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  • Writer's pictureJanet Richey

If Not Us, Then Who?

Happy Birthday, Daniel.

There is no getting around this. I went to bed wondering what I had gotten myself into, and it wasn’t for the lack of total darkness. I just wanted to go home.

But at four this morning, I walked out into our 5-star accommodation-like retreat house and saw views like these:  

The road that leads to Lazy Mountian. Lynn the AT Hiker (and so much more) and I took a faction of this road and I am pretty sure I held her back from doing more.

God is so good.

How We Got There

There is a lot you can learn about people when you’re wedged into a nine-seat passenger van with exactly nine people at 3Ay-EM and a two-hour drive to Philly. Say what you want about Pastor Mike, but second only to my husband; he is the best driver I have ever ridden with and can do it while giving a sermon. (Just kidding, he’s just a really good storyteller.)

Jason rode shotgun with the rest of us minions stuffed in the back. At that time of morning, it wasn’t the worst ride I’ve ever had on the turnpike, and conversation flowed easily between those who just wanted to sleep and the rest of us who were looking for easy conversation.  I felt very connected to my lovely team until we got to the long-term parking lot. And then to the checked baggage area in Philly.

Let The Games Begin

It felt a little like boot camp where an unknown drill sergeant screams you awake from a fitful sleep, and you don’t know where you’re at or how you got there until you’re out in some god-forsaken desert doing one-arm push-ups. That was me. At Philly, in Seattle, at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, and at LightShine base camp, where we would be treated to a pioneer-style dinner and normally delightful conversation with the volunteers that serve there. But the Christ-like attitude I packed earlier in the week was losing its grip, and I just wanted a place to rest. Anywhere.  Oh! Wait!  There are people-eating Momma Mooses and Grizzlies out there.

Take off from Philly

Pastor Mike was unmercifully sandwiched between Mae and me, and listening to his educated response to the view of Mount St. Helens was one of many highlights of this trip.

Half the crew on our trip would disagree.

Shhh! My child. Do you trust Me?

Leaving on a Jet Plane

The best thing that happened on this trip, other than being with a gang of nice people, is that I found my love of flying again.  Love casts out all fear…1 John 4:18 The other way that God answered prayers is that we really didn’t have any encounters like you would find in a 60-second social media reel. However, true to stereo-typical Seattle, one of our team members walked into a gender-inclusive restroom with his/her Lightshine Ministries t-shirt and suddenly didn’t feel very included. But other than that, it was the normal airport grind.

Flights were delayed by 20 minutes due to strong headwinds (whatever that means), but it didn’t affect the quality of the flight, even though I found it impossible to sleep during the six- and then three-hour flight. I thought about my son, whom I left on his 17th birthday, as he was taking his first flying lesson back in Harrisburg.

God is so incredibly good.

It was hard not to scream with delight when we saw the mountain ranges as we got off the airplane at Anchorage, so I didn’t hold back. Lee had the presence of mind to take a photo of the four gals over forty, and it only got better when we saw Mel in the LightShine Ministries Bus pull into the pick-up area. 

Lynn, Mae, Janet, Cheryl. With some random mountain behind us.

It was almost better that my first exposure to Alaska was Anchorage, because it could only get better from there. And it did, the further northeast we got out of the most populus city. Mel handled the bus intercom like a tour guide straight out of…tour guide school?  But the relaxing banter from the peanut gallery in the back made me wonder if he knew what he’d gotten himself into with this crew. I hoped not. My personal mission from the start has been to make this trip a memorable one. For everyone. Even if it meant being a brat.

Maybe I would be that thorn in the flesh the Apostle Paul talked about 2 Corinthians. Maybe all of us would be at some point. I actually can’t wait to see how that plays itself out.

After a the visit to base camp, Mel drove us a few miles “down the road” to our night of rest. Mel must like us, because for our first night he set us up in this place called InterAct Ministries, not far from base camp.  Check out their website here:

We all settled into this beautiful retreat, comfortable enough with each other to do it in our own way. Some went straight to bed. Some sat out in the common area to recall and rehash the day's events, while others of us felt the need to get outside and take a walk. I’ve never seen a place so beautiful. I have a feeling this is just the beginning.

Lee, Jim and Mel.

“Then I heard the Lord asking, “Then whom shall I send as a messenger to our people?” Who will go for us?  Isaiah 6:8

We’re just getting started.

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