Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 28, 2017

Alaska and Adventure

Alaska and adventure belong together. Over the past few years we have seen a proliferation of reality shows about adventure in the land of the midnight sun. Even the titles of these programs have adventure written all over them: The Edge of Alaska, Alaska the Last Frontier, The Last Alaskans, Bearing Sea Gold, and others.

Alaska is indeed a land for adventurers — those seeking to escape the comforts and conveniences that come all too easy to city dwellers. This vast state is, in fact, a proving ground for those who think they have what it takes to live off the grid. It is a haven for those who are wild at heart.

Over the past week, our men’s team has had more than a sip of adventure in Alaska. We have enjoyed some of the best of what this state has to offer. Our adventures, however, have been grounded in a shared mission — advancing the purposes of God in the least churched state in the nation.

Our daily routine consisted of being the pit crew for GraceWorks Alaska, a ministry committed to making Christ known in Anchorage and beyond. This ministry has a fleet of vehicles that will transport almost a thousand volunteers who will come to serve here this summer. Our task — to service every vehicle and ensure it is in good running order.

One by one, we pulled each vehicle into a bay, propped it up on stands, and then proceeded to punch out a long checklist of service items. We changed oil and transmission fluids, serviced brakes and differentials, topped off all fluids, rotated tires, and performed more than a dozen other service checks.

Each of us had our assigned responsibilities in, under, and around each vehicle. We got our hands and our clothes greasy. We reeked of oil and transmission fluids at the end of each day. We worked under the sound of impact wrenches and oldies blaring out of an old radio. We came along side one another to work loose rusted bolts, to clean and reinstall transmission pans and differential covers.

In short, we learned to work with the efficiency of a pit crew and met our goal of ensuring that every vehicle under our care had our seal of approval. And we prayed for those who will come after us — those many volunteers who will use these vehicles to reach out to those living in and around Anchorage all the way to the far reaches of the state.

One of the advantages of being in Alaska at this time of the year is that the sun sets later and later each night — close to ten o’clock at night. That meant that after we cleaned up and enjoyed a hearty meal, we could head off on our own Alaskan adventures. And that is exactly what we did. We took advantage of every free moment to enjoy shared adventures while fulfilling our shared mission.

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One night we drove north out of Anchorage to get a glimpse of the northern lights. And Alaska did not disappoint. Sometime after one in the morning these fabled lights began to dance across the night sky in a magnificent display of color. They were everything I had imagined they would be and much more. It was as if God Himself was writing a message in the heavens — a message that affirms we are of greater worth to Him than the universe itself.

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Alaska is also the land of pilots and planes. It is simply not possible to reach parts of this state apart from the bush planes that can squeeze in and out of remote places. On a couple of evenings, our hosts flew us over glaciers to remote places to meet folks who live off the grid in some of the most beautiful places on the planet. The beauty silenced us.

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We also managed to squeeze a hike into our limited free time. And once again, Alaska did not disappoint, dusting us with snow as we hiked the muddy and icy trail to the top of Flat Top Mountain. It’s just hard to put into words what it’s like to look in every direction and see nothing but pristine vistas. We got into some knee-deep snow in places, slipped and slid our way down sections of the tail, threw some snowballs, laughed a lot, and breathed in the surrounding beauty.

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I believe that God created us to do more than to sit, soak, and sour in a pew. He created us for adventure, for kingdom adventure. He designed us to go beyond routine and comfort — to enjoy everything He has created while we advance His interests around the globe. He wants us to get our hands and our clothes dirty as we serve others. In the words of Christian writer John Eldridge, He has made us wild at heart. God has made us restless for the kind of adventures that will draw us closer to Him and that will shape us into the kind of people who can change the world.

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I am grateful for our kingdom adventure in Alaska — for our early morning devotional and discussions, for the privilege of crawling under vehicles on a cold garage floor, for the people we met from Anchorage to Skwentna, for the breathtaking views as we flew over Alaska, and for our refreshing hike in the snow. And I am grateful to God for making us wild at heart and with a thirst for adventure.

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I am also grateful for the partnership between Kingsland’s missions and men’s ministries. The synergy we have will enable us to do some very strategic work in Alaska. Gil Harris, our men’s ministry director, and I are collaborating to create opportunities for our men to engage in shared study, shared mission, and share adventures. We are excited about returning again to work with GraceWorks, our new ministry partner in Alaska, the Last Frontier.


Responses

  1. I absolutely LOVE your ministry. You and your teams bless so many people and each other!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Nikki. I appreciate your encouragement.

  2. Enjoyed your blog about the ministry, fellowship and adventure in the Land of the Midnight Sun.


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