Awe inspiring, wild, free, and dangerous, all great adjectives to describe Alaska. It was one of those states where we were unsure what would take place. We showed up at one in the morning to Lauren and Pam’s place, whom warmly welcomed us into their home. They were great hosts and provided us with solid recommendations for what to do each day. Our activities included hiking in Hatcher Pass, eating Skittles on a glacier (we are confident that has never been done before), and making the trek north to Talkeetna to catch a glimpse of Mount Denali, the tallest peak in the world (base to summit). Although we were simply exploring this unbelievable state God made for us, Jesus had a specific person in mind for me to meet at each place and for very different reasons.
Sitting atop a glorious peak in Hatcher’s Pass eyeing jutting mountains in the distance, an overwhelming sense of God’s majesty and quiet came upon me. I knew God had me up on that peak for a reason. It became clear as soon as Caleb appeared. Now, I would like to say my response was immediate and I boldly delivered God’s message, but that sadly, was not the case. Overcome with a sense of awkwardness, I hesitated, allowing Caleb to scamper away. As usual when ignoring God and not choosing to deliver the message right away, the awkwardness level increased drastically.
He was a really fast hiker and I had to jog to catch up. Once close enough I shouted, “Hey man, how is it going?” You know, the obvious thing to say to someone after stalking him or her. He was polite and we cordially introduced ourselves; I then said what God asked me to say. God wanted Caleb to know that he has been bold and strong, but in the coming season he will need to be even bolder and even stronger. Immediately, he broke down into tears telling me he is a Christian and has been praying for God to speak to him.
You see, Caleb moved to Alaska from Massachusetts three months prior to our meeting. That was a bold move to leave home and fly thousands of miles away from everything he knew. God was affirming his decision for moving and letting him know that He did not abandon him in the move. Caleb has a difficult time ahead of him and must rely on God to be bold and strong to persevere.
Ever imagined yourself hiking a glacier, facing danger at ever turn, knowing that this shifting ice could be your end? I have not either. But I did have a great time hiking my first glacier, Matanuska Glacier. While hiking, I struck up a conversation with a woman named Irma from Barcelona. I was able to share with her about the Open Door Movement. She opened up that she was a Christian, which shifted the conversation to talking about our mutual love for Jesus, the state of the church, and what it means to live for Christ.
All I knew was that God called me to speak to her. I had no idea it would become an impromptu church on top of a glacier. Irma and I both left extremely encouraged and our spirits uplifted.
On the third day, we trekked up north to Talkeetna to see Mount Denali. This was my number one desire when visiting Alaska, one more bucket list item to check off the list. It was a beautiful area, but sadly we did not have the best visibility of Mount Denali. That did not detour us from finding a good vintage point. On the search for the best spot, I met a guy named Alex. The Lord told me that he has a great strength in him. This led him to basically preaching to me for several minutes about life, trials, and inner strength. To be honest, it was something I needed to hear. I thought I was giving someone a word from the Lord and God turned it back on me. God is good.
The encounters I had in Alaska were as diverse as the landscape. God spoke powerfully through me and too me. Again, He has shown me to welcome the unscheduled encounters of life. They are always divine appointments.