It’s been a weekend of white wonder. I’ve never sledded quite like I did yesterday at Hatchers Pass. Nor have I have driven a snow mobile/machine until today. Both experiences left my family and the Hales in high states of joy and wonder. 

Alaska is such an incredible place. It’s intoxicating. Yes, it’s mind-numbingly cold for this cold-natured Arkie, but the deeper the cold seeps into my bones, the deeper my love and attraction to this place grows. 

We spent hours at the Pass yesterday, and we weren’t there very long before the snow started to fall. It was stunning. Soon, the white whiteness of it all prevented you from seeing where the clouds stopped and the top of the mountains started. Your depth perception started playing tricks on us as well. It’s easy to see how someone can get tired around out here. 

We tramped up and down the side of the sledding hill numerous times. I screamed like a girl as my sled hit warp speeds coming down. You can see a video here. Kristy was the only one unable to sled since she’s great with child. But she took some fantastic shots from her lawnchair perch before abandoning sports photography for the warmth of the van.

After the lickety-split and hair raising descents on tubes, sleds and backs, me, Mike and the kids dug a snow tunnel system which New York city subway engineers would be proud of. As we broke though into each others’ tunnels, we were about 4 feet deep. It was time for the kids to burrow through.

Sam went first. Then Adelyn. Then Mike tried. Midway through, with his legs still sticking out, he yelled from underneath the snow in a near-panicked voice, “I’m stuck!” Oh the possibilities of pranks… We graciously drug him out.

Then Abby went through. Finally, I tried. I thought I could make it. I really did. But I too got stuck midway. I realized in that split second just how terrifying being buried in an avalanche must be. I also realized that Mike’s near-panic voice was real. I was panicking.

“I’m stuck!” I yelled. 

Mike laughed and took his sweet time before he pulled me out by my legs from what could have been my snowy tomb. (Hey, your mind races when stuck four feet under!)

After stripping down to our dry clothes, we made our way to the Hatchers Pass Lodge for hot drinks and hot pie. It was a Swiss chateau type of lodge. An incredible A-frame nestled into the muted white mountains. So we sat next to a window, laughing and enjoying fellowship with friends while the silent constancy of snowfall rained down across the landscape outside.

Simultaneously with our snow-bound adventure with friends of faith, some other dear guy-friends touched down in Poland yesterday. Jeremy, Clark, and Michael met up with the same group of missionaries that I connected with last October in the city of Krakow, Poland. 

As I began receiving tweets from them about their smooth transition and check-in to their hostel, I celebrated the faith of my friends, both in Alaska, Poland, and those still in Monticello. I love how so many people I know are willing to put their “yes” on the table for the Great Commission, for the glory of Christ.

We’re in Alaska; others are in Poland. Whether we’re having fun, preaching, or working with an international football team, is it kingdom work if we are grinning?

I’m reminded of an experience recorded in Luke 10. Jesus’ disciples had been sent out to preach the kingdom, and it was report time. “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Jesus urged them not to rejoice just in the event itself, but to keep perspective. It was more important that they knew Him and as a result, “your names are written in heaven.”

What Luke records next was undoubtedly told to him by those present. It was a moment of celebration and joy for Jesus. 

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

Ministry, missions and kingdom work does not have to be with strangers, with a sour face and an attitude of “look how much we’re sacrificing.”

Whether Poland, Alaska or your local Wal-Mart, in each place that you go, folks discover that there are wonderful opportunities to truly enjoy the place and the people to whom God has called them. And many times.. it’s fun.

This is shaping up to be a weekend with fun faith.

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