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  • Writer's pictureJanet Richey

The Lord's Day and Visiting a Man-Made Environmental Disaster

Updated: Jun 19

I have lost countless brain cells, mindlessly scrolling through social media, and Copper Center, Alaska, has imposed a fluctuating ban on my internet access. But it is from this very idol-my phone- that I have gotten some of the most encouraging messages from home that have made me cry tears of thankfulness. This blog is for you.

What Satan intended for evil (social media, my phone) God has used for good- Genesis 50:20. Thanks, Joseph.

Well, I thought I left my expectations at home...

Going from my king-sized bed to sleeping in a twin that is five feet off the ground has been one of many adjustments for me here at Wrangell Mountain Bible Conference Center. My bunk mates have made adjustments for me, and I am not sure I fully appreciated it until God pointed out that it wasn't too far from the happy times I spent at Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Camp Good News that I attended in Muncy, Pennsylvania, back in the mid-seventies. Moving to Scranton changed all of that and so much more.

Tight, but clean and cozy quarters.

But I digress. God is so incredibly faithful.

One of the best things about our time here has been the personal devotionals we’ve shared with each other after breakfast and before we set out for the day. On Sunday, Lynn shared about her personal experience from the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. What Satan intended for evil…and yet, the pain is no less real.

But God counts our tears and puts them in a bottle. Psalms 56:8

Mel gave us the 60-second tour of Copper Center before heading to church. Copper Center Community Church is reminiscent of my days attending North Pocono Bible Baptist Church. Jean and Ron have the same charisma and passion for the Lord the way that Pastor and Mrs. Ward did. It is an open floor plan where you can hear words and musical notes bounce off the polished wood. The wooden pews were covered in a scratchy burlap-like fabric that would make your legs sweat. 

The Copper Center Community Church. Built in the early 2010s

Jim set the tone by playing the piano with our songs of worship, and then he and Mel gave their testimonies. Pastor Ron gave a sermon that was reminiscent of something Reverend Lewis would give. After service, the team and the other attendees sat at tables eating two types of lasagna and a decadent dessert. I listened to the natives tell their stories through their blended belief in both God and spirits from the dead. Jean spoke of how it is difficult to change their mindset without pushing them away.  Maybe that issue isn’t isolated to Alaska.

Jim answered the call of piano player.
Jean and Ron taking prayer requests.

And then there is Ike, a native who has a strong relationship with Mel and others within LightShine Ministries. Ike has stories that he shared with many of the menfolk after our outing on Saturday night. Ike joined us for our trip to Valdez right after church.

Route 4/US Bicycle Route 95/Old Richardsons Highway runs southwest to Valdez, with, once again, some of the most beautiful variety of scenery, which makes Route 6 in Pennsylvania look like a towpath. There was much merriment along the way, and we ended the journey at Valdez, where we had a yummy dinner at Mike’s Palace.  I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. 

Mel, and our native friend Ike. These two go way back.
Worthington Glacier Overlook. Jim was doing a face-time with one of his grandkids. One of the cutest things, ever.

One of our team members made Mel do a u-turn because he was sure he saw a Moose hanging out in this shed. Ike came out and did a native moose call, which yielded nothing. There were, however, moose tracks in the gravel.

Prince William Sound, Valdez, Alaska
A fishing pier.

Day Three will be our first work day, which will bring a different angle on things.  Stay tuned.

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