Friday, August 20, 2010

epic journey...finale!

"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."  Matthew 18:19-20

Thursday, July 29th - Sunday August 1st
My final days in AK were filled with cooking, laughing, and visiting the parks with teams.  As I went to the park party on Thursday evening, my heart was moved once again for the people of Alaska.  Yes, it is a beautiful state...and there are great people to meet both from AK and on the teams who come the volunteer...but the reason I went to Alaska was the ministry.  Without the ministry, it's simply a vacation.  
God moved among His people in Alaska.  Lives were changed.  Hearts and eyes were opened up to His goodness and forgiveness.  Although I had a backseat view this year, it was evident that God was impacting communities because of the willingness of His children to go and make disciples.  
The vision behind GraceWorks begins with the thought that the great comission is not about people coming to church but about the church going to people.  This is why I traveled 7.5 hours by plane, from one coast to the other, to go to the people with a message of God's love and Jesus' saving power.  And, being a part of such a thing so much bigger than myself is simply indescribable.  I am grateful that God would allow me such a privilege to serve Him in Alaska.  To have had the opportunity to go back 3 summers in a row...the words of thanks to God never end!
Thursday afternoon as the team headed out, they gathered first in the parking lot for prayer.  God answered their prayers as only He can!  I do believe they said 7 people accepted Christ as their Savior before the end of the park party.  It went late into the evening because of the response they were getting as they passed out Bibles to people.  God is making His glory known!
One way God showed Himself very present to a few of us at the park, was during a prayer time.  Staff were gathered discussing some items of concern about the people and their need for continued follow up once the teams pulled out next week.  It's always a battleground...God needs to continue to be shared and declared even once the winter months arrive.  Let's just say there was great concern about said topic and tension was rising quickly.  Seeing the conversation going nowhere, I suggested that we gather right there where we were standing and give our concerns over to the One who had the answers.  It was an amazing God moment.  As we prayed, all of a sudden I became keenly aware of the song that was playing over the sound system...Chris Tomlin's "How Great is our God"!  It sent God bumps up and down me and tears to my eyes!  He indeed is great and will continue to lead His people when we aren't there.  See, it isn't about us as volunteers, it's about God.  When we start thinking on our level and focusing on what did or didn't happen, we lose sight of the bigger picture.  God is always present.  God drew people to Himself and His promise is that He will never leave or forsake them.  Joshua 1:5..."No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you."  and Hebrews 13:5..."Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' "  He will never leave or forsake any of His children.  He is great and greatly to be praised!  After the prayer ended, Kim, Traci and I were all still standing there and I asked them if they noticed the song that was playing.  They both had and were as excited about it as I was.  Indeed, God was hearing our prayers and declaring for us to know with confidence He was with us.  May I ever declare His greatness!
Friday had teams going all over the place again...some sightseeing, some in ministry, some preparing to depart.  The week was coming to a close.  I brought my bags in with me so that I could go "home" to Traci's house.  Yay!  It had been a good week...a very challenging one...but a good one.  Before I could go to my royal bed, we stopped at the park party in Government Hill.  I had never been there, so I was looking forward to it.  It was so awesome being out and about with the people again.  These children were so sweet.  And I met some new mothers with their babies, too...one was from Moldova (country located in eastern Europe) and was facing immigration the coming week in hopes to get the paperwork completed for her daughter. I told her that I would pray for her...and I have been. :)  Being at the park parties, even though it was only occasionally, reminded me of why I was there...it's not about the food, but it's about the people.  Makes anything I've experienced these days in Alaska so worth it!
Saturday, I slept in until noon.  Yes, my body had had enough and gave in to such sweet, sweet rest.  I haven't done this feat in many years...probably 8 or more.  It was refreshing, but I found myself napping later in the day, too.  That nap may have had something to do with trying to make it up Mt. Baldy in Eagle River, though, too.  Awesome view, but not a hike for the weak or weary.  Maybe next year I will make it to the top...I'll have to try at the beginning of my journey, though, instead of at the end. :)  
On the way to the airport, Dodie drove down Northern Lights and sure enough there was a huge moose on the side of the road and a beautiful sunset for my send off.  My time in AK was coming to an end and it was a nice way to end it. 
Beautiful land, wonderful people, amazing God!
And, so ends my epic journey... 

(My plane took off at 12:05 am on August 1st from Anchorage. Layover in Denver for about 3 hours...and ran into Team Wiley (also from Texas) while there. Landed in Atlanta sometime around 4 pm.)  Glad to be home, but will always have a piece of my heart in Alaska!

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