Snapshots of Our Summer

The warm season has long come and gone here in Minnesota…but it was wonderful and busy and so instead of skipping out on this post here are a few of the highlights!

At some time or another all five siblings served at camp…never all of us at once, though.

Abby went to New Mexico for a couple of weeks to volunteer at a camp down there. A lot of the scenery in the southwest definitely looks different than Minnesota!

Somewhere in between all of that we were involved with what has become an annual double-VBS week for us…one in the afternoon on the reservation and then helping with one in the evening in town. We are grateful that our home church in Illinois comes each summer to serve in this way! No picture, but you can imagine children smiling and laughing and learning about Jesus.

August brought the Lake Itasca Family Music Festival. Mark your calendars for next year…the first full weekend in August.

Every year we get to sing and share the gospel at our county fair.

We traveled out to South Dakota to sing for a Native evangelism conference.

Our garden is a great place to watch God’s creation and just enjoy the beauty in small things.

Family camp in Iowa was such a great week for us. Getting to hear so many good, challenging messages and spending time with encouraging believers always helps sharpen our perspective and energizes our desire to grow.

One part of summer that changes every single night are the incredible sunsets we get to witness.

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons…” Daniel 2:20-21 NKJV

Alaska, Part 2

Finally, the long-overdue second half of our time in Alaska! For this part of the trip we were mostly in the Anchorage area. There was so much we experienced…here come a lot of pictures!

beautiful views on the road to Anchorage

the night we arrived we shared at a gathering called Native New Life

the view from where we stayed at InterAct Ministries

We sang at a few churches where we met some neat people. It was kind of surprising how many of them weren’t originally from Alaska…we even met other Minnesotans who now live there!

practice!

someone to us on a hike through the woods

We did a lot more sightseeing and such on this part of the trip.

doing the tourist thing

visiting the Iditarod race headquarters

we found a nice little Korean restaurant

fun at the batting cages

One day we went down to Homer and also visited Whittier. The following pictures are of Homer…

the view going into Homer

experiencing the water up close and personal!

Whittier was a neat little place as well, and only accessible through a one-way tunnel. The sea of boats tethered there was a colorful sight.

we also spotted another glacier while we were there

On our way back to Anchorage we pulled off to view a chunk of glacier that was actually floating in the water. And, of course, how often do you get to take a family picture with a floating glacier…?Back in the Anchorage area some new friends invited us to come over and celebrate Mother’s Day. It was a special time!We also have a friend from Minnesota who now lives in Alaska so it was fun to get a chance to visit with her before we headed for home.

And in case you haven’t seen enough pictures of the scenery we enjoyed, here are a few more!

the white dots are sheep on the mountain

It’s a bit mind-boggling to think that the amazing world we live in is just a microscopic part of God’s creation. Alaska is vast, but His universe is so much bigger!

Our time in Alaska was full of making memories for a lifetime. We had such a good time together…and we had to get one more picture in Alaska before we crossed the border towards home!On our way home we sang at a church in the Yukon, where we were blessed by their hospitality. A few other things we did…make a sign to add to the signpost forest, visit a hot springs, and finish driving the Alaska Highway.

so if you are ever here and see our sign, let us know!

the hot springs was a new experience

somewhere along the way there were buffalo on both sides of the highway

we didn’t see very many sheep up close!

the start of the Alaska Highway…or the end, for us

And, of course, once we reached this point we still had many, many miles ahead until home. Fast forward a number of days, and we were at last driving down our road in the middle of the night and a song came on the radio called “Almost Home.” Perfect timing! We are so thankful for the opportunity God gave us to drive the whole way to Alaska and back, and everything in between. And thank you to everyone who was an encouragement to us along the way. What great memories we came home with!

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. Psalm 90:1-2 NKJV

Alaska, Part 1

It was so exciting to finally be in Alaska! After miles and miles of wilderness driving, we were here at last…with many more miles of wilderness ahead. We took the Alaska Highway all the way into Fairbanks, where the first part of our stay was scheduled. Dad and Mom knew some people who minister there, David and Marcy Joseph, and we were going to share music for their church celebration that Sunday.

But since we arrived a few days before that, there were places to explore! Our first day we loaded up and headed to North Pole. Now, this is not the north pole of the earth, but a town with that name. We stopped to visit a Christian radio station which airs The Storyteller and actually reaches listeners in Europe. It turned out that Dad went back a day or so later to do a live interview about The Storyteller.

King Jesus North Pole radio station

the building was very quaint

After our visit there we went into the Christmas-themed town of North Pole and had fun going to different stores and seeing multiple “north poles” that have been erected there.Other places we visited in Fairbanks were Pioneer Park and the museum at the University of Alaska.

Also, world records can be interesting…note the sign just beneath the dog-sled.

The Sunday celebration at the church the Josephs serve at was a special time for the believers there, as they shared stories from the past, sang, and recounted God’s faithfulness over so many years.

these ladies are the Eskimo Singers

music during the meal

Someone Dad had met at the radio station offered to take us on a rafting trip down the Chena River. “Captain Dave” had us laughing and rowing while we were making some great family memories.

preparing to launch

so exciting to see a moose while we were on the river!

we stopped at a gravel bar to look for rocks and pan for gold

ice crystals on the river bank

inspecting our treasures

What a fun, memorable family experience! It was a great way to just observe and enjoy God’s beautiful creation.

More to come on Alaska!

“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:11 NKJV