January News

January started with MARC helping Samaritan’s Purse to deliver Christmas Boxes to the kids in Aniak, Hooper Bay, Kokhanok and Nondalton. We filled the King Air with 40 cartons each holding between 12 and 20 Christmas Shoe Boxes that Samaritan’s Purse collects from all over the US (~ 40 million) and distributes them throughout the world. This is the first year that they have included Alaska in their distribution. Accompanying us were Chief Renard Faber and Sam Craig. Renard is an Apache Tribal Chief who shares his struggles and redemption with people young & old who could easily recognize themselves in his story. Sam travels often with Renard and introduces him with song. Initially we planned to first go to Red Devil but with temperatures at -49°F we went to Aniak first. Sam started with a couple of songs for the kids and then introduced Chief Faber. Then the kids lined up in age groups and we gave out the Christmas Shoe Boxes. After two overnight stays with Bill & Wanda Wilson (one was a weather delay) we launched off for Hooper Bay. When we landed the wind was blowing about 30-40 MPH. A kind plow operator parked upwind of the aircraft so we could get the wing covers on. (As soon as we are able we'll put up the video I took) We off-loaded 400 boxes into sleds towed by snow machine and four wheeler . Because of the day, delay we arrived at the right day & time to be part of an assembly involving ALL the Hooper Bay kids. It was somewhat chaotic but eventually all the boxes were given out. Our hearts were warmed by the smiles from the kids on a cold winter’s day. Unfortunately, we were still a few boxes short. After an overnight in the old teacher housing we set off for Aniak again to get gas, then on to Red Devil. Again the weather prevented us from landing at Red Devil so we continued back to Soldotna to re-load. The next day we were off to Port Alsworth where we picked up Cortney who had been coordinating Kokhanok and Nondalton. We met a new teacher, Chris, in Kokhanok who had just arrived the day before and was in obvious shock. He told me that he was not sure that he had made the right decision in coming up to Alaska. Sam was able to talk with him which relaxed him some. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we were able to make many kids in both villages very happy. We had dinner at Paul & Susan Brendemohl’s, a church planting couple with nine kids. Because of weather moving in we took-off at 7PM for a night flight back to Soldotna. It was sure black taking off with absolutely no lights visible. I had to take Cat to a doctor's appointment in Anchorage the next day so could not be on the last run to Huslia and Nulato.

And when not flying: At MARC we had had a heating water pipe leak which flooded the whole office. After cleaning up we noticed that the carpet needed cleaning. We hired a commercial outfit and had to have them come back. Still not satisfied we rented a carpet cleaning machine and for two solid days Don cleaned carpets. He went over the area in front of the coffee maker 40 times and was getting dirt on the 40th pass. However he had more carpet to do so had to move on. And you wonder why Don wants to fly.

Click on the picture below to see more photos on the Flickr.com website.