A few days ago I was featured as a guest on Jason Stasyszen’s Blog. It is always an honor to be featured. To read the article he featured about “trees” from my pastor’s message last fall – you can find it here.
I know Jason because of his wonderful blog and because he is a pastor in Juneau Alaska, where Greg and I used to be in youth ministry – many years ago. I found him when I read a guest post that featured Jason – I learned he was a pastor there. It has brought some interesting conversation and we feel connected somehow by Alaska. We have never met in person – but we have Christ in common with each other and our hearts are unified.
Greg and I went to Juneau, Alaska as our first ministry position right out of college in 1983. They were wild and scary times for us. Greg had never been a youth pastor before – and he was also serving as the bus driver for the Christian School. I was learning to be the bookkeeper for the school – something I had NOT been trained for and clearly did NOT do well. But I tried. We were young and made many mistakes – including thinking that the job would last beyond a year. And we bought a townhouse. Wrong decision. The job did not last beyond a year, the market was in recession and when we left town – we could not sell it. We moved to Fairbanks and rented out our place. In the end we had to give the townhouse back to the bank because we could not sell it and we couldn’t handle the payments. Lesson learned. We did not buy a home for 20 years after that.
We eventually moved on in ministry – living in PA, CA, TX, FL and then back to Washington. And although we had been back to Fairbanks for the occasional visit because Greg’s parents lived there – we had not been back to Juneau in 20 years. When my parents, sister, brother-in-law, Greg and myself went on an Alaska cruise in 2004, one of our stops was Juneau. We rented a vehicle and drove around to all our own “haunts” including the church where we served and the Mendenhall Glacier we once saw from our street in town. It felt like time had stood still – but strangely familiar too. Once you live in Alaska – even for a brief amount of time – it gets inside of you and stays with you.
We go back to visit this September – as my husband and I celebrate 30 years of marriage. I would love to show my daughter and son-in-law where we had our humble beginnings. And I would love to meet Jason in person – because we share something. Christ and Alaska.