Sunday, July 31, 2016

July 31, 2016
Some of you may think that we have dropped off the ends of the earth.  We are still here in Alaska volunteering with GraceWorks Alaska.

Our first session picture of our staff.

Howard got the idea of putting our shirts on backwards so the word staff showed.
Jay, our director, Kate and Grace, two of our park ministry hosts, Ann, Howard and Shelby another park ministry host.  They were a hard working team and a joy to work with.

One day we went down to Anchorage and ended up going to Costco and doing a lot of shopping for the next week.
While we were there we decided to go to Moose's Tooth.  It's a favorite pizza place.  We hadn't been there since we served in Anchorage in '12.
We shared a pizza and salad.  It was as good as we remembered.
unique plates at Moose's Tooth

We did get our week break.  We got the shopping done for the next week, and we did get away some.
Someone had told us about fireweed ice cream.  We had never heard of it before.  We found a place that serves it.  It is the Valley Hotel in Palmer at the 24/7 Cafe.

We didn't realize it would be such a big bowl.  The next time we went, we shared a bowl.  It is very good.  Hard to explain what it tastes like.  It's very creamy with a hint of a fruit flavor.

This is the fire weed plant

We packed a lunch one day and drove over Hatcher's Pass.

We always like stopping at the Little Susitna River.

When we got over to the Willow side we stopped at the lake that the Iditarod starts from.  It looks so different in the summer.

This is the cabin we go and get warmed in.  It looks so much different now, than when you are cold and snow is all around.

We took one night to have a date night before everyone came in the next week.
We went back to Settler's Bay Inn.  The food was so good there last year that we repeated ourselves.

They make a spread to serve with their bread.  It has butter, cream cheese, Jalapeno peppers, and bacon in it.  It is very tasty.

We got the shrimp tempura again.

We finished out the meal sharing a creme brulee. 
It's so smooth and creamy, with the crackly crust.

Our view from the window

The next week we started our second session.  That week we were maxed out with housing.  In fact one team stayed in Anchorage and came up here to do ministry.  We had every space filled that we could house people.

This is our staff the second session.
Robin, Howard, Ann, Debbie with her husband Butch (director), Beverly, Juli and Shelby 

Anne came up after that full week.  She has been the  boost we needed.  On the way to the airport to pick up Anne, we had a moose cross the road before we left Wasilla.  We laugh, because Anne seems to repel the moose!  We see them when she isn't with us.

One week we had our home church, Parkway Baptist, up here with a team.  It was so good to see someone from home.  We enjoyed them so much.  The last night they asked if they could serve us and we ate first.  That was so kind of them.

Andrew, Sharon and Erik

Here is Cherish painting one of the kids faces at the block party.

Some of our Parkway team

Every Monday night we have our fish meal.  Here is Butch fixing and grilling the salmon.  Last week he put brown sugar on it.  It was very good!!

A week ago yesterday the staff all helped us get everything done and we all went up to Talkeetna for a few hours.  We looked around the shops and ate lunch there and then came back to Wasilla.  The rest of the staff went down to Anchorage.  Howard, Anne and I stayed here and did some shopping for the next week.  The rest of the staff always goes to Anchorage on the weekend.  They need to take the teams to the airport for their flight home Sat night, and then meet the teams coming in on Sunday night and bringing them up to Wasilla for the week.

This might be the only moose Anne's sees.  :)

On the way back to Wasilla, we go through Houston.  Miller's has the best ice cream.  We stopped there for cones.

Just some pictures of the country side.  

We will be starting our last week tomorrow morning.  It is getting harder and harder to get up at 5:30!  We have so enjoyed cooking for the teams this year.  It's always fun to see returning people.  
We have made the decision that this will be our last year.  It was a hard decision to make but we feel it is the right choice.  Our bodies are getting tired.  We love working with GraceWorks and feel it was a privilege to be able to do it these last five years.  It will be bitter sweet this week as we realize this is our last week.  Pray that there will be cooks step forward and want to volunteer with GraceWorks.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers.  We appreciate them so much.  It's very humbling to us to have you write and say you are praying for us.  Thank you.

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