Sunday, July 9, 2017

Alaskan Adventures, Vol. 4

Not too much to share this week, but wanted to share a bit from July 4th and my upcoming trip to the Brooks Range Bible Camp.

July 4th at Glacier View in Matanuska Valley is quite possibly the most unique celebration in the country. The surrounding views can't be beat. You get Kingdom Air Corps to do flyovers in formation with 5 bush planes. A very redneck parade of beat-up cars (they'll come in later) and Alaskan style rigs. A conservative message and Christian prayer. Lots of food. And launching those beat-up cars off a big cliff. What a day!

Planes lining up for takeoff. Dwayne in the lead with the awesome retro-style Cessna 180.

Just after takeoff, looking back at King Ranch with Matanuska River winding up towards our destination.

Ben Lula piloting the Cessna 150 on the opposite side of the formation from me.

Joe Gerwig piloting the Cessna 182 in the center of the formation.

Dwayne at the head of the pack.

Great views over the river.

Joe peeling off during the "Missing Man" formation, to honor our fallen military troops.

Dwayne in the booth before his prayer for the celebrations.

Quite the crowd, quite the view!

Some nicely decked out vehicles.

Some Alaskan-redneck-style vehicles. :)

Like I said, literally launching cars off cliffs.

And crashing down the hillside.

Pretty decent view. :)

Later that night back at Kingdom Air Corps, we had a fireworks show in broad daylight. Not something you always hear about, but it was a great show!

This week Dwayne had me and Teresa Dehmel working on individualized thank-you cards for those who have donated airplanes and such to the ministry. It has been a fun project, and it's been good to put to use some design & layout skills. I've really enjoyed getting to know Craig & Teresa Dehmel this week through that project and the cabin extension project with Craig.

Sunday will be a day of preparation (packing for me) for Brooks Range Bible Camp. Pray for all the planning and execution of this trip to go well! There's a bit involved with taking 8 planes 400 miles into the arctic wilderness. Kingdom Air Corps finances this trip too, so pray for the Lord to provide for the ministry. Below are some pictures of where we will be going (I'm pretty sure).

Zoomed out view of our location in Brooks Range.

Perspective with Kingdom Air Corps' location compared to Brooks Range Camp.

Airstrip at Crevice Creek!
Here's a Google Maps so you can see where I'll be:

I'm pretty excited! The first week I'll be tasked with taking photos & video and putting together a video to share with the kids at the end of the week. I will likely be out of communication until we return from the two-week trip.

I appreciate your prayers! Pray for the hearts of these kids and their families. They need leaders to continue the gospel mission in their villages.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Alaskan Adventures, Vol. 3

It's my third Sunday here already! Lots has happened in the last week, and I could probably post enough photos and videos in this update to break my blog. So I'll try to share the best ones with you.

On Monday, June 26 I was blessed to hop in on a flight of a lifetime. A television network media director from Wales had Kingdom Air Corps fly him over the Knick and Matanuska glaciers. He is on a holiday (vacation) and enjoys capturing photos/video for personal use.

The flight was truly one of the most thrilling, epic things I've ever done (and I think I've had some pretty good ones so far). Flying right through mountain passes and over glaciers is a unique experience to say the least. These pictures don't do it justice.

Beautiful views of the rivers and valleys

Gotta love the composition opportunities from the air!

Closeup of glacial river.

Flying low around the mountain bend.

Closeup of glacier cracks.

"Road to Freezer"?

Neat look at the Knick Glacier

Looking back towards our photographer passenger.

Pooled up "gatorade" water on iceberg.

For scale, note the small red plane in the upper left portion of the frame.

My favorite shot of the glacier details.

For my mom, strings of pink flowers scattered across the silty ground.

Cool view up a canyon on our way to Matanuska Glacier.

One of many glacier-covered mountains in the Matanuska range.

Rows of glacier-covered mountains.

Flying right over that pass on the left!

Black & White shot of more mountains.

Anyone else see the face on the mountain?

Lots of ice coming through that pass!

My favorite shot of the day, and favorite from Alaska so far. Love how the clouds hung over the mountains like that. Gorgeous sky too!

I'll call these "Moody Mountains"

More glacier pools.

Tuesday and Wednesday I did some bush trimming and raking around the property. Then Dwayne returned from his trip to Yakutsk, Russia on Thursday morning. I was able to meet with him that morning to go over his ideas for new promo videos and website changes. I was also tasked with compiling his photos and videos from his trip into a video to show at church on Sunday. It's great to have Dwayne back; I love watching him be so intentional and involved in everybody's life and ministry. His passion for the gospel and people is contagious.

Saturday morning we had a brief overview of Brooks Range Bible Camp coming up on June 10 (our departure date). After that Dwayne and four other pilots ran a practice of flying in formations to prep for July 4th. Every year, during the July 4 festivities at the glacier nearby, Kingdom Air Corps does a flyover in formation. I got to be in the rear plane to capture some of their formations; it's pretty cool!

Also on Saturday, Josiah (my roommate here) and I went with Ben & Chelsea on a trip to Hatcher's Pass. It's an old mining town up in the mountains with some broken down buildings and cool stuff like that. Josiah and I mostly glanced at the buildings and headed straight for a nearby peak. The view was so worth it!

I forget the name of this lake, but it was cool - a bit of ice still on it!

Old mining shack on the way up the trail.

Josiah and me at the top of the peak!

Old engine in the mining town.

Later we went to a pilot trainee's house for dinner. It was a blessing to meet his family. We sang songs after dinner and then played some Alaskan volleyball. Alaskan volleyball is basically volleyball with a lot of mosquitos thrown at you constantly. Keeps you on your toes :). We had a blast!

Dwayne's presentation at church on Sunday went well, and we had a great worship night at Kingdom Air Corps that night. Dwayne closed by sharing more stories and encouragement to keep on serving for the gospel. God is using Dwayne in many ways in so many people's lives on a daily basis. He has a great way of encouraging and seriously challenging your life at the same time.

Yesterday (Monday) I started helping the construction guys with a different building. We are putting an addition (bedroom) on a cabin for a long-term staff family here. Today I got up early to help finish put up all the drywall inside. Then I was literally dragged away by Josiah on a 4-wheeler to be taken up to the pilots' formation flight briefing. We took off for a noon flyover for the July 4 celebration. I might share some shots from that flight and the following festivities in my next update.

Thank you all for your prayers! I appreciate your support and service to the Lord.

God bless.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Alaskan Adventures, Vol. 2

It's been a full week now in the great northern state. The weather has been just about all clouds with periodic rain. I've been mostly tied up with helping the construction guys build the little cabin for the cook. But over the weekend I was able to get out and enjoy the Alaskan wilderness.

The house project is coming along pretty quickly. By end of Friday the roof was almost complete, the electrical wiring was in place, and the walls were wrapped with Tyvek. It's ready for plumbing, insulation, and finishing.

On the roof adding 2x4 stripping on top.

Had to take a selfie for my mom.

Most of the framing done.

Wrapped up for the weekend!

It's been a blessing to work with these guys on the project. I've learned a lot, and look forward to going fishing with Walt and Tom. They have been here since the beginning, and were involved with most of the building projects at Kingdom Air Corps. They've also built churches in Russia and other countries around the world. They love to fish in the area, so I'm glad I've made a connection with them.

Friday morning I volunteered to share a devotional with the group here at Kingdom Air Corps. After every weekday breakfast someone shares a testimony or devotional, which I thought was pretty neat. I shared from John 21 about how Jesus reinstated Peter into ministry. Peter had many failures, the ultimate being his denial of Christ three times. But Christ still affirms His choice of Peter for the work of leading the early church. It's amazing to see Peter's transformation once the Holy Spirit comes, and we have the same Holy Spirit within us believers. The apostle Paul talks a few times in his letters to the Corinthian church about God choosing the weak and foolish to shame the strong and wise of this world. It's about His glory, not ours. We are called to be faithful, it's God's work to draw people to Himself. He will use you if you decide to follow Christ in faith. None of us are superhuman, don't think you need to be one to be used by God. That's the basic overview of what my devotional was about.

Yesterday (Saturday), a group of us guys were able to go hiking! We summited Anthracite Ridge, which was a 3-mile hike with 4,000 feet of elevation gain. We started at about 2,000ft elevation and the top was about 6,000ft. Needless to say, it was a pretty steep hike most of the way. The views from the top were jaw-dropping, even though we were mostly in the clouds.

Josiah and Tundra (the dog) enjoying the view midway up the ridge/peak.

Panorama of our first nice overlook on the hike.

Clouds made it feel very much like an Alaskan wilderness should.

View down the very steep side of the ridge peak, clouds prevented most of the view.

Josiah, Dusty, and Zak along the ridge peak.


Josiah and Tundra at the far edge of the ridge.

Tundra made it all the way with us! She's such a fun, energetic dog.

The hike down was pretty fast and furious. We were rained on most of the way down, and got completely soaked. We were sliding all over the place in the slick mud through the trees; it's a miracle none of us had any ankle turns or major collisions. It was quite the adventurous hike, and a great introduction to the mountains and wilderness of Alaska. I can't wait to get out there more.

I'll leave you with this last photo, because I have to include a plane in every update right!? :)
Might get to go on an extended flight tomorrow (Monday) with a guy who is hiring Kingdom Air Corps to fly him over the mountains for some video/photography. They think he's unsaved, so I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get some great shots and maybe witness to him too. Pray this works out, if it's the Lord's will!

Until next time...