Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We put on a community Thanksgiving dinner on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. A lot of people came out to have a good time. There was even a pinata and a movie!

We have had three potlatches since mid November. This is a pot of moose head soup. It is served at every potlatch from these enormous pots. Bill has started to help cook the soup.

I set up a table selling fabric at the holiday bazaar. I had a great time and got to see a lot of people.

Ethan had one of the main parts in the K-4 Christmas program. Go Ethan! He did a great job!

Bill got to play Santa Claus again this year. Not everyone was happy to sit on his lap!

Happy Holidays from Nenana, Alaska!

We want to wish all of our family and friends Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May God bless you greatly and may you in turn bless others.

2009 has been a great year for us! Our photo was on the front page of the Fairbanks paper, we got to see the Tanana River ice break up, and Bill got his head shaved at AWANA. Rebecca won a local quilt contest, Bill said the river blessing, friends and family came to visit and all of Nenana survived the wildfire that was only a couple miles away. All the details are on our blog; scroll down to read all about it!

We are involved in many activities and are never bored or have nothing to do. The kids participate in tae kwon do and they have won trophies at the tournaments. Aerin is in cheer club this year to encourage the high school basketball team at their home games, and Ethan has joined Cub Scouts. Aerin’s favorite subjects are music and reading and Ethan likes lunch and recess (math too!) They just participated in the annual fall concert; Aerin played the trombone in a trombone/trumpet duet, and Ethan was a part of the 3rd/4th grade drum choir. They both did a great job! Bill keeps busy writing sermons, leading Bible studies, and cutting wood. We bought a chain saw this winter and he has been using it to help others get in wood; we don’t have a wood stove. I work 10 hours a week as a file clerk, quilt and help others with their sewing projects, and be a wife and mom. There is never a dull moment around here.

Nenana Community Church is thriving. We are making a difference in our community and people notice. We just put on a community Thanksgiving dinner, free for all, and about 120 people came (out of a community of 400 or so). We have an average attendance of about 35 and are growing out of our current rented space. This next year we will begin seriously looking into plans for building our own church building. Many times this year people have stopped us and thanked us for coming to Nenana.

We were highlighted in the Village Missionary Prayer Spotlight this October and received quite a few letters, phone calls, emails and monetary gifts. It is wonderful to know that people are praying for us and really want to know what we are doing up here. As the only VM missionaries in Alaska, sometimes it can get lonely and we think we are forgotten. It was so encouraging to hear from so many.

Please pray for us during the upcoming year. Pray for guidance as we will be looking into blueprints and fundraising for our own church building. Pray for ministry opportunities as we continue to plan and implement community activities. Pray for Bill as he prepares the sermon weekly. Pray that we can be a light in the darkness in Nenana. Pray for Aerin and Ethan as they grow up. Pray that I can be a good wife and mother, and not neglect my family by being too busy doing good things.

Our work here is really making a difference in the lives of those around us. Your donations are keeping us here. We have lost some supporters over the last year, due to the downturn in the economy, and we are asking for your help in staying in Nenana. If you could support us on a monthly basis or make a one time gift, we would greatly appreciate it. You can do this by contacting Village Missions by phone at 1-800-617-9905 or on the web If you know someone who is looking for a missionary to support, please pass along our information. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Did you celebrate a Thanksgiving meal? Did you celebrate Thanksgiving Day? We celebrated Thanksgiving Week!
On Sunday, we ate dinner with some friends.
On Monday, I took someone to the doctor and ate lunch in Fairbanks.
On Tuesday, we ate the Thanksgiving lunch put on by the school.
On Wednesday, we didn't eat out but I helped Jeannie make pies for Thursday.
On Thursday, we ate at 2 p.m. at the Bennett's and then again at 6 p.m. at the Verhagen's.
On Friday, we hosted a community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Tribal Hall, about 120 showed up.
On Saturday, there was a memorial pancake supper for Joshua Mayrand.
On Sunday, we had church potluck.
On Monday, Thankfully we ate at home (Between AWANA ending at 5 p.m. and taekwondo starting at 6 p.m.)
On Tuesday, lunch out at the wellness meeting, and dinner at a potlatch.

And we just got word that a local elder passed away today and there will be another potlatch this week.

And this is really our normal.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We were chosen to be in the Village Missions Spotlight recently and have been overwhelmed with care. Thank you for your letters, notes, monetary gifts and prayers. We have been encouraged, uplifted and made to feel special. This came at a great time for us as we were feeling a little low. God knows our every need.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bill's dad and stepmom, John and Patti Troxel, came to visit for a few days. We had a great time visiting with them. They blessed us with a bunch of groceries and presents for all. Thanks!

Bill and the kids did some pumpkin carving while I took pictures. Last year we had a pumpkin but never got around to carving it. So, I made sure to do it this year. Aerin has said she is going to dress up as a tourist and Ethan is going to be a ninja this year.

And here is just a great photo of Aerin.

And a great one of Ethan too.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

We had a fabulous autumn! The colors were so bright and welcome. The weather was nice and warm and we enjoyed every moment.

This article on the front page of the Fairbanks paper was about our friend Walter (the man under the word escape), and how he has gotten sober and his life now, three years out of the chronic inebriate lifestyle. But look who is also on the front page! (I'm glad I wasn't picking my nose or something!)

The kids and I got to go to Denali Park on the Alaska Railroad with the Senior Center (we are volunteers) for $25 per person, a very good deal. Bill was off with his friends (see photo below). I have heard that when you go hunting and get nothing, it is a lot of fun. When you get a moose, it becomes a lot of work. John Watts, Sr. and John Watts, Jr. from Ottumwa, Iowa were here and took Bill out moose hunting with them. They all had a lot of fun.

We do a lot of visitation this way. We go out into the community and look for every chance to say hello and chat.

And we also host events. This is a Freecycle, a large community stuff exchange. You bring when you no longer want and take somebody else's stuff home. We have been doing these for a year and have a great time. We cook some food and other people bring some food too.

And guess what happened last night? SNOW!!! And here is our annual family photo.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

August Update

Wow! Time for an update!

Thank the Lord that the rains came and put out the fire! It started raining August 6th, and it has been pretty wet since then. The fire crews have now left the area after waiting to see if the rains really put out the fire. School has been delayed until September 8 and the kids are kind of bummed as they were looking forward to seeing their friends again.

Bill got to go out to the drill rig, he won a place on the tour in a drawing. They are drilling for natural gas four miles away from Nenana. The first drill site found no gas, but they are going to drill at other sites. Click here to read more about it.
And this was a great year for berry picking! This photo shows over two pounds of raspberries that Aerin and I picked in about an hour. The blueberries were great too. The four of us picked five pounds of blueberries in about 75 minutes. I made blueberry sauce, blueberry syrup and raspberry sauce. Yummy!
The kids learned a new skill this summer!
It was hard to get a picture before the houses fell down/got knocked down!

We went to the Tanana Valley Fair twice, once to go and once because I had to work and Bill and the kids wanted to see more stuff. I worked the booth for CyberLynx, a homeschool program, giving out helium balloons.

The kiddos had to try out the climbing wall, and Ethan made it to the top! Both kids vowed to do it again next year.

Aerin joined soccer this fall. She will have to be in high school to play in the official games, but she can join in the practice and scrimmages. She is in the middle of the photo, in a white shirt, between two players in yellow, looking like she is going to kick the ball, which she did.
This tree is right off the front corner of our porch. Can you see the yellow leaves? Fall is definitely here! It was 36 degrees yesterday when I took Maggie out at 7 a.m. The afternoons are still warmish, but there has been frost a few mornings.
We had a very busy week this last week. Monday was calm and normal, Tuesday was Wellness in Nenana meeting for lunch then a funeral and potlatch. Wednesday was Bill's birthday and we had guests over for salmon, moose, and bison BBQ. Thursday I worked all day at Cyberlynx and then Bill and I had to go to Fairbanks for dinner with the Norwood's (VM staff), Friday I had lunch with a friend, and an invitation for a ham dinner. Aerin had a soccer match. Saturday was going to be spent at home, but Ethan's bike was stolen. I spent an hour in the car, and Bill three hours on his bike, and he found Ethan's bike down by the river. It is still in good shape. Then on short notice there was a potluck and concert at the tribal hall. Sunday (today) is Aerin's birthday (more cake)! Eating special meals (birthdays and away from home) six days out of seven is not conducive to losing weight! Hopefully this week is calmer and not so crazy. Well, Bill is called up for jury duty tomorrow in Fairbanks (I hope he doesn't have to serve, it's a murder trial).

We have some friends visiting from Iowa in the beginning of September and then Bill's dad will be visiting the first week of October.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


So what does living 10 miles from a 200,000 acre wildfire look like? I took some photos of the big smoke clouds on Sunday and Tuesday. Some days the smoke blows over us and we can't see very much at all. We have had some ash fall, but not really very much. There are helicopters flying over all day long, delivering supplies and water to the firefighters. The fire is mostly being allowed to burn, and is not being put out. There are some places where the fire will not be allowed to go, and those small areas will be fought for.

The previous photos have been the fire west of Nenana. The following photo is of a fire east of Nenana.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

We got to go on a short Alaska roadtrip and visit our supporters, and have some fun. These are some photos from July 2009.

Near Eureka, Alaska

Grizzley Lake, Mile 53 Tok Cutoff

Worthington Glacier near Valdez

Worthington Glacier near Valdez

Worthington Glacier near Valdez