Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Midnight Sun!

Hello everyone!  Summer is here up in Alaska, and we are busy trying to prepare for the Fall semester, as well as trying to get out and enjoy AK before the cold weather comes again.

Last year we had a family from the East Coast and Colorado donate some funding for us to build a yurt, which ACC designated as the cultural center on campus.  At the end of last semester, the family flew up for the yurt dedication, which was named Aarigaa (good/great!).  It is a really useful addition to the campus, and a great place for our students to celebrate their heritage.

Steve's book hits the shelves at the end of this month (June).  Make sure to order a copy or two. :-)

Noah has hockey, and we have actively been seeking a sport for Grace to take up while she is here.  We decided to give her the choice, and she decided on rock climbing.  This was the result of us taking a trip to Anchorage and her being able to try out a rock wall there.  After an hour straight (she outlasted the boys) she said that she was hooked.  There are not many routes here on the peninsula, so her got her set up with some bouldering gear.  There is a family here that has a set-up in their house that said she could come over anytime and try it out.

Here are a few photos from the baptism at the end of the year retreat.  Just if you are wondering - it was colder than it looks that day. :-)  We had two students be baptized for the first time, and three who re-affirmed their commitments they made in the past.  Of the five, one of them was Steve's good friend and mentee.  The have been lifting together for the past year or so, and Steve got to pray over him before his baptism.  It was an incredible honor.  The baptism took place out at a Bible camp that is a few miles outside of town, during the Spring retreat.

One of Grace's other hobbies that she has taken up is sewing.  She and Lindsay made her first Kuspuk the other day, and it came out great.  Kuspuks are traditional clothes that many of our students wear for formal (and sometimes everyday) occasions.  Mary, who works with Lindsay in the library, showed her how to make one, and now she has taught Grace how to make one.  Together, they made kuspuks for all of the visiting family members this summer.

This last Spring we got the word that the Beluga whales were swimming up the river hunting for fish, so the whole community showed up one night (the miracle of FB) to see if we could spot any of them.  It turned out that not many of them came up that night, but it was a great chance to fellowship with the small community that calls Kenai and Soldotna home.

Hockey season is over for another year, and we are currently into summer ice.  Noah and the team got to travel up to Anchorage for their first tournament this last April.  They did extremely well, placing fourth (out of 17 teams).  Noah was sick during the tournament, but he still pushed through and stuck it out (tough hockey player).

For the month of June, the kids' cousins (and Steve's brother and family) are here from Central Asia.  It is great to have them all together and get to hang out with everyone.  They will be leaving at the end of the month, and we are looking forward to having some time to rest and recharge with them being in town.

Lindsay got to attend a Librarians conference up in Fairbanks this last semester, which included some sight-seeing around town, and the world championship of ice-carving. She was able to gain a lot of new resources for our students dealing with financial literacy, information literacy, and extra online homework help.  In addition, she made a lot of connections around the state and discovered a ton of resources that are available to help our students succeed in the classroom, as well as with basic life skills.  The library is getting kicked into full gear, and with the help of these resources, we are hoping that many more students will be able to transition from the village school systems into a college environment.

ACC has a canoe that is available for staff if it is not being used by summer work teams, so we took it out on a nearby lake to see if it is seaworthy.  You can't really tell from the pictures, but it was extremely windy that day, which made the drive a little more "exciting." :-)  This is the first week that we have work teams up, who will be doing many projects around campus, including building and electrical work.  Next summer, we will be building a new dormitory to house the guys on campus, so it is going to be a busy two summers getting ready for that.

Grace has been enjoying playing trumpet for school.  Next year, Noah gets to start band.  He says that he is going to play the trombone.  This combined with the drums that we have at the house will make for quite interesting jam sessions. :-)

Five students graduated this year at commencement: 2 with paraprofessional degrees (teaching) and 3 with ministry degrees.  Of the paraprofessionals, one just received a full time job that was directly related to having his new degree, and the other is attending UA in Sitka to get her 4 year teaching degree.  Of those with the ministry degree, one is attending college in the lower 48, and two are in ministry.  

We had Shelby Langston (a college student from our church back in Arizona) come up to visit us and help with VBS at our local church.  We tried to get out as much as we could to show her some of the sights.  It is great to have volunteers who are willing to come up and help out with VBS.  As many of you know, it can be an incredibly tiring week, and it was great to have her help while she was up here.

...and Grace got to try out some of her new rock climbing gear. :-)

It is crazy to watch how fast our kids are growing up.  Grace is now old enough to mow the lawn.  We are really happy to be able to raise a family here in Alaska, and at the same time do it while in ministry.

Crowder came up to Anchorage at the beginning of May, so we packed everyone up and got to take the kids to the first concert.  It was a really good time!  It came at the end of the semester, and so we had a few students who needed places to stay until their flights arrived, or apartments were available for the summer.  This is a great chance to get to know some of our students.  It just so happened that the night of the concert was the same night that one of them who was staying with us was flying out, so they rode up with us and got to catch the concert right before their flight.  It is great to be able to worship with our students.

The kids got to go up on stage for one of his songs- our kiddos chickened out but their friends are up there, front and center!

In addition to summer ice, Noah is also playing soccer (and Steve is coaching).  It is a lot of the boys (and coaches) from hockey - small community - that are participating. Noah knows a lot of the kids and is having a blast!

This summer, we are trying to get outside as much as we can.  We have been doing a lot of fishing and hiking in-between prepping for the Fall.  This is an indispensable time for us to recharge, as the semester can be long and draining, and by the end we are usually pretty burned out.  However, God has given us these times of rest so that we can go back with our cups full and ready to minister for another semester.

There are often many type of "shells" on our beach...

Last but not least, here is a quick photo of the kids that we had at VBS this year.  Up in AK, since it is light all the time, it allows us to have VBS late at night, from 6:00 - 9:00 pm., and then until 10:00 pm on the last night.  Steve taught the 4th graders (Grace's class), and Lindsay taught the 2nd graders (Noah's class).  It is always good to be able to share Christ with kids.

1 comment:

  1. Really fun to read your update with all of the great photos! Enjoyed getting your newsletter, too! Have a refreshing summer!