Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ann Sent Home

We were asked if we had an interest in bringing a teen home with us. Ann would spend the year attending our local school and live with us. After two days of weighing all the possibilities, we signed on for this loose, loose act of love. We spoke with Alexa that if this was a success with Ann, Meliah, would follow. Then Angel, and then Elora. Our wish was if only we could change the order. If Ann could be fourth not first. Ann made the choice not to attend school last year. So to skip a year before such a drastic change was a path to failure. We had a family meeting in Circle to lay out responsibilities of each of us.
Specifics will come later. The bottom line, Ann failed herself and now finds herself back in Alaska wishing she were here. Regret has the power to change for the good or otherwise.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First day in Circle

After a four hour drive we winded our way through town. The ice chunks were larger than the houses they moved. The smell of fuel oil was thick,the town seemed deserted. We drove to the school to find the classes busy and full of life. Mary was busy preparing the school for summer, packing and cleaning. The school's basement had been flooded, the classrooms were untouched.
I would spend the night in the school, we unloaded the truck and filled the multi-purpose room. Now I could start a friendship with these strangers. Mary will leave in five days, my only contact here in town. Kurt is the high school teacher and the principal, we talked for a couple hours. He found me a cot to sleep on.
Kurt didn't paint a Rosy picture of life here in Circle. I'm hoping he just needs a rest from life here in the village. He told me to expect two people from out of town.
I let Mike and Rachael in last night not knowing who they were or if they were from here. I offered coffee, we talked as the water heated. They were from TCC, I felt relieved having worked with Heidi from TCC since the beginning in 2007. They knew of Heidi, but had not met her. I asked them if they had ever been in Arctic Village, we had many of the same friends. Mike said he asked people what are all the buildings aside the houses were for. He was told they're greenhouses, we grow gardens here. That in itself was worth the trip, I look forward to the day, it's seventeen sparkling degrees.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Circle, Alaska 2013: Bill and Penny

After weeks of preparation, I landed in Fairbanks. The smell of spring was nowhere in sight. No gardening supplies had even hit the selves, and Eagle Summit was impassable most hours of the day. Traveling south to Randy's brought slide offs in the mountains with several trucks. I creeped along at thirty miles an hour.
Over the next four days any problems I faced worked themselves out. Randy was an hour and a half early and off to Circle we went knowing the village was under water from the ice breakup. Ice sheets larger than houses that damaged or destroyed so many homes. The only store for one hundred- sixty miles had four feet of water, and was closed for three weeks. I was asked to go home and start next year.
I will soon begin sharing how this was by far the best experience we've ever had in Alaska. Part of the reason, all the years in Arctic Village. Long before we left, we were so sad about leaving. What made that special,  Ann coming with us. This will take some time.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Thrid Trip to Prattsville

Our annual Spring Break trip was planned for Miracle Hill. It changed when a young man from church asked "where will we be traveling on the disaster response trip this year"? So a group of us, nine in all from PleasantDale traveled to Prattsville, NY spending the week working on several homes. The week leading up to Easter was open allowing us to help others on such a special week. Three people were making their first trip. They now understand you do leave feeling like you received more than you gave. The snow covered mountains made the travel so joyful we simply didn't want to leave. We will be one of the last groups that uses Huntersfield Christian Training Center as a disaster response site. This mountain top retreat should be visited to be believed.
This trip came about because a seventeen year old believes in the path he is walking, and inspired us to go with him. We were used as a tool to help other and are happier for it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Second Trip to Prattsville

Bill and Derick traveled from PleasantDale COB in Decatur, In. to this mountain town for more of the Lord's work. What a great way to show the joy of giving for strangers. It was a very cold and snowy week and Bill's group was the only group working outside. Between shingling and siding we did so much to bring this house back to life after Hurriciane Irene did so much damage. It is amazing how many people in the area know all about our effort. So many times a day folks honk as they pass by Travis and Dawn's knowing we are there working for the Lord and not for profit. Again, meeting not only new homeowners, but folks from our denomination makes this trip so meaningful. We have in fact planned yet another trip to this special place over Easter week. Bill says he is more fired up for the next trip even though he has went on so many.

Prattsville,NY Disaster Response Trip:Bill

The first of two trips to this quite mountain community was in Dec. 2012. Bill traveled with David Braun to do the Lords work for a week, then return with David's brother Adam. Adam has committed a year of service through Brethren Volunteer Service. He will be at one of our disaster response sites for the year ending Sept. 2013. We had a wonderful week working on the interior of Mike and Kelly's. Doing trim work throughout the house, plus flooring throughout. It was such a spiritual week helping,plus so much fellowship with homeowners, and fellow volunteers from other congregations in our denomination.Working right up to Christmas made this time even more meaningful. This was Bill's 39th trip and for many reasons it was as eventful as any. Funny how that works out. Each trip brings more for the volunteer than is given to the homeowners, although we work very hard to give our all for each homeowner. We have already planned the next trip in February.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Miracle Hill: South Carolina

Our trip south turned east when we followed the storm that ripped through Adams County south east. We followed the damage to downtown Washington DC. We toured the city and found ourselves at the Museum of the American Indians. We connected with Chris Arnold, exhibit designer of the museum. Finding that she knew Sarah James opened the door for us to share about our work in Alaska. Chris ask us to pass on her contact info to Scott Sternbach who led the film crew making the documentary. It was like we were led to that building to meet Chris, from home to DC.
Once we arrived at Miracle Hill, in Greenville, S. Carolina we connected with Reid Lehman and Annette, Reid's cousin and secratary. Plans were made to begin painting bedrooms in the woman's Center called Recovery.We began making friends as we shared a bit about ourselves, and met the lady's who lived in the bedrooms we were painting. During lunch we spent an hour and a half talking and sharing how God works in our life. The painting seemed secondary as to why we were sent there. We left knowing we would return in two weeks. The painting looked so good and the work was completed, and we left knowing we recieved more than we gave.