Folks around here refer to the modern, fast-paced world that we call home as “The Outside.” From that, we must infer that we are currently living on “The Inside” at Kako. Let’s take a peek at life on the inside…at least what we’ve experienced of it in the last couple of weeks.
#1. Government still holds sway on the inside. The scheduled family camp and first week of elementary camp had to be postponed because of water regulations. Some staff members are in the process of drilling a new well to comply with government standards. Camp is now scheduled to go ahead this coming week!
#2. New faces are a refreshing sight on the inside! Imagine living three quarters of the year with only the same four or five faces to look at every day (unless you’re lucky and get to make a trip to the post office with the pilot once in a while). We noticed a burst of energy around camp with the arrival of a student work team from Tennessee. These young people have not only offered everybody more faces to look at, but they’ve also contributed hugely to the work effort around Kako. Lots of big projects have already been accomplished, and they will man the counseling staff for the first week of camp.
#3. Electricity and watermelons are not to be taken for granted. The camp generator is used as sparingly as possible to save on fuel. The general schedule is 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and again from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. (This can be a problem when you own a 15-hour battery charger.) Prioritizing tasks becomes second-nature, and with Alaska’s long summer daylight hours, artificial light is rarely missed. And did I mention watermelons? A staff volunteer treated everyone to a delicious watermelon last week. It was hard deal to pass up at only $30 in nearby Russian Mission!
#4. Kako is a haven of beauty and cleanliness compared to most of the surrounding villages. Campers who come are amazed at the toilets that flush every time (well, at least when the power is on), warm showers, and the brightly painted houses. Jared and a few of the volunteers have had opportunities this week to hand out informational fliers and visit with the kids in several local villages. One day, Jared was assigned to visit a tundra village. A boardwalk snaked through town, and at every edge was thick muck that would swallow a person up to the knees if they ventured into it (which the kids love to do, of course). Volunteers in other villages had similar experiences, but they all enjoyed the opportunity to rub shoulders with locals on “The Inside.” As a result of this public relations work, more kids call to sign up for summer camp every day. We’re expecting close to a full camp (around 40 kids) for this first week.
#5. The truth and beauty of Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever–on both the outside and the inside. Is it possible, though, that with all the material distractions and “Christian” saturation on the outside, we might often take that truth and beauty for granted? Here, in areas of such limited access, Christ shines so brilliantly wherever He is found. He truly makes a difference in the lives of those who trust in Him. There are villages here that are crying out for help from Christian workers…but there aren’t enough workers to fill the need.
Pray that the Lord will raise up workers for this harvest throughout the villages of Alaska. Pray for the hearts of the children and teens who will attend camp at Kako this year. Maybe some of them will become God’s harvesters! And please pray for safety as Jared and other pilots perform all the necessary transportation throughout the summer.
Following, you will find a few pictures of life as we know it on “The Inside.”
Jared lands downhill at Kako (we live in the brown house):
A dusty takeoff:
Jared and Russell, a native foster boy who lives with a family here at Kako:
Unloading newly-arrived volunteers:
Lucy helps with a house-painting project:
Birds-eye view of a native village:
Doing public relations work in the villages:
Airplanes get dirty around here:
We can’t even get away from airplanes during naps: