Friday, June 29, 2007

Hail to the Chief!

Many of you have been asking me: "Did Chief make it to Alaska? How did he do?"

He made it, and had the time of his life. I connected with Chief up in Fairbanks, before the Alaska teams split up and headed to our prospective places of ministry. Chief had survived his very first plane ride, but was a mite concerned about the small airplane he'd be taking to Tanana the following day.

"I'd rather die in a small plane crash than a big one, anyday," I said, handing Chief my prized "No fear" necklace. I think he knew I was kidding, but Chief quickly put the necklace on.

We met up again with Chief a week later, when my village team flew into camp for the night. Chief stood patiently waiting, a big grin on his face, as we clambered out of the float plane.

Delighted to see him, I hugged Chief and asked how his week had been.

"Great!" he said, with uncharacteristic enthusiasm. "I don't want to leave."

That night, the last night of work camp, the "newbies" were affirmed by their fellow workers. This is a wonderful KHBC tradition where words of life are spoken over the first-timers, ending the week of camp with a sense of unity, love and accomplishment.
I felt like a proud mommy as I listened to folks praise Chief and his hard work with the weed eater. People thanked him for bravely sharing his testimony with the group. Even though I hadn't been a part of that work team, I stood and shared what a step of faith it had been for Chief to even get to camp.

Chief just sat, quiet as a mouse, looking down at the floor. I'm pretty sure he's never experience so much affirmation--in one evening--during his whole life. But he received it, I think, for there was a new confidence and determination to follow God's call on his life when I talked to him a few days later--back in Oregon.

In fact, Chief just called me to let me know he'd getting baptized on Sunday.
So, it's down to the river we go . . .