Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our trip to Alaska!

Well, I have decided to talk about something totally different this time. I have been thinking about some of you who either do not know my family and I, or don’t know us very well. Or even those of you that I know, you may enjoy hearing some of this! (If you haven’t heard it already). Well, here is the ‘lowdown’ on who we are, and what our life is like!
I will start with a little bit of history: Before we moved to our current location in Alaska, we lived in a remote community in Northeast Washington state. It was a beautiful area, and we had 40 acres, which we enjoyed, with our three horses, three dogs, and two cats. We attended church in Inchelium at the Inchelium SDA church, which was a very spiritual atmosphere! (It is where Young disciple ministries is based. Their website is )
But we were looking for something more. Some friends invited us to Alaska, to see their ranch/ministry operation. Well, that started this big adventure, and is the reason we are here now! You see, we had a goal to reach the Alaska natives with the gospel, as there is not a tremendous amount of either SDA’s, or SDA mission work in this state. So, we returned to our home in Washington, which we had already had for sale, for a few years actually, and it sold in about two weeks I think! So, we were on our way to Alaska. We had about two weeks to move out completely, with ten years of accumulation. So, we went and bought this big old school bus, and a 29’ travel trailer, as well as a 14’ enclosed cargo trailer. They were all filled to the max!
We also had to sacrifice many parts of our life, including our horses. : ( But when you are seeking to do God’s will, it helps to realize that all these things are ‘But for a moment!’ I will have pictures of our family, as well as the trip, our home, etc., on the page below. Anyway, we started off sometime in the end of July, with our Suburban pulling the travel trailer, our Dodge pickup pulling a gooseneck trailer, with our backhoe and many other items on it, (Phew!), And the bus pulling the cargo trailer. A friend from Inchelium volunteered to drive our bus, which was very helpful! Our ‘Caravan’ attracted quite a bit of attention as we pulled out of our hometown of Curlew. We made it through the Canadian customs with little or no delays, and started the approximate 2,000+ mile trek through Canada. We made it most of the way north through British Columbia, and then, the hitch started breaking on the bus. So, we had to dig in our belongings for the welding rod, and get the welder going. Now, my Dad has lots of welding experience, so this would normally be not much of a problem. But, my Dad had a condition in His feet, called gout. This is extremely painful, and severely limited his mobility. Fortunately, I had done a little welding before, so I usually got the job of welding the hitch. I tell people that I learned how to weld on that trip! We ended up welding the hitch several, several times, but we did manage to limp it all the way to Alaska. Amazingly enough, we did not have any flat tires on the way, which only someone who has seen the Alaska highway, and seen the loads that we were hauling, can fully appreciate. We finally reached Tok, Alaska, with not too much more trouble, and crossed through US customs in record time! Now, we did not have any particular area in mind for buying a place, which brings me to the next part of the story. We decided to drive down to Talkeetna, which was about 300 or so from Tok. We parked our vehicles at an RV park, and bid our bus driver farewell, as he decided to visit a friend near Anchorage. We proceeded to search for a place to live in the Talkeetna area, but with no success. So, we decided to go to Fairbanks, then back to Tok, and look there. So we hitched up to our travel trailer and gooseneck, and went. We searched as hard as we could, but didn’t find anything. So we went back to Talkeetna, which ended up being somewhere around 500 miles round trip. At this point, winter was threatening, and it was time to do something! So we looked in Talkeetna again. Then, we decided to give Tok another try. By this time, we had a young man from Georgia that was staying with us, really neat person, (that is a story all in itself. He could tell it best! : ). And so we proceeded to make the trip back up, this time just in our suburban, ( I think?). When we got there, we discovered a property that we had not really noticed before. It was only 14 acres, but it was backed by state land, and had a private lake on it. So, we decided to go look at it. When we got there, we realized that this was a very beautiful area, with huge mountain peaks in almost every direction. We went back to Tok, (The property was near the town of Delta Junction, 70 miles away.) and prayed about it, and then went down to the real estate agent’s office. While we were there, and my parent’s were signing papers, someone called and said that whatever we offered for the property, they would pay more. The owners said that they were not going to accept that, and so we got the property! What we found out later, was that the owners were SDA’s as well! So then came the crunch of getting a house up before winter. We moved our travel trailer out to the property, and began clearing a road, and a building spot. During this time, my Dad had gotten over his gout, but then as we began working again, it came back with a vengeance! So, Johnny, (Our friend from Georgia), my brother Arron, and I, faced the job of doing much of it ourselves. We cut a swath through the thick birch and spruce forests, and then began digging out the stumps with the backhoe, and leveling the ground. Once that was accomplished, we began gathering building materials for what we planned would be about a 1,700sf log home. By this time, we had already had our first snow, and the weather was getting colder every day! Some of the local church members from Tok came and volunteered their time, and we hired others, but the upshot is, we saw -24 degrees outside, and about 30 degrees above inside our trailer, before we were able to move in to the downstairs of our home! Needless to say, we were very thankful for our humble home, especially when the temperatures dropped as low as -44 degrees! We were also able to finish the upstairs during winter, although it was quite interesting, as it was about -10 to -15 when we put the roof on, and because of the way that we did it, we had to handle the tin roofing with our bare hands at times. (That burns!) But we got it finished! At least it is livable. We have had many other incredible experiences, which there is not room to share here, but God has blessed, and we are now enjoying the onset of spring. We were able to make a small breakthrough with our native evangelism, and have befriended a native man, who has since attended church several times. Only God knows whether that seed will bear fruit! Please pray for us here though, as we now have some big decisions to make! Oh, by the way, there are currently five people in our family. My Mom and Dad, and my younger sister, and youngest brother. Amazingly enough, there is also a new brother on the way, He should be here by the end of June.
It feels quite strange to anticipate a sibling nearly 21 years younger than me! Anyway, this is the reason we are in Alaska, hope you enjoyed it! May God bless all of us, as we (His people) continue to seek His will for our lives!
Your brother in Christ,

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