Thursday, July 2, 2009

Back from a visit to Victory

This is a copy of an email I sent out on June 7:

Greetings, all!! I'm not even sure where to start. We just got back from Alaska and
it was AWESOME!!! More than awesome really, but it will take me a small book to
describe it all so settle in for a long read or hold on until you have time cuz this

isn't going to be a short one! For those who have not heard, we're looking at
Victory Ministries out there. The story of how
that all came
together is ANOTHER long one, and not one I'll fill in today!

We arrived in Alaska at about midnight May 30 and it was still light out. Rodney
did get used to that but I was sleeping just fine within a few days. Tin foil
taped over
the windows would definitely help! I was waking up a lot earlier than
necessary, though
the 4 hr time difference also probably contributed to that.

We went straight to the camp so that we could go to the church out there (about 15
from camp) on Sunday. Sunday morning we went to church and it was
AMAZING! I have not
been able to sing in 4 yrs. Now I know that I've NEVER
been able to sing WELL, but I do
like to make a "joyful" noise (Psalm 100:2).
Additionally, there is something
about the sound system in church that makes
me REALLY sick so I can't even sit in church.
We sat at the back in case I had
to leave but I was able to sit through the entire
service and sing EVERY song
with a full "carry my tunes in the bucket" voice!
A couple came in with a bunch
of special needs kids and that just touched my heart
because it is one of the
things I most appreciate about our church - how everyone is
accepted. Then the
pastor's sermon felt like it was tailor made for us. Granted, it was
also the first
Sunday for the 100+ camp summer staff so it was probably also directed to
They also had daily devotionals at camp that hit the mark every morning. I kept

thinking about our pastor's wife praying for us that God's will would be clear and
message just kept on coming though LOUD and CLEAR. We really feel like
Victory is where
we need to be.

Monday we started with touring the camp, primarily with Rod who will be Rodney's
We saw a LOT and didn't even begin to see it all! Then we went to Rod's
house for desert
and got to meet his wife and some of his kids. He and his wife
Dianne have 13 kids, 6 at
home now are adopted (5) or foster kids (1). They were
the ones we saw coming into
church. I pretty quickly fell in love with their whole
family. They are wonderful,
sweet people. We had dinner there later in the week
and had bear for dinner. Dianne is
also a fantastic cook! The strange and funny
thing is that whenever there would be a Rod
story, there would be a comparable
Rodney story with a few details that were different.
Rod and Rodney are similar
peas in the same pod! Too funny!

Tues we went into Palmer (about half way between Anchorage and camp) to visit
my cousin
Jeff and his wife Luci and their kids, Nicole and Katy. Luci fed us
lunch and dinner -
another great cook! After a week up there I'm beginning to
feel like Alaskans are all
great cooks but I'm sure there have got to be some that
aren't! We had a great time
catching up a bit, seeing the work they've done on
their house, seeing Jeff's farm (he
works for the experimental farm part of the
university) and picking their brains a bit
regarding living and farming in Alaska.
They've been there for about 10 yrs so it is
great to have their wisdom to fall back
on. Unfortunately we didn't get to spend more
than a day with them. We were
way too busy!

The rest of the week was a whirlwind of visits and tours of camp. We had a busier
life than we've EVER had in our lives! That's ok. I KNEW Alaska would be
What I really wanted to know was whether or not I would like these
people and want to
live in a small insular community with them. Nate is an
interesting character. He
barely made it through high school because he didn't
care, not because he wasn't able
(sounds a LOT like Sergei). His dad was
frustrated with him and asked him how he would
get into college with those poor
grades. He said he was going to learn 6 different
trades instead. And he did.
He's about the most creative, inventive, handy person
you've ever met. He is
primarily the auto mechanic at camp but he does a lot of other
stuff too. We went
to lunch with Nate and his wife Maggie and Rodney was about to order
until Maggie stopped him. She had some in the freezer at home which she said

she'd be glad to cook up for us so she invited us to dinner that night. That's pretty
much how things went all week. When we weren't looking at camp buildings
figuring out
what all needed to be done, we were VERY busy meeting people and
talking and eating.

I wish I could tell you stories about every person we met. They were all very nice
most were fascinating as well. I can't even begin to really characterize what
made them
so much fun without writing an entire book. Suffice it to say that
each one is as
interesting as Nate and Rod. It is really amazing how people who
come from so many
different backgrounds and places can all come together to
work and have so much in

And to top it all off, I felt GREAT!!! It was truly amazing. I honestly didn't realize
that I could feel THAT good ever again in my life! I had energy, I could remember
- I met about 100 people and remember 100 names. I'm not a ditz!! I was
driving Rodney
a little crazy with my energy. I didn't have a Woo to walk so I had
to walk Rodney!!!
Ha ha ha!!!! He had a rough week between the hiking and the
abundant sunshine and will
need to sleep a week to catch up! When we came
back, as soon as we got off the plane in
Rochester it all started coming back -
the stuffy nose, sinuses, head, ears ringing,
stomach churning, voice cracking,
chest heavy, etc. The longer we're home the more it
settles in. I can slowly feel
my brain slipping away and I do NOT like it!!!

Oh yeah, and housing... My cousin in Alaska has a coworker who had no running
water for
18 years and just recently got it. Rodney was telling my mom and dad
that he was going
to take me up to Alaska to a place with no running water and
no electric. I laughed &
said, "Right!!!" So we were out for a walk the first day at
camp and we look
across the lake and see our DREAM home and say to each
other, "What we wouldn't give
to live there!!!" Guess what! That is one of the
houses they were considering for
us but it is off grid and the water supply freezes
up part of the year! And I don't
care!!! I must be CRAZY, but I LOVE it! There is a
guest cottage right behind the house
so yes, people can come visit. They can
also stay at camp VERY reasonably but it can be
hard to get spaces in the
summer so you need to reserve dates ahead of time. The guest
cottage doesn't
have a bathroom but there is one pretty close in the house and there is
also an
outhouse. Shoot, there's also enough room in the house to have people stay.

We'd DEFINITELY love to have company!!! Sign up now!!! The house is a 10-15
min walk
right now but they'd like to build an ATV trail for easier access. We can
also take a
boat in summer or a snow machine (snow mobile in the lower 48) in
winter. I'm already
thinking in Alaskan. It really feels like home.

I'd leave tomorrow if we could BUT we do have a house to sell! Granted, the first
time I
said that we had a guy call a few days later to talk to Rodney about the
place. He's
VERY interested and would like us to give him a call when we're
ready to sell. I'd
really like to get the living room floor finished before we have
anyone in so that is
first on the agenda this week! Meanwhile, last night when
we got to the airport we ran
into someone who works in the same department as
that guy, someone Rodney knows through
work. Rodney told him to tell the guy
we're ready to move!!! The longer we were at
camp, the lower the price we
wanted for this house! We'll see! We also need to raise a
list of prayer supporters,
people who will commit to praying for us at least once a week.
So that's pretty
much the first chapter in our Alaska story. I'll keep you posted on
when the next
installment comes out!

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