Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Leaving a Legacy of Love: One Woman's Journey Through Life"

When I first planned on doing some writing this weekend, I wasn't sure if it would really happen. Most of the time I plan to write, but end up not being able to think of anything to write about. Last night before going to bed, I thought I'd give writing a shot. This entry is the result of that.

For years, I've been working piece by piece on my autobiography. I've entitled it "Leaving a Legacy of Love: One Woman's Journey Through Life." I figured it would be a lifelong project, but I wanted to get some stories down while I was young enough to remember them. Below is the newest addition about my visit to Alaska in 2007:

Part One: Alaska, or Bust!

My church goes on Work and Witness trips every summer to “exotic” places to build churches, and have fun getting to know each other better. In May 2007, the church got a group together to go to Big Lake, Alaska. The church congregation we were sent to help is actually located a few miles from Big Lake in Wasilla/Palmer, Alaska. I’ve wanted to go on such a trip since I started attending the Newport Church of the Nazarene. It’s partly because I’ve always wanted to travel, and partly because I’d be serving God through serving others. When the opportunity presented itself and the timing was right, I jumped at the chance to go.

What was so great about going on this trip was getting to turn a donated strip club into a church and soup kitchen. There is a man in the congregation that owned twelve strip clubs throughout Alaska, and got rid of half of them when he and his wife got saved. The one that got “donated” was actually leased to the church pastor at a very reasonable rate on a rent-to-own basis. The remaining clubs he owned he is slowly selling to the staff, so they could still have a job, and make a profit by owning their own businesses.

It was enjoyable and hard work the entire two weeks my group was there. Everybody on the team, which was thirteen of us, worked their hands at a little bit of everything from carpentry to electrical to installing insulation. I was given jobs that nobody else really wanted, but I did them joyfully because I was serving my Lord. Even the pain and exhaustion at the end of the day left me with a sense of satisfaction for a job well done.

Our group would start each day by getting up at 6 AM, gather for breakfast at 7 AM, and be to the work site by 8 AM where we’d work until lunch, during the lunch we’d have a devotion time and someone would share their testimony, we’d be back to work at 1 PM and stay until 5 PM or so, then back to the campground for dinner.

We weren’t all work and no play. One Saturday, some women got a group together to go shopping in Anchorage for the day. Since I’ve never been big into spending hours shopping, I went along with the other group that had formed to check out the Matanuska Glacier, but that’s another story I’ll be telling later.

One day, I got to go with a husband and wife in the group to check out Happy Trails Kennels, home to Iditarod racer Martin Buser, who kept 75 sled dogs. The place was located just down the road from our campground, so we left work early one day to check it out. That’s another experience to go into more detail about later.

In the end, I didn’t want to leave. I liked Alaska so much I wanted to make it my home. What got me back on the plane was the thought of my family and friends waiting for me back home who were missing me. At the time, I also had a boyfriend I’ve been missing, and a job to return to.

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