The temperatures are warming up to above freezing during the day and the snow is melting at times, although we just got about 6 inches of new snow. This is our favorite time of year to go out and play in the snow since we still have up to 2 feet in some places, but it's warmer. Luke was able to come home for spring break and it was a blessing to get to spend the week with him. We also enjoyed a visit from Russ' mother and sister, who just left to go back to Virginia. We continue to work with AWANA at our church and just prepared for the AWANA games, held in Delta Junction 3 hours away. Unfortunately, on the day of the games, our team was unable to get through the pass because of blizzard conditions. It's been a good year and it's been fun since our whole family has been involved in teaching or leading games in AWANA. Sue and the kids have continued to be involved in the church at Chistochina, teaching Sunday School to the kids once or twice a month. Today for Easter, Ansley sang at the church and Sue did a presentation with Resurrection eggs for the kids in the community. They have also been helping with a children's / teen youth group in the village of Mentasta, 2 hours from us.
Life and ministry at the medical clinic continues to go well. Things were a little slow during the month of February, but are now picking up. Our mission committee developed an Easter outreach for the children in the community including an egg hunt in the snow (see the pictures). We continue to try and share the love of Christ to those in need in our community, and continue to see patients here in the clinic as well as making housecalls to people in the area. One big new development is the opportunity for possible expansion of the ministry into another area of Alaska. Community leaders in Delta Junction, 3 hours north of us, have contacted us and asked us to consider starting a clinic in their area. Their current doctor has had to cut back and they are 2 hours from the nearest hospital with no 24 hour care in the area. They came to us because of our common experience working in a rural area of Alaska and our faith based approach. Our CEO and our board of directors has been exploring how we can help our neighbors there and possibly expand our ministry into new areas, which will take a lot of work, but is an exciting possibility. We are also looking into partnering with a medical clinic in Central America and possibly sending staff on mission trips to help as needed. We already have a few people planning to work in Haiti later this year.
On a more personal note, our family is seeking God's direction for the coming year. As most of you know, we started this adventure as a longer "short term" mission trip, planning to be here for one year. We are now in our second year, which will be up in July. We still have our house in Virginia and have continued to plan to return after our time here. It has been exciting to be here and see God work in ministry in the medical clinic and the community. Currently, the clinic is staffed by Russ along with an excellent team including a nurse practitioner and a physician's assistant. As of this time, there is no definite replacement for Russ "in the wings". We continue to pray and ask for your prayers as we seek direction in continuing with our original plan to return to Virginia versus staying here to continue to help meet the needs in the community. We have good reasons for both courses of action, so we pray for clarity.
We thank all of you for your continued support, calls, emails, times on skype, visits, and especially your prayers. Keeping connected with our friends and family gives us great encouragement and we long to visit with you in person. Thank you for coming alongside us in this mission adventure.
For wisdom and openness to God's direction for our family.
For the continued ministry here at Cross Road Medical Center and wisdom for our leadership as they consider expanding into a new area.
For Bridger as he graduates from high school this year!
For the continuing ministry through the church in Chisotchina and the youth group and Bible study in Mentasta.
That the Lord would work through the staff at Cross Road Medical Center to be a light in the community and change lives through His love, shining through us.
We pray that you have a wonderful day as we remember our Lord's resurrection!