Twenty one years ago tomorrow our family of six arrived in Soldotna, Alaska, to begin what we thought would be a four year adventure. Little did we know! Little did we know that we all would fall in love with Alaska, its people and the land. Little did we know that we would love the people of Soldotna UMC so much that we stayed there nearly 8 years. Little did we know that we would get the chance to serve St. John UMC for ten years. And little did we know then that I would get the opportunity to continue to serve the Alaska Conference as superintendent.
We left Lima, Ohio in November of 1991 and drove west packed in our Mitsubishi Montero. I had to install an extra seat in the back or else leave someone behind. For the most part it was a grand adventure of a drive. We discovered that Nebraska is one lengthy and flat state! We bought tire chains before venturing into Wyoming, but never used them even in Alaska. Thank goodness we had the foresight to choose motels with pools! Our kids were 3, 4, 6, and 9.
Over the years we have tried to leave several times. Many Alaskans have thoughts and conversations about moving south during the months of December, January, February, March, and even April. But each time God whispered to us that we belonged here. And we are so glad to still be here. As an itinerant UM pastor I am grateful for the fact that all four of our children graduated from the same high school. I am deeply grateful that Kim has been able to flourish in her vocation as a school nurse. And I am still thankful to be serving in the Alaska Conference.
Our kids are now 24, 25, 27, and 30. And I just became a old geezer of 60. This Thanksgiving we will give thanks to God for the blessed lives we all have. This Thanksgiving we will be reminded of how we can give to others. This Thanksgiving we will reminisce about the amazing journey of life and faith God has given us in this great land of Alaska.