Friday, July 30, 2010

we're back!

Well, we are back. It has been slow-going at the Givens' house! Well, for me(Ashleigh) at least. I think the jet lag really hit me pretty hard. Kraig says he was fine and seems to be so that is good. But other than that, we have been trying to get into a regular schedule.

I got my coupons this past week and I am pretty excited about getting started on that again. I really missed shopping. haha I guess every girl does when she can't for a time. I know I did. I missed the thrill of getting the best deals, going to the grocery stores for just things on my lists with coupons and just organizing my coupons and setting out to have the best strategy for getting the best deals. I have missed it. I think I may have a problem. :) O well, I should be able to budget this week in order to go out to see what I can find and I am so excited about that.

Kraig is back to work and so excited. He has been in inservice and meetings and getting everything ready mode so he is so ready for the kids to be back on Thursday. :) I know he is working in his calling and we are so thankful to God that he has placed him at such a great school.

I have been on the job hunt for the last few weeks. I will probably go back to my part time job next week but I was looking for another part time job or maybe something full time, so that has been a big hurdle to jump these last few weeks as I have been searching and coming up with nothing. A little discouraging but both Kraig and I know that it will all work out and the perfect job will come :) and for that, I am so excited about.

Other than that, I can finally say that I am glad to be home. At first, I had mixed emotions but after our youth service Wednesday night, I AM GLAD I AM HOME! I am missing Alaska and all our travels a lot but I know that the Lord has us here for a time and I couldn't be happier here! :)

Well, off to my Gran's house to visit with her for a little while before my mom puts me to work :)

Love you all.
k & a

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

We're almost done

Well, we are almost done. We are wrapping things up and getting things ready for our last Sunday service. The week started out rough when I woke up with a migraine Monday morning. So, Kraig and Hunter stained the porches all around the house. The house has turned out beautiful. I would have gotten pictures today, however it is rainy once again. So, the finished product pictures will have to wait once again. But yesterday was very productive.

Today, was a lot better. We got up and went over to the church and started printing more Sunday school materials and the boys worked on some odds and ends. The church might have to move locations if the theater is sold so we have been preparing for that all summer as well as just cleaning the building up so Kraig took the conduit that was lining the ground up and Hunter worked on the sound system thing. Then, we went down to Anchorage to pick up more paper in order to finish printing things for Sunday school, Celebrate Recovery and for the 40 Day of Purpose booklets. So, we will be busy printing for the rest of the week.

We hope for another clear day also so Kraig can paint the lines on the parking lot at the theater and we may paint the little storage building out at the Balos's house. And we also want to go to the Wildlife Reservation down close to Whittier. We hope to get that in and a couple more things but we will get what we can done for sure.

We look forward to seeing our family Monday in Texas for a week of vacation. Mom has many things planned, although the only thing the guys care about is golf. :) So, we will relax a lot next week and see some sites in Houston, we really look forward to relaxing. After that, we will be back to Georgia! We will be sad to leave here but we are excited to start a new school year and to see where the Lord leads us in this upcoming year. We have many desires that have been placed on our hearts so we are excited to see Him move and show us exactly what HIS plan is.

Thank you for your prayers and support through this time. It has been quite a journey. We look forward to many more trips like this and God's leading on our lives.

K & A

Friday, July 9, 2010

Our tourist days...

I thought I would post some scenery pictures of us being tourists this week. This is Summit Lake. It is fed fully by snow and rain. It is very beautiful and clear. We were on top of the mountains and surrounded by ice capped mountains.

This is from the glacier cruise we went on yesterday. It was a 5 hour tour. We saw 26 glaciers in one day. Well, not really b/c it was rainy and very, VERY cloudy but the ones we saw were beautiful! We saw Surprise Glacier which calved (where the ice fell from the side of the glacier) about 4 or 5 times. We saw many sea otters and sea lions and about 5 bald eagles. It was a sight to see! :) We had a great time in the cold, rainy weather. One of our waiters was from Chattanooga, which was really cool and we got to talk about home. :)

This is Surprise Glacier. It had a lot of action the past few days, so a lot of the ice had fallen off and we were surrounded by mini icebergs. It was really cool.

This picture should be first :) hahah O well...this is were we were for the Glacier cruise. It is located in Whittier, AK. It has one tunnel going through the mountain into the town. On the top of the hour, we were allowed to drive out of the town and on the half hour we drove into it, and at some point, the train has to go through. It is now used as a tourist town but the military used it for different things during WWI but now it's is touristy...

This is a train snow blower. We also saw a rainbow at this site. It was so beautiful!

We had a blast the past few days. We went hiking at Thunderbird Falls. We went on the Glacier cruise through Prince William Sound saw many once in a lifetime things, we went to Hatcher Pass where the gold mine is located. We went up to Summit Lake and saw mountains everywhere!! It was truly a site to see and the pictures we have do not give it justice. Kraig and I were in awe of our Lord. We were so amazed at how He cares for nature and makes the mountains so HUGE, puts the glaciers on the side of the mountains, and yet...cares for us. We are so humbled by the fact.

The group left out today. It is finally quiet. We had a blast with these people. We were sad to see them go. They got so much done! We painted the whole house! It looks amazing! I have to get after pictures to show you all. Well, we have one more week left. We still have lots to accomplish this week. Kraig is going to paint the parking lot lines and some different other tasks, I am going to work on Sunday School material and some other little things. I am sure we will stay very busy. We are going to try to see a couple more things around town but we shall see.

Love you all and thank you for all your prayers. We look forward to seeing you all soon!! :)
Kraig and Ashleigh

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Parade, painting, Carnival, Matnuska glacier...

We have been a tad busy that last few days. We are all pretty exhausted. But we have accomplished so much for the Balos'. Sunday, we had the 4th of July parade where we passed out over 1500 flyers talking about the different ministries with the church and also the carnival for Monday. So, Monday we had the carnival for the kids. We have over 50 families represented so that was a blessing. It was a great success. We were all very pleased with the outcome. In between all of these, we painted the Balos' house and passed out more flyers for the Backyard Bible club that the mission group that is here did on Tuesday and Wednesday. So, we walked the neighborhoods and put flyers on cars at Wal-Mart and Sears...we put them everywhere, or so it felt like it!!! But the house is about done being painted...all the is left is trim and touching up on areas which is a huge blessing to the family b/c it was a rough winter on their house.

So, since we have worked so hard....we went out to the Matnuska glacier last night. It is one of the only glaciers in Alaska that is accessible by car/walking. So, we drive out there, it was a beautiful ride...we finally get there and we have to hike about a mile out to it. We just had a fun time exploring the area and trying not to fall on our butts. It was fun!! And to see the glory of God was such a humbling experience. It was HUGE! And to think God is even bigger than that, it just puts me in my place. It was Beautiful!! There was a rainbow when we first got there so that was so wonderful to see!! It was truly one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. We got to see a moose out in the wild also, it ran in front of our car! Talk about scary! Also, there is a pic of cottonwood up there! It snows here in July!! Actually, it's a tree that sheds and it looks like snow. It is real cool but very annoying.

It has been such a wonderful week especially with the group here. We have worked hard here are some of the blessings we have seen thus far.
:Church people are definitely seeing our hard work and trying to be more involved.
:A young lady, who is engaged and living with her fiancee who is not a Christian...through prayer and much counseling has finally called off the wedding and moved out of the house so we have been able to talk with her and help her move. She is for sure sad but she is so very strong and knows the Lord is going to bless her efforts. I look forward to getting to know her better. So, please pray she remains strong and encouraged because she is really hurt.
:We had a family come to the carnival that got our flyer from the parade...they showed up at the Backyard Bible club...and it is hopeful they come to Sunday service. They are very sweet family and seemed very interested in the church so that is so very encouraging to us.
:We have been able to get a lot of odds and ends accomplished for the Pastor...just day to day things that seem to get piled up and we have been able to take some of the load which has been a huge help to him.

All of these are very much answered prayers and we are so blessed to be a part of this. Thank you for the opportunity and your continued prayers. We are so grateful!! :)

I will try to get pics up of the carnival and parade up soon. Again, continue to pray for the people here and the impact the church is having in the community. Thank you all again for everything!

Kraig and Ashleigh

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thoughts to Ponder...

The last few days have been interesting to say the least. It all started Thursday night, with a mission team coming in from Brownsville, TN. There are about 15 altogether and so far, they have been a huge HELP! I'm getting ahead of myself.
First off, the beginning of the week Kraig and Michael got to weed-eat the theater parking lot for the carnival next week! It looks a lot better. We also got the flyers, over 2200, printed and folded, and we got the banners ready for the parade. So, once the group got here on Thursday, the plan was to paint the Balos' house. Well, it won't stop raining. Right now, we have about half the house scraped and half of it painted. It looks good. It's 2-tone. We are thinking of leaving it. 4th of July is big here, since it is a military town, so Wasilla does a big parade through town. Since it is on Sunday this year, we have moved our church service up an hour so we could go participate in the parade. We are going to decorate the van real nice, pass out candy and flyers about the carnival and backyard bible club, and carry our banners for the 40 Day of Purpose and the church banner. It should be a huge succes if the rain stays away. Right now, it doesn't look promising. But God is good and knows we need some clear weather or at least rain free weather the next few days. So, please pray for that. We would like to get the rest of the house painted and we are doing a carnival and backyard bible club all next week so we need some rain-free days. We also went door to door and passed out some of the other flyers I made and the first picture is some of the wildlife we saw along the way. :)
Now, on a personal side...some things I have learned over the past few days. I have always acknowledged and tried to live by the fact that "everywhere is a mission field." I truly believe that. But in the last couple of days...I have pondered the thought of why I find it so hard to be at home with "my mission field." I still don't have the answer. I have a lot of theories but we'll save that for another night. I am still praying through them myself. But tonight I read 2 Corinthians 5:9 which says, "So, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him." That is so fitting for me right now. I so very much want to please our Savior and praise Him in all things but again, I get home and get in the swing of things and "forget." Sad, I know but as we are gearing up to go home in the next couple of weeks, I want to go home and please Him and not become stagnant in my daily life but look for opportunities. It has been easy here in AK b/c we are surrounded by things to do and "further the Kingdom" but that's not the case at I think. I am so dumb sometimes...I always have opportunities at home to share His love but I don't. But I want too. So, I am going to start praying now that I will be able too and be able too please Him where ever I go...b/c it is "by God's mercy we have this ministry, and do not lose heart." (2 Corinthians 4:1) I praise Him for this opportunity, Kraig and I have learned so much about Him, about each other and even how adaptable we are...which sounds weird but in all honesty, it has become a very good thing. I am so thankful for that.
Please continue to pray for this week with the team in, for no rain weather, and for the kids to come out to the activites this week. God is moving, we have seen it already! So, please praise Him for that. I will have to post later about stories of how He has worked things out but again...that is for another night. Love you all and we covet your prayers! We, again, are praying for you so if you have anything specific, please let us know!! :)
Psalm 32:8
Kraig and Ashleigh