We are still alive and kicking. A lot has happened in the past few months, one of which prevented us from updating the website. As you can tell we are still working out a few glitches with our computer after it decided to start cannibalizing itself. Hopefully you have received a paper copy of our latest prayer letter with the annual family picture. If not please let us know and we will be sure to get one to you by e-mail or snail mail.
The airplane is on skis now and we are getting out quite a lot, it’s hard to believe that this time last year we were heading south to pick it up. We have a lot of pictures to show you when we get the rest of the site back up (very soon we hope)
We were heading back from Anchorage the first part of December and a herd of Caribou ran out in front of us, only by God’s protection did we not hit more than one. We are fine but as you can see the Suburban did not fare as well. It is drivable but will need some work to get it back in shape. The insurance company took a while to figure out what they were going to do for us and they don’t think it’s worth fixing. They have totaled it and we will probably opt to keep it and take the salvage value, fixing what we can ourselves. We need to fix other things as well, the heater (it works great if it never gets below +10 outside), several electrical issues (cold weather and rough roads do a number on the wiring) and the ever-present but random fluid leaks (different materials shrink at different rates in extreme temperature changes.) It is important that we have a reliable vehicle we all fit in, especially when the temperatures reach down as they do here in Alaska. Please pray for wisdom as we decide what to do next.
If things go according to plan we should have the complete website back up and running by the end of the week. Look for a lot of new pictures and a more detailed narrative of the past few months. We would love to hear from you, send us an e-mail or drop us a note in the regular mail. (PO Box 271 Nenana, AK 99760)
Hopefully we have solved our computer problems for a while. It all started last September when we had to reconstruct everything due to major software issues and failures, that took a couple of months to get worked out. Then we had the hard drive self destruct a couple of weeks ago just as I was about to upload the reworked website. It seems that the hard drive was the culprit all along but the software issues needed to be dealt with anyway. Along with the computer problems we have had a rash of vehicle problems as well. You may remember the herd of caribou that wanted to play chicken with the Suburban (see the past update). Well, we decided to keep the Suburban and fix it ourselves verses allowing the insurance company to have it and not getting enough money to even think of replacing it. We have a door to put on it that will get us through the winter but it too needs to be straightened out. The plan is to change the door and headlights on the Suburban and get the paper work done so we can get it back on the road this week. We have been driving the pickup but can’t trust it to go to town anymore. It threw two belts and lost the clutch on the way home from Fairbanks at -30f. It also has a burnt exhaust valve which causes a loss of power and high oil consumption. We are waiting for the warmer weather this summer to go through everything and fix the truck.
I talked a lot about the lessons God has been teaching me lately on this weekend’s Bluegrass Hour. Matthew 6:19-34 has really hit home, everything in this world is temporary and fallible, we should focus on what is of lasting value. We should not be surprised at mechanical things breaking when needed most and it shouldn’t come as a shock that we are let down when we put our faith in something other than God . By the way, there are a lot of Bluegrass songs that deal with this very thing!
It’s tough not to get cabin fever this time of year, it’s cold out, dark most of the time, and no matter how hard we try we can’t get more than 15′ from anyone here in the cabin. One thing that helps is that we are flying quite a bit; skis are a lot of fun and open up new places to go and visit with folks. The group in Minchumina is excited about the series of studies we recently started with them and others are asking all the time “when are you going to come see us?” Folks are starting to call on us when they need a hand and are in a tight spot. We have been able to fly out on short notice to help in a couple of potential emergency situations. It is great to see how God is using us through various situations for the furtherance of His Kingdom and we are excited to be here.
Like we have said in the past it seems the more that happens the harder it is to update the website. We have been enjoying the late winter and early spring, the longer hours of daylight are a very welcome sight and the temperatures are starting to warm slightly. The sun is up more than it’s down which means that we are almost done with winter! (The “cabin fever” was getting bad there for awhile.) We have been able to use the airplane more and more to travel around and visit with friends (both new and old), have Bible studies, help with projects, get a few VFCM staff on the other side of the microphone and occasionally just relax and enjoy time with friends. We passed the 200 flight hour mark in just one year!
We have been busy here at home when not flying. Adam has been able to help with a few extra shifts at KIAM while staff have been away. Lyndy is always busy with the girls and has “school” with Sabrina a few hours spaced out in the week. Adam has volunteered to be involved with the Nenana Fire Department, he has completed his ETT (Emergency Trauma Technician) training and is waiting for the EMT course later this spring. Adam and a friend took a quick trip to Anchorage last week looking at a truck that was for sale, but came back empty handed. Lyndy is getting involved in a quilting bee that meets once a week and is enjoying the challenge.
The Master’s Mission has just updated it’s website; full of useful info and helpful resources we encourage you to take a look and see what’s new. Speaking of new things we have added an Audio Files page to our website that has clips from “Bluegrass Hour” programs. Sorry we are not able to post the music segments due to copyright issues but we are sure you will enjoy listening to portions of the program.
Well we knew this day would come but we didn’t expect it to come like this. Our pick-up truck died today, it threw a rod while Adam was coming back to the airport with a load of fuel for the airplane (3 miles from home). The way it looks now it will be hard to justify fixing the damage to the engine. This leaves us with just the Suburban and it too seems to be on it’s last leg. As I mentioned in a previous update our Suburban is in need of a lot work to get it up to par; the weather, roads, wildlife and just plain age have taken their toll.
It seems like forever since we have updated everyone. Winter has gone and along with it Spring, Summer is here now and the floats are on the airplane. We have continuous daylight now and have already hit 85f, the mosquitoes are out and the birds have all found their way back to their summer nesting grounds.
A lot of you have asked how the truck situation is going. The pick-up has been put out to pasture and Adam is slowly getting the Suburban back in shape, hopefully before the coming winter. We have set up a new vehicle fund so we can start saving for the eventual replacement of the Suburban.
We continue to get out with the airplane and are grateful for such a wonderful tool. It seems the ravens like the airplane too, they punched a hole in the fabric with their beaks. Other than curious birds and normal maintenance due to rough runway conditions the airplane continues to safely and quickly get us out into the bush. We celebrated Easter by gathering at a friend’s main camp on the Kantishna river. The usual schedule of Bible studies and visits kept us busy through the last bit of ski flying. During the slowdown of breakup we took advantage of the time to go to Bethel, 480 miles South West to visit friends at another radio station. Now that we are on floats the summer schedule is filling up fast, trips to visit folks that we can’t get to in the winter and getting ready for a “Bush wedding” in a couple of weeks. Adam will help get people and supplies out to the wedding and be part of the ceremony too.
We took our traditional trip to Anchorage on Memorial Day weekend, Adam has filled the pulpit for a Pastor friend the past couple of years as he takes his vacation. This year we took a few extra days to do a little sight seeing down in Seward and Kenai. Stopping at Exit Glacier and enjoying the Sea Life Center, an aquarium and rehabilitation center for marine mammals. We also visited with a college friend of Adam’s and meet some new friends that are missionaries with Mission Aviation Repair Center. It was great to spend a few days doing the tourist thing.
Alaska is a big state and it’s not easy to get around, so when you get where your going you stay there for a while. Bush weddings are especially that way! What a fun time and a wonderful week long celebration it was to participate in Nate & Cathy Turner’s wedding. (see the pictures) Adam helped with transportation of folks and food as well as “tag teaming” the ceremony. Lyndy helped with keeping over 50 folks fed and watered. Sabrina helped with Cathy’s train and Miriam loved making folks laugh. Because we travel in the bush quite a bit we had already met most of the folks attending but it was great to meet a few new folks. We also had a lot of fun being around when folks that knew of each other finally met face to face. In the bush you may be neighbors but it’s hard to borrow a cup of sugar when your 40 miles apart. What a special time we will never forget.
Adam had another memorable experience recently. Friends of ours at Eden Lake Bison Ranch called and asked if Adam would like to help with a special hunt, well that was an easy question to answer! The folks at Hunt of a Lifetime (an organization similar to Make A Wish Foundation) had someone they wanted to send up for a hunt. One of the things Andrew wanted to do was get a ride in a float plane so Adam took Andrew and his Dad to Eden Lake from Fairbanks and helped with the hunt. It was a great time getting to know him and his Dad and what a special thing to be a part of. It was a good opportunity for Andrew and his Dad to spend time together away from the doctors.
Lyndy and the girls have a plot in the community garden here in Nenana. This is the first summer for the garden and it had a late start but we hope to harvest a few veggies soon. The girls love digging in the dirt and seeing how the plants have changed from day to day. Everything is an opportunity to teach them like Deuteronomy 11:18-21 commands us to do.
The fire season is finally starting to slowdown here in Alaska. So far there has been 517 fires in Alaska this year that have burned 4.5 million acres as of 7-29-04 (that’s the same area as the entire state of Massachusetts). The smoke was so bad one week that visibility was less that 1/8 mile and no one flew anywhere. An area north of Fairbanks has been evacuated a few times and fires have been within 5 miles of us but thankfully God blew them away from town. Several friends have had close calls and smokejumpers camping in their yards just in case.
Adam had another opportunity to fill the pulpit for a pastor friend that was on vacation last week. He preached about “The Truth, The Whole Truth, Nothing But The Truth”, outlining what happens when folks reject the truth of God and how it’s a firm foundation to help us weather the storms of life. Next week we travel with the airplane to have a monthly Bible study in Lake Minchumina. Then it’s on to Port Alsworth and Tanailian Bible Camp for a few days of a LeTourneau University alumni get together. Adam’s Mom and Sister come up for a visit in August and the annual inspection for the airplane is due too so it will be a busy August. Then it’s moose season in September.
As you know we are still looking for reliable transportation, we now have an opportunity to purchase a Suburban from a fellow Master’s Mission Missionary that is perfect for our needs. The Cabes have recently moved to Africa and will use the money from selling their Suburban to pay for the freight of their belongings. The catch: the Suburban is in North Carolina, we are still saving money and need to have everything in place by the end of August. We would like to head south in late September after we take the airplane off floats and purchase their Suburban. Then spend a few weeks driving back to Alaska visiting with as many of you as possible, sharing with you how wonderful it is to minister in Alaska. We will let you know our plans as they firm up.
On another note, we have run into problems sending some of you e-mails about website updates. It seems that some spam filters and internet service providers are a little too vigilant to block “suspicious e-mails”. We send out a notification to 150 or so of you and so far we haven’t found an easy quick way to get the word out that doesn’t have issues. If anyone has any ideas please let us know. As always thanks for keeping up with us and we look forward from hearing from all of you.
The Biggest News First…
We expect the fifth member of our family to arrive mid-February! No not a sled dog, but kiddo three with Sabrina and Miriam already excited about having “their own” baby. Lyndy is doing great, she just gets tired and needs more sleep. Now to answer your question about where we’re going to put this one; that is a good question. We would like to build a larger place next Summer, we have several sketches and rough plans we have been working on. Pray with us that God would continue to provide for our needs.
The other big news is that we will be traveling “outside” for six weeks. With the new baby on the way it’s best that we travel now instead next spring and we need to get the Suburban that we purchased to Alaska before winter sets in. If you remember, another TMM family is selling their Suburban to pay their moving cost to Kenya and it’s a perfect fit for our needs. Look at the Pictures page to see the new ride. Check the Important Dates page for our schedule and to get an idea on our route. We plan to spend some time with family this time out, Adam has lost two Grandparents in 18 months and Lyndy’s Dad is dealing with a brain tumor.
The summer is all but gone, we are getting frost at night, the leaves are yellow, the tundra is red and the bull moose are calling. Adam hopes to bag our year supply of meat before we fly to the “lower 48”. It has been a great summer although a smoky one. The latest tally shows 6.4 million acres have burned this year in Alaska, the highest on record. With the coming of fall the fires die down and the smoke clears, not a day too soon. The smoke did slow us down with our travels but we were still able to get out from time to time. One trip turned the airplane into a veggie truck. Some friends grew too large of a garden and Adam helped distribute the bounty to neighbors far and wide. Another trip was to help other friends with a down horse and malfunctioning farm equipment. We even made it out for our monthly Bible study to Lake Minchumina. We did make it out to Port Alsworth for the LeTourneau Alumni gathering. What a lot of fun that was, meeting other Alumni and reliving all the stories of legend.
The annual inspection on the airplane didn’t reveal any surprises and went smoothly. We have passed the 300 hour mark in just 18 months! We are grateful for such a wonderful tool that will continue to meet our needs even with the new baby on the way.
Granny and Aunt B (Adam’s Mom and Sister) came up for a visit and we all enjoyed having them here. The kids loved being spoiled and Mom & Dad loved the babysitting. When are y’all coming back?
We have published another prayer letter that will go in the mail this week to those who have asked to still receive a copy. Most of you have told us that you just download a copy from the website, thanks that saves us a lot of money in printing cost and postage.
We are on the road now and the trip has been great so far. We enjoyed our time at TMM, Covington Christian’s homecoming, the time with Adam’s folks and a Sunday at Grace Fellowship in Rincon. We are traveling through the heartland right now and look forward to the time we will spend in Denver at the Family Missions Conference.
On another note; we have found out the we are expecting a girl. We have a sonogram the day we flew to the “lower 48” and it showed a healthy mom and baby and that Adam is still the only man in the house. Sabrina and Miriam are exited about having another sister and we are happy that the pregnancy is going well and that we won’t have to find boy clothes and toys.
We will try to keep you updated as we travel, thanks for keeping up with us!
We’ve been on the road for a month now and have enjoyed catching up with folks. The girls are traveling good and have gotten into the routine. The Suburban is doing great and it’s wonderful to have. We really enjoyed our time at the Denver Missions Conference, it was fun to catch up with fellow TMM’ers and it was exciting to see and talk to so many interested in missions. We will update you again soon.
It was a great trip but it’s good to be home! We pulled into our driveway late last Monday evening (Nov. 1st). We are still unpacking and trying to get things set up for winter. We came home to 8″ of snow and single digit temps. Everything in the house and airplane were fine.
We are off to a wedding this weekend and have several trips to make with the airplane so we have hit the ground running. We will give a more complete wrap up of the trip as soon as we get a little more settled.
Made the switch for wheels to skis today. We are getting ready to fly out and have Thanksgiving with friends at Lake Minchumina.