Greetings from Anchorage!
After a long day of traveling yesterday, our team woke up this morning excited to get started. All the AMC teams heading out to sites this coming week met for an orientation with Ruth Zellar, our AMC serve the event coordinator. Typically, we’ve been one of the last teams to come come up each year, with the AMC ‘season’ ending right after we return home. That’s generally meant that only a couple of other small teams are heading out to sites at the same time that we are. This year there were at least 5 other teams represented at orientation – it was quite the full house! By show of hands, it was the first time participating in an AMC event for several of those at the orientation today. On the other end of that spectrum, for the team leaders of the Minnesota team this is their 18th year! But, it was clear that no matter your level of experience, everyone in that room this morning was excited and passionate to share the message of the Gospel here in Alaska.
While it was lovely to catch up with some familiar faces, this morning’s orientation was bittersweet. Ruth is retiring at the end of the month. But we had the opportunity to meet Brittany Baumgartner, our new coordinator. Her husband is the Pastor in Chugiak (just north of Anchorage). Though we will miss seeing Ruth, I know that Brittany will do a great job continuing the work of AMC.
After orientation, our team headed out with our lists and shopped for the supplies that are needed for this week at VBS. While we are blessed to be able to borrow a great deal of what is needed from the church in Homer and the people around Anchor Point, there were still several items that we needed to get before leaving Anchorage and heading south to the Kenai Penninsula.
From there, we decided to head north for a little site seeing. We were blessed with BEAUTIFUL weather today – we definitely thought of you all at home while we were enjoying the sunny 70° day! We decided to head up to Talkeetna on the off chance that we might be able to see Denali (Mt McKinley). We were in luck! Though there was some cloud coverage, we got a pretty good look at her. Such a powerful reminder of the beauty of God’s creation.
Even though today was a fun day it was very important for our team. While we know each other through shared worship at church, and different combinations of individuals have different levels of connection prior to this trip, today was an opportunity for us to establish our team dynamic. Each year that I’ve participated in AMC, the team dynamic has been unique – with every member contributing something different and important. What took almost 2 dozen adults and youth leaders to do at the VBS at Campus last month, we will be doing with 6 team members, for roughly the same amount of students. Our unity as a team benefits our kiddos in Anchor Point, strengthening our message of God’s love.
Time to head to bed now. Tomorrow we will head down to Anchor Point and start the on-site preparations for Monday. I’m so excited! Please continue to pray for our team and for the children and families that we are preparing to serve.
In Christ –