Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Busy Sunday

Sunday was very busy. The day started out with Connections Service which meant guitar for me. I was blessed to have a team of vocalists and guitarists to allow for a less stressful worship experience for me personally.

Toward the end of the service was the Graduate Faith Milestone Ministry Blessing. Each senior gets a laundry bag as they soon learn of the never-ending process called…laundry. The laundry bags were hand crafted by myself with the bible verse 1 Corinthians 6:11 “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the spirit of our God”. This is to remind the seniors each time they do their laundry that they too were washed clean of their sins. But the seniors did not just get a laundry bag. Just as Christ has given us tools to use throughout life so we as a congregation provided them with some necessary components to launder each with a special meaning attached.
Duncan, Brad & Justin :)
  1. First the “All-mighty” laundry soap: Remember the All-Mighty Lord and look to Him as He will protect you as you journey on. 
  2. Next the “Resolve” spot remover: Take it and remember It is He who will provide for your needs, and resolve your every trouble, sorrow and setback. 
  3. Finally the gain dryer sheets: That you may be reminded of what you gain in eternity. Philippians 3:7-9 “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

After worship many things happened, and all at once. It was VBS promo week which meant the pre-5th graders got to make a craft, play a game, and whack a piƱata so as to get a sneak peek at what the VBS theme and week will be like. Our VBS this years is Amazing Wonders Aviation and it’s all about soaring with God and seeing his creation.

Also after the service was the graduation reception. Cake, blue punch (as the school color is blue), and graduate footprints on the youth room wall. Additionally the middle schoolers who have completed 8th grade get to put their handprints on the wall as they move up to the official youth group age.

Immediately after the service I dashed downstairs to first commemorate the 8th graders. With hands painted and smiles upon their faces I witnessed the 8th graders rite of passage to youth group. I was exciting and a bit saddened knowing that as they transition into youth group I will not get to be there as they embark on mission trips, lock-in's and retreats. It's sad but I'm so excited for them too. I'm grateful to have been their confirmation teacher for a year and to get to know each of them.

Hanna-Love this girl!

Mitchell is so tall he can reach clear above the doorway


Silly Steven!
Simultaneously as the hand prints were going up and the seniors were at the reception upstairs the pre-5th graders were with Ericka and the other Children's Church teachers leading the VBS activities. I caught glimpses of the activities as I was in-between things. The kids played Trinity Line-Up, and created Jesus Loves Me cupcake-cones. Of course no kick-off is complete without a pinata. 

Trinity Line Up

Following the middle school hand prints the high school footprint ceremony got rolling. Our youth room wall of feet had limited space so our ambitious seniors opted for the ceiling. This seems like a great idea but would take some doing.

We rallied up some men and Justin took the first plunge. Justin's footprints looked more like a big ole' smear.   Turns out there were 4 sets of smear instead of 2 (1 for each foot). In good spirits we asked if Justin wanted a re-do. With a smile on his face and a personality that fits the 4 smears, he said it looked good. Justin is so funny and outgoing and just takes it as it comes so I suppose his 4 blobs of feet is a tribute to that.

Next was Duncan. Duncan is a runner and has been trained to PLANT his feet. Instead of being lifted he told us he would rather do a handstand. Using a coffee table for added height Duncan planted two perfect prints upon the ceiling.

Defying Gravity

Finally it was Brad's turn. Brad too has a sense of humor to light up any room. With ticklish feet his smile once again captured the onlookers. Lifted up Brad's feet complete. 
A bit ticklish 

It was fun and again a bitter sweet moment. All three of these boys are super smart, and very talented. There is no doubt in my mind that they will do well.


A full Sunday and full weekend for that matter. I love this internship so much i'm going to go through withdraw when I leave in a month. The people here, relationships built, memories harnessed, and growth encountered is unlike anything I've ever experienced. It's so satisfying to know that God called me to Alaska for a reason and a purpose and I feel I have fulfilled that purpose. To God be the Glory!

Garage Sale

I have been offline in the blog world. This past week was sheer craziness. All week the church was flooded with donations for our spring Community Garage Sale. We accepted anything but electronics (although a few televisions managed to appear). Flowers, bar stools, tables, chairs, games, clothes even a toilet compost insinuator. Yes, all kinds of things. With so many items it took two evenings to price and sort everything.
Lots of donations
More donations!
Tuesday evening a group rallied the youth room to make a small dent in the organization process. I was not here as I was at a wedding in Fargo, ND. This is when I'm glad to have so many willing volunteers. I arrived in office Wednesday morning and we feeling rather good about the situation downstairs. As the day went on more, and more donations piled up. Thursday and Friday the same thing-more donation.
Flowers anyone?
If only the pink flowers were blue, it would make a perfect wedding centerpiece for us
This called for an extra pricing time. Friday evening I had connections service rehearsal with the vocal and guitar players. Immediately following practice it was price tags, stickers, masking tape, and sharpies to conquer the youth room donations.

In addition to donations from church members we also did something new this year. We offered a space rental for $20.00 to those in the community. $20.00 got you a space and whatever you sold was your profit. This was a good way to make it a community event and also not exhaust our congregation resources. Often times I think the congregation gives, and gives, and gives, to the youth so it's good to fund raise outside the church; not to mention a great outreach opportunity.
Our renters setting up

Lot's of stuff from community garage space renters
In the weeks previous I had revived phone calls from 17 space rentals clients. Some of these I gathered money up front others I did not. The day of the garage sale arrived. It was a dreary, cold, and cloudy day but at least it was not raining. We had 9 of the 17 renters show up. While I would have like to have all 17 show up it was great to have 9 as 17 would have been a lot. Hopefully next year we will get them all.

The morning of the garage sale was a blur. I arrived at church at ten-to-seven, I pulled out the old yard signs from the 2009 VBS and taped the publicity signs. I was grateful to have Jo, as she and I strategized where best to put up the 8 signs we had. After figuring it out on the white board we divided and conquered. I put up signs all along the Chugiak, Eagle River, and Peter's Creek communities.
The signs are ready to go
The strategic planning of where to place the signs-thanks Jo!
Prime advertising spot right there!
While I was putting up signs the youth and members of our YMT (Youth Ministry Team) moved the tables (full of items, mind you) from inside the youth room to outside in front of the church. Our space renters set-up among them a cotton candy, and face painting booth.
Cotton candy and face painting-we were not expecting this booth type of booth at a garage sale but we LOVE IT

9:00am rolled around and shoppers flooded the parking lot. There were so many people we had trouble with parking since the church parking lot is not the largest to begin with and now was taken up by garage sale booths.

Anne & Sally lounging out on some of the patio furniture. They had to make sure it worked before selling :)
Sally directed traffic and once we got the rhythm figured out the sale went off without a hitch. The preparation for this event was crazy but when everything was rolling it was rather fun. I got to browse a lot of neat things including an authentic 1962 barbie doll which was way cool but also way over my budget. I instead opted for a bag of $2.00 cotton candy.

In addition to the garage sale we also sold bake sale items. We had planned to sell soda pop, and lemonade but it was so cold so we instead brewed coffee and hot chocolate. It was darn, cold, and I regretted not wearing my winter jacket (the thought crossed my mind once or twice). The sun did not shine but the rain held off as it got caught on the other side of the mountains.
Baked goods and our church cook books
With one hour left of the garage sale we dubbed that anything you could fit in a grocery bag was $1.00. This was to get rid of stuff to make less work when it was all over. In the final hour we even managed to sell the toilet/compost incinerator which was a great relief because we doubted that the Salvation Army would have accepted it.
The lovely compost incinerator
With the garage sale ended we once again sorted out items. A pile for the fall silent auction at church, a pile for the Salvation Army, and a pile for the dump. We managed to exchange two of the do you say "retro" youth room couches for two newer, better condition couches that didn't sell at the sale.
Dump load
With vehicle packed up ready to leave to their respective places I took of to collect garage sale signs. An hour later and I was spent. My office a disaster, and things to put away, but it could wait. After all tomorrow would be an even bigger day than this.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Spring Walkin'

Moonwalkers season may be over but the spring of Alaska reveals gorgeous weather, budding trees and hope that winter may actually end! As of today Alaska has more daylight hours than any of the states in the lower 48 on their longest day. Today we have 17h 56m 13s of daylight and it continues to increase at approximately 5 minutes each day. Official sunrise: 4:59am. Sunset: 10:55pm. This is the actual rise and set however the hues of light remain until around 3:00am and there is really no “darkness” more like a dusk.
7:30pm, you'd never guess with the sunlight
Taken at the end of our walk right before the rain
The view on the way back to church
 I have more energy than ever. Yesterday I forgot to eat super until I was going to bed and realized I had yet to eat. With so much sunlight it is not surprising that at 9:45pm when I cracked my window to the fresh air that the neighbor was starting up his lawn mower. The night is young!

takin' a walk, the grass is still brown but its coming...
With all that daylight people have flooded the bike path and Alaska seems to have come alive again. Among those on the bike path are the summer hikers of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. Twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7:00pm we venture from the church parking lot to the fire department up on the hill, and back. A 2.5 mile trip. Of course all 4-legged friends come along.
Tuesday night's crew from this week
A slight size difference...
The group dogs down by the river
 On our walk this past week we noticed the trees are finally STARTING to bud. The green is appearing amidst the brown, and the snow is almost gone save for parking lots, or under deep shade. While I do so enjoy the beauty of Alaska snow glistening in the sun, the spring and summer is the hallmark of this beautiful state.

Spring is here!
 There is no end to the activities at my internship congregation. This is a congregation who really lives out the church as a body of Christ showing that faith formation happens within a church family. The walks are not structured with heavy biblical discussion (although sometimes we get on deep topics), or deep theological virtues but rather how one’s day was, the good, the bad, the funny, the sad. It’s almost therapeutic and I love it.