Monday, May 23, 2011

School's Out for Summer!!

For a video of the Yukon river breakup click HERE
I've been hearing teachers everywhere singing the short song bit from Alice Cooper's "Schools out for Summer" over the past week. On Saturday, Galena bid a fond adieu' to all 200 of the dorm teenagers and sent them home to villages and cities all across the state. Most of the teenagers that attend the Bible Church do not live in Galena, and those that do are mostly going on vacation, as is most of everyone else in the church. Time for the annual shopping spree, trips to see family, and some leisure vacation too. Several of the native families are going to "fish camp" this summer. In Athabaskan culture, and other native Alaskan cultures,  families traditionally move to a different location during the Summer to catch salmon. They'll use set nets, dip nets, or some will use a traditional fish wheel, though there are fewer that use this method today.

This past week was a very eventful week. Last Saturday was Galena Prom. The GILA and the City School join together, and it was a very special event. The community is invited to for a portion of the evening, so Shell and I found a baby sitter (thank you Amanda) and threw down some Cajun Two Step to "Johnny Be Good".  Last Sunday was GILA students' last Sunday to attend church with us. I was so proud of those Godly students. Even though they attended prom, AND the after prom that was held at the school until 6am, they still made up their minds to come to church AND stay awake!! I really had to remind myself that these students don't have ANYONE here telling them to go to church. I preached on "Sending Just Like Jesus" and concluded the series that we had been doing by looking at Acts 1:8. I challenged them to bring the Gospel home, and if there wasn't a Bible believing church in their village, to start one.

Wednesday was a devastating day in Galena. We had another fire. A gentleman in town was cooking dog food for his sled dogs (a normal practice of sled dog owners) when his fire that was in a 55 gallon drum was carried by the wind to nearby grass. It quickly spread to his home, shop, back yard, and even began to burn a neighboring home. We heard the city siren go off as we were out splitting fire wood. I (like every other available man in Galena) raced in the direction of the smoke and began fighting the acre wide fire. We were unable to save the house or the shop, but managed to put the fire out on the neighboring house and we prevented the fire from moving beyond the property (there are dense woods that border the property on all sides). One dog died of smoke inhalation, but I was able to save another dog that was chained to his dog house. I burned my hand on the chain because it was so hot, and the dog had ember burns over his body. The Dog was flown to Fairbanks for veterinary treatment. The man lost everything in that fire, but the community has really rallied around him for support. They held a raffle Saturday night and raised over $7000 for him. I think when I return from my trip south that I will speak with the the volunteer fire chief and find out what I need to do to "officially" be on the volunteer fire department.

Thursday night Galena Bible Church hosted the 2011 Graduate Baccalaureate Service. This was a voluntary church service for graduating seniors and their families. We had over twenty of the thirty five seniors, and the church was full!! One of the church council members gave a challenge to the students, and several students from the church sang "Carry Your Candle". Karrie Anderson lead the congregation in a couple of songs, and the high school principle represented the Catholic Church in Galena by praying a blessing over the students at the close of the service.

This Sunday was our last Sunday with several of the dorm staff. We have a desire as a church to be a sending church. As such we had those individuals not returning for next school year to come forward, and we prayed over them. These believers have done an amazing job of showing students Christ's love and will be sorely missed. We are looking forward to the new families that are moving in to take their positions for next year. Several of them are believers.

We are in a mad rush to complete our final projects before leaving Galena for a month. Firewood still needs to be cut split and stacked. Grocery lists still need to be inventoried and completed (12 months of groceries is a lot of work to plan for). Building materials still need to be priced and itemized for summer projects. With that this will be our last blog post until we return to Galena, July 9th.

Things you can be praying for over the coming month:
- Pray for safety in the many legs of our journey south and our return.
- Pray for our support raising endeavors as we speak with individuals and churches.
- Pray  that in the midst of our schedule while traveling, we might find some to rest.

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