Thursday, May 28, 2009
I have never missed my family quite like I did will I was away. I think in part because I wanted them to experience the awesome things I was experiencing. But I know it probably wouldn't have worked that way. You can't make someone feel the same things you do. Still would've been nice to have them with me.
My children were excited to see me and I too was excited to see them. It was great having them to come home to. My wife as well was glad to get me back home. That old saying, "absence makes the heart grow fonder," is true. I feel we are closer, just by my experiences in Alaska. It is good to be home "at last".
I have to be honest, I miss Kodiak, Anchorage, the mountains, the people, the whole thing. But, I will go back. Hopefully soon. But if not, when I do......I'll simply say, back again "at last"!
PS: Special thanks to Amy for letting me have her little baby here to post on. And to all of you who responded to my posts. Thanks
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Don't get me wrong, this has been one of the best experiences of my life. One of the most moving experiences of my life. And by far the most spiritual experience of my life. I have never experienced the majesty and glory of God in the way I have here in Alaska. This place brings you into the very throne room of the Almighty. His awesome creative power is everywhere. His beauty is wonderful. Unbelievable doesn't even come close to describing what I have seen and felt.
The beauty alone was worth the time, money, and absence from my family. But the fellowship with fellow Christians was icing on the cake. To meet total strangers and immediately have a rapport with them is totally amazing and mind-boggling. I love it.
I am totally ready to go home and be with my family. But, I am sad to leave. This place has held a special draw for me for many years, now it is made full and strong by the experience. The visit did not in anyway diminish my desire for Alaska. Most dreams never match up to reality. THIS ONE DID! I will miss Alaska, but.....
I will be back again, Lord and Amy willing :)! If not for my family, this wouldn't have been possible. So to them, thanks! I love you for giving of yourselves for me to experience this wonderful time in Alaska. And to my Lord and Savior, Jesus: to You alone be the glory and honor for the things I have seen, heard, and done. I will never be the same. I stand here ready for my marching orders. Let's get to it. Here am I, send me.
And Amy, see you soon. Love you and can't wait to get home to be with you and the kids again soon! Hugs and kisses!
Monday, May 25, 2009
Two years ago and before that, I would have never been usable here-let alone come. But God has transformed my heart and mind so much that here I am. Just blessed to have been able to serve, no matter how small. I have truly enjoyed every single minute here. I know that is amazing to you who really know me (Amy), but it is true. I have never had such a wonderful stretch of time where I felt this good about myself or my faith. Even in feeling weak in witnessing and sharing with strangers, I have felt good to have experienced it. I am definately changed because of this place and the people I have met. I wanted to leave you this morning with a pic of the group I have been spending most of my time with. The Summer Missionaries. Pray for Brandon, Kevin, Jessica, and Meghan. Pray as they serve this summer here in Alaska along side David, Brenda and others. Pray for their safety and strength. Pray most of all that they will see the powerful hand of God move in their lives. Until later.....
Sunday, May 24, 2009
At the 4-6pm session, the crew was Don, Jessica, Meghan, Hunter, Brandon, and myself. It is raining and cold and just straight up miserable. This couple came up, Ashley and Doug, and we gave them hot chocolate and Bibles. We talked with them for a few and then they left. About 15 minutes later they came back, and Don began talking with Doug again. And using a small Gideon Bible, he led Doug to the Lord using the Roman Road. Then he turned to Ashley and led her to the Lord too. Wow. I just stood there with that tingling feeling in my body. It was really awesome to be there and watch. Crossview Baptist you should be proud of your pastor. He did what he came to do...serve the Lord and lead others to Christ. Awesome.
See, what we saw as a down day and a waste God used as a staging ground for great things. We worked here and He worked there. So in the midst of a rainy cold Alaska afternoon, Doug and Ashley met the Lord. Pray for them as they learn how to walk in Him. Pray for the church here that they will be able to reach out and disciple them.
And remember as we close out today, when God closes one door He opens another or at least a window! :) See you soon.
Bro. Don spoke on the awesome priveledge we have in knowing God. It is an honor to have an intimate knowledge of our maker. And what makes it even more amazing is that He initiated that relationship, not us. He reached out. He touched us. Not the other way around. That is what makes it awesome. He did a great job of relating that to us today. Great job, Don.
After church, we setup the booth again. But with a new twist. We didn't setup yesterday due to the weather. And we didn't go in to the festival until 12 because of church. So some time in our absence, the group across from us setup in our spot. They took our buckets to hold down the tent and on top of that they refused to move. So, we had to find a new home. But God moved and the carnival people let us setup on their side of the festival next to the food and rides. It is actually a better spot, because more people will be walking by over there. So now, we are up and running again (without the hotdogs) and hopefully we can make an impact on the visitors there.
More to come later.....
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Nasty. Just plain nasty. The house needed alot of work from the looks of those who worked on it. The church too was in need of a top notch cleaning. The gym can only be categorized as filthy. We went up to the weight room first. We had to clean the vacuum first before we could even use it. It was one of those bagless units with a filter in it. The filter was so nasty that we had to beat it out and dig the dirt out of it with a pencil before it would pick anything up! Wow! This place would definately not win the Suzy Homemaker Award for Cleanliness!!! We next wiped all the equipment down with Clorox Wipes. SOOO NASTY! This was probably the first cleaning or at best second. We moved an old broken tanning bed into a closet, rearranged some of the equipment to make more room, and cleaned up the desk area as you walked into the area. We swept the steps going up to the weight room. Then the nasty of all nasties! The downstairs bathroom and reading room. YUCK! This place smelt like a McDonald's play place gone bad. We used nearly a whole bottle of febreze just trying to remove the odor or should I say alter the odor! And the bathroom was even worse. It was lets just say....in need of a major Clorox bomb followed by napalm and maybe a good acid bath. One of the summer missionaries, Brandon, cleaned it the best he could, but it is still not clean like what I would consider clean.
Anyway, we rounded out the cleaning with a couple of good games of basketball. And yes, I am tired and sore. It is hard for this 34 year old body (badly out of shape I might add) to keep up with 14, 19, 20, and 21 year olds. But, I do feel better for it.
A nasty day that yield no witnessing opportunities, but great times of service and fellowship. Nasty yes, but fruitful none-the-less. Finally after all these years, my Mom's cleanliness training came in handy. Thanks Mom.
We have church hear tomorrow morning with the Frontier Baptist Church. Pray for Don as he will be bringing the message. And pray that the weather will improve so we can return to the last two days of the festival.
Oh and on last thing....I have had the HotPocket of All HotPockets. It is called a Bruin Burger. It is hamburger meat and cheese wrapped in dough and deep fried!!!!!! YUM! It is really good. Really worth the $6 it cost to get it.
But for now, I need to go. Be good and I'll talk to you soon.
But none-the-less we made the most of it. We gave away lots of Bibles, bracelets, hot dogs and coffee/hot cocoa. We had a chance to talk to all sorts of people today. Old and young, dirty and clean, hard working fishermen to Army soldiers. It is most astounding how many varieties of people are on this small island. It isn't at all like our neck of the woods. All kinds of races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and socio-economic levels of people. It really is amazing just to stand there and people watch. God has brought a large group of people to this place for a purpose. If we could only reach them all.
I have to admit, that I have struggled with sharing my faith with complete strangers. I have no problem with handing them a hot dog or a bracelet, but witnessing is surprisingly tough and even scary for me. I am really impressed with some of our fellow mission workers. They really have it down with the evangelism. Me not so much. But, I am getting more confident and able to reach out a little more each time. It is just so different to hear someone say, " I found god in the electron," or "I am a evolutionist/revelationist," or "I am an ____________" Just not your typical Mississippi responses to the Gospel. But I'll keep trying.
I do have to say that one of my favorite times here is at night. We have a worship time at night with everyone. We sing a few songs with a guitar, then someone gives a devotional, and then we share about the day. It is totally freeing to worship this way. No restrictions, no rules, no order of worship. Just communing with God and our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a great feeling. I have really come to enjoy hearing other peoples perspective on things. It is truly uplifting.
I have also hit it off with the summer bsu/bsm missionaries that are here. They are great young Christians with big hearts. It has been said here a few times that the fellowship is amazing. The differences in distance, cultures and backgrounds that the Holy Spirit can make into lasting friendships in short order is just unbelievable. He is so good at putting us together in the Body.
Tomorrow will come sooner than I want. Sleep is a rare commodity. So for now I'll go. Love you Amy, Marshall and Sarah. See you soon.
Friday, May 22, 2009
This was followed by breakfast (I cooked the sausage). Yes I actually used a stove! Followed by a group devotional time. We then began the process of setting up the booth at the Crab Festival. It was a little chaotic at first. Coffee, hot dogs, bibles, bracelets and alot of questions. But as things rolled along (after the 30 minute wait for buns), we got the hang of it. We only had a few mishaps. Spilled a drink, overflowed the coffee as it was making....but we survived.
Later in the day, myself and Charlie (Asst. BSM Director under Brenda Crem) had the opportunity to help a member of the Frontier Baptist Church (Dave) paint his boat hull. It was a really neat experience. We spent a few hours with him learning about his life and testimony. Truly a once in a lifetime experience: to be at a native Kodiakians(?) home and see his life from a different perspective. To see Kodiak on a real level. Great experience.
Our day ended with a presentation from Alaska's Evangelism Director Jimmy Stewart on how to use the evang-cube. A quick shower and here I am at the church blogging all over again. It is 10:40 pm here and still daylight. Wild, but sooooo cool.
I had some great food today too. A crab meat sandwich and a fish taco. My next will be the Bruin Burger. A deep fried burger wrapped in bread dropped in grease and fried to perfection. Sounds delicious. Maybe?
Anyway, thanks for sending us here. It is already one of the best times of my life. Till tomorrow.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
We have several summer missionaries here working with us, Brenda Crim, and David George, along with some folks from Texas. It is really shaping up to be an exciting time here in Kodiak.
After we landed in Kodiak, we spent the day looking around the town. We got to see lots of cool scenery, docks, boats, eagles, seals, and just a wide-range of God made wonders. It is truly amazing to see His Handiwork. He is truly awesome.
We start work tomorrow. I am really looking forward to serving here. I'm not sure what He will do, but I just feel like it is going to be a life-changing experience.
It was a good day. So without further delay....some of our experiences today. More stories another time.
I just have one small but very important request. If you visit this blog to read about the Alaska trip, please, please, please, please leave a comment so Brad will know you are reading his posts.
It's simple really. Just click on the word comment at the end of the post. If you do not have a Google account, just choose "Anonymous" and sign your name to your comment.
Again, thanks for all your e-mails and prayers. And I can't wait to read what hubby shares next.
Let me give you the low down on the trip. We left Jackson at 3:00pm on one of those little planes, you know the ones you can prop your chin on your knee without trying too hard. Smooth sailing; no trouble at all! Except for the psycho flight attendant. We witnessed an altercation in mid-air. The flight attendant got REALLY RUDE with a couple and their kids. She was arguing and raising her voice.....very unprofessional. But despite her rant, we made it to Houston on time. Grabbed a bite to eat and made it to the terminal just as they started loading on to the plane. Now the fun begins.....
We get on to a fully loaded 757-300. Seats about 216 people. And did I mention full? Loaded to the rim...like a freshly stuffed sardine can (minus the smell). And for the next 4 hours I proceeded to waste the time away shoved into a seat that should be classified as a torture device and banned by the U.N. We did get a lovely in-flight meal....chicken enchilada with a kit-kat and a salad. Yum!!! Not bad for $798. Just a smidge on the expensive side, but filling. Anyway, we landed in Seattle to drop off and pick up more passengers. Spent about and hour there and we were off and running again.
But, here is where we hit a big snag. There it was right in the seat in front of us. The loudest, most hideous, most vile sound known worldwide....a screaming child pinned up in a megaphone for three hours.....JOY!
For the first hour she screamed. Then she slept for an hour and a half and followed that energizing power nap with another half hour of blood curdling screams. All while her father sat and stared at her with this stupified look on his face. He didn't even try to stop her or console her or anything!!!!!! NOTHING. And then....ALASKA.
Friends, there is nothing like flying past majestic peaks covered with snow. No screaming child can dampen that moment. Beautiful can't even come close to describing what I saw. I am really amazed at how God worked here in Alaska. He really outdid Himself here!
So after waiting for our bags (minus one handle lol), we called our shuttle bus and made the final leg to our hotel. Its been interesting to say the least. We have seen someone that my pastor knows. Ran into two other Mississippians (one Bulldog and one Rebel). And rode the shuttle with a couple from Birmingham. Small world, huh? Anyway, we are here and I'm tired. See you in the morning or should I say today..... (P.S. check out the picks from the plane ride here)
Monday, May 18, 2009
The Crab Festival runs from Thursday, May 21st to Monday, May 25th. We will have the opportunity to witness to several ethnic groups while in Kodiak. Filipinos, Native Americans, and several other groups will be represented there. It will be unlike anything I have ever been a part of. I can't tell you how nervous I am about sharing my faith. I rarely share with people about Jesus. Not because I'm ashamed, but I am afraid. This adventure will surely be a stretch for me spiritually. But Lord knows I need a good workout.
Anyway, I will hopefully have a wonderful time in Alaska. This is a trip I have dreamed about since I was in high school. I have longed to see the beauty of God's handiwork in person. And at last, I will get to live out one dream. That doesn't happen very often, but thankfully I will get to live the dream for 8 glorious days. This is a triple-dip for me. I get to fulfill a dream by going to Alaska, Serve the Lord while there, and renew my fellowship with my Lord and Savior. What better way to celebrate Memorial Day!
So wish me God-speed and I look forward to talking with you from beautiful Alaska.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
The E-Women conference was great--I pray you each get a chance to attend one. And I am now the newest biggest fan of Matthew West! He put on an awesome show, and we just praised the Lord through his music. Check out his website, okay? Then go buy his CD! You won't regret it!
The friend I went with was touched greatly, and I am SO glad she was able to experience the Lord's presence. All in all, it was just awesome!
Okay, changing the subject, I hope you enjoyed Brad's post because you will be hearing alot from him starting tomorrow. He will be on his trip beginning Tuesday (and will be gone 8 days!). I have requested him to post about it himself instead of me telling you about it.
I hope you will indulge us to use this blog as sort of our "meeting place." He will be posting about his experiences and also posting pictures of what he is seeing. It will be amazing y'all! I can't wait to share it all with you!
I guess that's it for now. Look for Brad's post tomorrow about where he's going!
Oh yeah, one more thing. Check out our buddy Aaron. He won the Conference USA shotput title! He's now heading to regionals in Louisville. We're so proud of you!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
I can't remember a time.
But that's all about to change! I am going to an Extraordinary Women Conference in Birmingham, Alabama. I leave tomorrow at noon. By myself.
I'm meeting my girlfriend there and we are planning on having a great time of worship together. We will be hearing speakers such as Chonda Pierce, Thelma Wells, Karen Kingsbury, and Stormie Omartian as well as hearing a concert from Matthew West. The praise and worship will be led by the group NewSong.
I found out about E-Women through my mom's Sunday School class. They invited me to go to one of the conferences that was held right here in my city last fall. After attending that one, I got online and checked out when I could attend another one. I saw this one in B'ham, and I immediately knew who I needed to take.
Without going into too many personal details, the girlfriend I am meeting has, well, let's just say, she's had a hard 18 months. Her life as she knew it was shaken to its core with one phone call. The man she trusted with her life had done something very untrustworthy and in a split second her life changed. She was forced to quit her job, sell her house, uproot her daughter and move. Through all this, she is standing by her man and waiting for him to return (I'll let you figure out where he is).
She has received very little, if any, support from friends, family, and sadly enough, their former church family. They are showing absolutely no support for him, and since making her decision to stay with him and try to work out their marriage, they are turning their back on her as well. Believe me she has reason to leave him, but she feels God has called her to stay in this marriage, and I support her decision. Brad and I have been a support for them from the beginning and will continue to be there for them. That's why I just knew I had to take her to this wonderful time of worship and praise to our Lord. She needs it. So do I.
This world can throw alot of junk our way. I know that and so do you. And the more "grown-up" I get, the more serious the junk seems to be. Junk that can ruin lives and tear marriages apart. You may not personally have any of this junk in your life (but you will, I promise), but I'm confident you can look around and see the junk everywhere. Junk like lying husbands, rebellious children, aging parents, fairweather friends, lukewarm churches, dead-end jobs, or empty bank accounts.
I don't know about you, but I am in need of a Savior. One to whom I can take all this junk to and throw it down right at his feet.
I'm ready, and I know He is too.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Helen won, and I thought I would be okay with that--until I saw her. She looked unhealthy, bones protruding, I swear she looked anemic. She weighed 117 pounds, and it wasn't a healthy 117 pounds. But anyway she won and it's over and I'm sorta glad.
When I crawled into bed, Brad wanted to know who won. "I'm not telling you," I said. He shoulda stayed up to find out. I found out this morning that after I fell asleep he got up and looked online to find out who won. That's so very funny (and slightly ridiculous) to me!
On a more serious note, my preschoolers graduated yesterday! They wore their cap & gowns and looked very, very grown up. I even gathered up my courage and spoke a few words to the crowd (which was fairly large) about how proud I was of these kids and how hard they had worked this year. I thought I would get teary-eyed at that point, but I didn't. I was too nervous.
Even though they graduated yesterday, we had school today. It was just a fun day, a day to do absolutely no work or anything that even closely resembled phonics, math, etc. We did show & tell, went outside and played with sidewalk chalk, cleaned out our room and their cubbies, and went back outside. A real fun day! But before we did that, I asked them to gather on the rug for one last time. I told them how much I had enjoyed teaching them and how much I loved each one of them. And then I prayed out loud for them and their first year of school. After the prayer I was the center of a loving, but almost scary-can't-breathe group hug. It was wonderful.
I have taught long enough to know that no matter how many times I say I will keep up with these kids, I will eventually lose contact with them and their families. That's just the way it works. But hopefully I have made some sort of impact on them for this short time I had the privilege to be a part of their lives. I pray I showed God's love through my words and my actions.
It was a great year, but I'm sure glad summer is finally here!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
*****Thanks guys, you really surprised me with this one! I love you all very much!**********
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Now about Facebook. I have nothing against Facebook, but I personally have never even laid eyes on a Facebook page. I have a few people really trying to persuade me to get on there and I guess at this point I am just being stubborn. Could I be the last person under the age of 40 to hold out and NOT join Facebook? Maybe that would win me some kind of award? Or not.
When I first started hearing about Facebook, I was lumping it in with MySpace, etc., but now I know that it is a pretty safe place to connect with others. Basically I have no excuse other than my stubbornness.
One day I will probably break down and give it a try, but until then we'll just have to connect with each other here!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Tonight's show could have been renamed "The Biggest Waste of Time." Crying and drama and "Look what I've done, I'm just so proud of myself." They could have skipped right onto the weigh-in and the whole show could have been less than 30 minutes long. But instead it was 2 hours long. Blah. Blah. Blah. Let's get on with it already.
But anyway, we are fans nonetheless, and we got online and voted for who we want to see in the finale with Tara and Helen. We voted for Mike. It was not really a tough call for us. The daddy (Ron) asked everyone to vote for his son (Mike) and so we obliged. We really like Mike and Ron, but Ron really wants to see his son win this (and I think he really can) so we voted for Mike.
Hopefully next week's show is a tad more exciting than tonight's was and hopefully anybody but Tara will win.
Brad's big trip is coming up soon, but I am still waiting a little while to post about that. Actually, I have a little trip of my own coming up in a couple of weeks. I will tell you about that later as well.
Can I tell you that we bought a video at a recent Friends of the Library sale? Apparently no one uses a VCR anymore (except us) and they were trying to rid themselves of all their VHS tapes. So we bought four of them. One was a Barney video Poptart picked out. Barney is bad enough, but imagine my surprise when after she put the video in the VCR, we were watching SpongeBob. Yuck! Now I know some of you may allow your children to watch SpongeBob, but mine are not allowed to. So this was very disappointing.....then Poptart started crying and wailing, "But I love SpongeBob, and I want to watch SpongeBob." No darling, we're not watching SpongeBob. I guess it really turned out best for me though. I didn't have to watch Barney OR SpongeBob.
Can I also tell you I've learned a great lesson this morning? Do not get on the laptop to post before leaving for work. It always takes longer than you thought it would, and you will be late for work.
It is now five minutes before we should be going, and Poptart is still in the bed!
Friday, May 1, 2009
I don't remember it being that emotional for me, but some of these Mommas are taking it really hard that their babies are starting "big school" in a few short months. Six out of the eight mothers I talked to shed tears at some time during our meeting. I think that is really sweet, I'm just saying I never cried when Gogurt started to school. I was ready for him to be there, and he was ready to get there!
I feel so privileged to have been part of these kids lives this year. To help prepare them for next year has been at times a frustrating, but always rewarding, experience. I really do believe that each one of them will have a great first year of school next year.
But before they get there, they have to graduate preschool. That is coming up in two weeks. They'll wear their cap & gown, and I will present them their diplomas.
Mommas, get your Kleenexes ready.........