Tag Archives: AWANA

September Update

Fall seems past and winter upon us. The temperatures in Nenana are below freezing at night and not much warmer during the day. We have had our first snowfall of the year, but it was light and has mostly melted away. In a short time we will have snow sticking until next spring.

September has Aerin and Ethan back in school. Aerin is in junior high now and has new braces. In her father’s mind she is still toddling around with baby curls, but she has grown into a young lady seemingly overnight. She is now a leader in training (LIT) in our AWANA program and doing very well. Ethan is busy figuring out what he wants to do for the science fair. His mechanical mind is looking at some means to use gears and create a display showing the different ways they can be used.

Rebecca had a great time at the Valdez quilt festival with her good friend Mary. They enjoyed some ladies only time. Rebecca was really busy this month planning a family vacation in California and Washington. We have a missions conference to attend soon in Washington so we have saved up some money to take a vacation and take the kids to Disneyland.

Rebecca appreciated all the prayers as this month marked the due date for the baby that miscarried last February. However, we still intend to add to the number of Troxel’s in the world and we hope to share good news with everyone perhaps in the months to come.

Rebecca is back as secretary of our AWANA program. She keeps the club running smoothly and the commander (me) would not want to do without her help. She has already found some new and fun things for our club and we expect to have them shipped to us any day.

I am the new commander and game leader for our AWANA club. My joy as commander is seeing the AWANA leaders and LITs (leaders in training) busy working with the little ones. All of my AWANA workers are a joy to work with and take their ministry to kids to heart. As game leader, I am having a blast. Our two main rules for games is 1. to have fun and 2. to make lots of noise. At an AWANA workshop, we were reminded that when kids can exercise several major muscle groups it helps them stay focused and alert for story time and helps them memorize verses better. My personal assistant/LIT, Leon, is a big help and it is a joy to work with this young man.

Other big events this month included a city wide celebration of national sobriety month. Alcohol and drug addiction impacts many rural areas, so local citizens take this time to celebrate those who have become sober and to encourage others. The town event is called “Dancing in the Streets.” The main host is Railbelt Mental Health and Addictions (a wonderful office full of people who offer counseling services to the entire area.) The point person was Maryellen and she did a bang up job organizing the event.

The motto for Dancing in the Streets this year was “Mooving into Recovery.” The moos were supplied by a local cow with the motto emblazoned on a sign she wore. The event coordinators also wanted someone to wear a cow costume in the parade and that honor was mine.

Check out the pictures

Also this month, my health was a little rocky with my liver condition. Thank you for the prayers. I am feeling much better now. Praise be to God!

As always, we are so thankful to God for calling us to serve him by serving the people of Nenana Community Church and living in the wonderful town of Nenana. Thank you to our financial and prayer supporters. You are our partners in the work of the Lord. Thank you to the church – you folks are a blessing to us and we hope we are a blessing in return. Thank you to Nenana – we love where we live and thank God for Nenana and all who live here.

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Update & Prayer Request

I wanted to add a few updates as well as an additional prayer request.

Update #1

Rebecca has returned from the Valdez Quilt Festival. She had a wonderful time. The weather was good and the quilting was great and the fellowship was blessed. I am very thankful for her friend Mary. She is a wonderful lady, but even more, she is a very good friend to Rebecca. I would imagine that pictures and additional information will soon be available on Rebecca’s quilting blog: Rebecca’s Retreat.

Update #2

The AWANA Ministry Conference for Interior Alaska was held this last Saturday. Many thanks to Bethel Church for hosting it and to Dan & Geraldine Bylsma (and many others) for the efforts necessary for such a blessed time.

The conference was a video simulcast from AWANA headquarters with some additional classes offered locally. We were also able to purchase some necessary items for our local club including some new lesson plans and handbooks. I have the privilege of being the commander and games leader this year and was able to buy some resources as well as get classroom training for running the games well.

Prayer Request

As many know, I have an autoimmune disease that affects my liver. There are many challenges that this condition has brought. Currently, I am fighting a bacterial infection in my bile ducts. These are quite painful and rather dangerous. Praise be to God that I am already beginning to mend.

The infection set in last Wednesday and became more difficult over the next few days. On Sunday, I was feeling rather sick – but one of the blessings I enjoy as a pastor is that when I begin to minister the Scriptures, I begin to feel so good that I forget for a time that I am sick at all.

At any rate, the infection reached its height yesterday and my fever peaked late last night. I am not allowed to take antibiotics for the infections unless the fever reaches a certain point – as the doctors fear what may happen if I become resistant to treatment. The folks at church have been wonderful as they have cared for me and prayed for me. I now feel more up to sending out a general prayer request to all of our friends, family and supporters.

Pray for the pain and for the fever. Pray that I remain joyful and a good witness of the glory of God in every situation. He is so very good to me. Pray for strength for the remainder of this week as I will be preparing my sermon for Sunday and hope to be in good shape to enjoy the festivities here in town on Friday.

This Friday is an event celebrating national sobriety month and encouraging those who deal with drugs and alcohol to reach out for help. I am going to be in the parade and hope to have photos or even a video posted here for you all to enjoy.

Again, my personal thanks for your prayers and financial support. We are so grateful for the privilege to serve God by serving the folks of Nenana. We are truly blessed to live and minister here.

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August Update

Wow, the seasons seem to be speeding right along. Summer is essentially over in Nenana. The leaves are turning golden and already have started to fall. The night time temperatures are already threatening our first frost. Another strong indicator of the new season is seen in preparations for the new school year and for our AWANA program.

August 15th marked our 3 year anniversary in Nenana. One friend commented that it seemed as if we had belonged to the town for much longer than a mere three years. We feel the same way. Nenana is our home and we love being here. We are so very thankful to God for sending our family to this wonderful place and among such wonderful people. Part of the celebration was a day long potluck. We had a great lunch and then spent the afternoon enjoying the good company. The evening ended with a waffle supper.

For Rebecca the month has proven quite busy. In addition to being a wonderful help meet as a wife and a caring mom, she also is now a travel agent. The family will be traveling to California for some vacation and finish a 3 week trip with a Village Missions conference. She is getting the plane and train tickets worked out. She has also planned special events for every member of the family.

Rebecca is also spending a goodly amount of time canning. Food in Alaska can be quite expensive. By harvesting garden produce and canning it, we will have a nice larder laid back for the winter months. Rebecca’s chickens are now almost to maturity and we can expect eggs within the next few weeks.

Aerin turned 12 this month – her favorite gift was an i-pod touch. We look at her and in one sense see a little toddler. Then we realize how fast she has grown and are amazed at how fast it has gone. She is a great daughter and is a dedicated believer. She may begin to minister in AWANA now that she has graduated from it. In extra special news, she has gotten braces. One more way that she looks more the young lady than the toddler.

Ethan is turning into quite the handyman. With little help from dad, he has crafted quite the tree house. He built it from parts from a neighbor who is doing some house construction. The tree house comes complete with rope ladder and an elevator of sorts – a bucket, a pulley and a rope to haul up supplies. In addition to building, he is often seen buzzing around town on an electric scooter.

Bill turned 37 this month – one of his favorite gifts was a set of Bible commentaries written by John Calvin. He has taken up pistol shooting as a hobby. His friend Lynn was a military pistol instructor and they are enjoying time together with several other men in the church at the local range. This fall, Bill is the new AWANA commander and is looking forward to the experience.

In other news, school starts tomorrow (Wednesday the 1st of September.) The kids are excited. Aerin begins junior high and Ethan is in 4th grade. All of the extracurricular activities are starting up and it will prove to be a busy school year.

Also, for those who prayed and have been praying concerning the miscarriage last February – please continue to pray as we hope to have good news this autumn that the Lord has blessed us with another little one.

Let me say thanks once again to all who support us – our family, friends, and church. We feel well cared for and very much loved. The Lord has abundantly blessed us with a wonderful network of support for which we always thank him and we also thank you.

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July Update

Is July already gone?

July is almost over. August is just around the bend. We can see Autumn on its way and snow is coming soon.

Summer in Alaska is wonderful and beautiful. The flowers and mountains and rivers show us the beautiful handiwork of our Father in heaven. We are so blessed to live in a place so full of beauty.

Independence Day is always a great time in Nenana. We were so thankful that the festivities were held on the 3rd, so as not to interrupt church services. The day started with a free breakfast and special recognition service held at the Verhagen family’s building – the Nenana Conference Center. The food was delicious. The speakers were eloquent. Veterans had an opportunity to share, as did all who owe such a great debt to the men and women who place themselves in harm’s way so that we can enjoy freedom.

The day was marked with games and races for kids of all ages. There were lot’s of chances to enjoy ice cream, pizza and other food. The main street into town was packed with fellow Nenanans, Alaskans, and many tourists here to help us celebrate our independence.

The Troxel family got to take a few days away with Rebecca’s folks. We enjoyed a beautiful cabin owned by family friends. The cabin has an amazing view of Mt McKinley right out the living room picture window. We enjoyed a time of rest and family fun. We are so thankful to the Rasmussen’s for their invitation to use their cabin.

The Troxel parents took a mini break too. Rebecca and I went to Fairbanks for two days and stayed at a wonderful little inn. Aerin stayed with our friends the Chapmans and Ethan stayed with our friends the Blairs. So they got a break from us too. Rebecca and I got to eat at restaurants that do not advertise a playland or playground in the building – nor do they serve any food labeled as “fast.” The rest and relaxation were very nice. We are certain that we have found a new family tradition. We hope to take a mini break like this every 6 months or so from now on.

This month, we had another freecycle at our home. The Nenana Freecycle is like a free rummage sale. People bring items they no longer need and everyone gets to take home a new to them treasure. Any leftover items are then taken to a thrift store in Fairbanks. We had a lot of people come by the house. We were blessed with an abundance of food. The grill ran non stop for several hours, serving up hamburgers, hotdogs, and salmon.

The last week of July has been marked with several visitors. St Mark’s Church in Nenana is hosting their annual vacation Bible school with the help of summer missionaries from the lower 48. The VBS is always great and its good to see our friends from down south again. The Nenanan Community Church kids have been so anxious to get to the VBS. It does a pastor’s heart good to see the young people eager to take time to learn from God’s word and to have fun while doing it.

We also have a short term missions group in the town volunteering as work teams. They are with Global Expeditions and come from all over the continental US. One of the young men comes from Iowa, not too far from where I grew up. We lamented together about the heat and humidity in Iowa while enjoying the beautiful Alaska weather. Part of the team came to the parsonage and helped us by painting our deck. Several planks have been replaced and the rest needed a touch up. What a blessing to see young people serving God in Alaska.

Well, July is about wrapped up. Aerin and I are looking forward to our birthdays this next month. She is going to be the ripe old age of 12 and is going into junior high school this fall. The church will be meeting to plan for our AWANA program which will resume when school is back in session. We still need to get a chicken coop built for the chickens we are raising this summer. We hope to have fresh eggs by mid September.

We feel especially blessed to be serving God and his church in Nenana. Please pray for us – for wisdom and ministry opportunities as we live our faith in the wonderful town of Nenana.

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Well,  AWANA has begun for this school year. Today was a theme day – Double Dollar Day! Today, every section completed was worth two AWANA dollars for the kids.

I have the privilege of working with the Sparks club. I usually have the same kids each week. Two of these kids have been with me since last year. One of these, a boy, was finishing a section where he was reciting John 1:1-4. I began asking him if he understood the passage. He explained that Jesus had come as Savior and that Jesus was everyone’s Savior.

I explained that this was not exactly true. Jesus is the Savior for those who trust in him to save them from their sins. People who never turn to Jesus and trust in him for their salvation have no Savior.

He thought about this for awhile. I could almost see the little gears turning. I asked him if he had ever asked Jesus to be his Savior and got a head shake in reply. So I asked if he thought it was time to ask Jesus to be his Savior. He responded that he thought he should recite more sections and pray to Jesus later. Continue reading