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

Preparing for Alaska

Hark! the voice of Jesus calling, “Who will go and work today? Fields are white, the harvest waiting, Who will bear the sheaves away? Loud and long the Master calleth, Rich rewards He offers free; Who will answer, gladly saying, “Here am I, O Lord, send me”?

This years team is Autumn, Jackie, Luke, Jen, and Mary Anne.  We will be traveling to Alaska in July.

If you cannot speak like angels, If you cannot preach like Paul, You can tell the love of Jesus; You can say he died for all.  If you cannot rouse the wicked With the judgement’s dread alarms, You can lead the little children To the Savior’s waiting arms.

          We will be teaching Vacation Bible School in the community of Anchor Point.  We will be sharing Maker Fun Factory – Created by God, Built for a Purpose.

Let none hear you idly saying, “There is nothing I can do,” While the multitudes are dying And the master calls for you. Take the task he give you gladly; Let his work your pleasure be. Answer quickly when he calls you, “Here am I. Send me, send me!”

          One of the simplest things you can do is to pray for us.  Pray for us during this time of preparation as well gathering materials and make plans for our VBS time.  Pray for the hearts of the Anchor Point community that they are being prepared to hear of the love of Jesus.

Our prayer itinerary is located in the “Pray for Us” tab. You can use this to guide your prayers during our trip.

New Beginnings

The mission trip is coming to a close.  Pastor Kent and Norah have already left for the airport.  The rest of us will be leaving Alaska in roughly four hours.  Exhaustion is hitting the team hard.  We are willing ourselves to stay awake so we will be tired enough to sleep overnight on the plane.

This morning we joined the congregation of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Anchorage, AK for a worship service.  Everyone was very friendly.  When we were given time to greet the other worshippers, many people came over to ask us about our time in Alaska and where we were from.  They were appreciative of our service to Anchor Point.

Beautiful Savior

We then explored Anchorage, visiting places like The Ulu Factory and the downtown market.  Even though we were all very tired from our week of VBS, we made the most of our last day in Alaska.

It’ll be sad to leave this beautiful state behind.  One of the things I’ll miss the most is something completely unexpected.  I’ve had many opportunities to experience the kindness of others, even though I came here with the intention of bestowing my kindness onto them.

I’m also going to miss the scenery and wildlife.  I have many pictures to document my trip, but those pictures won’t be the same as actually standing on the beach as I look at the volcanos across the bay.  The fireweed is also a sight the I’m going to sorry to leave behind.  The purple-pink flower is one of the first things to grow after a wildfire, so it can symbolizes new beginnings.  I am choosing to see the trip home as a new beginning instead of an ending.

Kate Fireweed.png

Needless to say, this trip has been a fun and eye-opening experience.  Please pray for safe travels home.  I’m excited to share our Alaska adventures with the Campus Lutheran congregation once we return home.

God’s Promises, And The Rainbow Connection

Today was our last day in Homer and Anchor Point. We got to sleep in, YAY!! We got up around 7:30 or 8:00 and prepared for our day of travel and occasional sightseeing. We stopped at a local farmers market in Homer, where some local jelly was purchased by some of the team members. Then we made our way to the Spit to check in for our boat tour.

The boat that we were taking was named “The Rainbow Connection.” The boat was painted to look like a rainbow at the bow and as it went back it was a purple color. We boarded the boat and made our way out to sea. We got to see lots of Sea Otters, Birds, and even a few Humpback Whales! The boat took us from the Spit in Homer to a small town called Seldovia. This is the small town that one of our first mission teams to Alaska did their work.

boat

We had lunch, took in some local shops, and found our way to the small Catholic/Lutheran church. Yes, in some places around the world we get along… The two churches share a building and the Lutheran church holds services on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month. Pastor Syth, who is the pastor of Faith Lutheran in Homer, is the pastor for this congregation as well. It is something like having a dual perish.

Church

We were told that we needed to go visit the Big Butt Bakery in town, because the owners of the bakery housed the team we sent there in 2013. We were sad to find out that the bakery was no longer there. We then boarded the ship and headed back to Homer to get our things and make the long trip back to Anchorage. This week there was a wild fire that started near Anchorage and closed the only highway from Anchor Point to Anchorage. Last we heard it was 15% contained. The road was open but we had to drive slow through some parts of it.

As I sit here and think about the day, and the events of the week I am reminded of God’s promises and the new life that he brings us in His Son, Christ Jesus. Our boat today reminded me of His promise to Noah, that he would never destroy the entire earth with a flood again. This got me thinking about things that do destroy parts of God’s beautiful creation. The wild fire here in Alaska came to mind, and it helped remind me that even when disasters do happen, God has a plan. After the wildfires that happen here, God brings new life to those places, making them come back more green and beautiful than they were before. Much like when He flooded the earth and brought new life upon it, it gives me a calming peace to know that when the fire has done its damage, God will swoop in with His beautiful colors and His amazing brush strokes to paint one of the most beautiful pictures ever to be seen.

I would ask all to pray for the people of Alaska who are being affected by the fire, and for our team who will be traveling tomorrow to return home. I would also ask that you would pray for those people that we had to leave back in Anchor Point, that the seeds that were sown would grow and flourish, and that the love of Christ Jesus would spread from their hearts to the hearts of those around them.

Your brother in Christ,

Luke

Follow Him!

It’s Friday evening here in Homer.  VBS is over.  After months of planning, preparation, anticipation, and prayer, just like that…it’s over.  No one on the team can quite believe that we won’t be getting up and driving to Anchor Point in the morning to see ‘our kids.’  No one seems quite prepared for this experience to end.  Today, there were hugs, and a couple of tears, when is came time to say ‘until next year’ the children and their parents and grandparents.  There were thank yous going in all directions.  There were gifts and more hugs.  There were sentiments of regret that our time together was over and expressions of anticipation when thinking of coming together next year.  And, there were more hugs…

During our week of VBS, each day centered around a theme.  These themes were interactive, and were highlighted at each station.  Sitting here reflecting, after the sets have been struck, the materials sorted, and the luggage repacked, the themes this year feel particularly relevant to our time here with our Alaska family.

Jesus gives us hope.  Our team has talked a lot about hope this week.  Each one of us has encountered someone in either Anchor Point or Homer experiencing a significant difficulty in their lives.  To be able to share the hope that comes from our relationship with Jesus is an incredible privilege and responsibility.  I think everyone on our team also came away with renewed hope.  We saw that in spite of the difficulties some of our families were facing, they showed up each morning eager and ready to be taught about Jesus, the light of the world.

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Cave Quest Sing & Play Rock/Opening

 

Jesus gives us courage.  Six strangers from 3000 miles away arrive on your doorstep and ask you to leave your precious children in their care for 3 hours a day  – and you let them.  That takes courage.  It also takes a lot of courage for a group of Christians from Missouri to travel to Alaska, into unknown circumstances.  By the team and families turning to Jesus for courage, four years later that initial act of courage has blossomed into something truly dynamic.

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Spelunker Sports & Games

 

Jesus gives us direction.  Life is filled with tough choices.  Too many times we choose what’s easy or feels good rather than what’s right and pleasing to God.  I am continuously amazed by our students here at Anchor Point.  Every year we hear stories about how the students look forward to attending VBS and prioritize it above other experiences, asking parents to change plans in order to attend.  From the mouths of babes.  In a world of endless distractions, our kids in Anchor Point seem to have a pretty good handle on who to turn to for direction.

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Imagination Station

 

Jesus gives us love.  Over this past week, our team has experienced one demonstration of love after another.  We have been blessed with being the recipients of the time, talents, and treasures of the families in Anchor Point and Homer.  The support that we’ve received from our families up here is beyond what any of us would have expected.  Growing up in Illinois, my church was my family.  I have been blessed to be able to extend that family to Campus. And over the past 4 years, my family has continued to grow to include Anchor Point and Homer.  The love that our team has been on the receiving end of during our time her has truly been a reflection of Jesus perfect love for all of us.

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KidVid Cinema

 

Jesus gives us his power.  This is my 4th mission trip to Alaska.  Each team has been unique and special.  But the one thing that they’ve all had in common is the size of the team has been significantly smaller than what we use to stage the VBS at Campus.  But, through our connection to Jesus, our 6 voices were able to reach over 30 children this week.  And we could definitely feel Jesus’ power in the joy and enthusiasm every morning with the kids.

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Cavern Cafe

 

Once again, I find today to be a bittersweet day.  I have loved working with this team of dedicated Christians.  I have loved seeing the familiar faces, both students and parents, and the growth since the last time we were together.  I have loved teaching the students about salvation through Jesus Christ.  And, as sad as I am that Anchor Point VBS 2016 is over, I have the hope that through Jesus love and power that we will all have the courage and be lead in the right direction to be together again next year.

Follow Him!

Mary Anne

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Deep Bible Quest