Thursday, May 28, 2009

Whole Artillery

Many of us are familiar with the oft-reviewed passage in Ephesians dealing with "putting on the Whole Armor of God" (Eph. 6:10-18). If there were ever an argument against being passive Christians, this is it. It talks about the "breastplate" of righteousness, the shoes (footwork) of scriptural preparation and study, the "shield" of faith, the "helmet" of salvation, and the "sword" of the Spirit. This list of equipment is worth serious study. Many people stop right there at verse 17, with the personal kit, as it were, but they need to go one more verse:
...praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints...
Prayer is so important, Paul put it last as the capstone of this TOE. If the preceding items are armor and personal weapons, then prayer is our Heavy Artillery. We have a direct hotline to the Creator of the universe, but how often do we really "call in fire" when things are going "pear-shaped", as a Special Forces friend of mine is fond of saying.

It's bad enough that we decline to talk to God about the little things, problems or sucesses, because we think they're beneath His notice (which is not true. His "eye is on the sparrow", etc.), but it's just negligent to forget to call on Him when things are really rough. I'm often guilty of this, due to an overdeveloped sense of competency, and so I've spent a fair bit of time thanking God for help even if I was too caught up in the world to ask for it in the first place.

Prayer is not a magic formula, a spell to call on some kind of natural force, or a ritual to impart a false sense of harmony with the universe, it's talking to a personal God who made humankind because He wanted sentient beings to love and interact with. Don't deny Him that interaction.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How to help Eagle, AK

Alaskan Red Cross:

This from Jackie Helmer (a resident):

"I'm in Eagle and we thank all of you so much for all the donations thats came in and are coming in steadily. The Taylor Highway is open but travel carefully, DOT has been repairing the road daily. As so helping, you can still send any kind of donation you want to but we do have a list of things that are needed. To get that list, you can call Krystie at 547-2310 during the day. There also has been some bank accounts opened to help in the rebuilding of homes that have been completely lost. Denali Bank is 1 and the other is Wells Fargo, the Wells Fargo account number is 5943966530. I believe both accounts are under the name "Rebuild Eagle", also the Eagle Bible Chapel is accepting donations for the members of their church. You can send those donations to the the church and make note it's for the flood victims. I know some folks here are asking for plant starters, seeds, trays, peet pellets. Many families depend on a good crop to harvest in the fall. Everyone in Eagle and Eagle Village are in good spirits and being well taken care of thanks to all of the donations coming in. It will take some time to clear the huge ice chunks in the road blocking us from the village. They don't want to just plow thru it because there are houses and vehicles on them and there might be things the owners and salvage. We just have to be patient. They are putting in a temp. road behind the airport to access the new village. They should shart that on Tuesday. Thank you again for all of your support and God Bless."

Finally, here's today's NewsMiner update. As usual, don't forget to read the comments to get the "between the lines" news.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Veggie Starts Needed in Eagle, AK

This information was gleaned from the "comments" at the bottom of the page of this article, although there is a bit of news in the article itself. The Growing season is short but intensive up there. You have about a week to get things in, starting, oh, in about a week...or you get no fresh anything to eat until next year (unless you're independently wealthy).

Sounds like cod liver oil and vitamin C might be good things to send up, too...

Friday, May 08, 2009

More Eagle, AK news

It's time to think about rebuilding. I'm hoping somebody sets up a donation station in Fairbanks for building supplies. As soon as the roads are open, trucks can roll in. Doesn't make much sense to fly in tons of lumber and hardware in light planes...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Eagle Update

This just in: The response from Fairbanks residents for donations to flood victims in the village of Eagle was so overwhelming that Everts Air Alaska asked that people hold off with more donations until further notice. As of Wednesday afternoon, Everts had received more than 7,000 pounds of donations.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Everts director of operations Ken Leary said. “People have come over and donated all kinds of stuff — bottled water, food, clothes, boots, toiletries, baby formula.”

Everts was not able to fly to Eagle Wednesday to deliver the items because of weather but is hoping to make it into the village today, Leary said.

“Once we can get this stuff moved over there we can find out what else they need and let people know,” Leary said.

The water is finally receding, but mountains of ice have been left behind.

So...hang on to your donations for the moment. It's not over yet. The flood is heading down-river toward Circle and points West, and they may still need supplies in Eagle.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Eagle Alaska Needs Help!

A few years ago I worked as a cook for an archaeological field school on the 40Mile River in far Eastern Alaska. That's literally "near the middle of nowhere" for those unfamiliar with Alaskan geography. We staged out of Eagle, a teensy town on the Yukon River, about 100 miles downstream of Dawson (Yukon Territory, Canada). It's a tight little community of between 100-125 people (depending on who's fed up and leaving/who's trying the homesteading experience). It's also the site of historic Ft. Egbert.

I was there in July and August, and even then the river was a huge, silent grey behemoth, making at least six knots and cold as death. It's a powerful thing. Every Winter this force of nature freezes solid. It's Alaska (and the Yukon), remember? This makes a great "highway" for dog sleds and "snow machines" to get easily to the communities along the river. In the Spring, they wait for "breakup", when the ice (we're talking super thick ice, here, 5' and more) start to pop and crack with sounds like distant and not so distant artillery. At some point the pressure of the water wins over the slowly melting ice, and the grinding, crunching train of ice moves down the river. This process takes days. Please look at a map of the Yukon in case you still have no idea how big it is.

This year, nature, as is her wont, mixed things up a bit. Last week Alaska experienced a bit of a heat wave, and tributary streams thawed, inundating rivers with early runoff. The big, deep-ice Yukon did not, of course, melt instantly. Breakup takes time, and the impatient streams feeding the giant river made things...unstable. On the morning of Monday, May 4th, a huge jumble of monster "icebergs" passed Dawson. When it reached the large bend in the river where Eagle sits, it jammed. I won't go into detail. You can read about it at the Fairbanks news site.

No fatalities, but this community is devastated. They have no power, limited water, and the medical center was one of the buildings that was "Titanic-ed". The old tribal village, just up river, is totally wiped out. The new village is above the flood, but has no power and water at this time. Helicopters are bringing in emergency supplies.

If you're interested in helping, there are several ways you can. If you'd like to make a monetary donation, there's always the Red Cross. There's a phone number on that page that you can call if you want your donation to go to a specific concern.

You can also send "stuff" directly to Eagle. Although the road is closed, and the airport (a little gravel strip) is cut off from town at the moment (I believe), this should change soon, and there are at least nine families that have lost everything. Fleece or wool jackets/shirts, wool trousers, foul-weather gear, knit hats, gloves, socks, and rubber boots are fashion mainstays at this time of year. Don't forget underwear, toiletries (the store was wiped out), pain-killers, emollient hand lotions (ever worked in cold, wet conditions?), soap, towels, etc.. I think the most sensible thing to do is send anything to the Eagle Bible Chapel, Amundson St, Eagle, AK 99738. I attended there during my short stay, and they will know who needs what. Just write "flood relief" on the box somewhere.

This is a small, fiercely independant community. They resent government interference and would much rather help each other or be contacted by "real people" than some agency. Put in a friendly letter, pictures of you and your kids and the dog! A bar of chocolate! It will mean a LOT to them. Winter is long, hard, and dreary up there. Most newcomers don't make it past their first one. Spring was looming, the sun was about to shine...and then this happened. Here's your chance to be a hero!