Last night I went to a Kane County Cougars game with my family. I got to sit on the lawn in the heat, my hair blew in the Illinois wind, I drank lemonade, saw some fireworks, my brother & nephews ate peanuts in the shell, my dad sang the National Anthem, and everything about it was so stereo-typically American. It was a pleasant evening and I will miss simple pleasures like that with my family.
Last week I had the honor and privilege of being Village Bible Church’s VBS missionary. The theme this year was Amazing Wonders Aviation and seeing God’s power over nature, circumstances, sin, death and life. Seeing as many of the “amazing wonders” that the kids would be learning about will be practically in my backyard in Alaska and I will have to fly everywhere I go, it only seemed natural to the VBS coordinator to have me be the missionary focus of the week. I was able to share each day with the 350 children about what Alaska looks like, the people of Alaska, what my daily life will be like in Port Alsworth, and the ministry of the Tanalian Leadership Center. It was a so fun talking with them and answering questions. At times I felt like a celebrity, which was really odd.
The boys and girls had a competition to see who could raise more money to help send me to Alaska and I was blown away by their generosity and excitement to give. I was overwhelmed and grateful to accept their gift of over $1,100 throughout the week.
On Friday it was evident that some of the pre-school and kindergarten age children were still a bit confused as to why I was going to Alaska, other than to see cool animals. I was able to really share what it means to serve God and why my heart is drawn to serve Him there.
A send off luncheon was given for me on Sunday and I was able to share more in depth with more than 100 people from my home church about what God is doing in my life, what TLC has done in the lives of others, and why I am so passionate about that ministry. It was a true gift and blessing to see the response of so many people. I was surprised to see a friend from when I lived in Minnesota. I hadn’t seen her in over 15 years and it was a joy to see her! The whole week was so wonderful and I truly realized on Sunday just how truly fortunate I am to have my church family. It’s not perfect, but we’re a family and God has blessed us with His grace over the years. Thank you Village Bible Church for being one of my greatest blessings in life.
We started out at about 8:00am on Sunday from Faithe and Liz’s house. Our plan was to drive from Cody out to Yellowstone, stop at various places (suggested by Katie’s dad who used to work in Yellowstone), head to Montana for lunch (so I could cross of my 30 and 31 state in one trip), then drive down to the Grand Tetons and camp for the night. It was sad to say goodbye to Liz, but we were looking forward to exploring God’s creation together.
We headed into Yellowstone ready for adventure. I don’t know if I was prepared for just how big and different Yellowstone was from anything I had ever seen. I was in awe of God and just how creative, details, vast, and powerful He is. Seeing this only just begins to scratch the surface of who God is.
We also had some pretty normal and unique animal experiences in Yellowstone. We were about 30 ft away from a buffalo enjoying the hot springs, but the site that topped it all off was seeing a black wolf eating an elk. It was crazy to actually see that happen in the wild.
(When I posted this it deleted a large chunk of the post. I will update the rest of this post at some point in the near future.)
It can be hard for me to sit still, but lately it’s gotten a little ridiculous. Last summer at Tanalian Bible Camp I met so many wonderful people and we made grandiose plans of visiting each other and in my cynical mind, I thought it would be something we talked about, but never did due to distance, time and money. However, two weeks ago I was proved wrong yet again.
I flew to Denver on Friday, July 13 to meet up with Katie and Whitney. I arrived at 7:20am which gave us plenty of time for the days plans – which would begin by loading the car up in Fort Collins (Colorado), drive to Thermopolis (Wyoming) and check out the hot springs there, and continue on to our dear friend Faithe’s house in Cody. We were hoping to arrive about the time she and her family would return from her rehearsal dinner. We had our snacks packed, all our camping gear stowed, CDs and iPods ready, and were set for our grand adventure. We jumped in the car so excited to start this road trip and even before we left Fort Collins we were in a slight fender bender. At a stop light a HUGE, rusted out, jacked up pick up with skull trailer hitch backed into us at a stop light. I reached over from the passenger seat and slammed on the horn as I saw the ominous truck approaching, but she hit us anyway. After driving about 6 blocks she finally pulled into a Walgreen’s parking lot and Katie was able to get her information. It gave us something to laugh about during the roadtrip – not that we needed anything else to make us laugh.
So after the slight set back we were ready to get on the road to Wyoming.
We made it to Thermopolis without any other incidents. We spent some time in the hot springs. The smell was a little overwhelming, but we had fun nonetheless. There was even a water-slide and a sauna that looked like coral was growing in it. After about 45 minutes we looked outside and a huge storm was heading our way. We decided it was time to get going anyway.
It was wonderful to get to Cody and see Faithe and Liz. We were able to meet their family and see some other familiar faces from Alaska last summer. Right after the greetings sleep called our names, so we all turned in.
In the morning Whitney, Katie and I had the privilege of heading out to the wedding site and getting the decorations put up. We didn’t really have room in the car for all the flowers, but we made it work. We had a blast getting things set up. Especially when we realized that we had no way to drive the dowels (that were supporting draped tulle and roses) into the ground… good thing I had a pair of wedge heels that stood in as a hammer.
The wedding was out on the side of a mountain about 9 miles outside of Yellowstone. The “chapel” were the ceremony was held was about a 15 minute drive from anything. Including a bathroom or place to change. So Katie, Whitney and I tried to budget in time to go find someplace, but ran out of time. So we used ingenuity and ended up finding cover to change in and did our hair on the side of the road using the car windows as mirrors.
It was a wonderful ceremony and Faithe was radiant. It sprinkled for a bit during the ceremony, but the sun came out in time for pictures.
The reception was a blast and we made some new friends and caught up with old friends. We danced the night away, enjoyed ice cream cake, lit sparklers, prayer with the bride, and then headed back to the house.
We sat on the porch and talked with Liz for a while before turning in. It was refreshing to be out in the crisp air and just sit for a while with good friends. We headed to bed a little later than we should have, but figured it was worth it.
As many great pictures as I got from the weekend, this one is near the tops of favorites. Although I was unhappy to follow the last rule on the sign.