Mixed Emotions – heading home

Hey friends and family,

I’m not sure if any of you will be checking in with our blog before we see you tomorrow afternoon, but just in case I thought I’d write a few thoughts.

Our day today was pretty nice and chill. We slept at Changepoint church in Anchorage last night – I’m certainly thankful that we are able to stay at Changepoint, though the floors are quite hard and it’s not always the best night of sleep. Luckily, I seem to be in the minority and heard from many others that they slept great . This morning was filled with church and packing up our stuff. Then we moved on to some souvenir shopping and dinner at a fantastic pizza place called the Moose’s Tooth. After dinner we drove through a park in the hopes of spotting a moose (no luck in that venture today) and then were dropped off at the airport.

So, that’s what we did, but what I really want to tell you is how today has felt. It’s pretty crazy to think that this is my fourth summer in a row of spending a week at Eaglecrest. Prior experience has prepared me for the pure exhaustion that today would bring, though everything was thrown for a bit of an emotional loop as the reality set in that this is my last trip to Eaglecrest for the foreseeable future.

This year’s team is an incredible group of human beings and I am so thankful to every one of you for lending your son, daughter, spouse, family member, or friend to this team! Our nightly leader gatherings were always intended to last half and hour or so and would instead stretch into an hour or more as we talked about the many moments we were privileged to witness of our students stepping out of their comfort zones, showing serving hearts, taking initiative, and rocking their roles at day camp. The leaders on this team are incredibly intuitive, caring, and generous souls and I’ve learned from each of them throughout the past week.

Eaglecrest is a beautiful place and I love the quiet moments of looking out over the river to see the mountain on the other side. To me, mountains are such a clear demonstration of God’s power and I cannot imagine a better setting to spend a week. Yet, all of that scenic beauty pales in comparison to the beauty I see in the relationships that are formed at camp. I’ve had the privilege of watching 4 teams of students bond with one another, 4 teams of leaders bond together, and 4 weeks of time to get a glimpse of the relationships that Jim, Lynnae and their kids are forming in Sutton, AK. The work that they do is hard, exhausting, and requires so much sacrifice, but to see the joy that happens in the moment when someone pulls into camp and just gets to say hi and chat with the Smith family – that is clear evidence that God is using them in such powerful ways. I have learned so much about relational ministry in my visits to Eaglecrest because of the authenticity and honesty of the example I see in Jim, Lynnae and every one of their kids.

So, as our trip officially comes to an end, I am full of mixed emotions. I am so excited to get home, see my husband and my dog, and I am really sad to be saying goodbye. Thank you all for your support throughout the many months of preparation and our last 9 days on the ground in Sutton. We will see you tomorrow!

Kelsey

Saturday – Debrief Day

Howdy folks,

Paxton here! Today is July 1st! Yes, yes it is! Believe me I’m just as shocked as you. This week has flown by, and we have all learned so much and grown together as a community.

A little bit about my experience so far, I’ve had a great time getting to know my team members. This trip is full of gifted students and leaders who I have been able to have great conversations with. My faith has grown through these opportunities to speak with and teach them. I’m blessed to have gotten to listen to and share with each person on our team, but here are some highlights. Over pizza, Robb and I were able to share about how to best use our gifts and live out our beliefs. (God is good in so many ways) I also was able to share and hear about the life stories of our team members. Discussions came up about why God allows bad things to happen to good people and what that means for us as Christ followers. How do we best follow God when times get tough? These conversations have certainly helped me to grow in my faith; I know our team cannot wait to take this knowledge back to Madison and share with y’all.

In other news, today we hiked Hatchers Pass, a mountain range and goldmine just outside of Sutton. God’s creation is so beautiful; we couldn’t help but marvel at the mountains and crystal clear water. Check out the photos on Eaglecrest they may be beautiful, but they don’t do justice to what we’ve seen.

Once we’d made it through the pass we went back to camp, cleaned up, and said our goodbyes. Now we are off to Anchorage to stay overnight at Change Point Church. Despite us being disappointed to leave camp, we are all very excited to return to Madison and continue building relationships at home. We cannot wait to see you all.

Best, Paxton & Company

Second To The Last Leg

On Friday, we had the most students of any other day-a huge 6! Breakfast was French toast casserole, and the Skills Clubs were Building Catapults (no casualties) and Cupcake Decorating. In a direct quote from Dave: “Cupcake Decorating went well, but Cupcake Eating was even better!” We also had small group discussion times. That night, we had a community cookout. Most of us fell in love with an adorable little girl named Savannah, who made us all laugh. Most memorable? Luke was wearing Phineas’ (Craig’s Irish alter-ego) bright green glasses. When anyone else would put them on, Savannah would burst out laughing. When Luke gets his glasses back…..poker face. Continue reading