Seminary Ministry Trip - 04/11/13

On the evening of Thursday, 11 April, nine seminarians, our Dean Fr. John Dunlop, and eight members of the community at St. Innocent's Academy boarded the ferry to begin our travels to Nanwalek, near Homer on the Alaskan mainland.

On Friday morning, we arrived in Nanwalek.  The ocean sparkled and the warm hearts of the people drew us in.  We hit the ground running with a morning church service, followed by a delicious meal generously provided by members of the community.  We enjoyed a show prepared by the children at their school, then had another great meal followed by two basketball games.  The boys from St. Herman's and St. Innocent's were pretty tired after playing the Nanwalek city team AND the highschool team! After the ball games, most of the children in Nanwalek joined us in the community center for fun and games until midnight.  A great time was had by all!

Saturday was a busy day, too, with a morning church service, another delicious meal, and Church School classes for the young people.  Several members of the team performed community service around the church: cleaning, organizing, and getting everything in tip-top shape for Pascha.  Our friends in Nanwalek fed us another amazing meal and we enjoyed spending the evening talking, singing, and strengthening bonds with the community.

Our Sunday morning activities began with small plane rides to Port Graham, four miles from Nanwalek.  We joined the community there for a Divine Liturgy service, followed by--you guessed it!--another fabulous meal.  Because of a miscommunication with the airline, about half the group ended up leaving shortly after lunch to return to Kodiak. The group that stayed in Prt Graham enjoyed more classic Alaskan hospitality, singing and chatting and even playing a little more basketball! The whole team was back on the island Sunday evening, ready to return to our weekday lives.

We all had a wonderful time during this ministry trip.  It was a very great honor to serve and worship with our friends in Nanwalek and Port Graham and we hope to make another trip to these communities during the 2013-2014 school year.  This first-ever ministry trip--large scale and completely planned by students--was a success and we look forward to "taking our act on the road" next year!

This amazing trip would not have been possible without the prayers and generous support of friends across Alaska.  We would like to thank the following donors for making this adventure possible:

The Nanwalek IRA Council
The Nanwalek Parish Council
The Port Graham Parish Council
The Ouzinkie Parish Council
The Chugach Alaska Corporation
Judge Roy and Linda Madsen
Ben and Hazel Ardinger
Frank and Leslie Johnson
Island Air of Kodiak
Servant Air of Kodiak
Steve Wood & the Kodiak Flying Club
The many Kodiak community members who attended our fundraiser dinner

Thank you all!

--Your very grateful seminarians.

Nearing our destination