Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 30, 2019

Back in Alaska

Alaska is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. No question about it! No matter where I look, the natural beauty of this place just makes my heart smile. It’s the kind of beauty that takes my breath away and leaves me wide-eyed and silent. And the magnificence of Alaska just doesn’t quit. No matter which direction you look, God’s creative signature is everywhere to be seen.


And yet, for all its beauty, there is a darkness in Alaska. Regarded as the least church-attending state in the Union, Alaska has the highest rate of suicide per capita in the country — nearly twice the national average. Suicide is the leading cause of death here for people ages 15 to 24. Beauty is not enough to stave off the despair that leads so many in Alaska to take their own lives.


A few years ago, I connected with Scott Kirby of GraceWorks Alaska. He has an inspiring vision to reach Alaska. If you ask him about GraceWorks, he will tell you why they even exist. “Our goal is nothing less than to literally transform Alaska by winning new believers, growing disciples, and starting new gatherings of believers. We will not be satisfied until we see a remarkable, multiplying, Jesus Movement in our state.” That is a bold vision.


Every summer, GraceWorks hosts hundreds of volunteers each week — students and adults who come here to be the hands and feet of Jesus. These teams help GraceWorks with their outreach in most of the city parks in Anchorage. Teams lead all sorts of fun activities for kids, teach Bible stories, repair bikes, host skateboarding clinics, and so much more.


However, before these teams arrive in Anchorage, there is much work that has to take place. One of the most important things is making sure that GraceWork’s fleet of vehicles are all in good repair and ready to transport teams to and from ministry locations every day. That’s where we come in.


For the past three years, our missions and men’s ministries have collaborated to bring a team of men to service the vehicles that will transport volunteers. GraceWorks has a fleet of 29 vehicles and trailers that must be serviced to ensure the safe transport of teams and supplies. Each vehicle has its respective maintenance record and a punch list of things to service. That’s why we are back in Alaska.


We are off to a good start and making progress. I am grateful for Gil Harris, Kingsland member and owner of Katy Auto Care, for his passion for leading men and serving God. Gil always does a great job of leading our morning devotionals and guiding our team in servicing vehicles. I don’t mind saying that I have learned a lot about car care over the past three years as a result of this annual initiative.


As time allows, and because the sun sets almost at ten at night, we always try to squeeze in an adventure at the end of the day — whether a quick hike or a quick trip to see one of the local sights. The work, the fellowship, the food, and working alongside our friends at GraceWorks all make for a great week. We all enjoy getting our hands dirty because we know that in a few weeks, the teams that come to serve will have a great experience. And we want to make sure that they have a safe experience as well.


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