June Newsletter


June started out with a bang for Don. On Sunday afternoon, June 1, he flew with Bob to Anchorage to pick up 5 junior high youth, a motorcycle and supplies for the Covenant Camp. After dropping them off in Unalakleet and refueling the aircraft we took eight Hooper Bay kids home and brought one Hooper Bay youth to Unalakleet. It was 10 PM so we refueled the aircraft once more and were taken to Henry and Betty Oyoumick’s for the night. They were wonderful and provided a late evening snack of cheese, biscuits and reindeer and moose sausage.

Click on picture for more photos ...................................................................Covenant Camp Leaders to Camp.....

Finally on the last flight of the month we were able to bring them some donuts from The Moose Is Loose bakery in Soldotna as a thank you. The next morning started with taking two youth to Nome (one of whom was Jessica Palmberg) and brought back five youth to the Covenant Camp. On the way back a couple of the kids told us of their desire to learn how to fly so I jumped out of the left seat while they both took turns flying the airplane under Bob’s close tutelage. It was wonderful to be able to encourage these kids. After another refueling we were off to Kotzebue, 200 miles north to pick up 5 youth from there and over to Noorvik for 4 more. There was still snow on the ground and ice in the ocean. It was 33 deg F. We arrived back in Unalakleet about 3 PM and still had 4 hours of flying in front of us. A last refueling and we loaded three people and set off for Red Devil. In Red Devil we picked up four youth and proceeded to the Tanalian Bible Camp at Port Alsworth. On we went to Palmer where we dropped our three Unalakleet passengers and then flew to Soldotna. Throughout these two days we had great weather that allowed us to get all the planned flying done. We both slept well that night. A great start to a month.

I just realized that if I describe each of my flights this month in the level of detail above we will have a six page newsletter which no one will want to wade through. I will therefore summarize the month’s flying and try to hit the high points. We flew for the Covenant Bible Camp at Unalakleet on 1, 2, 9, and 21 June. In all we flew 13 leaders and 33 youth to the camp; 30 leaders and 45 campers home. The campers came from Bethel, Noorvik, Kivaline, Kotzebue, Nome, and Hooper Bay. These numbers probably represent about a third of the MARC flying for the Covenant Bible Camp.
Click on picture for more photos ...................................................................From Kivalina to Covenant Camp .....

It’s sobering to see these kids come to the camp where they can be free from molestation and abuse that they deal with daily. They are normally pretty quiet on the trip to camp with a noticeable lightening of spirits evident on the way home. I am so blessed to be part of giving these youth this opportunity. Thank you readers who support us in Alaska. The most interesting flying was up to Kivalina. You can see where it is if you Google “Kivalina, AK” – the first website is Google maps and you can zoom out. It’s about 200 miles north of Nome. It is the farthest north I’ve been so far.

Click on picture for more photos ...................................................................Covenant Camp Home to Kivalina.....

The village is out on a spit at the end of the runway. The ocean was about 70% ice even in the middle of June. We were there at mid-day and the temperature was just above freezing. I truly admire the spirit of the natives who live in this kind of climate. Flying into Kivalina we were very surprised to see a very large complex about 50 south on the shore. We finally figured out that it was a mine terminus. The two large buildings in the picture are about 200 ft across and at least 1000 ft long.

The next camp I flew for was the Kokrine Hills Bible Camp which is located 150 miles east of Fairbanks on the Yukon River. We fly into Tanana or Galena where the campers, councilors and work teams catch a boat for a three-hour ride to the camp – isolated? You bet your bippy. On June 7 we flew cargo to Tanana. Then we flew four round trips to Fairbanks ferrying out one work team and ferrying in a work team from Gresham, OR. We flew 31 people in and 31 people out. On June 26 we flew into Galena where we flew 4 youth in from Selawik and 9 youth in from Koyuk. We then proceeded to Unalakleet to take some Covenant camp leaders to Anchorage. We again stayed overnight so we were ready to fly campers in & out all the next day.

Click on picture for more photos ...................................................................Kockrine Hills Bible Camp.....

On June 14 we flew a work team of nine from the First Baptist of Calera, OK into Huslia, 75 miles north of Galena. It was one of our simpler missions; from Soldotna to Palmer to pick them up then to Huslia to drop them off. The sun was shining and the temperature was 70 deg F – we had to fly 400 miles north to finally see summer. Then we proceeded to Galena for fuel then on home. A week later when we went up to take them back to Palmer we were loaded with ice cream and steer manure for the pastors at Nulato, just northeast of Galena and Huslia. It was another easy beautiful day flying from Soldotna to Nulato to Galena (for fuel) to Huslia to Palmer to Anchorage where we picked up a Covenant Group and took them up to Unalakleet where we stayed overnight. We can often fly for three different groups during one days flying.

Click on pictures for more photos ...........................................................................Calera Baptist to Huslia & Back.....

My last mission of June was a flight to pick up work team from Ekwok which is only an hour from Soldotna. We were delayed leaving Soldotna because a pilot ground looped on his first take-off in his new airplane. It was weird to see a truck pulling a travel trailer on the runway along with the emergency vehicle that responded – only in Alaska? Once on our way, the day was gorgeous so we stayed low level and flew through Lake Clarke Pass at about 1000 ft on our way to Anchorage. We were treated to fabulous scenery including waterfalls and glaciers few people get to see. The mountains are incredible this time of year. To top it off the winds were very light so the ride was smooth most of the time. A $500 flight-seeing tour for which we don’t charge extra.

Click on pictures for more photos ..............................Work Group to Ekwok & Back.....

Interspersed among these flights was the work of scheduling that is eating up more and more of my time. Unfortunately we went into our heaviest flying month with a couple of our ducks out of line. As a result we are scrambling to keep up with the scheduling tasks. I was only able to keep a couple days ahead of the flight sheets that tell the pilots all the information about their flights. Mark was working the longer range items for July and August and getting our the donation requests for the flights we had already flown. We were both often embroiled in the day to day reaction to constant changes. We are also in charge of receiving and sorting cargo and then planning when to send it out. With the enjoyment of life comes a little work so we know how good we have it.

..............................................................................................................Cargo awaiting a plane.....

Cat’s Corner: It looks like we are having a very wet spring and summer. Since we got here the summers have been warm, but this year it hasn’t gotten above 60 degrees. ACC seems kind of empty without the students. Most of them have gone back to their villages. It’s always exciting to see which students will return for a second year. Second year students live on campus and take a few classes with us and then have the opportunity to attend the Community College next to us within walking distance. This is a “feeder school” for the Alaska University so they can pursue a BA if they want to. It is truly wonderful to see students who came to us uncertain that they have made the right choice continue their education with confidence. It’s like watching flowers open up from the first day to graduation. Even those who return to the village leave with a good understanding of the Bible and a reliance on God. Many return for visits or to attend special events so we get to see them again.

I will be transitioning from staff to volunteer status at the end of September. I’m still battling health issues and this change will allow me to be on campus on my good days. I will be working on special projects and tutoring, both of which will keep me in touch with the students without having to keep to an hourly schedule. This way I can continue conversations with the students without having to watch the clock for my shift.

On the home front, we still have our share of moose. One day I saw a baby moose, still wobbly. It must have been just a few hours old and very cute. We also have a rabbit family that has moved in to a space under our shed. There are two adults and six babies, I am already planning on how to help them through the winter.

.....................................................................................................Wobbly 1 or 2 day old moose.....

So far the moose haven’t done much damage, we have wild roses blooming, wild flowers and lupine that just came out. My doctor told me the way to keep them from eating our flowers was to put porcupine blood around them. So far I haven’t tried it, but I did find out where to get some at the hardware store. That’s one thing about Alaska, you hear the most surprising things The days are getting shorter, the sun no longer shines at midnight. Don was out mowing the lawn at 8:30 pm this week. It’s funny how we get used to things. Mowing the lawn at that time seemed perfectly normal. Thank you for your prayers. Don has had safe flights and I’m hoping to be up and around soon. I just finished a round of IV infusions of iron and am waiting to see if it works. Over all, God has been good to us.

With love
Cat 'n Don