Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Grace and greetings.

It was a rude awakening here this past week weather wise; for the last couple of weeks we have had relatively warm temperatures, but Tuesday the cloud cover moved away and the temperatures dropped 20 degrees. Then last night an ice fog came through, leaving ice crystals on all metal, it is kind of cool...

But this is Halloween, the week where Sam and I go around and around on how he should focus on life. For him, the only reason to slog through the other 364 days of the year in to live for this night. All week he plans on how he is going to dress up, for school, after school, the Halloween dance, the haunted house, and then of course, tonight. All else takes a back seat to this week, including the script for the two movies he has been working on for the last month. It goes without saying that his homework is somehow non-existence for the past week as well.

Well, it is time to go review tomorrow's two sermons, or at least one sermon and one meditation--a short sermon--

Peace and blessings.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

October Saturday Afternoon

Grace and greetings.

Again, I am late in letting you know what is going on here at the "Top of the World", (at least as far as the United States is concerned.)

I survived the Presbytery meeting, sort of. The Saturday of the meeting, I ended up throwing up all day, and sick Sunday as well. As it turned out, the group from Taiwan and our Presbytery executive filled in for me at both services, so I guess it was okay. The meeting it self had a few moments of concern, but otherwise went well.

We had some disappointing news from Sam's teachers this past week; even if he passes all his classes this semester, and at this moment is in doubt, he will still be half a credit short in math, so he will be sticking around until the May 2010 graduation. Other than that, he is acting out as most teenagers, defying his parents, already knows everything, and trying to go his own way, (as long as the parents pay of course). He is still looking at film school for after high school, but we will see where he ends up.

I got to speak with my daughter this afternoon. She is now stationed at Fort Gordon, Georgia; but the good news is that she is in school for computer work rather than in Haz Met. I feel much better now that she is safe around computers than the dangerous materials. Her family is still in Birmingham, only four hours away, but she does not have gas money to get there. She is planning to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with her family though. Yes, I wish that she were stationed at Fort Richardson outside Anchorage, but feeling good that her training will take her in a different direction.

Last month, Kim ended up with swollen feet, ankles, and legs. We ended up taking the next plane out so she could see a cardiologist and her pulmonologist. After she was given some diuretics, she ended up losing 25 pounds of water weight. Though she is still swelling, it is not as bad as before, she is suppose to see her pulmonologist in November. Both she and Sam are fighting sinus infections, so we will see how the health of the family lasts.

Winter has finally arrived in Barrow, we think. The last several days have been snowy and blizzards, today is just overcast with dark clouds off the coast. The air temperature has been in the twenties and thirties, but the wind chill has been down around zero.

The Angels and Yankees have been rained out for today, but I ask for you to continue to believe, as the Angels will take the next two games in New York and go on to the World Series.

Peace and blessings.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Presbytery of Yukon

Grace and greetings.

For the next several days, we will be hosting the Presbytery of Yukon. In the Presbyterian Church system, we are set up much like the United States government. Starting at the local level we have the individual congregation; then we have a geographical level called the presbytery, which there are 177 presbyteries in the Presbyterian Church (USA), [PC USA]; then presbyteries are grouped into another geographical organization called Synods, there are 16 synods in the PC USA; then there is the denomination known as Presbyterian Church (USA).

The Presbytery of Yukon is made up of 23 congregations from Anchorage on north, and everything west of the United States/Canadian Border. We meet twice a year, rotating to different places each meeting. This time the meeting is here in Barrow. We will have close to 100 people participating in the three day event. Today is mostly different committee meetings and registration for people coming in. Friday and Saturday will be the actual meeting dates with a worship service Friday evening celebrating communion (also known as the Lord's Supper).

This meeting and worship service is going to be special, as we have a group from the Taiwan Presbyterian Church to sign an agreement between the indigenous people there and here in the North Slope and Western Alaska. The agreement will be signed in five languages; Tiawan, English, Inupiat, Yupik and Korean. The agreement is that the different groups will learn from each other; the Alaskans will share their political knoweldge; while Taiwan will share their success in reclaiming native languages and values.

We are hoping this will be a spirit-filled meeting and that you will join us, physically, mentally or spiritually.

Peace and blessings.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More tragedy in the midst of celebration

Grace and greetings.

It has been a long time since I have posted anything here. It has been a wild a crazy summer, I will try and fill in the past in the next few post. Part of my own personal problem is that I write my post in my mind, but want to post with pictures. But I do not have the pictures I want, so I put off writing the post. So I am back to writing the post and worry about pictures later.

The spring whale harvest was very poor this year, so the fall whaling season was looking for better results. The spring season is usually the big hunt, but this year only four whales were caught. So when the fall whaling started last Saturday, the first three days caught ten whales, and lost one of the twelve possible strikes. (The whalers are allowed 26 "strikes" each year for the eight villages here in the North Slope. A strike is one shot; it would be like having only 26 arrows, if one misses, you lose). So people were feeling pretty good with the whale hunts...

Last Monday, on the way to school, two four year old girls fell through the ice while walking across the lagoon. Once they were discovered, they were not able to revive them, even though they tried all the way to Anchorage.

With the families traveling to Anchorage, and me sick all last week, I was still not sure who the families were, or who was going to officiate the funerals. Part of my problem, was that nobody ever contacted me. As it turns out, the aunt of one of the two girls, contacted her pastor, rather than me, who probably should have been contacted. As it turns out, the mothers' are cousins, so the two girls grew up together.

I met with the families the night before the funeral. Though I was still not sure, I recognized the parents, but not sure of their relationship to the church. We planned the service with the pastor that was first contacted preaching and me officiating the service.

During the visitation, one of the uncles came up to me to comment that the wedding that I officiated only five weeks ago, one of the girls was the flower girl that I carried down the isle at the end of the wedding service. So I probably had met both girls...

Like in life, the two girls were buried in the same grave site together, in different caskets, to remain forever side by side.

Peace and blessings.