Manuka's Place

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Alaska Pictures

I have not had the time to dowload any pictures from Alaska yet but you can check out My Pal Ingrid and her blog to see some of the events from Alaska. Enjoy!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

WOW!!

What an amazing couple of weeks it has been. Mission Alaska was one of the best mission trips I have ever been a part of. The kids were amazing, the team worked fantastic together, and besides from some travel mishaps it was a drama free event. We did have some issues getting back to Los Angeles. First of all, our plane had a clogged fuel filter that needed to be fixed and the parts were in Seattle so our plane was delayed until the following day (about 12 hours). The airline put us all up in a hotel and we got a few hours of sleep. Then back to the airport for another round of check in and security. We were delayed again and finally on our way to Seattle but we were too late and missed all of our connections. We had to stay another night in a hotel. The team took in in stride and we were all doing great until at 1 in the morning there was a small fire in the hotel. We all packed up quickly just in case we had to leave. The fire department put it out and we could go back to sleep. Most people just stayed up since we had to be at the airport at 4 am anyway. Then it was back to the ariport for round three of check in and security (what a pain) We finally got back to LA none the worse for wear. Because of all this I lost a day of work and prep for my vacation. I got it all done (some of in in Mexico) and now I am sitting in a wonderful house right on the harbor of San Carlos. It is a guys SCUBA diving trip. We drove the 14 hours here this time and the weather has been a bit on the hot side. It has been above 95 almost the whole time, but the diving has been great and the company even better. There is nothing better than great friends, good times, and cold margaritas. One second while I have another sip... the sun has just set and the sky is colored in reds and oranges that will blow your mind. I will post some pictures when I get back to the states. That is the short update from here, talk to you all later.....

Friday, July 07, 2006

This is a "Real" Post


It is Friday morning and I still have to pack for Alaska and do some paperwork, and go to the store for some supplies, but I know that I really need to post on my blog. I really enjoy posting and it has been far too long! Let me get you updated since the last "real" post.

I was at the beach last week for a bonfire for our Alaska team and snapped the picture above. The sunset was amazing and I love it that you can see downtown Long Beach in the distance. If you click on the picture you will see a larger version of it. Enjoy!!

I have taken two summer school classes. Like I mentioned in a previous post, they have been quite intensive. My first class was on the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, & Luke) with an emphasis on the writings of Luke. The class was awesome but I spent at least 5 to 6 hours a day outside of class doing the homework. We had to translate a ton of Greek and do some reading in a big commentary. The class was worth the work. Dr. Middendorf is amazing. Although we did not agree on everything, he always makes the story come alive. It was awesome reading the book of Luke straight through in 9 days. It was easy to see the connections and the themes. My second class this summer was "Multicultural Ministry in an Urban Setting". It was so-so. The info was good, but it was nothing new to me. We had to do an urban research project that I just finished last night. It took a lot of time and effort but it is finished now. I have one more class this summer. It is "Intro to Research". It is a one unit class that is all done on the internet. It will not be very fun but it is a requirement and another hoop to jump through. It seems like I have been jumping through a bunch of hoops lately.

I leave for Alaska today and I will be back in SoCal on the 16th. I am very excited about returning to Alaska. It will be great to go back to the same places and see some of the same kiddos. Fundraising for this years trip was an adventure. First of all we have a few more people going this year (23 compared to 17 last year) so we needed to raise more funds. On top of that, because of fuel prices, airfare was much higher. Last year we spent about $250 per person on airfare. This year it cost almost $600 per person. Then there is the cost of rental vans and gasoline. As I started adding up the numbers I realized we had quite a hill to climb. After totaling all the costs up I realized that we needed to raise about $26,000 to meet our costs. I was shocked. That is a lot of money!! I was sure I was going to have to ask the team members to pony up and pay the rest of the bill and I was not looking forward to that. I was honestly worried. But God had other plans. Right when I started to worry, God provided. We received a few large donations and then the floodgates opened. Every day I received a couple of checks in the mail and soon not only had we met our goal, but we had exceeded it!! God Is Good!!!! I am humbled and awed at his provision. I know that God has given us an emphatic "YES" to go on this trip. To God be the Glory!! I will give you an update when I get back. If I have access to a computer I will post from Alaska.

When I return I have three days and then I am off to Mexico for vacation. It will be a small group heading to San Carlos. This should be the year of a big trip, but we all agreed to keep it small and just go and spend time relaxing and making our own schedule. We are driving this year (14 hours) and it should be much better than my last trip to San Carlos on the bus ride from hell.

I will be home for about four days then it is off to Arrowhead Lutheran Camp where I will be serving as "Shepherd of the Week". It will be my first time back during summer camp since 1998. I am looking forward to it. My nephew AJ will be going with me and he will be in Little Chief Camp that week. AJ lives in Colorado and he comes out each summer to stay for a while with us and to see Grandma.

On the adoption front, our file has been approved by the supervisor of the Department of Children and Family Services. That was the last paperwork hoop to get through. Now we have one more class to take and then we will be eligible for placement. Our social worker said we have been "fast-tracked", whatever that means. I will keep you all posted on any further developments.

That is about it from here. Jill is busy tutoring all summer and making some extra money. She loves it and we both hope that at some point she can do it full time. Well I better start packing or I will be mad at myself for spending so much time in front of the computer. Talk you all later....