April - May 2011

Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Psalm 31:3

Is there anything more difficult than change? This is our seventh year in Alaska, and our work here is still as fascinating as ever. You may have noticed in our newsletters that Don has been flying less and less. This is due mainly to the deterioration in his back. At the same time the MARC scheduling workload has increased. Don used to be a pilot whose secondary task was to schedule. Now he is a scheduler who flies occasionally.

This year our children have made us aware how much they miss us and want us to return to California. We are now in a position to explore a return to California, continuing to work for MARC in Alaska long distance. MARC’s Director, Drew Baker, has suggested that Don explore a wider vision, evolving from his local duties to those that benefit the organization in the future as it continues to grow and spread throughout the state. We now know that Don can continue his work serving Alaska while he is located near our family. We hope that Don can return to Alaska in the summer months to help with the heavy scheduling duties.

We realize that Don’s change in primary task emphasis has removed him from flying. Don’s work at MARC is essential for MARC to serve the natives of Alaska. His leaving would greatly impact the organization. Among the people scheduled to join MARC in the next year or so, there are some individuals who could take on the scheduling job after they have been here about a year. Both management and Don’s fellow workers have been concerned about the problem of replacing him until they arrive and come up to speed on how MARC operates. Don’s working remotely from California will bridge the gap until one of the new people is ready to take the baton.

We love the work that we do here and the people that we work with and serve. Although Cat still spends most days at home, she stays in touch with a few ACC students and staff. We have also had the chance to work on several of the Alaskan style International Walk to Emmaus Ministry weekends that we had also served in California. This past spring we were introduced to the Kairos Outside Movement, an extension of the three day Emmaus experience especially for women who have family and loved ones in prison. Don worked in the kitchen and Cat helped with music and prayer. In September of this year, Don has been asked to be the Lay Director for the Alaska Walk to Emmaus. Cat hopes to serve on the music team. Recently, Cat has been able to stay in touch with three of the women she met during Kairos, as well as people we have met through Emmaus. We have met and learned to love so many wonderful people here. Our hearts have really been torn with this decision until the working remotely option surfaced.

Don did not fly in April and flew only once in May, primarily due to the workload in the scheduling office trying to get ready for the summer flying. As was the case last year, the pace of summer flying and resulting scheduling demands means that Don won’t fly this summer. Unfortunately, there are no new pictures this time because on the only flight he had he forgot his camera. Instead we have included some photos that remind us of the beauty of this land, the missionaries we partner with and the Native people we both serve.

Our plans are to load up the moving container the week of September 19, drive to Haines, AK on September 23-26, take the 3-day ferry to Bellingham, WA and drive to Turlock, CA arriving in early October.

With Much Love