Sunday, July 28, 2013

Third week in Wasilla

We have finished our third week here in Wasilla.  It was a busy week.  We had teams here from St. Louis, MO, Cleburne, TX and The Hawaii Kai church in Hawaii.

We try and make chapel everyday.  Usually one of the teams does chapel.  The team from St. Louis, did their bible lessons in the park everyday by doing a skit.  So they did the skit for chapel.  It was the story of the lost sheep and the shepherd looking for the lost sheep.  They had made white hoods with ears to look like sheep.  This way the kids could participate.  So, that day they had the adults in chapel participate and become sheep.
Tuesday morning the teams went to the Iditarod Trail Headquarters.  We decided to go out also and then stopped at Fred Meyers to do some grocery shopping on the way home.  It was a very interesting place to visit.



 They have a lot of the puppies out there for training.  They like people to pet them so they get used to human handlers for the race.  Here are some of the dogs hitched up to a four-wheeler in which they will pull some people around the grounds.
 The trail runs from Anchorage to Nome.  It is 1100 miles long.  There are two different routes that are used.  The northern route is used on even years and the southern route is used on odd years.  The route varies about 10 miles.
It has been a race every year since 1978.  It starts the first Saturday in March.  GraceWorks has three weeks of teams that come out to help with the race.  They help with parking and anything else the race needs help with.  It is a cold time of the year to come up.

The dogs all wear booties on their feet.  This tree has several booties hanging on it, and it looks like a Christmas tree!
The rest of the week was pretty routine.  Cook the meals, do the dishes, clean up the kitchen, clean the bathrooms, and go grocery shopping.  Most nights we are in bed by 8:00.  Pretty sad isn't it?  We are in a room with no windows, so it is dark.  We do hear the teams when they come back in at night, but we have gotten used to it and it doesn't bother us.
Saturday the teams are all out of here by 8:45.  Yesterday I brought all the table things to the kitchen and made sure they were wiped off and filled: peanut butter, Nutella, honey, butter, pilot bread, napkins and salt and pepper.  I made sure all the tables were wiped off and dried.  Howard did the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen.
When we were done with the kitchen, we went into the rooms that the teams slept in and vacuumed and put tables and chairs in for SS.  After church today we will take down tables, and put our air mattresses, pillows and blankets.
We will do food shopping this afternoon, to get started for this week.
While we were cleaning yesterday two of my cousins and their spouses came in. They are touring around Alaska in their motor home.  They went to the Iditarod headquarters while we finished our work.  
We drove them over to Palmer to see the farm land.  Butch is a farmer in Illinois and I knew he would be interested in seeing the area.






We walked right by this tractor and then Butch pointed out the steering wheel.  Notice how it is connected to a wheel on the back.  Probably a wagon is hitched up to the tractor and then it can be steered from the back.

We liked this sign at one place.




 Cousins:  Linda, Butch, Betsy and Rick
Fire weed is in bloom all over this time of year.  It is so pretty.

Last night we were treated to dinner at Evangelo's.  It was delicious, and it was fun just sitting and talking with family.
We talked some when we got back to the motor home and then we headed to bed.  We did manage to stay up a little later last night.

Pray for the teams coming in tonight.  Pray for all the staff and their stamina.  It's been a great staff up here, but we are all getting tired by the end of the week!
I'm hearing good things are happening in the parks, so keep praying!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Second Week in Wasilla

This blog is probably going to have lots of pictures in it.  We just finished out second week here in Wasilla.  It is starting to feel like home.  We did the usual things this week, preparing meals, cleaning and shopping.  My social life has consisted of shopping at Three Bears, Fred Meyers, and Walmart.  Our social life changed a lot this week.

We had a team come up from Parkway Baptist Church in Smyrna, TN.  This is our home church.  When they first decided to come up we assumed we would be serving in Anchorage.  But, we were asked to serve in Wasilla this summer.

On Thursday night our team had the evening off so we drove down to Anchorage to spend some time with them.  We met them and then rode with them to Arctic Roadrunner and ate along the creek-side.



We went to WildBerry and did some shopping and had our picture taken by the chocolate fountain.

We took them down by the water by the port and then they dropped us off because we needed to head back to Wasilla.  We had a full day the next day.
We have not been staying up that late, and saw a beautiful sunset on the way home.  It was about 11:00 at night.

It almost looks like a forest fire, doesn't it?

Friday is always a full day.  We fixed breakfast, lunch and dinner for the teams.  On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday they pack a sack lunch, so it gives us some time to get some grocery shopping done.  We cannot do a lot of shopping at one time, because we don't have the refrigerator or freezer space.

On Saturday morning, we fixed breakfast and then left to drive down to Anchorage.  Thanks  to our staff here, they served and cleaned up so we could go on the sight seeing trip with the team from Parkway.  We drove down along the Turnagain Arm and went to Portage Lake and Glacier.

Picture taking time at Bird Point.  It's always a beautiful place to stop.


We stopped at a glacier fed lake.  It was very beautiful!


We went out on a cruise ship to see the Portage Glacier


 The mighty team from Parkway!
Your's truly and her husband.

One view of the glacier
We also hiked out on a glacier.  I didn't make it.  I hiked 35 minutes and still wasn't there, so turned around and went back.  I knew I would not be able to keep up with them.


This is a view along the trail.
We went to the Wild Conservation Center and saw some of the wild life.
 Moose

 elk
 musk ox
black bear

The Parkway team came up to Wasilla last night and spent the night here.  This morning we got the rooms ready for SS and then drove up in the mountains.

First we had to go find Sarah Palin's house.  It is a nice place on the lake.

 We drove up the mountain toward Independance Mine.  We stopped alongside the Little Susitna river and enjoyed the scenery.  While we were there the Channel 2 News truck pulled up and got out and set up their camera.  We asked what was going on.  There was a 5 K hand cyclist race going on.  They were coming up the mountain.  

 These two men were in the lead.  The news man told us there were probably the fastest in the world.  It was amazing to watch.  They were going all the way up to Independence Mine!!
 The mine was worked in the 30'a and 40's.  It reminded me a lot of the mine ruins we have visited in S CA.  It is in the process of being restored.


 This if for you people who are suffering in the heat right now.  It was a pleasant 60 degrees and bright sunshine.
We came back to Wasilla and ate at Pizza Hut.  The team took us back to church and told us good bye.  They are flying all night tonight to get home. It was great to spend time with them.  Now, it is back to work!
Pray for the new teams coming in tonight.  Our team left some of their hearts in Penland Park.  Pray for the new team that will take their place in Penland. Pray for Howard and I and our staff here in Wasilla. We are working with some great people.  We even have a team from Hawaii this week. 








Saturday, July 13, 2013

First Week in Wasilla

We have finished our first week in Wasilla.  It has been a busy week!  Last Sunday morning we left  Anchorage after breakfast and drove up to Wasilla to stay.  We are staying at First Baptist Church of Wasilla. A couple of ladies in the church took us out to lunch after church.  It was nice to get to know them.  Carolyn is the church receptionist.

Our teams are all housed here also.

We had 32 team members here plus five staff people.  We have a room all set up and it is very comfortable.


After lunch Howard starting getting the kitchen organized.  I set up the rooms for the teams to stay in.  It took me quite a while to blow up 32 air mattresses and decide how many people to put in each room.  It won't be as hard this next week, because the mattresses are all blown up!

Tuesday night we are following the tradition that GraceWorks Anchorage does.  We are having the Alaska food.  We start out breakfast with pancakes and blueberry syrup and reindeer sausage.  For dinner we had.....

Halibut Olympia

Grilled salmon

Boiled red potatoes

Cabbage salad

Cheddar cheese biscuits (Anchorage makes hush puppies)

It sure makes a nice looking plate.  It tasted very good also!!

We have spent quite a bit of time shopping this week for food and equipment that we needed.  We primarily shop at Three Bears (have a lot of Costco items), Walmart and Fred Meyers (Kroger down there).

We fix lunch for the teams on Monday and Friday;  Tues--Thurs the teams pack their lunch and take it with them.  

On Thursday morning one of the teams that has been going to Palmer went out to their park and cleaned it up.  We drove out to see what they were doing.  It looked very nice.





We drove around the area a little bit.  It is beautiful. Here is a field of produce.  Isn't it beautiful with the background of the mountains?




I love this picture of the farm with the mountain in the background!  
Palmer is where the Alaska State Fair is held.  Some year I would love to be up here for it.


The team going to Palmer had their block party Thursday.  They go over to the park every day,  We feed the kids a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and give them pretzels and a drink.  They do different activities with them.  On Thursday nights we have a block party in Palmer.  We have free hot dogs and chips and drinks for the kids and parents.  We will do this for four more weeks.



This team did a puppet show at the block party.


Friday night was the block party for the Wasilla Wonderland Park.  We also have a team going there every day.  Howard and I went to both of the block parties for a few minutes.  We were able to talk to different people and explain to them what GraceWorks does.  


Jack was one of our team member's son.  He had his face painted.  The team members' kids provide a natural opening sometimes to talk to kids and their families.


We found these one morning from one of our team leaders.  It was so thoughtful of Anna.


The church has a sanitizer, but it hasn't been used in a LONG time.  It was not working.  A couple of our staff people from GraceWorks got it working.  It is wonderful.  We are using plates, glasses and silverware here because the church has them and it cuts down on waste and cost.

We wash the dishes and put them in the sanitizer and the water heats up to 195 degrees in 45 seconds and then it rinses them for 10 seconds.  They come out all sanitized and HOT.  It makes doing dishes so much faster!

Our teams all left today for a sightseeing trip and will be flying home tonight.  I spent the morning getting the rooms set up for Sunday School tomorrow.  Howard cleaned up the kitchen and took care of things so it won't interfere with church tomorrow.
We also went to do laundry.  That was Sticker SHOCK.  It cost $3.50 to do a load of laundry.  We then used an extractor to take out a lot of the water.  That cost $1.25.  Then the dryers were $.25 for three minutes.  We did our laundry, some bedding, and towels from the kitchen.  We spent a little over $25.00!

Carolyn, the church receptionist, brought us some rhubarb from her place.  I cleaned and cut it up tonight and froze it.  We will have rhubarb pie sometime while we are here!

That about finishes up our first week.  Tomorrow after church I again have to set up rooms for the teams coming in tomorrow night.
We have had beautiful weather.  It's been mostly in the 70's, but today it was in the 80's I think.  We wonder why we brought jackets up!  But, that could change.

Continue to pray for us to have energy and to have servant attitudes as we serve the teams coming up.  Pray for the teams as they contact with people in the park and share Christ with them.

Some of you have said that you had trouble viewing our pictures.  If you go to my blog you will see everything there that I have posted.