Driving to Anchor Point

Today we headed to our home away from home for the next week. We were able to sight see on the way down to Anchor Point. Our first stop was at Beluga Point. I teared up when I got out of the van because of the beauty that God has created for us. I got to see my first glacier! Then Luke hollered at us to turn around. There was a mountain on the other side of the road and he spotted mountain goats. 

Next we stopped at a gas station, gift shop and ice cream shop. Of course Autumn and I had to get ice cream. While we were talking with the server she asked where we were going. We told her Anchor Point to teach VBS. She was excited because she had heard about the VBS missions. 

Our next stop was in Whitter. The only way to get to Whitter is by a one lane tunnel through a mountain. Each way takes turns on a 15 minute schedule. Before we went through the tunnel it was nice and sunny when we crossed into Whitter the clouds rolled in. Whitter is mostly now a fishing community.  There were glaciers all around. The glaciers melt some during the warmer months and produce these beautiful water falls. But boy the water was cold! While we were walking around we met another family that had just finished Maker fun factory VBS. 

It is a long drive down through the Keni Penisula. This gave us time for getting to know each other better. While we were getting closer to Anchor Point heavy fog set in. We did get to see one of the three volcanos poking through though.

We were greeted by Ruhiyyih with a hug. Even though this is mine and Autumn’s first time she treated us like family!

It is amazing to me the connections with people through God I am making. Today was a perfect reminder! I am truly looking forward to meeting all the kids and sharing God’s love with them. Thank you so much for your contributions and prayers. I am so very blessed!

In Christ,
Jackie Garvey

Preparation and Anticipation

After a much needed night’s sleep to get us re-set to Alaska time, we started the morning with an orientation and devotion with Darlene and Carl.  For me, this was sort of bittersweet, as this was the first time we haven’t had Glenn and Susan from Qunicy as our host.  But, it was a lovely devotional (Luke  18:35-43) which allowed us to reflect on our travels, the purpose of our mission, and our interactions with those that we encounter.  
Following the orientation, it was time for the supply run.  On the way we had our first moose sighting – which was such a surprise, no one managed to take a picture.  As Jackie said, we took pictures with our brains.   Anyway, as in previous years, we are incredibly fortunate to have a partnership with Faith Lutheran in Homer.  We have been in communication with Faith and are blessed to have many items already accounted for. However, there is always a list of necessary items that need to be purchased once we’re here.  So the team hit Walmart and divided and conquered.  While tackling my portion of the list, I struck up a conversation with a lovely woman, her daughters, and her grandson. The woman said that she had returned to Anchorage, her home for over 30 year, after living in Michigan for the past 14 years.  She said that they had to return to work on the house they had been renting out to do some major renovations.  It seems that the family they had rented to had caused major damage to the home – tearing out light fixtures, pulling out wiring, putting holes in the walls, etc.  She was clearly upset, not only about the undertaking of the repairs, but that the home in which she had raised her children had been so ill cared for.  When our conversation was ending, I told her that I would pray for her and her family and the work they were they were going to have to do.  The woman’s eyes teared up, she started smiling, and said that she had chills.  We ran into each other a few more times in the store, and each time she mentioned how appreciative she was for the prayer.  It always amazes me at how simple and how powerful the act of prayer can be.  

After all the supplies (we hope) were gathered, we grabbed a quick sandwich and headed out for a little exploring.  We drove north out of Anchorage and went to Thunderbird Falls State Park, a lovely little hike with the payoff of a beautiful waterfall at the end.  It was a nice opportunity for the team to spend some time in fellowship together among God’s creation.  And then there were the mosquitos…which led to fun filled game of ‘Whack-a-‘Squito.’  Luke at one point threatened to leave the corpses of the pests where they met their demise to serve as a warning to the others. 

Dinner was in Wasilla, with some lovely live music.  Then, we took the scenic way back to Anchorage.  Today was a good day,  but we’re all very eager to get up in the morning, and hit the road down to the Kenai Penninsula and Anchor Point.  We’ve been preparing for months for this and now the time has finally come to transition from thinking to doing.   The blessings that we have received from our families, friends, and Campus Church family are ready to be passed forward to the families in Anchor Point.  I am so excited to get back to see children and families we know, as well as to meet new friends.  We all feel God with us and know that He will guide our words and actions and provide for our needs.  Thank you for your continued prayers – they are very much appreciated.

In Christ –

Mary Anne

The three little Lilienkamps

Today was our the first day of our great adventure in Alaska. Even for those of us who have been on this trip before we’re not exactly sure what to expect, because the people who have picked us up at the airport every year and coordinated our arrival have passed the torch on to someone else. We arrived in Anchorage around 7 O’clock PM and walked toward the baggage claim, hoping to see someone holding a sign that said something to the effect of “AMC”. As it turned out, that is exactly what we found. 

A wonderful woman by the name of Darlene welcomed us to Anchorage with a wonderful smile, and welcoming arms. We had some introductions and went to retrieve our luggage. Then we went outside to find the van where Darlene’s husband was waiting for us. As soon as I saw the man I knew there was something familiar about him. I just couldn’t place it. As he walked around the van and was introducing himself and asking people for their names he got to me a stopped. He looked me over and then without me saying a word he said, “and you’re Luke.” Everyone, his wife Darlene included just looked at us confused. I knew I had met him before but I couldn’t find his name. He quickly told me that his name was Carl Lilienkamp, and I then remembered meeting him in Concordia, MO at a PMT event. 

Carl is my first cousin twice removed. For those of you who have not been in my Sunday school class when we were reading through Judges, that makes him my Grandfather’s first cousin. As we got reacquainted we discovered that this was the largest gathering of Lilienkamps in Alaska to date. We were a little afraid that Alaska might not be able to handle it but we decided to proceed with the plan. After getting our rental van, the team then headed to our usual first meal location, La Mex. 

Much like any journey in life, God had the entire plan worked out even before we started planing. We didn’t know what to expect when we arrived, but God had it all laid out for us, just as he always has. Even if part of that plan was to add another hornery Lilienkamp to mix, God knows what he is doing, and he never gives us more than he can walk us through. We are looking forward to gathering supplies, and making our way to our mission location, and would once again like to thank everyone who is praying for us back home, and for all who made our mission possible. Mary Anne is especially thankful to all of those who purchased enough car wash tickets so that she didn’t have to walk all the way here.

Well it’s getting late, not that anyone told the sun that up here, and we are getting ready to sleep and recover from our travels. We have a big day ahead of us, and an exciting journey to make. Good night all! 

Your Brother in Christ, Luke Lilienkamp