Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Starting Off

As most bloggers start off, "I have never done this, but I thought I would try". I have recently been called as Pastor to the Utqiagvik Presbyterian Church in Barrow, Alaska. I plan on recording my thoughts, experiences, discoveries and hopefully learning about the different culture and people in Barrow.

First, I want to explain where Barrow, Alaska is in case you are not sure of your geography. If you go the farthest north point in Alaska, and still be on land, you have found Point Barrow. The community of Barrow is just southwest of the "point." I still have much to learn and hopefully to pass on to others if they care to hear of my rambling random thoughts. We are a little more than 500 miles from Fairbanks and not quite 1000 miles north of Anchorage. I once heard that the mileage between Seattle and Barrow is about the same as Seattle to Boston, MA.

Since this is already 17 June 2007, and we have been here for six weeks already, I will probably be weaving my observations in and out of time to try and catch up with my learning curve. Today is bright and sunny, 44 degrees above F. Yesterday was a big local celebration which I will explain later, but of course it was overcast, windy, cold and 35 degrees.

I arrived with my family, (wife and son), 3 May 2007. We had moved from Seattle, WA where we had been living for the last four years. We liked Seattle, but I was working for a national retail company who feels that $7.00 an hour is a living wage in the greater Seattle market. Though employees from this Minnesota firm had it tough, we do not have it as bad as another national retail company from Arkansas.

I am not new to Alaska, for I moved to Anchorage for my senior year in high school. I can still remember sitting in my United States History class my junior year at Whittier High School, (in the LA area, where Richard Nixon was from), and looking at a map of the United States. It was one of the unusual maps where Alaska is suppose to be, not down in Baja California. Three weeks later, my mother came to me saying, "I heard the best joke, somebody is offering Don a job in Alaska." (Don being my step-father). Well that was in January 1974, and by June we are already on our way, driving to Anchorage. I had asked my father if I could move in with him and his new wife, but he gave me the best advice he ever gave me, "Give Alaska six weeks". I went for six weeks and was a resident for thirteen years.

Of those thirteen years, I must admit that four winters were spent at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington and four winters were spent at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, with me coming home each summer. I left Alaska for the last time August 1985, not sure if and when I would ever be able to return. Now, not quite twenty two years later, I am back in Alaska and this will be my story....

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