Monday, October 26, 2009

Decatur Habitat For Humanity: Bill and Penny

Working on Habitat housing is so much fun for Bill and Penny. Starting a home in Decatur began in the Spring, Bill and Penny were right there to help with the framing. Meeting new like minded people while seeing old friends is what this effort is all about. With so many willing to help, it wasn't long before the frame was constructed. Unfortunately, that's when Bill and Penny could no longer help out. It was May and time to head north to Alaska knowing there is so many loving folks in the area to continue this effort.
Thanks to so many the house is near completion for another family to have a home. We look forward to another start to do it all over again.

FT. Wayne Rescue Mission: Bill

Giving of one's self is such an easy process. It's a matter of making a conscience decision that you will follow your heart and God's plan for your walk in life.
I now know part of my job is to cook and serve the homeless. I've began by arriving at the FT. Wayne Rescue Mission at 5:30 am on Weds. and Fridays. I help prepare breakfast while hearing so many stories of folks that are evolving as I did. Learning that there is help for each of us when we're ready to realize that Jesus is waiting for us to simply ask. Some of us wait longer as we slide into yet further trouble and heartache before we just trust that we all have a path to happiness. I listen and am so thankful I believe in the path I'm walking.
Mike speaks that after 24 years he has a drivers licence. That he has finally stopped walking alone and has gave it all to Christ. Mike has so many jailhouse tattoos, so many years in prison. Mike has been reborn. I so enjoy uplifting him as we work together.
The food being prepared is fresh and nutritious. I wish everyone had such a breakfast. By 6:30 am the folks staying at the shelter line up to eat. At 7am the doors open and the "street people " and the working poor arrive. The conversation isn't that different from most breakfast eatery's. They speak of current events and over night happens. Talk of their planned days and struggles fill the air, yet they're so different, so looked down upon.
I so look forward to sharing the stories of these unique people and what I've learned about myself as I do my job.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Arctic Village: Garden Project 2009 Success Story

We have so much to share, but we wanted to post some of the pictures of what was such a blessing. The summer in Arctic Village was cool to say the least. The temp. stayed in the sixties most of the time. The outside gardens were just beautiful, but greenhouses would provide the best finished product. We were so concerned that our effort would be in vein because of the Summer that wasn't. Last years heat made the lake the place to be. This year no one went swimming while we were there. We felt so fortunate to have the harvest we did. We began eating fresh veggies on June 18. We had the first salad on June 28, and began giving away two salads a day on or about July 15.

Monday, October 12, 2009

In a Perfect World: Bill and Penny

In a perfect world there's no misunderstandings or problems of any kind, I've not been there. We are so welcome, yet as outsiders we are the last to know when a problem does arise. Three times problems arose with us right in the middle. By the time we heard about each one it had grown out of per portion. What these nice people were reminded of was when you involve me you had better be ready for me not only to defend myself, but to be in your face. Rocky found that I will not let go and I will be ready to follow him village wide until he gives in and listens to reason. Marion found out it's best to back off and mind her own business and also to remember not to lose her temper. Sarah found that when you start something I will finish it. And most important, you may think you are getting the best of me, more often than not I will win. When it was all said and done Penny and I are like one of the family, and we all know for better or sometimes worse. But we are part of the family and we are already planning our 2010 Summer trip to Arctic Village.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Arctic Village: Out of my comfort zone

This harsh and beautiful place and the people who choose to live here is like home to me. The day to day struggles makes one wonder why don't they just sell out to the oil companies. Life here would be so much easier, that's the point. If this was like most cities in our country, so many more people would live here. The Gwich'in do not want change, nor are they interested in how white people come to " help " them. Having said that, I'm so welcome here and folks want to know when will Penny get here.
I count the days until Penny arrives and fill my days with sixteen hours of work preparing all the gardens throughout the village. I average ten to twelve miles a day carrying water, soil, and supplies to each garden. Plus creating a large garden in Mary and Todd's yard where our camp will be again this year. It's clear to everyone that Todd has lived in Fairbanks throughout the winter, so much needs to be done to clear the area for gardens. Sixty below zero weather can detour most men for keeping on top of yard work. With Todd in Fairbanks, nothing was done in his absence. Within a day or two the yard is ready for what will be as the elders described it as the most beautiful sight they ever seen in the village. Both greenhouses are filled with almost three thousand plus starts that will be planted throughout the village. Plus a dozen trays with hundreds of starts such as lettuce, spinach, and other leafy veggies. I have five times the number of starts from the 2008 project, which was such a success.

The people are warm, the weather is not. Sleep is near impossible due to the cold and twenty-four hour sunlight. We talked about a four season tent, yet our Coleman three season tent is still in good shape. Oh good Lord is it cold, yet I'm so joyful to be here, so far out of my comfort zone. I lost twenty pounds by the time Penny arrived fifteen days after me. We joke of the perfect weight lose plan, we call it " the Arctic Village diet "

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Gathering: Arctic Village -Bill

Upon my arrival in Arctic Village I was told the twenty year anniversary of when all fifteen Gwich'in tribes sent elders to Arctic Village to make decisions concerning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was being celebrated the following week. Representatives from each village would be traveling to Arctic Village along with state and national media. Also a production crew from Los Angeles would be taking an aerial photo to be used in Bonn, Germany at a conference on climate change and global warming. What I wasn't aware of is we would be used to make this aerial photo. This four day event was so informative, interesting,and just amazing to see all the love shown to so many in the Gwich'in nation. People in the Government, environmental groups and the Garth Brooks of native Americans Mr. Robby Romero was there. Daryl Hannah (movie star ) had planned to attend, but a minor injury prevented her from traveling to the gathering. I feel so fortunate to be present at this event, and so many went out of their way to thank me for coming so far out of my comfort zone to do this work. The question I was asked over and over again was, WHERES PENNY?
To see all the people from the village in a prayer circle at the runway was incredible. As Tremble Gilbert ( Village Priest ) said, " never before and probably never again will he see this site" , then we prayed