Alaska August 10-17, 2019
Wow! We just got back from Alaska. What an amazing week at the Belmore’s and adventures in the evening. It was challenging and fun! I don’t know how we would have gotten their house painted had we not had a great team willing to move stuff back and forth and clean up as we went. Along with painting George Hawkins, an MMI board member, is an electrician. He was able to upgrade all the electrical outlets, switches, and even installed some new light fixtures. It felt like an extreme make over!
With any extreme make over there is always the behind the scenes supporting team that takes care of the basic necessities of food and clothing. A big shout out to the kitchen crew Amy, Danita, and Monica! They kept us well fed. They packed our lunches and wrote encouraging notes and drew pictures on our lunch bags. They made eating meals fun!
After working all day and coming back to the annex (our home base), we found we had a second wind and wanted to go explore the great outdoors of the beautiful Alaskan country. Since the sun did not set until 11 pm, we had plenty of time to explore in the evenings. We took hikes to Chugach State Park were we saw the beautiful landscapes and had a little worship music lead by Kayla on her ukulele. We had a time of sharing testimonies and felt God in nature. One evening while hiking back to the van, Sandy and Monica walked up on a wild Moose and came running and screaming back to the team. Ha ha ha. We all hopped a fence for safety and then proceeded to take pictures. Another evening we decided to take a 1/2 mile stroll to The River Spirit where we got to see a beautiful waterfall, the overlook on a cliff, and the rushing river below. Danita was a little hesitant because it was getting late, but we made it to the falls in time to get some pictures and made it back to the van right at dark…that means she was hiking at 11 pm after starting her day in the kitchen at 5 am. What a trooper! The following evening the guys and girls split up. The girls went to a trendy boutique that Dana (Scott Belmore’s wife) works at called Revive.
The guys took Scott’s truck up a long and bumpy gravel road to get some brilliant sunset pictures at Arctic Valley Trailhead. The guys went from the mountain top to the Iconic Alaska Railroad below. Nearing the end of our trip, our last full day of hard work, we were rewarded with cold stone ice cream and a short trip to Eagle River where we stood in awe of God’s majestic mountains and sunset.
After all our hard work was completed at the Belmore’s home and our sunset adventures had passed, there was still a few more surprises in store before our flight back home. We stopped at Alyeska Ski Resort to check out the Blueberry Festival, then we loaded back up to visit Portage Glacier for some more pictures followed by the Wild Life Conservatory. The big surprise came when we got to the gazebo by the water in the Conservatory. We were all looking for beluga whales when Jonathan Gatlin got down on one knee to propose to Melanie Sunshine with the beautiful mountains and water in the background and surrounded by friends and Makenzie (Sunshine’s daughter), she said yes! We all celebrated that special moment. It truly was a special one of a kind mission trip!
A little history, Jonathan met Sunshine two years prior while on a mission trip to Cuba. They FaceTimed for a year since Jonathan lived in Mississippi and Sunshine lived in Tennessee. Jonathan moved to Tennessee a little over a year ago. We are so happy for them and can’t wait to see how God will unfold their story as they lead teams together for MMI.
The team made it home safely and can’t wait to go back to Alaska! The Belmore family is working on getting their home back together after the 2018 earthquake devastated their’s and so many others. They are now able to have young people from the University of Alaska in their home. They are launching their back to school kick off this week for Mosaic Campus Ministry at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Pray for the Belmore family to have an impact on the lives of the students and their community.