Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Last Frontier

Hello. Eric here. I recently spent 10 days in Alaska at Kokrine Hills Bible Camp. It was one of the 4 great experiences of my life. Just an amazing time. I was part of a work team that goes up every year before camp and cleans up the place. There were 51 people from, at least, 7 different churches giving there time and energy for the sake of the Kingdom.

June 8-9
The trip up there was quite a journey. I left Portland at 7:30pm and finally arrived in Fairbanks (via Seattle and Anchorage) at 3:30am. And the sun was up. I spent the night on the rock hard floor of the youth room at the Nazarene church in Fairbanks. The next day at noon we boarded a 9-seater King Airplane. That was my first time on a small plane, and it was REALLY cool. We landed on a dirt runway in Tanana, grabbed our bags, walked down a hill to the Yukon river, and jumped in a boat. After a 2 hour boat ride, we were finally at camp. To recap, it took 4 planes and a boat to get here. Alaska truly is The Last Frontier.

June 10-11
I spent the first two days clearing brush around the perimeter of the camp. I learned how to use a chainsaw and cut down a bunch of trees. We made 7 gigantic brush piles, and I was really hoping to burn at least one of them. But it hadn't rained in a while, so someone else is going to have all the fun.

Monday night I got involved in an intense game of Double Pinnochle. It's pretty fun, but I still prefer regular Pinnochle. We played until 12:30am! None of us realized it, though, since the stinking sun never goes away!!! What a weird place.

June 12-13
2 days of clearing brush was enough for me. On Tuesday, I helped Paul and Mikey put the new backhoe attachment on the Kubota tractor. Paul also taught me how to drive it and change the oil. They might need to rename "Work Week" to "Man Week". ;-)

Tuesday morning I got to share with everybody about My King. Twelve years ago I committed that to memory and have since shared it with thousands of people. I cherish the opportunities and pray that my King will continue to be honored and glorified through it.

Tuesday night, Barry let me use the satellite phone to call Megan. He even paid for it! I appreciated it so much. Hearing my Sweet's voice was such an emotional boost.

Wednesday I drove a 4-wheeler most of the day, hauling brush & debris from camp down to the bank. We formed another huge brush pile that Barry burned the week after we left. Bummer.

June 14-15
I decided to try something new on Thursday and went with my new friend, Randy, up to the saw mill. Randy runs a saw mill here at home, so it was cool to see him handle that thing like a pro. The mill is a really cool part of camp. We were building a foundation for a new dining hall and building a new duplex. They would place an order for, say, four 2x6s. So someone would cut down a tree. Someone would drag the tree to the mill. Someone else would peel the bark off. Then me and Randy would muscle it up onto the mill, he'd take some measurements, and then slice away. Voila...four 2x6s, an 8x8, and some 2x4s. Man Week is the best.

June 16-17
The journey home began at noon on Saturday. I was on the third boat of the day, and the 5th plane of the day. Our boat got to Tanana just in time to see the 2nd plane take off. This was pretty disappointing because we were supposed to be seeing the 3rd plane leave. That meant we had a long wait ahead of us, laying by the runway in Tanana. Kevin and I walked into the village and checked out the grocery store. That burned an hour. 3.5 hours later our plane took off. We landed in Fairbanks at 8. My flight home wasn't until 1am. So we got some Subway, some ice cream, and went back to the Nazarene church to relax for a bit. The 1am flight wasn't so bad. I slept the whole way. We landed in Seattle at 6:00am and finally in Portland at 8:30am.

Ten days is a long time away from my wife. Other than that, it was an amazing trip. I plan on doing it again...and again...and again. Hopefully Megan can come with me soon. And I'd love to bring Jenna along and leave her to counsel at the camp. What an amazing place--such a bright light in a dark land. Pray for camp these next few weeks. Those kids need the Good News.

Hoping in God,

More photos are here.


Hollie Black said...

That looks like an amazing trip you had!! I saw your moms and pops today while waiting in the infamous iphone line at Woodland. They told me how you went to Alaska not to long ago. And how they went to Tibet and Africa.....the Woods are just world class travelers now, huh? We miss you guys, I wish we got to see you more often! Give that Jenna a little kiss on the cheek for me!