Tuesday in Seldovia

Blog post by Aaron Paterson~

Tuesday was another beautiful morning in Seldovia. We all slept comfortably and enjoyed a nice cereal and yogurt breakfast. We then decided to scope out a cool place we saw down by the slough on our way into town. The place was called “Fenske’s Hightide Originals – Warehouse Books and Coffee.” This may have been the coolest place we’ve seen yet. There is a small path down from the road that led to the small shop right on the water. The owner sells books, rocks, pottery, painting, music, ocean artifacts, coffee, and homemade cookies and muffins. While standing in his shop, amazed at the eclectic treasures we found, two dogs and tall man with white hair and a white beard appeared from the back room in the shop. The man was Fenske himself. We enjoyed his company and his stories of all of the things in his shop. We plan to go back again this week and buy a few souvenirs from our new friend.

Making friends in this town has been a real treat for us here. Being that it is a small town of less than 250, which can double in the summer due to tourism and area fisherman, it’s not hard to meet someone and then see them again later somewhere else in town and say hello. Yesterday, the same girl that served us coffee in the morning at one place, served us pizza that night at another place. We have really enjoyed walking around, taking in the scenery, and meeting as many people as possible. Yesterday that involved walking down by the slough where we met three guys from Wisconsin in town on vacation to fish. Up above on the bridge we watched two of them cast in to spot where we saw at least 50 salmon swimming around. In less than 10 minutes both guys caught a fish. They kindly asked if we wanted them, which of course we jumped at the chance to have fresh fish from Alaska. They even walked us over to the house of the water they were staying in and filleted them up for us. So for lunch today, we got to cross something off of our Alaska bucket list and ate baked salmon and trout for lunch. God is good…and so were those fish.

Day two at VBS was another success. Noah came back with his Bible, proud and excited to show up that he highlighted the memory verse from the day before. The others seemed more comfortable and continued to be great participants in the lesson of Ester that we studied. The verse of the day was from 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “So encourage each other and build each other up.” What a great verse to teach, and to remind ourselves to do everyday. Sometimes we have low moments in life, but thankfully God has given us friends and family to help build us up and keep us strong. As we are all friends and family of others, we too can be that support for others, encouraging them, building them up, and pointing them to the one thing needful, our Savior Jesus Christ.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

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Standing Strong in Seldovia

Monday, Day 1 in Seldovia, Alaska

Team – Sharon, Aaron, Tyler, Ken and Beth

Blog by Ken

We arrived here safely on Sunday evening, after a very rough ride across the bay (what was supposed to be an hour ride was 3 hours) but luckily the only thing tossed was the boat.  Our boat pilot, Merlin, was a true magician maneuvering the wind and the waves.

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We arrived at this small village and have not ceased to be amazed at the beauty of this place, with the snowcapped mountains, volcanoes across the bay, wooded shoreline, and the abundance of wildlife.  Our village of Seldovia (population 250) is right off of the main gulf in a bay situated up across the hillside, and consists of a paved main street with a few stores, restaurants, gift shops and B&B’s.  The entire community and its economy revolves around two things – tourism and fishing, and at the moment there is plenty of both.  The salmon are spawning in the rivers right now and everyone is taking advantage.

This has been their warmest summer on record, with the days running in the 70’s and the evenings in the 50’s, and we have been comfortable in shorts and t-shirts most of the time.  The sky darkens somewhat about 11 pm and then becomes full daylight again about 4 am as the sun circles the horizon, so our brains are always confused about time and direction.

We are having our VBS in a wonderful community center building located right beside their one K-12 school building.  It is fairly new and modern and spacious and absolutely ideal for our needs.  We were told they had 6 kids in VBS last year, and that is how many we had today.  We had a group of 2 boys and 4 girls.  Interestingly, we had two kids who are native American, but just happened to be here from Texas visiting their native relatives.  The kids were a bit reserved at the start of things, but throughout the program became more comfortable and really got into the music and lesson and the crafts and ended up bouncing out the door.

A highlight for us was our youngest boy, Noah.  Noah is going into first grade and is a very active little guy, requiring several of us to tag team him to keep up with him (I like to refer to his type as EGR’s – extra grace required).  At the very end of our time together, Noah picked up a Bible and I thought he was going to tear the pages out, so I mentioned to him that he was holding a Bible. He suddenly became very serious and looked at the Bible with admiration.  I asked him if they had a Bible in their house and he said no.  Then I asked him if he would like to have this Bible and he looked at me in shock.  When I told him the Bible was his, he bear hugged the Bible and became a whole different quiet and respectful person.  He met his mom at the door, showed her his new Bible and raced out the door.  Thirty seconds later he was back and asked me if I would write his name in the Bible for him.  So I wrote –

To Noah

From Mr. Ken

July 22, 2013

God’s blessings to you always.

I read him what I had just written, and he showed it to his mom, and then he jumped into the back seat of his car to take home his new trophy.  His mom sheepishly asked, “How was Noah today?” (A dreaded question for her, I imagine).  I told her, “He just made my day.”

We do not have lots of kids here at the program.  But we were obviously sent here to plant seeds, not knowing what God has in mind for the growth and blossoming and future fruit bearing.  So we are taking the numbers that God has sent our way and preparing fertile soil and planting Jesus seeds.  Who knows, perhaps God has big plans for one of these six someday.

Thank you to all who are supporting us in prayer.  We are blessed and sharing this blessing with some wonderful people here in the remote village of Seldovia.

God’s Love Helps Us… Stand Strong!

Today’s post is brought to you by Bryan and Becky Ross.

After months of planning, our big day has arrived!  At the opening day of Kingdom Rock VBS in Anchor Point, we had 19 children show up for three hours of fun, friendship and hearing God’s good news.  Everyone on our team pitched in to make this day a success, including the five kids.  Emma, Norah, Brennen, Kate and Colin have all stepped up and are serving as crew leaders and leading groups from station to station.  They know they have a huge role to play in the success of our mission, as they are in a unique position to witness to kids their own age.

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Even though it is only the first day friendships are already being made and we are looking forward to strengthening those bonds as the week continues.  In Luke 10:27 Jesus teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and it is great to see all of our team members living His command.

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A personal highlight for the team today was a treat made by Becky… her famous chocolate chip cookies! They always taste great, but here in Alaska, a taste of home was that much sweeter.  What a great way to end the first day of our outreach in Anchor Point!

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There’s No Place Like Homer

Blog post by Mary Anne Wolfmeyer

We woke up this morning bright and early (still no moose in the parking lot…) and set about the task of getting ready to attend church at Faith Lutheran Church in Homer.  After service, the congregation quickly changed out the sanctuary and set up a fellowship hall to host a potluck for us.  It was fabulous and further confirmation that Lutheran’s know how to put on a spread!

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In addition to being warmly welcomed by the Faith congregation, they graciously offered to share left-over supplies from their VBS, also Kingdom Rock.  We were blessed with being able to borrow a substantial amount of materials to supplement what we brought for decoration.   

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Before sending the Seldovia team off, we were given an insider’s tour of Homer by our very own Spit Rat, Pastor Kent (that’s a badge of honor, not an insult).  We went along Skyline Drive and got to see SPECTACULAR views of the Homer Spit and across the Kachemek Bay.  From there we went down on to the Spit and got to see Pastor Kent’s old stomping grounds.  We then got to spend about an hour exploring the Spit and the beach.

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Then it was time to see our friends going to Seldovia off.  Beth, Ken, Sharon, Aaron, and Tyler were all excited to be heading off on their adventure.

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When we returned to Anchor Point it was time to start setting up our Kingdom.  It was a long evening, but the end result turned out great.

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We’re as ready as we can be for tomorrow morning.  We are all excited to get to the focus of this mission trip.  God has truly been with us, and we can see His hand at work in our preparations for this mission.  We know that He will continue to provide for us throughout this week.

Sterling Highway

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Our Saturday began with a big bacon and eggs breakfast and packing in the rain for the trip to Anchor Point.  As we started to load our van it became evident that our second vehicle, a compact car, would not offer enough additional space for the whole team and our luggage, food and supplies. Fortunately, God intervened and a cargo van arrived at the rental agency just as we were picking up our car.  We asked to take the van.  Due to a shortage of rental cars, not only were we able to get the van, but were offered a lower price than our original vehicle.  What a tremendous blessing!DSCN0425

After lunch the sun came out and we headed for Anchor Point on the Sterling Highway. Along the way we enjoyed majestic views of mountains, rivers and the sea.  We even spotted a few moose along the way.DSCN0498

Now we’re camped out at the church where one of our teams will lead VBS.  In the morning we will worship at Faith Lutheran in Homer.  We give thanks for the blessings of this day and pray for servant hearts that reflect the love of Christ.DSCN0609

Getting Organized

Our first full day in Alaska started with an orientation to Alaska Mission for Christ.  After learning more about ministry in Alaska our group organized VBS materials for both teams before taking a lunch and pie break at Village Inn (the pies were so delicious that we bought a few extras for later in the evening).

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After some careful menu planning we sent a van full of shoppers to Sam’s Club and Walmart to buy our groceries for the week.

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Our day ended with a devotion, singing and prayer led by team member Ken Greimann. Our devotion was about the kind of hope that we receive from God in Christ Jesus. We give thanks for this hope that we have within us. And we pray for opportunities to share our hope with others!

We’re Here!

After a long day of travel everyone from our group made it safely to Anchorage.  The first wave of team members arrived at noon.  The second wave got here at 11pm.  And the final two group members landed a little before midnight.  We give thanks for Ruth, Jerry and Glen from Alaska Mission for Christ, who greeted us at the airport and transported us to Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, where we are camped out for the night. We pray for restful sleep and readiness for orientation in the morning.

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