Thursday, November 27, 2008
"I'm dreaming of a White Thanksgiving" is the song of the day as we have received over 1 foot of snow overnight. When the snow is that heavy and then snow the falls off of your roof it makes for an interesting morning. The great thing is, is how the Lord blessed us this morning to overcome the amount of snow that fell, without killing my back shoveling. This morning we had delivered to us, a snow blower. What a blessing as we were beginning to save for this very item as it is a major NEED in Valdez.
NEED as in milk, eggs, bread, etc. Snow blowers, studded tires, and ice melt are NEEDS here as well. They fit into the same categories as the food items needed to survive. LOL
Above you can see how high the snow can actually get, as this is what has accumulated since we have been here. It is amazing to think that we have been here 3 weeks already. Time just flies by so fast.
I do not believe I have ever had a better Thanksgiving as I have had today. We had the opportunity to celebrate with our church family this wonderful holiday. I have never been to a church that has a true Thanksgiving meal together. Everyone is so busy doing their own thing and I found it to be a better time spending it with my heavenly family. There was less hustle and bustle as everyone pitched in to bring side dishes as the meat was provided by the church. In most families, you have 1 or 2 people doing everything while everyone else sits on their backside. I was blessed more today by celebrating it this than ever before.
I know many of you have been wanting to see some pictures from around town as well as the ones from the family. So here you go:
These are some of the pictures on a sunny day which there is not a lot of.
I cannot wait to experience the many traditions of this town in the coming weeks approaching Christmas.
Until next time.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This past Thursday we finally received our things from Horizon Lines all the way from New Orleans. What a blessing to be able to open up the container to find everything in place except my car (no damage to it). One strap broke on the front end and the front end slid into the side of the container.
What was even better than having my things arrive, was to have the amount of support to help me unload this 40 foot container. We had it lined up to be a 2 hour live unload instead of having them drop it there for 72 hours (lots of money saved). I was a little concerned about getting it unloaded in that amount of time, but with the amount of help we had, we got it unloaded in 1.5 hours. Praise God.
We had to opportunity to experience a town tradition this week on Friday evening called Moonlight Madness sale. Many stores open a little later with various sales to take advantage of. Great way to go into stores that I probably would not have ventured in otherwise unless I needed something specific that they sell. Got to meet a lot of good people and get a few good bargains.
Snow, snow, and more snow is the story of Valdez but it is not even winter yet. On Saturday, we shoveled in the morning time and Dawn shoveled in the evening time and we woek up to find more snow on Sunday morning. But I cannot complain as I love the look of snow and you can not pay for a more beautiful view than what Valdez has to offer.
Looking forward to some of the traditions of this coming week.
Friday, November 14, 2008
It has snowed more here in the last 7 days than I believe I have ever seen in my life between Louisiana, Texas, and North Carolina, but it sure is beautiful. I love the fact it is cold enough for snow to fall, stick, and shine and yet I can walk outside in a windbreaker and take a nice walk with my wife or walk to the church instead of driving. Shoveling however is not that fun. I have had to do that everyday save one and sometimes multiple times per day.
I believe we have around 20 inches since last Friday and is just keeps coming, but we love much better than the sands of West Texas, and the swamps and humidity of south Louisiana.
One thing I have got to say is that now I understand a lot more of why God has brought Dawn and I here directly from New Orleans. Yes, it is to pastor and cast vision and all those wonderful things but it was to fight darkness. We realized that the physical darkness is only the tip of the iceberg because it represents here a spiritual darkness that hovers over this town. We have had to fight a lot of darkness in New Orleans over the years and I believe God has prepared us for times such as these to turn this town upside down for Jesus.
It love it when people ask me where I am from and I tell them New Orleans and it never fails that they are going to ask me what brought me to Valdez. My first answer has been, JESUS. Then when their eyes get the deer in the headlights look, I follow it up with, I am the new pastor of First Baptist Church. Some people continue the discussion some people change subject. But that is what Jesus is all about. His name may be salvation but the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. My targets are those that are perishing to help them no longer be fools.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Man, what a long journey to get to our final destination in Valdez, AK, but it has been wonderful. We spent Thursday night at Wal-mart where Wally got more from me than I had ever spent before. The next day was spent between being introduced to COSTCO (a wonderful warehouse style of shopping experience) and traveling back to Valdez. I praise God that we had people from the church in Anchorage while we were there to help load some the items we had to bring back. We actually loaded a Ford Excursion and a Ford 12 passenger van with luggage, food, hygiene, cleaning products, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.
We arrived last night to about 4 inches of snow and I had my first experience at shoveling snow from my driveway. Boy what a workout and it isn't even bad yet. And then we had the opportunity to walk into our new home that was equipped with a welcome sign from the youth and kids, beds for us to use until we got our furniture here, and few few warm but chilly faces to greet us. I do not believe I have ever been received this way in my entire life. Not that other ministries have been dishonoring or anything like that but I have never been honored in such a way like that.
All over town, people have been so wonderful to greet and our family is really excited about being here. We know it will be a wonderful ministry and an opportunity to change a town for Jesus Christ.
Friday, November 7, 2008
This morning I woke up at 4:00 am (7:00 am) Central Standard Time, as my brain has not adjusted to the time change here in Alaska, but I know by Sunday my mind will be back on track. We had real smooth travel yesterday, although you get a little stir crazy after being on a plane for 9 hours. The great thing is, is that the weather was absolutely beautiful as we could see Mt. McKinley from right side of the plane.
We did our first shopping last night to stock up for Valdez. I do not think I have bought so many hygiene and cleaning products in my life. I dare anyone to ever say my house is not clean or I am not clean. I think that is the first time Wally has ever given me sticker shock, not that the prices we high but rather I don't think I have ever purchased that much stuff before. My wife wanted to be sure that we had enough for a year, I think, no just a couple of months.
Today, we go and get our stock of food to bring back with us, as we will make our first trip to a Costco. Then, we will make the long trek to Valdez, our new home, to begin the new chapter in our life. We cannot wait.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
This chapter of my life has come to a close as I finished my last day at Celebration Church. What a way to go, as I had to opportunity to be a part of Fall Family Festival. I can now say that I have served in every area of ministry in the church. I have cleaned the church, taken offering, served as youth minister, worked in children's ministry, music ministry, administration, education, Information Technology, Audio/Visual, Cell Pastor, Senior Pastor, Associate Pastor, and now I have parked cars. Of course my wife would not be very happy if I were to serve in Women's ministry as that would require close constant relations with women outside the marriage.
I also had the priveledge of leading the Lord's Supper for the three services. What an incredible day to be a part of as we also celebrated 19 years as a church ministry.
This evening there is to be a farewell party for us. This is always the sadest time as those that you love and care for come to see you off. You become torn over excitment of new adventures and leaving close friends and family. The sad thing is, I know that I will not see everybody I want to see today as many have their own schedules to follow and there will not be any other time to spend with people as we have family to say goodbye to the rest of the week.
Now it is time to focus on the next adventure and vision that God has for First Baptist Church of Valdez, AK. I hope they are ready for me as I'll be coming armed and ready with excitment and vision to lead this church to do great things in the Kingdom.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Last night, we had our annual Fall Family Festival and man I have never seen so many people in my life. It gave me an opportunity to serve with the Westbank people one last time before my departure. I believe we made a great showing as we parked cars in places that they have never been parked before where no one would get stuck or blocked in as has been the case for the last few years. Then came the daunting task of cleaning up, which was our assignment as the Westbank as well. We got done and it looked great. As one company around here says, "Our job stinks but it is picking up."
Today, we are going to see more family and celebrate two birthdays. One for my nephew and one for my baby Brittany. Again, I know that it is going to be another tough day to say goodbye for a while from people we love. But then I am looking forward to celebrating the birthdays and eating a little cake. I also get to lead the Lord's Supper for this weekends three services. It will good to be in my normal place as I lead a service and it will get me back into practice again as I will be taking my place soon at First Baptist Church of Valdez.