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  • Writer's pictureJanet Richey

Miracles and Wonders

Updated: Jun 13




June 12, 2024


It is 6:54 AM, and I am sitting here with Lee, Mel, Jim, and Jason while Cheryl is working in the kitchen, whipping up a batch of cookies for tonight’s BBQ at Ron and Jean’s house. Heavy rain is falling on the metal roof, and as we walk into our third work day, it is anything but comforting. Today, at least for the team outside, could be the most challenging yet.


Ron and Jean’s house sits, rather conveniently, less than a mile away from Wrangell Camp. It is part of a 5-acre parcel of land that houses the old Copper Center Chapel, which was established sometime in the early forties by Vince Joy, the first missionary to come to the village.  More on him, perhaps, in another blog. The church cemetery differs from any I’ve ever seen and almost feels too sacred to capture in a photo.  Ancestors. Heritage. It is referenced in almost every other sentence by the natives.


Copper Center Chapel taken from Ron and Jean's front yard.
Inside Copper Center Chapel
Copper Center Chapel. The door is always open.

But let me take you all back to Friday when we touched down at Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage. One of our team members left an important item behind on the plane. Two other guys were making phone calls and looking under every piece of proverbial furniture while Mel, in the driver’s seat, literally and figuratively, sprung into his own action with a call to prayer. 15 minutes later, there was a celebratory cry when two of the team members came out with that treasured item. It was an instant answer to prayer.


It would be one of many.  God is so faithful.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Ron and Jean had a huge wish list, which was only matched by the tenacity and hunger in the eyes of our team members. It made me think they’d do it all and wrap it up in a big red bow. But today, the rains come, and I think we’re all silently praying that God will provide another miracle.  The forecast makes us wonder.


Jim shared our Monday devotional, which went to the under-referenced book of Habbakuk. It’s not if you will suffer bad things; it’s when—a concept not foreign to the native Alaskans.


There were three simultaneous projects going on, four if you include the mutual therapy/cooking sessions that were going on inside with Jean. There was the deck, the chicken coop, and a shower installation. Jason spent most of the day in the shower, Jim and Jacob were building a home for the baby chicks that were currently residing in one of Jean’s spare bedrooms, and the rest of the team was attacking the deck like an Amish barn-raising.

Lee, Lynn, Mike and Mel.
Jim and Jacob at the chicken coop.

Over lunch, Mel, Mae, and I went over to see the Copper Center Chapel, which now serves as a tourist attraction. Later, I rode along with Jean to the post office. Who doesn’t love a ride in a Dodge Ram diesel pickup truck that requires an elevator to get into?  On the way back, we picked up some pretty yellow Arnica (are-ne-ca) that, like most flowers, has medicinal value.

Arnica flowers grow wild on the roadside.

In between all of the busyness, Jean would be taking love-letter-like phone calls from Ron, who was back in Palmer getting medical treatments. They will be married 56 years in July, and their love for each other is both practical and extravagant in the same breath. They are growing old together in a way that is usually only found in (clean, non-pornographic) Hallmark movies.


The team came back tired but satisfied with the work they had accomplished in less than seven hours. We feasted on leftovers and homemade garlic bread, courtesy of Jim. It was the first night we had some free time, and I felt adrift. I don’t even know if I felt that it was worth it, and by that point, I was such a malcontent that I couldn’t be made happy with anything. That would require prayer.


While not instantaneous, my prayer was slowly being answered over the course of the last 48 hours, changing my heart of stone to a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). If there were ever proof that miracles exist, that transformation would be one of them.


It was also that night, prompted by something I am still unsure of, that Mae called us to pray around our bunk beds. And this time, we named names.  Each of us took one of the guys and brought them to the throne, personalizing it to the best of what we knew of each of them.  We also prayed for unity, which is becoming a really big deal for us. I went to bed, a little less roasted, and begged for forgiveness for things that are too shameful even to mention here.  


Prayers, Please

We're getting beat up by the rain up here. While the team is relentless in our pursuit to get the to-do list completed, it is putting us a little behind, and rain has a tendency to suck the energy from ya. Please also pray for us as we attend a Celebrate Recovery on Thursday June 14. Please pray as I prepare my testimony about dealing with anger.

 

Tuesday, June 13, will be posted in the next day or two, and I hope you'll tune in.


Thank you for all the love and support as we continue this Please reach out to Mel, Mike, Jason, Jacob, Lee, Jim, Mae, Lynn, and Cheryl, as so many of you have done for me. You have no idea how a God-time text will lift the spirits of those who receive them.


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6 comentarios


Invitado
15 jun

I love these blog updates, Janet! Thanks for taking the time and dealing with the frustration of spotty internet. This is the most detail I've ever heard of Mel's 16 years of trips to Alaska!

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Janet Richey
Janet Richey
21 jun
Contestando a

I am so glad you like them! This has been a lot of fun for me to write, and Mel was an awesome leader with so much patience! Thanks for the comment!

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Jamie Etter
Jamie Etter
15 jun

Continuing to pray that the rain has stopped , and for perseverance and safe travels returning home!

You are in God’s right hand !

Jamie


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Janet Richey
Janet Richey
21 jun
Contestando a

Thank you, Jamie. We've felt every one of your prayers!

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Invitado
14 jun

Go teams go! We continue to pray for the lot of you! We’ll include a prayer for no more rain for you as well.

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Janet Richey
Janet Richey
21 jun
Contestando a

Thanks for the prayers. God answered them in His time. For sure! Thanks for leaving a comment. 🙂

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