2 of the mornings we were in Alaska we spent at the Food Bank of Alaska in Anchorage.
This is a very large warehouse that services lots of food pantries and other organizations all throughout Alaska. We truly enjoyed our time here! We had a wonderful lady, Mariko, who told us all about Alaska hunger problems…how most of them are children and elderly. She gave us a tour of the food warehouse, which again, is huge. Their freezer is bigger than our house I believe!
While we were at the food bank, there were also several other people we got to meet there. Prayerfully, the love of Jesus shone through our actions and words. Most of the other “volunteers” there with us were people who were serving time doing community service and were just out of jail or in a halfway house. We were blessed to work alongside these people!
We sorted food, stacked cans, cleaned up areas, looked through clothing donations and bagged potatoes. But, hopefully, we did more than that! Hopefully we planted seeds, encouraged, and enabled the food bank to get a little more food out to the hungry of Alaska. They have so many wonderful donations! But someone has to be there to go through each piece, can, box or bag of food.
Today David was able to go with some of our team to help with the mushers…a dog sledding team here called Jonrowe Kennel. This apparently is a pretty famous place that we were priveleged to be a part of today! They had a lot of fun! And they did a lot of hard work today!
We also had our first official day of VBS, it was a wonderful and busy day! Please be in prayer. So many people turn away from anything spiritual in this area, it is so easy for us to see after only having been here a few days. But, we are so thankful for the children we were able to minister to today. We had a lot of fun! The other part of our team that came from Arkansas has a really phenomenal clown ministry…needless to say, the kids LOVE the clowns!
I have been leading the music portion of our VBS, and we are having a lot of fun – with smaller children AND the teenagers – learning new songs and doing fun dances with them.
Tonight we had several of the leaders from Alaskan mission organizations come and speak to us. It was a very interesting night! Here are some things we learned about Alaska from these leaders.
*In Alaska, 95% of the people are lost
*In a survey taken from the newspaper, 22, 000 out of 300,000 Alaskans in the city of Anchorage attend worship on any kind of regular basis at all. However, this also included other denominations that we would not consider Christian.
*In distant villages (the bush) they still have animal worship
*One of the biggest needs in Alaska is Christian leadership
*Alaska is the nation’s leader in suicide
*the incest rate is also very high here especially in the outlying villages. Young girls are raped by brothers and fathers at the onset of puberty. Close to 100% of women that come out of these villages have been raped and/or affected by incest in some way
*the LIE: this is the way life is in the village, deal with it.
*the other big issues here: teen pregnancy, STD’s and alcoholism
*100 villages in Alaska have no Christian work or ministry at all
These statistics are sobering. Please be in prayer with me that the true LIGHT would be brought into the darkness of Alaska.
Just a quick note from ALASKA! It is beautiful! We arrived safely and are already enjoying the beautiful mountains and snow!
This week we have been learning more about the story, ballet and history of The Nutcracker. The girls have LOVED learning more about this story! Here are some things we have done this week!
We read several versions of the classic tale, noting several differences in the different books. Even the name of the main character was different in a few of the books!
I checked out a video of a ballet performance from Russia of the Nutcracker. The video was over 70 minutes long and I thought they would get bored with it quickly! However, Hannah just LOVED watching the ballet! She begged to watch it again after we watched it once! She knew all the characters and knew what was going on despite no words being said in the ballet! She really got into the character’s roles and was aware of all the little details!
We also learned more about the country of Russia this week.
We also began listening to the classical kids story of Tchaikovsky as well as lots of his music, both online and on cd. Today the girls begged to put on their ballet leotards and skirts so that they could dance to Tchaikovsky’s music in the kitchen. So sweet! They have surprised me by recognizing certain pieces from the Nutcracker, and especially a few that they are working on for their upcoming ballet recital!
We also decorated dancing ballerinas by giving them sparkly outfits for their performance. Notice the pretty buns on the ballerinas hair.
And finally, I gave each of the kids a toy nutcracker to play with this week. They all loved this, even Emily, who was not cooperating for pictures today!