Each season in Port Alsworth brings about new experiences and things to learn. Each time the seasons I change I find new reasons to love this place I have grown to call home. I have definitely kept busy this summer, but have found time to play and enjoy the abnormally warm and sunny weather. You’ll get no complaints from me about the 80 degree days and clear blue skies! Here are some of my favorite moments and events from the summer.
GRACE: Several weeks back there was an unexpected visitor in Port Alsworth that quickly won the hearts of many. Her name is Grace and was a 3 week old baby beaver. I think you can see why she was a hit!
You can read more about Grace’s story and see pictures on my friend Kathryn’s blog. (Photo credit goes to Kathryn Bronn)
TANALIAN HIKE: I have done a good amount of hiking this summer, but one of my favorite hikes was with 3 lovely ladies that I met because they came out to work for Tanalian Bible Camp. We had a wonderful time sharing what God has done in our lives (despite the high winds and temperature changes along the way). I was disappointed when I realized I never took a pictures of us together, but here’s a shot from one of our stops along the way.
FOURTH OF JULY: On the 4th of July we had a major picnic that everyone in town was invited to. It was a blast to celebrate with so many people under a giant tarp hung over a playhouse and bulldozer. It was wonderful just eating and chatting with friends. I realized how much I love these ladies and am grateful for the different ways that they each enrich my life. I can’t even begin to explain how incredibly fortunate I am to have them. I am not sure I would have made it through this last year without them.TANALIAN BIBLE CAMP: I ended up spending a couple weeks in the camp kitchen and really enjoyed it. I got to know some of the summer staff pretty well and made some great friends. I was refreshed because I got to spend time building different kinds of relationships, catch up with old friends, and intentionally mentor one of the girls on staff. After sharing my testimony one night at camp, a girl on staff for three weeks asked me to meet with her. I am not sure whether it was more beneficial for her or for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! I will and do miss many of the staff members that came through this summer. I am so glad that they got to experience camp and a small taste of Port Alsworth and look forward to seeing many of them back again.
CONTINUED MENTORING: This summer has also been time for me to continue mentoring in a different way. Our friendships are growing stronger, but there has been a marked shift in how we relate – in a good way. It’s always a treat to spend time with Sophia and Girla (TLC students who have stayed in Port Alsworth for the summer). I love them more each day and am certain God has amazing things in store for the two of them in the future. They impress me with their maturity and faith whenever I spend time with them.
CAMPING WITH VALOR: Another one of my favorite highlights was going on a camping trip with some girl cadets who came up through Valor, a ministry of Campus Crusade. I was asked to share my story with them. I was told that I had up to two hours to share about what God has done in my life. It was incredible how many of the things God has taught me struck a chord with each of them. I also had the opportunity to facilitate a low-ropes Team Adventure Challenge Course day with them. It was a blast spending time with those lovely young ladies. An added bonus was one of the staff members happened to be a college classmate I hadn’t seen in 5 or so years. I also thoroughly enjoyed trying out my “cozy” two-man tent with Sarah. We stayed up way to late chatting and laughing. It is not a night I will soon forget.
PICKING THE NET: I have also learned some valuable skills this summer. One thing that I have been waiting to do since I moved here was establish residency so I could go out and pick the gill net. Well, my time has come. I was able to go out and pick the net with Eric and Jon. However, later in the day neither of them was around to drive the boat. So Sarah and I, completely undeterred by this decide that we can go out in a canoe. It was slightly awkward, but we got the job done even with Ellah, our extra little passenger who thought we were going to tip and freeze to death. All the salmon and lake trout were then vacuum sealed and the preparations for winter are started.
EVEN MORE SUMMARY: To fill in some gaps in the summer, I also checked off three more Alaskan towns; Kenai, Soldotna, and Fairbanks. Summer is a great time to go hiking, kayaking, and just adventuring with others. As much as I have enjoyed the activities of the summer the best part has just been making friendships with the wonderful people of Port Alsworth and growing in the relationships I already have. I may not be rich, but my life most definitely is.