What a day! After a fabulous meal and fellowship with the Kephart’s last night, we were up at 3 a.m. in order to catch our 5:45 a.m. flight out of Kansas City. The first leg of our flight went smoothly, and we made it to Salt Lake City right on time. Jen now gets to cross Utah off her 50 states list. After a short layover, we headed off on the next stretch to Seattle. The layover there was even shorter (they had started boarding our Anchorage flight before we even landed in Seattle), but I was there long enought that I now get to Washington on my 50 states list. That just left the last stretch to Anchorage. We fortified ourselves with the phenomenal chocolate chip cookies that Becky Ross gifted our team members – which were by that time the best parting gift that we could have received!
We made it into Anchorage around 12:40 local time – 12 hours into our day. Our first stop was to pick up the rental vehicles. Due to the forest fires that they had north of Anchorage, the 13 person van that we had originally booked back in February was commandeered by the state to aid the fire fighting efforts. While the van had been returned, it was unfortunately undrivable. This could have been a real problem for us, since rentals in July in Anchorage are hard to come by at the last minute. But, God blessed us with Mike and Cindy, who had already thought ahead to an alternative. Instead of one van, they gave us a 9 passenger Suburban and a small SUV for the original price. This provides us with enough space for people and supplies getting to Anchor Point, but also with a vehicle we can all fit into for our local driving. Truly a blessing!
After dropping off our baggage at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, our team took advantage of our early day arrival and went into downtown Anchorage for a couple of hours. Then it was back to the church to pick up Glen and Susan, our AMC hosts in Anchorage, to head out to dinner. From there we made a quick WalMart run for immediate need supplies. While we’ll have to go back for the bigger supply run, we stuck with bare essestials at this point, because everyone was fairly beat. It didn’t take long after returning to the church for the crashing to commence. I’m typing this to a chorus of snores!
It’s been a very long day for our team – three flights, three time zones, and over 3000 miles. Lots of walking, and sitting, and waiting, and hurrying. Today was about logistics, and our focus on mission could have been minimized. However, as we were starting our descent into Seattle, I happened to catch an odd reflections out the window. When we passed over a cloud bank, I got a better look at it – it was a rainbow ring around the shadow of our plane. It was an amazing phenomenon that I had never seen, and could not totally capture with my camera (though Sharon Kinden knows that I tried!). I looked this up, and apparently it’s an optical phenomenon called a glory. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive scientific explanation for the phenomenon. Regardless of the science, it was a clear reminder to me of God’s promise to always be with us. I know that he is with our team here in Alaska, and that he will provide us with what we need to do his will and share the message of his grace and forgiveness. What an awesome reminder this was!
For some of us, this is a brand new adventure. For some of us, this is an opportunity to reconnect with familiar faces. For all of us, this is going to be an amazing experience sharing God’s promise and love with the children and families in Anchor Point and beyond. I wanted to thank everyone for all of their support and prayers. I can’t wait to get started!