Sunday, August 14, 2011

Our God is an AWESOME God!

Last week I was blessed with a visit from my fiance Adam. He was here for just under a week and in that time he was able to witness a variety of Alaskan experiences. Throughout the week I tried to share with Adam what so many have shared with me in just the few months I've been here. I've only been here a couple months, but this state, Alaska, is one giant letter to me from God, showing me daily how AWESOME and POWERFUL He really is. The animals, the landscape, the people, God is evident each day.

Tuesday was a trip to Seward, AK on the Alaska Railroad. The trip is about 130 miles (Anchorage to Seward). I had never road a train before so this was exciting to me. The train had a dining car, a bar car, and a car with a glass roof. It was a fun ride, but it was very foggy and rainy which made for low visibility on what is dubbed "The Best Way to See Alaska" (Alaska Railroad motto)
A PUFFIN! They are the cutest little birds I ever did see!
Otter in Resurrection Bay (Kenai Fjords Tour)
Downpour of rain
There was a leak in the downspout
TWO humpback whales a mom and calf
Whale of a tail

Wednesday was a trip to Whittier, AK. Whittier is accessible only by a 2.5 mile tunnel that goes literally through a mountain. The tunnel is a one way road shared by the railroad. It is monitored by the station and the use of traffic lights allows each vehicle to go at the correct time (which is about every 1/2 hour unless there is a train). Whittier is a quaint little town that really can be seen in a matter of five minutes. The City of Whittier was incorporated in 1969. Today, less than 300 people reside in the town supporting the Alaska State Ferry, the Alaska Railroad, freight barge, commercial fishing, the Small Boat Harbor, recreation and tourism with an annual visiting population of over 700,000. In 1948 the military began construction of the first of two buildings for their military personnel as the Port of Whittier was then recognized as an ice-free, deepwater port strategically located to Anchorage and Interior Alaska. This remained active until 1960 at which time the total population was 1200. After closing the population greatly decreased. In 1964 with the great Alaska Earthquake 13 of it's 70 residents were killed.
The tunnel to get to Whittier (note train tracks that one must drive on)

After exploring Whittier we traveled back through the tunnel to go to a local wildlife refuge. There were many animals including bison, musk ox, caribou, moose, black and brown bear, and bald eagles.
Musk Ox
Brown Bear aka Grizzly (but Alaskans call them "Brown Bears"

 Upon leaving we were told that if we were traveling back toward Anchorage we would not be back anytime soon. The road was closed due a bad accident (a 15 passenger van with a church group and a suburban with 8 people hit head on).

Normally this would not be a big deal as people could find alternate routes, but in Alaska there is only ONE route to head south of Anchorage. One road, one lane, along the coast. This highway can be dangerous since the scenic view is a distraction and if drivers are not alert the winding road that follows the jutted coastline could end up fatal. In this case one person died.

Cool, I found my last name Kuhl!
We were told the road would be open at 7:00pm. Now on the south side of Anchorage there is not much to do, nor are there many towns. So Adam and I traveled to Girdwood AK to check out the Alyeaska resort. Upon entering the resort we found many other travelers who had the same idea. We then traveled back toward the highway only to be informed that the road would remain closed until 10:00pm.

Adam and I found ourselves at a corner “mini mall” (if you could call it that). It consisted of a gas station, pizza shop, sheriff office, and “The Great Alaskan Tourist Shop”. The parking lot of the gas station was full and an overflow of parked cars was on the road since everyone was in the same boat. Among the travelers were two charter tour buses, a nursing home bus, and several motor homes.

By this point Adam and I were hungry so we went to Coast pizza. If you look at the sign in the picture below you will notice that the “T” in coasT is capitalized. This is because the previous owners owned shop that sold Tacos, so new management wanted a pizza place name to reuse the letter so not to purchase new ones.
coasT pizza was PACKED, since it was one of about five places to eat (the others were in Girdwood). We got some pizza and then went next door and spent over an hour in “The Great Alaskan Tourist Shop” which was a small two room store. Let’s just say we memorize all the prices and knew where each product was at by the time we left.

Traffic jam, Alaska style
Look at all the traffic, it was backed up for 7 miles
Friday we went fishing with one of the members of Our Redeemer named Mark. Mark is a great salmon fishermen (among other fish) and knows all the good spots. He took us fishing for Silver Salmon, but we instead caught Pink Salmon and Chum Salmon (aka Dog Salmon). I did not catch any fish but I did have the largest catch: A STICK! At any rate I was glad that Adam caught his limit, so he could be apart of the real Alaska experience for fishing.
Adam's catch: Chum Salmon
My catch: A stick as long as my pole
We make waders look good! 
In the evening we were bless again to have a church member, Gaye allow us to take out her Kayaks. We went to Eklutna which was stunning. It was not windy, and the rain held off for us long enough to get in a good paddle.

It was like being back canoeing in the boundary waters...well except it was in a lake, with a kayak, but very cool!

God is apparent no matter where one casts a gaze!

Saturday we headed north on our only non-rainy day. Destination Matanuska Glacier. We stopped to take in some of the beautiful scenery along the way but the glacier was the highlight of the day.

In the middle of the glacier...A lake, look at the size of the people on the bottom left (click for larger view)

You cannot tell from this picture but each of those peaks are hundreds of feet tall. (see above picture for size comparison to the people)
I'm on top of the world
Beautiful day!

Alaska is so beautiful. I have said it time and time again, and perhaps it's because I'm still new, but each day I see something new, or even something old in new light, and it just amazes me and humbles me. God's greatness I cannot fathom, nor understand in my finite mind since He is an infinite God. What best descibes my feelings are the words written by the psalmists in the following verses...

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat. (Psalm 19:1-6)

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that you should think about them human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority—the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea and everything that swims the ocean currents. Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! (Psalm 8:3-9)

Our God really is an AWESOME God!

No comments:

Post a Comment