So, about Alaska….
Those of you who were tracking via twitter and facebook know we were in Alaska last week. We went with a few dear friends, and if there is a rule about laughing on a ministry trip, we probably broke it. We had a blast traveling with them.
We were in Wasilla, Alaska, holding meetings and exploring what God is stirring in the arena of prayer in that region. In a word, wow. None of us had ever seen so many pastors and intercessors working together. At least one group of fifteen or twenty pastors meets to pray for two hours weekly. We sat in on that meeting – their obvious appreciation for one another and willingness to carry each others’ burdens and celebrate successes together was exciting. We also met with intercessors, youth pastors, worship leaders…my gut says if anyone wanted to talk about prayer, we ended up meeting them that week. We also preached a number of meetings…Kels did one for night and day prayer, I spoke at a midweek service, and Kelsey and I both spoke twice on Sunday. (Side note; we’ll have Kelsey’s audio for you shortly. It was phenomenal….).
Monday we flew home tired and hoarse, full of appreciation and affection for the church in Alaska.
The obvious question we get asked is “So….did you like it?” Let me say that often times the marker of being an adult is when you realize that the expectations you have for a place are rarely fully met. I remember getting off a plane at LAX with Zion years ago – he was three or four – only to have him immediately burst into tears and wail “This isn’t California!”. I kind of had the same experience at Disneyland.
Things just rarely measure up to what you hope….and I had high hopes for Alaska. I’ve been intrigued with it since reading James Michener’s ‘Alaska’ back when Kelsey was pregnant with Jackson and slept through her first tri-mester. I loved the quirky show ‘Northern Exposure’. I’ve always liked what I perceived Alaska to be – vast, independent, and a little off beat…and Alaska blew my expectations away.
At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, it’s very large. At one point I twittered “this is like Colorado on crack….”. To look three directions and see mountain ranges that, if you were able to get across them, would be followed by another, and another, and another….is just hard to imagine. I got a tinge of the feeling of remoteness in the Black Rock Desert, but even there you know the interstate system is only 80 miles away. Alaska takes vast to a whole ‘nother level.
Alaskans are carnivores, and this one detail alone would be enough for me to find them to be wonderful people. They fed us like kings. Moose. Salmon. Caribou. I ordered reindeer sausage in a restaurant. I half expected one end to faintly glow red. It didn’t.
Another thing I noticed about Alaskans is that they’re not waiting around for someone to figure out their problems. I think the best thing about the place is that it’s about as far away as one can get from Washington, DC and stay on the continent. These folks figure things out for themselves. We had dinner one night with a career pilot who’d flown for the Navy and now Alaska Airlines. He and his wife built their house by themselves 20+ years ago, completely off the grid. Prior to building their house (and designing their own power and water system), he had ‘never built so much as a bird house….’. Alaskans have a git r dun chip that is often missing down here in the lower 48, the land of Home Depot and those pesky building codes. Zoning? We don’t need no stinking zoning. The nearest neighbor is a two day dog sled away.
Thanks to all in Wasilla who helped make the trip happen, as well as those who helped on the home front with our kids. We are grateful – and Alaska, I hope to see you again soon!
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