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NBC in the Park: Day 5 Finale

Friday, July 6th

We had free time this morning, so a few of us not doing sandwiches or working for Mr. Billy went to the Alaska State Troopers Museum downtown.  It was fun seeing the boys so excited as they looked at the photos, badges, newspaper articles, and other memorabilia they had for people to view.  We had about an hour to spend there and the boys made sure they saw every square inch of the place, not missing a thing!  Alex and Tim were sworn in as honorary Troopers by a retired State Trooper, Mr. Howard.  They thought that was so cool...just like being a Jr. Ranger at all the National Parks last year.  Mr. Howard's stories and accounts of his years as a State Trooper were fascinating to say the least.  My favorite was the one where a person reported finding a body by a river's edge in the Mat-Su Valley.  Upon investigation, Mr. Howard said that what he found made him step back at first.  The body, dressed in pants, button-down shirt, socks, shoes, a tie, and a baseball hat, had a snout!  It was found that some boys who lived up the hill from the river dressed up a bear carcass and left it there for someone to find.  Oh, the humor of mischievous Alaskan boys!   The boys' favorite story was about Mr. Howard chasing down a snowmobile and discovered it was a dog with his paws up on the handlebars instead of a person.  Fun times at the museum!  
Badges adorned, we left for chapel.  On Fridays, chapel takes on a new form with a slideshow of all the teams photos from the week and a report from a member of each team on what took place in their park.  The stories and the photos are just a little taste of what all really takes place during the long hours of our time in Alaska, but hearing them is inspiring and makes me long for more days in Alaska with GraceWorks.  The video gets me each week...tears flow freely seeing how God uses each team to bring smiles to the children's faces and hope to the adults' lives.
It still amazes me how God can take me, a sinner saved by grace through faith in Jesus, but with many weaknesses and faults remaining, and use me for His glory to spread His truth and joy with others who need to hear of Him.  I am amazed by His goodness.  I am in awe of His greatness.  I am humbled by Him using me in Alaska.  He is so good!

After chapel and lunch, we headed out for our final day with the kids. Starting out, we didn't think about the end, we just went in like any other day and did our best to share Jesus' love with the people who God sent to us. I had to excuse myself for a little while for staff meeting, but made sure that I was back with a few minutes to spend with the kids before the weekend. Goodbyes are hard, but thankfully, I didn't have to say any today. I am coming back on Monday with the new team. :)

Dinner at the church and then we were off to cook and serve at the red team's park party. Set up went smoothly, hot dogs grilling and people eating in no time. It was fun to see our boys enjoying the work of serving others their food. Then they jumped right in and had fun right alongside of all the other kids in this "new" park. It was a good time had by all!
After our park party responsibilities, Scott took us on a ride we'll not soon forget. We were all a little delirious from exhaustion, so things were just funny. Add a few close calls and some wrong turns and things were really funny! He wanted to show us a "hobo sign" that he saw on the way to the dump with Billy the other day. As we finally made our way on the right road to the sign, there was a homeless man trying his best to get into a dumpster just in front of the sign. We missed the photo opp, but the memory remains with the sign we did get some photos of as we drove by.

We had to drop off our van in exchange for another for the weekend. After switching vans, we had a few final moments of moose hunting. We tried our normal Northern Lights route, but didn't see any moose. Scott turned down the road that leads by the post office and to the airport the back way. About halfway down, there's a road to the left that connects to the Lake Hood road. On that road we saw a female moose. She came really close to the road and even walked down the road a ways. Fun memories were made in that van ride!

Long, good day!


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