I have found myself looking through picture after picture, trying to find the right ones that depict the vastness, beauty, camaraderie, and joy that this trip was, but trying to recreate a life-changing memory I’m finding, is next to impossible. Have you ever come back from a trip, trying to explain what you saw and experienced, but feel you always falls short?
Even when I wrote the book “A Heartbeat of Grace,” I often wasn’t satisfied with the words because they just didn’t describe the emotions or experiences in the way I experienced the situation. But that is why each of our stories are unique to us because they are created by God – the ultimate difference-maker. How I experienced and grew in Alaska will look completely different in comparison to everyone else. The things I was touched by, will be different. God extended His hand into my heart in His own way, like He did in everyone else too. I hope you’ve been getting just a small taste of what it’s like to take a mission trip to Alaska! And if your church is wondering if it’s a good idea, I cannot recommend this trip more! It’ll change you, your group, and those you work for!
One of the highlights of the trip for me was the camp no-fire every night. Wildfires were sweeping through parts of Alaska, so there was an ordinance for no fires – you couldn’t even light a charcoal grill! Really though, it didn’t matter. Singing praises about mountains to God at the top of our lungs, as mountains stood mightily in the distance, gives me chills just thinking about it. Also being able to share our hearts and what God was speaking to us through the devotions that morning, grew us not only in our own individual faith, but also as a group. Sure miss those times!
On Wednesday, a gentleman who runs School of Survival, came to teach us how to ax and knife throw (SO fun), did various team building activities, and sure brought a lot of laughter out of us! It was an incredibly fun morning!
One of the activities was so find shelled peanuts that they had scattered around your group’s tree, and create something to hold the peanuts in (you also had to shell them). You were only give a piece of paracord and then let loose. Everyone on the team had to have a role in making “basket” and it was so interesting to see what everyone came up with! This was ours:
That afternoon, as a group we headed up to Hatcher’s Pass, which is an abandoned gold mine. We had been there in the past, so we knew what beauty was around there! Unfortunately when we arrived, you couldn’t see much of anything because of the fog. So we just started praying and sure enough, within minutes, the fog cleared and we were able to at least see the mountains behind the gold mine! This mine is above the tree line, so you are quite high up, and the scenery truly is just breath-taking!
Love these two!
As you can see, the fog eventually settled in again:
Taking a hike up the hill:
Sure miss the time spent with those we normally don’t get a chance to talk to on a daily basis!
Part of the abandoned gold mine:
One evening, the majority of the group went on a hike up what I would call a mountain! I chose the lesser of the two and did the easy walk around the lake, but as you can see, many of them chose the harder route and conquered many of their fears! Look at those views:
Due to my heart, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do the climb above, so one of the directors of the camp took us to an easier hike, which took us around Reflections Lake. As you can see, the scenery did not disappoint! We may have gotten eaten alive by mosquitoes, but it was completely worth every step!
Now you can see why it’s called Reflections Lake
What a mighty, creative, and powerful God we serve! Absolutely incredible!
Random picture here, but if you worked in our group at Victory Bible Camp, at the end of the work day, we would do an event in what we called the “Lumberjack Olympics.” We threw the discus (a piece of wood cut from a log), did the javelin, and also a caber toss. It’s a whole lot harder than it looks!
Every morning before we left for our worksites, we would sing as a group, led by the directors, the song “This is the Day.” What a gentle reminder it was, that God owned our days, that He was the master of our lives, and to Him all the glory belonged.
Later one afternoon we headed to Anchorage so that the group could get souvenirs. It’s an interesting city that seems like it got stuck in the 70s, but really though, they are all about functionality and not perfection. I can appreciate that! We didn’t feel the need to get any souvenirs, but we did get Mazy some wolf slippers and some random unicorn socks :).
I spy, 2 of our youth group girls! This picture gives you some perspective of what a hill looks like in Alaska!
After we went to Hatcher’s Pass, we went to the town of Palmer and ate as a group at the Valley Hotel. It was a really fun place to eat as it was a local joint, and actually the workers thought we were part of a family reunion because the ages varied so much. We chuckled and I kept thinking, yup! We are part of the family of God!
I LOVE seafood, and so when I saw that a halibut sandwich was within the budget of what we could spend, I knew I had to give it a whirl! And let me tell you, it did not disappoint!
Here are some pictures I took while on a drive through Alaska:
This tall peaked mountain is known as King Mountain:
Does this look like a cappuccino river?
It then dumps into the Matanuska River – you sure don’t have to look far to see the cut-off!
Stay tuned for one more round of pictures, coming soon!