The snow has finally left and summer is here. It was a long winter, officially the longest on record since records were kept in Alaska. Our last snow was several inches on May 18, but then it got warm quickly and now is in the 70s. The mosquitoes are starting to catch up with the warm weather, but so far they have not been that bad. We have enjoyed being outside and have caught a few trout and grayling.
We had a great year with AWANA and finished up in early May. Bridger finished his last book and will receive the Citation Award. We are very proud of him as that means that he completed AWANA all the way through high school, finishing 13 books. Bridger also graduated from (our homeschool) high school this month and plans to go to New River Community College in the fall. He will take some engineering classes to see if that is what he would like to pursue. Luke is home from Liberty and helping out with IT at the clinic. Case and Ansley are enjoying being out of school, Case just got back from a team basketball camp with his team here.
Sue is taking a big breath after finishing school this year and thinking about packing.
Speaking of packing, we are planning on leaving here on July 15 to make the drive back to VA. It has been a long, hard decision filled with prayer, many discussions, and even a few tears. We strongly considered staying here for another year or more. But after all of the above, we think that at this point, it's time to come back to Virginia, at least for now. It has been hard and sad in some ways, but we feel that it is the right decision for now, and we know that God is in control of things, including His ministry here at Cross Road. We're not very good at knowing the future, but are still very interested in missions and open to the idea of returning to work here in the future.
It has been a very interesting time at the clinic. The winter was a little slower than last year, but it has gotten back to normal with the arrival of the summer crowd. When we leave, Deborah Crowe, our nurse practitioner, and Karie Pepe, our physician's assistant, will continue to work at the clinic. They have been here the entire time with us and do a great job. We have been aggressively recruiting a doctor to be Russ' replacement, but don't have a definitive replacement at this time. We do have a doctor coming for 3 weeks in August who has recently been training doctors in Afghanistan. In the midst of all of this, our director is still working on the idea of opening a new pharmacy and clinic in Delta Junction, 3 hours north of us. As I noted in the last blog, Delta has no pharmacy and no 24 hour clinic, and has asked us to open a clinic there. They have to drive 100 miles for emergency care. We've also recently been contacted by a Christian psychiatrist who is interested in working with us. Suicide is a large problem in Alaska, particularly in the villages. This psychiatrist has felt called to work in this area and specializes in children and adolescents, which is very rare in Alaska. She is coming for a visit next month. This is not something that we had planned, but the need here is great and we're open to God's leading in this potential new direction.
Sue and the kids have continued to participate in the outreach in the villages. They have continued to work teaching Sunday School once a month in Chistochina and work with a child and youth group outreach weekly in Mentasta for the summer. Dede Duntze, our nurse practitioner who works in those villages, recently organized a concert and conference in both places. She was able to get Susie McEntire, Reba's sister, to come with her husband and share about domestic violence and abuse, and God's work in her life in the midst of this. They seemed to be well received by the community.
This will probably be our last blog from Alaska. We may put on a few pictures from the trip home or just do one when we get back. Sue and the kids are giving Russ a hard time for seeing the world's biggest beaver, buffalo, etc on the trip up. He has already figured out that we are passing the world's biggest hammer and fly rod on the way home!
-For strength for Karie, Deborah, and the other providers at Cross Road Medical Center in this transition
-That God will provider a great doctor with a heart for missions to work here in the near future
-For continued direction for the clinic in the opportunities at Delta Junction and the potential for branching out into mental health with a Christian perspective
-For Dede Duntze and the continued ministry in Chistochina and Mentasta
-For AWANA next year at Glennallen Community Chapel. They will have a new director and will have to replace some leaders as well.
-For continued direction for our family, as we seek to glorify God in this new phase in our lives, and for safety and no car or trailer problems on the way home. ( We'll be driving back like we came with the suburban and the trailer. We're taking the ferry in Alaska for the first part of the trip.)
-That God would continued to work to change peoples' lives and bring them to Him through the ministry at Cross Road Medical Center.