Well, the start to our day was not quite as up beat and joyful as one would like to have when serving The Lord. “Why?”, you ask. Well before we could serve The Lord with the Alaska Mission for Christ, we had to watch a video entitled, “Safety Tips On A Sensitive Subject: Child Sexual Abuse”. The things in the video were surprising to some of us and I myself was a little shocked. The conversation that we had afterwards was equally as shocking. In Alaska the rate of substance abuse is much higher than in our culture in Columbia Missouri, and the suicide rate increases by 18% every 5 degrees latitude north that you travel. If that does not tell you that these people need to hear the love of Christ then deaf ears are upon your head.
Later in the morning we made a trip to Sam’s Club to get supplies for VBS and for our team. The cart that we got had a wheel on the right side that was dragging a little. It caused the cart to constantly veer to the right. While reflecting a little later, Brett and I decided that the shopping cart was a great analogy for our trip. You see, the dragging wheel is like someone who needs to be shown the love of Christ. Much like the wheel, without proper guidance that person will continue to veer off the path. The other wheels on the cart represent those of us who are sent out to show the love of Christ. Those wheels are trying to show the other wheel which way to go, much like we are trying to show the people in Alaska the way to Christ. All of the things that we are doing, and anything that any other missionary is trying to do, are all in vain if they are not for the glory of The Lord, which leads to the last part of the analogy. The driver of the shopping cart is like The Lord, the driver uses the other three wheels to keep the dragging wheel on the path, in the same way, The Lord works through us to help keep those that we touch on the right path. When we left Sam’s Club, we saw our first Cross story of the day. The young lady that checked our cart as we left the store looked as if she was not having a good day, as we were walking out Jen said to her, “God Bless!”, and her face lit up and she returned with a echoing “God Bless you too”. It was nice to come across another Christian in a place where hope is hard to come by.
After we got our supplies, we headed out to take in some of God’s beautiful creation before our work began. Our first stop was Thunderbird Falls. The falls were beautiful and the hike was very enjoyable. This was where we had out second Cross story of the day. We met a fellow Lutheran, who is from Alaska. As we were taking pictures of a hollow tree she came up to us and asked if we would like a group picture. After talking with her for a bit we told her that we were on a mission trip to Anchor Point. Then she told us that just two weeks earlier her parents had helped take a team to Seldovia. It was a blessing to see that others in the community were also doing what they could to help those around them stay on the path.
One thing that our group had decided was that we would all wear Christian shirts all week. Hannah was wearing one with a passage from John, and a young lady with a small child walking by stopped and said, “I love your shirt”. This was our third Cross story of the day. This helps demonstrate the impact that something as simple as wearing a shirt can help spread the love and hope that Jesus Christ brings to all who follow him. You don’t have to go to Africa or the middle of the Amazon to have an impact on the world. You can do something as simple as saying “God Bless You” or even just wear a Christian shirt.
Our last stop of the day was an old gold mine in Hatcher pass up in the mountains. It was in these mountains that we saw our fourth Cross story of the day. The final Cross story is not much of a story and might be hard to comprehend in a blog post, but up in the mountains lay some very beautiful sights. One of those sights in-particular was a beautiful display of God’s handy work. It was all we could do to just stand there and stare in awe of his splendor. We tried to take pictures but none of them even came close to a fraction of the beauty that lay before us. If God can put something that beautiful in the mountains where very few get to see it, just think of the beauty that he could put into each and every one of us and into the people that we touch if we just give him the chance. God Bless!