I am sitting at Anchorage Airport writing this waiting for my plane.
"Lazy day" - We cleaned all that morning. The weather that day was very wet/snowy. We got around 12 inches of snow within 24 hours. Veldez has the largest snowfall in the month of May since 1912.
Pictures will be here - Link (Tuesday update)
BIG day! It was a fun day today.
- We had rough driving at first because of the mountain snow but it got much better. ADOT does an excellent job at clearing out the snow.
- Dog sledding (AKA four wheelin')
- Lunch at a Russian restaurant - The food was awesome!
- Youth Rally - Our kids did an awesome job on this! I can not over emphasize how well the students did.
I got to get ready for my flight! I will write more later.
I will be unable to update these until I get back on Tuesday because of the lack of internet access. Please check back on Tuesday. The pictures and video I took that day are incredible!
Link to the pictures - Link
More painting and cleaning... we will be done tomorrow!
We went back to the iceberg with the boys today. I was painfully reminded how long of a walk it was to get there. We did not have enough snow shoes so I went without. Every few steps I took my leg sunk down into a couple feet of snow. I became winded very quickly but at last we made it!
Some kids went to the youth center while several boys went to play basketball with the community.
Here are the pictures - Link
We continued to paint through the rest of the church. The kids are continuing to work hard but one can tell that come are becoming burnt out. We have a few more days left. Let us see. We are tackling parts of the parsonage. Their house is on the second floor of the church. I have never seen that before.
Half of the group loaded up and trekked with snow shoes to a 1.5 mile journey to terminal section of a glacier.
We walked onto a lake with several house sized glacier pieces have broken off like ice cubes in frozen water. The person we were with told us that during the summer time when the lake has melted, the pieces of ice just float around freely in the lake. The picture with the blue looking structure is an example of this.
There was a Coors Light Commercial filmed there. It is shown briefly toward the end of the commercial.
I saw three bald eagles, two bears and two mountain goats today. I guess the bald eagles here on a garbage scavengers.
Clayton spoke tonight. His topic was on "Influence of the Every Man". There were about 12 non-FCA teen there last night.
The track coach/police officer here is from Lancaster, OH. So far we met three people from Ohio!
Link to Day 4 pictures - Link
Day by day I get a better perspective of what God is allowing us to do in Alaska. Where doors are closed others are opened. For example, at first we were permitted to do an assembly in the middle school but high school principal "wanted nothing to do with us" here. Instead God found another way. Our kids have attended track and baseball practice with the students and the coaches were very kind in allowing us in to work out with them. Additionally some of our students were able to attend open gymn last night and played basketball with 20+ people of Valdez. There is another chance later that we might be able to go to open gymn volleyball in the next couple of days. The students remaining hung out at the teen center and served ice cream to the mostly middle school aged kids. We are very fortunate that God is allowing us to foster relationships with the community.
We painted yesterday. This was labor an intensive activity because of all of the walls. We should get the main parts of the church painted Wednesday.
Here is a summer picture of where we are using Google Street View - Link
Painting, Painting and more Painting
Preparing for the Youth Rally
Today was day one of officially being at the Nazarene church in Valdez, Alaska. We all slept in til pretty late in the morning because we had gotten in so late the night before, and we ended up having morning devotions at around 11:00.
We then went to work cleaning the church. The FCA senior class basically took over both the church and the parsonage and scrubbed every inch. The walls, the floors, the cupboards, and the counters. Everything was fair game for the soap and sponge.
After lunch, my group took the kitchen apart. We cleaned up our mess from lunch and reorganized everything. Dancing and cleaning are such a good combination. Cleaning took quite a while, and towards dinner time we were all pretty antsy from being inside all day.
We ate a quick dinner and took an hour to try to unwind. The boys played football in the foyer and we all just hung out and relaxed. At 7:00 we had devotions, and we were joined by a few Alaskan kids from the youth group. We had a great devo about forgiveness and unity within our class given by Sue Johnson. After the devotion we all got in a huge circle and prayed with each other.
After devotions, we all had brownies and ice cream. Which provided us with the sugar high needed to climb through 4 and a half feet of snow at the dock when we drove to town. Sprinting through the snow was a blast. I had never seen that much snow before. And we saw an otter swimming in the harbor. Overall, a great first day.
Here are the pictures. - Link
Today was a work day. We got up slowly because of the long drive last night and we started work around 1pm. We worked nonstopped, doing Spring (deep) cleaning of the church. We further knocked out simple repairs.
We are around two miles outside of town. The town reminds me of a stereotypical romantic comedy where a women from a big city meets a rugged, unrefined man from a pier town. They eventually fall in love and change their ways mutually. :)
At the water front there are 100+ fisher boats with tons of instruments hanging from them with dozens of docks in which the boats are anchored. We visted the docks last night to let off steam. I will be taking a more thorough shoot with the boats later this week.
We further did a radio spot with KVAK. It was basically a Q and A time with a select group of students to encourage the teens to
Our devotional time in the evening did not go as planned but it went as planned. We had a few technical issues and had to change things but God worked out things to make them better in any of these circumstances.
Do you remember the Exon Valedez oil spill? This community was the cleanup center for Exxon. The actual spill occured 30 miles off the coast. The pastor was saying that many people became very wealthy after that.
Prices are expensive here as expected. We bought six bags of potato chips for $47.50 for an example. These were not the family sized bags.
Your kids worked hard today. They were relentless in doing the tasks they were asked to do. Be proud of them!
Highlights of the day....
Picture of the church that we are staying...
Running through the thick snow...
Group shot by the pier in the evening...
Today's link of pictures - Click here
Today we basically skied and relaxed until 2pm. After that we started on our LONG trek to Valdez. During the 300+ mile trip we went over three different mountain chains. The view was breath taking.
It was entertaining to see the occasional moose along side the road. One came just a little too close to the car when we were driving. We finally got home around 1am in the morning (Alaska time).
This was a very long day! Most of the students (and adults for that matter) were burned out. A combination of the traveling and time change made for a enduring exerpience. The moment we saw the mountains from the plane, we all got our second wind. :)
It was much warmer here than what I thought it would be. Lancaster was colder last week sometimes than it was here. I walk around with a light jacket and I feel find. The pastor with which we are working said this is going to get much intense as we approach the interior. I will let you know.
Here are the pictures - Link
Pictures that stand out at me...
Here is to another year! I am looking forward and ready to tackle another year!