Greetings from Anchor Point, AK!
Today has been the final preparation day before the main focus of our mission trip begins. We began the day by traveling to Homer to attend worship at Faith Lutheran Church. We were greeted warmly by several individuals who remembered Jen, Hannah, and I from last year. It was so lovely to see some familiar faces.
Following service, we were treated to a potluck in our honor. I will admit that it was rather disconcerting to not have a role in clearing the rooms, setting up the tables, or preparing the food. Thankfully, we had a lot of loading of VBS supplies to do in order to keep me busy and out of the ladies way. Once again this year Homer was generous in allowing us to borrow many of the sceneries, props, costumes, and materials they used for their VBS a few weeks ago. We were told that they had 110 children attend their program – that’s amazing!
When the food was ready, we were treated to a delicious meal. The highlight for me was the fresh salmon that one of the church members donated specifically for us. It was AMAZING! I’m pretty sure that I ate my share, as well as Hannah’s. In addition to the wonderful meal, we were able to engage in fellowship with several members of the church. It was so nice to be able to visit and learn more about the people and life in Alaska.
Cross Story #1 – We are very fortunate to have developed such a good relationship with Faith. The congregation has been gracious in their support of our team and our mission. Gretchen (the Faith DCE) and Ruhiyyih (a Faith Deaconess), in particular, have been tremendous blessings to us. We appreciate everything that they have done, and continue to do, in order to make our mission successful.
After leaving the church, we drove around Homer briefly to orient ourselves, and did a round of grocery shopping. From there we headed back to Anchor Point to begin decorating the church and setting up for VBS. With so many materials to use, we had a great deal of work to do in a short period of time. We worked for several hours before taking a dinner break. Due to the fact the our host church was holding a meeting from 6-8, we decided that we would pack a small picnic and not interrupt them. We ended up going down to the Anchor Point beach (which Hannah and I tried and failed to reach on two separate occasions last year – so it’s nice to verify it’s existence). It was breathtaking! The sky was clear blue, and from where we were we had a clear view of the three volcanoes across Cook Inlet from us – Mts. Augustine, Iliamna, and Redoubt. For me it was a strong reminder of God’s power and majesty.
After spending some time walking on the beach, we headed back to the church to finish up the decorating and preparation to start VBS in the morning. We had another couple of hours of work before we were able to wrap up. Physically, we are ready to greet the children showing up tomorrow with enthusiasm. Spiritually, we ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers, that we may effectively share God’s love and grace with the children of Anchor Point.
Cross Story #2 – While preparing our food to take on our picnic, a woman approached me and asked if I remembered her. I absolutely did, as she was the grandmother of one of students from last year that stood out to all of us. (I believe that we shared Megan’s story – her enthusiasm for attending our VBS led to her grandfather delaying plans to go salmon fishing, a big deal as this was not recreational, but subsistence living.) I told the grandmother that I did remember her and asked if Megan was going to be able to join us again this year. She said that Megan had been asking her if the same people from last year would be coming back, the one’s that she’d adopted as ‘aunties.’ Her grandmother said that she couldn’t wait to return to hear the stories and sing. I felt blessed that such a young child felt a connection with us and the message that we were sharing that she was able to carry it with her all year.
-In Christ, Mary Anne