS program today brought us a new face – a relative of some of the other students. He added some new enthusiasm to everybody and everything today, as he requested some of the songs and got into everything we did. Our little first grade buddy, the EGR (extra grace required) is an absolute gem and joy to us all, as he is extremely bright, has a heart the size of a freight train and a bottomless spunky personality. Mr. Aaron and I continue to tag team him as he resembles the energizer bunny and rarely takes a break from moving. He comes every day with the Bible he was given and has all of our daily verses highlighted and can read them. Scripture tells us to “tie God’s word around our neck.” I suspect that this little guy sleeps with it under his pillow every night.

We have been loading the kids up each day with crafts to take home that have something to do with the lesson of the day, and the kids go out the door bouncing with their bounty singing their favorite song of the day. If that is not planting seeds, I do not know what is!

We end each day with a Bible study, led by a different team member each evening. That has turned into a very close, personal, special time for each of us, as we ponder back over our day and reflect how God is in the midst of it all, guiding and providing.

The guys ended the day with a long hike through the woods on the “Otter-bon” trail (there are both sea otters and land otters here). It took us through dense forest and over steep hills but rewarded us with a breathtaking view of the ocean at the far end.

We were blessed by two fishermen on Monday who handed us a large trout and a salmon that they had just caught. They even filleted them for us. We baked them and remarked to young Tyler as we were eating them, “This was a common food of Jesus and the disciples.” Kind of an appropriate thing to do while on a missionary journey.

Once again, thank you to all who are supporting us in prayer. We thank you for joining us in this ministry outreach to these kids way out here away from the rest of the world.

Day “Tues” Day

Hey everyone, Hannah here! Today was a fantastic day in the great state of Alaska. Our team started off the day with another great VBS. The best part, in my opinion, about our VBS today was we were short on supplies. Usually, this would be a terrible dilemma. However, I like to put a positive spin on it; we are reaching more children with the wonderful word of Christ than we ever expected! We had 19 participants yesterday and today we had 25! We have had children come in and tell us they were bringing their friends the next day and we couldn’t help but smile. The VBS is running smoothly and a great time is being had by all. God is definitely smiling down on us!

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One activity we are actively participating in and encouraging among the children is what Kingdom Rock calls God Sightings. God Sightings can be anything: a hug, someone helping someone else, a bird, a pretty sunset and anything that could remind you of the love of our Lord. This afternoon and evening, our team took a trip to Homer to run some errands and we encountered some road work. This is usually an unfortunate event for people, but today we received a pleasant surprise. Our van was first in the waiting line of traffic, and the construction woman came over to talk to us while we waited. We found out she was a Christian and she thought that our mission was fantastic and she was grateful we are here. We got our surprise as we were about to take our turn traveling through the road work. The woman placed her hand on our van and prayed for us! We couldn’t stop talking about it all the way to Homer! What a great God Sighting!

The second best part about being here on our mission to spread Jesus’s love is seeing God’s creation. After our fabulous dinner of fresh caught salmon (a gift from the pastor of our host church in Anchor Point), baked potatoes and corn on the cob we went back out to the Spit. We walked along the beach and found lots of pretty rocks and sea shells to collect and bring back home. Just walking along the shore, watching the kids run around, seeing the mountains and smelling the fresh ocean air, I’ve personally never felt closer to our Creator. To know he gave all of this beauty to us lets me know, and I’m sure it’s the same for the team, that he loves us very much.

Pastor Spit Rat gave us a tour of where he used to work and we got to see the moon rise. It was a long, yet fun filled day and we got to end it on a positive note; I saw another moose! (For those of you that don’t know, MaryAnne has dubbed me the official moose spotter). This one was actually pretty close to the road and we were all very excited. I cannot wait to see what’s in store for us tomorrow but I just know God will bless us with another wonderful day!

Thanks for keeping up with us and for the prayers! God bless!