June 2013 marked 25 years of marriage for Lance and me. For years, we had been dreaming of going on an Alaska cruise for our 25th anniversary but God had other plans.
Instead of planning a cruise, June 2013 found us preparing to enter The Salvation Army College for officer training. Instead of sunning on the deck of a ship, we sunned while having garage sales. Instead of eating the luscious and plentiful food cruise ships are known for, we survived on fast food. While we had planned to be viewing glaciers and amazing marine wildlife, we were deep cleaning our house as we prepared it for sale. So much for that Alaska cruise dream.
But we know from Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:20 that our God does “exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think.”
During our first year in training we were assigned to come to Fairbanks for our six-week Christmas training! The cruise would have been wonderful, but we got to live here for six weeks and we loved it!
After two years of training college we were fully commissioned Salvation Army officers and ordained ministers ready to serve God wherever he wanted us to go. As we walked across the stage at the appointment ceremony, we were full of excitement and apprehension, wondering where we would be serving.
Then the words “you have been appointed as the corps officers at the Juneau Citadel Corps in Juneau, Alaska” were spoken. I could hardly contain my happiness and joy; we were going to Alaska to live! This was truly “exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think”!
We have been privileged to serve in Alaska for six years, four in Juneau and two in Fairbanks. During that time, we have served alongside amazing people and organizations. Fairbanks is a community that is rich in its care and concern for others with a spirit of collaboration that makes many programs possible.
We appreciate our employees and volunteers who work hard to serve the community and fulfill the mission of the Salvation Army here in the North Star Borough.
We have been blessed with a wonderful advisory board whose members have guided our steps and shared their storehouse of community knowledge with us. We have served on committees and coalitions that are filled with people who are passionate about their cause.
Our church family now includes people we call friends. It has been our honor to serve as pastors of this congregation and share in their lives.
We have been blessed to see the northern lights dancing in the sky as though they were curtains hanging from heaven and blowing in a breeze. We have danced and participated in Native Alaskan celebrations and learned so much about their amazing cultures. Driving to Anchorage, we have seen Denali in all her beauty, sometimes with the sun glistening off the snow on her peaks and sometimes looking quite menacing as she is covered with dark clouds. Moose and their calves have grazed on the grass and eaten from the chokecherry tree in our yard. We have seen a mama bear and her cub taking a walk down a sidewalk as though out for an evening stroll. So many other adventures: walking on glaciers, seeing the salmon running, driving to the Arctic Circle, hunting, fishing, camping on an island, glitter snow and 40 below temperatures.
We truly have been blessed to “live our dream,” and not just for a quick cruise, but for six wonderful years because God does “exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think”!
Now, we find ourselves preparing for a new adventure outside Alaska as we have been appointed as the corps officers in Bremerton, Washington. We say “farewell” to Fairbanks and Alaska, knowing that God has wonderful new adventures for us in Bremerton!
Dana Walters, captain corps officer, Salvation Army. Insight is sponsored by the Tanana Valley Christian Conference.