Monday, February 27, 2012

Alaska Public School Bible Clubs

A young Native American heading home from the Tanacross school parking lot.
 We smiled when we saw this four wheeler out front in the school parking lot.  We smiled even more when, after the Good News Club was over, a student from the school hopped on, started it up, and drove away.  

We toured this small Native American village and attended the Good News Club led by the teenagers of Faith Chapel in Tok, Alaska.  These teenagers have been taught by C.E.F. workers, Troy and Rita Able and Strech and Sara Blackard. 

A young man named Johnny attended C.Y.I.A. in Soldotna for the first time last year.  He taught the missionary story at this club and did a great job at remembering all the facts and kept all the kids attention.  I was so impressed.  It is amazing to see such a group of teenagers enjoying each other's company,working as a team, leading an entire 1 hour after school Bible club!  I will post more pictures of these clubs as I receive parents permission.  These teenagers are giving up their Wednesday afternoons and evenings, as well as Sunday evenings for practice in order to share the gospel with children.  They also lead them in memorizing Scripture and singing songs and playing lots of games to help get the wiggles out.  All the kids loved it!  All the teens loved it as well as the adult leaders looking on.
Arriving at Tanacross Public School with the teenagers, ready to teach.

Playing a giant game of tag at Tok Public School
 The tallest figure in the line of children playing tag is Pastor Troy.  It blessed us to see him running and playing with the children.  You can tell that he throughly enjoys these clubs and so do all the other people around him.  There was so much energy and excitement in this group of teens.
Teens continue to teach at Wed.night AWANA's program at their church.
 I wish you could of all been there to witness the fun and the clear message of the gospel of Jesus Christ being shared by teenagers to public schooled children. It's legal! What a wonderful freedom we have in this country! May God bless America despite some of the recent laws that have passed in which we do not agree. May God have mercy on our country and give us much grace to continue to share the unfailing gospel of Jesus Christ whether people listen or not. May God bless Tok and these amazing teens and their leaders and the parents for raising such godly teens that care enough to share!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tea Party in Tok

Fresh flowers in February!

The young ladies all dressed up...

Our beautiful hostess, Rita and her little guest putting on clip on earrings...

Getting a lesson in the art of unbuttoning a glove...

Enjoying each other's company and the final entree... sweets!

One more little sweet...

Sweet with style...

Last but not least, a visitor from the "Outside"

A male grosbeak in the foreground and a female in the back also came to visit.
We had the loveliest tea party with Rita as hostess.  She had the entire room beautifully decorated with teacups, books, lace, and fresh flowers.  She had set out necklaces, clip on earrings, scarves, hats and gloves to choose from.  The girls were practically speechless.  The sun rays came in through the window shining all across the picture perfect table set with dainty tea cups.  Each course was served separately by Rita and I believe my littlest girl, at the tender age of 4 nearly drank an entire pot of tea!  In every cup there was honey and sugar! 

We truly felt like princesses as we enjoyed the party and one an other's company.  A celebration of the finer things in life as well as the honor of womanhood and a good brush up on our manners was so much fun!  We went home refreshed and feeling great!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Picnic in the Snow!

Backyard hot dog roast in February at below freezing temperatures!

Many hands make light work...

Snug as a bug in a rug...

Hot dog anyone?

Help me up quick, the snow is cold!

Name this wild animal...
We had the funnest time at our friends house in Tok these past few days!  They built a fire in the back yard and had a full hot dog roast complete with chili, chips, carrots and ranch dip!  It felt like summer time, minus the green lawn of course.  The sun was out, the snow was sparkling and the kids eventually came in to warm their cold fingers.  It's kind of hard to eat a hot dog with snow mitts on. 

The little baby was napping completely warm and snugly out in the snow and woke up happy as a lark full of smiles when brought in.  Amazing isn't it?! 

P.S.  The wild animal is, "Nation", the family's beloved and very well behaved dog burrowing through the snow.

We had such a great time of encouragement while visiting in Tok.  Stretch and Sara were such an encouragement and joy to us as well as their two little boys.  We got to see the work of God through C.E.F. up close as we witnessed their various Good News Clubs in Tok and Tanacross.  They also had an awesome Awana Wed. night at their church.  We have so much more to blog but will finish later.  Just wanted to get these amazing picnic photos up. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Baby Moose Smells the Roses...

I think I'll just take a peek in here....
 It's long legs are white from wading through the deep snow.  We have around 2 feet or so.
Mmmmm, could it be spring flowers already?

What a cruel joke, they're painted on!

Love this sunshine!

Aren't I cute?
We saw this baby moose wandering by our cabin today!  It was tiny.... in comparison to a full grown Mama.  It was so curious!  It smelled both of the painted blue flowers on the side of the shed.  I'm sure these moose must be really hungry about now!  Long winters, not a lot of greens....

What a blessing to be visited by such a cute curious animal.  We're almost getting used to these moose encounters.  We know they can be dangerous so the children stay inside and Mama snaps pictures from the deck.  Except when they come this close....

How close should I get?
When the moose came this close, I decided it was time to duck inside.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Trees, Turkey Anatomy, Knitting, and Snakes...

Morning Sunrise

Can you find the arctic monkey?
 The big blackish pole to the left of the dog is our power pole.  It is crooked because of the heaving ground due to melting permafrost.  I asked the power company if they could do anything about it and the man who had come out to check for underground electrical lines said it didn't look too bad yet, but if we wanted to, we could dig it up ourselves and put it back straight because once it's in, they can't do anything to it.  I thought he was joking at first, but quickly realized he was completely serious!  So I try not to look at it, because seeing it crooked bothers me.  I'm sure it's not going anywhere anytime soon, but it's just the idea that it is not straight!
Climbing trees, one of my favorite pastimes...
Examining the chambers of a turkey heart

You may be wondering how we got a fresh turkey in the middle of February... we stored it out on the bus, along with all of the rest of our stored items.  It's like having a great big freezer!  Several days, last week it reached 33 degrees and things just started dripping.  We figured it was high time to clean out the bus of edible frozen food and a science lesson to boot!  The Internet provides valuable information for any number of home school projects.
Our first knitting lesson...
 The girls had so much fun learning how to knit with "Aunt Deb."  They've always wanted to learn and I was amazed at how quickly they picked it up.  Aunt Deb doesn't even have to look at her needles!  They move so fast!
Making snakes with sister "Nanny"

Helping big brother with the wood trim and my new hammer...
It's a joy to see the older children working and playing with the younger children.  Sometimes they are asked and sometimes they just want to be with one another because they really enjoy each other's company.  You can see this beautiful process of learning to teach and interact with people of all ages as they grow and mature.  It's such a natural process in a big family.  The big children are learning to care for little ones far before they are ever parents themselves.  They don't have the same responsibilities but can begin to learn cause and effect early on.  It's such a blessing to Daddy and I to see them interacting in such a loving and kind way day to day.

Everyone has their moments, don't get me wrong here, that it's always this peaceful and happy.  But usually, when things are running smoothly and people's needs are being met, our home is a happy place, if not a little bit noisy and messy at times.... O.K.  It's always messy.  If you compare my home to a picture perfect magazine home, that is.  If you compare it to a typical homeschooling, lots of children home, it's probably about average, minus a toilet.

These are happy golden days for us, with a few blow out moments along the way.  Hopefully the blow outs can be mended, people grow, mature, and learn to forgive and in the end, there's so much love left over for all of humanity, you just don't know where to put it all.  Life is good because we have Jesus Christ to teach us, love us, and stand in the gap for us.  Praise be to God for all his wonderful riches that he bestows daily to us, even the trials.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our First Party Club in Alaska

Everyone is listening intently...
We held our first official C.E.F. Valentine Party Club this evening in the big city of Fairbanks!A couple from our church graciously hosted the party in their upper floor condo.  They knew children in the neighborhood as well as parents and it was wonderful to see the work that God had already been doing there through this family. 

We had 12 children and 4 adults, including our family.  The lesson centered on God's gift of families and that, "As for God, His way is perfect."  Psalm 18:30  The lesson taught about the very first family that God ever made and how sin spoils our families.  It is still however, his perfect plan to have a Father and Mother and children. 

We talked about how God sent His son Jesus as a baby into a family as well.  Jesus understands what it's like to be in a family and wants us to be a part of His forever family, as the CEF text states. 

Daddy led the songs and games with help from the children.  I played on our borrowed keyboard while sitting on the lid of a bucket of Azure Wheat.  The hostesses little 2 year old came toddling over wanting to play so I scooped him up and let him accompany me!  It was great fun.  He loved it and did a great job "helping."

The kids loved the visuals, even when I showed one out of order!  No one said a thing. When I showed the first family visual, Elsie, our four year old, gasped, "They're skin is white!"  Needless to say, I quickly said, no we don't know what color their skin was.  There are so many colors and shades of skin in this world, no one could possibly know that detail except for God.  It was a great lead into why we have artists drawing pictures of Bible times and no photographs.  People, including children, want to know how we got the Bible. 

The children also noticed they were dressed in animal skins.  This lead to more discussion of why that was so.  These children are thirsty for the truth and they need to know what the Bible says.  It is so important to lay a foundation of truth on which children can build their life on.  They are not to young to know Jesus Christ as that foundation. 

Many children know a lot of facts about the Bible.  Are their deepest questions being heard and answered about life?  They do have them, even at tender ages.  Let's not brush our young children aside.  Let's delve into the Word of God with them and allow the Holy Spirit to teach us all together how to apply His truth into our hearts. 

CEF produces such fine visuals and Bible lessons.  It is a great way to disciple, evangelize, and encourage both children and their parents in your neighborhood or local school.  It's such a fun way to get to know other families and a great way for your children to learn to minister right along side of you as a parent.  It takes teamwork! 


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentine Message of the Moon

Afternoon Moon in Fairbanks, Alaska between 5:30pm-6:00pm
The moon is still beautiful even when shining above the transfer station, or otherwise known as the "mall" or more truthfully, the dump.  It's just that you can't see all the big green dumpsters just below the trees.  We were driving home from town yesterday watching the moon rising so huge and gloriously magnificent!  We pulled over to snap pictures at the only safe and available place along side the road.  Also, you cannot see several people digging through the dumpsters to salvage usable items;  nor can you see the covered pavilion area.  This is where people place their no longer needed belongings.  Others come along able to squeeze a little usefulness out of the discarded objects for the next few weeks or months or possibly years.  Sometimes when the weather is warmer, people live close by.  Even in the snow, you can see some well worn trails. 

I ask myself, why?  Why would anyone want to live this way under such a magnificent moon?  If I just look at the beauty of the light God placed in the sky and soak in its commanding light, I stand in awe and praise God for his handiwork.  When I lower my eyes to the reality, I am saddened.  Yes, I admit, I've taken a few things home myself from the transfer station, but I don't choose to live there nor do I dig through the trash.  It's a great way to reuse and recycle.

I am hopeful in the power of God to save lives and work wonders in people all over the world who look at the exact same moon.  We are not so different.  We all make choices.  We reap consequences.  Some of us live under governments that care for its people's needs and some of us don't.  Ultimately, God will hold every one responsible for what they've done with their time and resources. 

We can make excuses, we can stretch the truth, we can take snapshots and leave out some interesting information, but all in all, the moon is still the moon.  God is still God.  He is and forever will be all powerful despite the moral mess we've made of our beautiful, free country.

I am saddened, yet hopeful in the power of God's love to reach through time past, present and into eternity in order to save His precious creation and people.  I'm looking forward to the day we all meet him face to face and I'll be so thankful to Him for what He's done for me.  He set me free from my self.  Don't follow your heart anymore, follow the one who made it!  It's hard to follow if you don't know who the Creator is.  You can know, it's Jesus Christ.  How do you know someone who lived over 2000 years ago?  Start trusting Him and try believing what He says in His word, The Bible.  Jesus Christ is the one person who transcends time because he invented it.  No one knows an invention better then the inventor.  How can there possibly be only one way to God?  Ask him, he's the one who invented the system.

How could viewing a moon over the dump be so inspiring? God loves us all enough to allow us to come to Him from any part of the earth and at any time in history and in any miserable condition that we may find ourselves in..... does this not dumbfound anyone else? Amazing love, this Valentine's Day, how can it be?

P.S. If anyone struggles to believe that there is indeed a Creator who created the world and mankind in six literal days, please watch, "Body Of Evidence" produced by Answers in Genesis. It is a 16-part DVD series on the human body.  It is so amazing how intricately woven all our body systems are, not to mention the entire universe!  It would be next to impossible to remain an unbeliever after viewing these DVD's!  Matter of Fact, if anyone wants to even look at one of these DVD's I'll loan you mine.  Actually, you'll have to ask my 12 year old son, they are his because he wants to be a Dr. someday.  I'm sure he will gladly send you one if you but ask!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Charging Moose!

Mama protecting her baby from the barking dog and human photographer

Staring down the enemy...

Not to much of a threat, I'll go back to eating...

Great size comparison standing next to our full size school bus...

What is this big blue thing anyway? 


What a beauty!
The kids always spot the moose first!  Today we were in school time when they all hollered.  This particular mama and baby are different than the ones we've been seeing.  You can tell the baby is much younger by its size and it would never leave it's mama's side.  Wherever mama ate, baby ate, when mom sniffed the big blue bus, baby took a whiff too.  When Mom charged the dog, baby stood back.  
I was taking photo's from our front door deck area when she came right up into the middle of our driveway.  I figured I could always run back into the cabin, but when she charged at the dog a second time, I was feeling a little to close to the action because the dog was in front of me.  So I ran back into the cabin really fast.  The blurry "Charge" picture above was the first time she tried.  The second time I didn't wait to snap anything. 

They are amazingly powerful and swift, yet noble and graceful.  I noticed that the Mom stood facing the danger while baby stood in the opposite direction for a speedy retreat.  I'm sure this is training time for the little one.  It's like somehow they are communicating and practicing close to danger but far enough to be safe and learn some important lessons. 

I'm thinking all of us Mothers could take some lessons from watching the behaviour of a mama moose with her almost grown calf.  Mama is leading her little one near situations that appear to be dangerous in order to teach how to circumvent those challenges.  She places herself in a position to fight and protect, yet all the while, teaching her little one caution. 

Can you imagine a mama moose sitting down on her haunches from a distance watching her little one roam wherever he pleased?  Only stepping in when she felt like it or maybe when it might make her look bad?  No, that would be silly.  She's right there, in the action, teaching and training.

That baby moose is not sheltered, in fact he is exposed to all sorts of challenges and dangers in a way that he could never be exposed if he was completely left to himself or the care of others.  Are you getting the analogy?  It is so great, I feel so encouraged to see that we have nothing to fear, other than fear itself, as president, Franklin D. Roosevelt once said.