Youth Ministry has embarked on a mission trip to Alaska, where they will serve locals experiencing homelessness and hunger until their return July 25. See below for updates from their trip and pictures.

Day 6

Today was a really good day! It was sunny, a slight breeze and felt so good to be outside. It’s excursion day! We went out to the Native Heritage Museum and were taught games that are played in the native villages. There are still competitions in which youth and children compete in these games even today. We also walked around a lake a saw what housing used to look like for different native groups across the state. Once we were finished, we went to watch people dance and drum. Each of their songs had special meaning and stories behind them.

After our time at the museum, we visited Beluga Point. We did not see any whales but it was a beautiful view! We also went shopping in downtown Anchorage. After our day of site seeing, we came home to a wonderful cook-out hosted by the people of St. Mary’s. The food was amazing! Hamburgers and hotdogs and plenty of side dishes. There was even a great band that played. Our late night hike to Flat Top was rained out so instead we played trivia and then began packing since it is our last night here. It was a good day!

Daily Chambers

Day 5

Today we had an early wake up as usual. Work started around 9 o’clock. I finished the trench and start clearing it out and laying the piping! I had a really fun time while I was working with everyone and just talking to them.

I got the pleasant surprise of seeing my grandparents today while I was heading inside from work. When I saw them, I was just astonished that had come here to Saint Mary’s to see me because they don’t live in Alaska but just happen to be here on vacation at the same time as me.

Every day at lunch, we eat sandwiches which we are all a bit tired of but we eat them anyway. After lunch was over, everyone got back to work. We began work on the flowerbeds for the community garden. After working for several hours, I headed inside for a bit of downtime.

For dinner, we had roasted chicken, salad, and mac n cheese. It was our best dinner yet! The Saint Michael’s group went to McDonald’s for a special treat during our small group time. We finished our evening like we always do with Compline before heading to bed. I’ve had a great time in Alaska so far and have made lots of new friends!

Jack Lawson

Day 4

Today, we all had a super fun adventure to Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla. First, we woke up early and had breakfast in bed then got ready to go to church. After church, we got to talk to some of the youth members from St. Mary’s church who run a youth-led coffee cart called Jesus Java. Every Sunday, parishioners can get coffee made from the youth that volunteer. Jesus Java is run totally on donations which go to the youth program and the coffee is just as good as Starbucks coffee!

After our bus ride to Iditarod, we looked around in the gift shop and bought some souvenirs and cool postcards to send to our families. Then, we watched an informative video about the Iditarod huskies talking about why they run and how they are trained. It was really cool to learn that the huskies like to and are born to run. We also got to play with some of the real huskies that run in the Iditarod races. I even got to ride in the sled that was led by the huskies. We also got to hold and play with some husky puppies that were being trained to run in the races.

We then drove a few miles down the road to the Curtis’ home to a family that raises huskies. They have a beautiful home overlooking one of the most amazing views I have ever seen. The Curtis’ let us play with their huskies who were so sweet and so much fun. It was the highlight of my entire day! The Curtis’ cooked us a full meal including Alaskan salmon, corn casserole, baked potatoes, and salad. We even had cake afterward too.

On our bus ride back to the church, we all started to sing songs and I feel so much closer to everyone than before. Today, I feel like everyone from all of the different churches bonded and we are all starting to have a lot of fun with our new friends!

Margaret Harris

Day 3

Today we learned that working is fun and after you’re done you have accomplished a lot. Yesterday, our group got to enjoy some of the sites of the city. We went to the Native Heritage Museum, where we saw whale bones, secret tunnel escapes, many of the native homes that the natives used to and still live in different parts of the state. We also met Miss Alaska! During our time at the museum, we also learned how the Native Americans lived many years ago such as what they ate, wore, and many of the bad diseases that affected many of their villages.

We also went to Beluga Point and got to eat lunch with a beautiful view of the ocean. Unfortunately, we did not see any whales pass us by. To finish off the day, we went shopping on 5th Street for a couple of hours and bought a few souvenirs to take back with us to Texas.

Brooke Bouldin & Mary Hayden Harris

Day 2

Today I woke up to the beautiful Alaskan morning. I slept like a baby because the temperature here is perfect. After breakfast, I headed to work at the greenhouse by the Thomas Senior Center. I helped there for a while by moving some boards so they could be screwed into the frame to make the floor. While I was there, I talked to some of the kids from the other churches. After that, we went over and helped some other kids dig the trench to the community garden so that we could put in the irrigation piping.

Then, we had lunch and I went to help dig holes for the posts of the moose-proof fence they were building to keep the garden safe from moose. We were having a hard time because the holes weren’t deep enough because we didn’t have the right tools. Eventually though, we got the equipment that we needed and we could start filling the holes with cement. Mixing the cement was kind of hard because it was so heavy but it was oddly fun and I liked hanging out with the other guys my age.

After that, we played cards while we were waiting for dinner. We had spaghetti for dinner and it was very good. So good that we ate it all and there was nothing left for seconds. We’re getting ice cream now so yeah. It’s been a pretty good day.

Hank Bishop

Day 1

Hello from Alaska! Today, was our first full day in Anchorage. Unfortunately, I did not sleep well last night. I slept on and off, and I couldn’t go back to sleep after 6:30am which is 9:30am in Dallas. When I finally got up to get ready for the day, my friends and I went outside to throw the frisbee. The weather was amazing! It was in the mid-60s and sunny. After we finished that, we helped unload the groceries from Walmart. After that, I ate a breakfast that consisted of cereal and mini donuts. We went over ground rules and sang a couple songs.

Then, we got to work. We packed lunches for later in the day, with a sandwich (that had too much mayo), a cookie, and Cheetos. We went on a tour of the church, and we ate our lunch outside. At around 12:30pm, we started working on the community garden we are building. We began digging a trench for the pipes to be able to fit in and water the garden. We dug until 3:00. It was very tiring, and we didn’t quite finish all of the 450 feet of trench needed, but it was still fun.

We wrote our thoughts for the day in our Alaska journals, and had some break time until dinner. For dinner, we had nachos, and I was starving. It was very good. We sang more songs, and we talked with the rector’s wife, Mrs. Nancy Burke, about homelessness in Anchorage.  We walked a few blocks to the YMCA and took some showers there. We had a Compline service, and we watched a slideshow of pictures that were taken today.  Then, we went to bed. I’m very excited for tomorrow, because I’m going on my first excursion for this trip!

Brayden Girata