Saturday, November 1, 2014

Circle Alaska: 2014

Here I was traveling to Circle, we were invited back even though we had sent Ann back. We knew the Village Council understood we did all we could for Ann, but does Ann' family have hard feelings toward us. To say the least, I was very worried as we arrived in Circle.
From the very first person I found how much we are loved by our Gwich'in family. We doubled the number of gardens and the size of each garden. We will be more specific about the wonderful summer in Circle, along with photos. I could not believe it when the day came to leave for Fairbanks. We planned a carpentry service project in Fairbanks incase we were not welcome in Circle because of Ann. Now I just didn't want to leave. In fact the council was upset we were leaving because there would be misunderstandings as how the gardens would be finished and food handed out. They understood why we did this but asked us to stay the whole three months in 2015. We agreed and now are making plans to expand to what will be our biggest effort in the past eight years. I can't wait to return to Circle in the spring. We will share much more as to what a wonderful time we had in Circle.

Disaster Response Trip: Toms River, New Jersey

Jim, his son Andy, and I headed to New Jersey to help out after Super storm Sandy. Jim asked me to arrange a trip before Andy started his senior year at Adams Central. Because Penny and I spend most of summer vacation time in Alaska, that left one week in early August. So three days after returning for three months in Alaska, we left for New Jersey.
We had signed on with a group from our Maryland District, so we were about to meet a group of folks we were to work and live with. We arrived to find such a group of Christian men. Tim was still the long term director, with Kim as a co-director. My dear friends Paul and Sheri were there. Sheri as food director, and Paul as a crew leader. I knew this would be a great week for Jim and Andy, who were on their first disaster response trip.
The work projects consisted of three new builds setting side by side in one location. This offered Tim the opportunity to work with the groups instead of setting up new jobs each week. I'd been on site with Tim many times in several states, but had never worked with him. This was a blessing on many levels.
Jim and Andy fit right in working with the guys as we insulated and drywalled. Tim also took advantage of Jim being a Ford man. Him and Andy saved BDM hundreds of dollars by working on several of the Ford work vans.
We left at weeks end having new friends as we were the hands and feet of Christ. Jim and Andy came home hooked and looking forward to the next trip that came their way. We came home better friends for making this effort. What a great way to serve others!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Meeting the people of Circle

Having the Steese Highway connecting Circle to the rest of the roadways of Alaska makes this village so different from Arctic Village. Life is much better for the people of this region on more than one level. Kurt suggested I not go to the Community Hall, that's where I headed first. What I found was friendly, caring people, not only at the hall, but all over the village. My fifth day in Circle was the day Mary was leaving. My only contact, yet I felt I had many friends in Circle. I found how connected Circle is with Arctic Village. Because of our summers in Arctic and the folks we call family, I feel such a comfort here. I now know our time here will be so, so much easier than our time two hundred miles north.

Disaster Response: Spotswood, New Jersey

Spotswood, New Jersey site was opened in August for our second New Jersey site to help folks effected by Hurricane Sandy. I was part of a group from the So. Ohio Dist., that makes three consecutive trips with their District. The fellowship was special from the first few minutes, when Michael and I crossed paths. Then, when Mike reminded me we worked together in 2007 in McComb, Mississippi. Not Michael, but Mike. Mike told me things about my family that I shared in 2007. As Christians we don't fly under the radar of life, people listen. What a great joy and responsibility.
The week was full and rich with so many joys. Our work group made such headway on the work we were sent here to do. Along the way we spent more time with real sharing like I haven't in such a long time. We left knowing we were more blessed than the folks we were used as tools to help.
The nights were filled with laughter, Steve is so funny, besides being a leader.
Being a part of Barb's 50th trip!! What a special night of sharing and laughter.
To hear a board member of Trinity United Methodist sharing how we really jump started the congregation by our presence. Also, the church down the street has been asking about us, how inspired they are to help others after hearing why we are here. The same for business' in the area. The ripple effect will never be known as we continue to walk God's path for our denomination.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Disaster Response Trip: Bill

My first trip to a hurricane Sandy site has been long over due. We opened the site in August yet as long as Adam was in Prattsville,NY, I would travel there. His last week was the week of October 14 and I was happy to be there. We worked together as always, then both came home to Monroe. Penny so wanted to come, to spend Adam's last week of BVS on site with him.
Now I was in Toms River, New Jersey and what excitement I felt. I traveled alone so there would be 15 or so new folks to meet yet knowing Tim was there. Tim is the long term Director and we've been friends for years. I was not let down as to the joy of meeting folks throughout our denomination who have the same love for this service. One of the men named Ken went through Dir. training with Jiggs and we really hit it off. At one point several of us were talking and I called Jiggs, first to thank him for introducing to Disaster Response, then to hand the phone to Ken, so they could catch up. I wanted Jiggs to know as long as I was a part of BDM, his name and Love for service would not be forgotten.
Michael is a 21 year old from Minn. who is giving two years of his life to Brethren Volunteer Service. He shared he needed to write an article for our Bridges magizine and wasn't sure what to base it on. I did morning devotion on Tuesday, he knew what to base his story on. Michael ask me a series of questions, then wrote a wonderful article. How humbling it is to inspire our youth.
The week had so many highs and no lows. The home owners were a joy to meet, and we did such good work for them. I so enjoy rough framing, that was my duties all week.
As I traveled home I knew again, I left with more joys than I gave. What a blessing it is to help folks in need, poor folks in need.

Continued Hope in Circle

Ann Marie Crow left Indiana failing herself and went back to Circle,signed up for welfare for a life with no future. Sometimes failure in one part of ones life can lead to strenght in another. We will pray for Ann and know we would help her in any way she might ask us.
What a blessing it is for others in Circle to cut through her excuses and know what a lost opportunity has been had in her life.They also are happy that we want this act of love to continue. We want Meliah to come to Indiana in the Fall, and she will. It's also important for folks in Indiana to see the Gwich'in are honorable people. Ann is lazy and rude, her people are not.