I just got to be Santa for a Christmas bazaar in Nenana. The beard is real, but not the gray. I tried to use spray on dye to whiten it, but gray was as good as it got. Maybe two cans next year.
Merry Christmas! We are looking at a white Christmas. Growing up in Iowa, a white Christmas was never guaranteed. But with lots of snow and -20 to -30, Nenana gets a white Christmas every year.
The Troxels have a busy December, as most of you do too. Among other things we will: have two teens perform at a Christmas concert; a Christmas dinner hosted by the Nenana Ice Classic; village wide caroling; and a Christmas Eve party complete with a reading of the Christmas story.
Now for a few updates:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Photo by Aerin
Hello from the Troxels!
We have recently gotten some fresh snow and are enjoying the white beauty around us everywhere. The weather has been unusually warm and there are still open spots in the rivers. The frost on the trees is wonderfully full and the snow machines are out in full force.
This last year has seen us serving the Lord, still in Nenana. Bill has been active in the Emergency Medical Services/Fire Department. Rebecca is a member of various community boards. Aerin is now 16 and finishing up her high school career. She is learning computer programing and digital art techniques and is excited out getting out on her own in a few years. Ethan is 13 and a freshman. He loves to snowboard, build things and eat. He does not like geometry. Emily is three and a whirlwind of activity. She is very girly, and insists all her clothes are pink. Everyone describes her as “adorable”. William is just about two and talking up a storm. His favorite phrases are “I did it!” and “Don’t want to!” He loves helicopters, cars and trains.
Friends and family, I apologize for the delay between updates. I permitted the busyness of hunting season and the holiday season to provide an excuse for not updating you all with life and ministry in Nenana. Let me catch you up…
First, we have a much needed prayer request. We are in need of a family vehicle. Rebecca and I (along with Emily and William) were in an accident on the Parks Highway. The road had seemed good, but I hit a patch of ice and lost control. We struck a guardrail and came to rest before plunging into a deep ditch. Our van was totaled. We are thankful for God’s protection. There was no oncoming traffic. Even though it seemed that we would go into the ditch and rollover, we hit the guardrail on the opposing side. We were blessed to receive a few scratches and sore muscles. We even had good friends come along not three minutes after the collision and provide us with a ride back home.
A small slideshow (images will change slowly or you can flip through them):
This week started well with our 3rd annual Christmas caroling. We had about 30 or so folks come to the parsonage and we split into 3 groups. We covered a large portion of the town and came together at the Meda Lord Senior Center to carol for the folks there. We finished the evening at the church with cookies and cocoa.
Tuesday, the kids and I will be in the nativity play at the Nenana conference center. The play begins at 6:30 p.m., includes special music, and finishes with snacks and a recipe exchange.
Wednesday, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the civic center. All the kids up to 6th grade will receive a Christmas gift.
Thursday, we will be hosting a Christmas Eve open house beginning at 4 p.m. There will be cocoa, cookies and a reading off the Christmas story.
Friday is the big day and the kids are excited. In addition to opening presents, we will be attending two Christmas parties.
Friday night, we will leave for vacation and to visit several of our supporters. We will return by January 6th.
Church services are somewhat different during the Christmas break. Morning services will be held at the usual times. AWANA will resume on January 11th. Adult Bible study on January 12th. Ladies Bible study on January 7th. Men’s Bible study on January 16th. Evening services will resume on January 10th.
Rebecca’s birthday is January 9th. Send her a happy birthday wish at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wow, it’s been just short of a year since I posted. I received an email from a fellow Nenanan who is publishing an online newspaper asking me if I would be resuming my blog – and I realized how time can slip by if we let it.
So I decided to wait until today to add a new entry since it was Operation Ho Ho Ho again. As always, I had a great time. About 50 families received food boxes and presents this year. We started at 1:30 and I was back home before 5 pm. Many hands made for light work.
In other news, the Troxels will be taking some vacation time following Christmas. The day after Christmas, we will leave and not be back until January 6th. We will visit Anchorage, Glennallen, and Tok (at least that is the plan.) Included in that time, Rebecca’s folks graciously volunteered to watch the kidlets and let Rebecca and I take some time alone and stay at their condo in Whittier (thanks Joe & Jeannette!)
If I don’t post again before Christmas, let me wish one and all
A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Yesterday I had the privilege of helping with Operation Ho Ho Ho. This event was one of the best out reaches we took part in soonn after we arrived in Nenana. This was our second year, and was wonderful.
Operation Ho Ho Ho distributes food boxes and presents to houses with a need in Nenana. Railbelt Mental Health & Addictions, a local counseling service, hosts the event. A wide variety of people and faiths are present for the event. It is a wonderful chance to spend time with other folks and help our community.
Several trucks traveled to Fairbanks in the morning and arrived back in Nenana shortly after noon. We met the trucks at the tribal hall and hauled everything inside. We then broke all the cases down and stocked tables almost like a grocery store.
After this, boxes were set up and filled with items. A total of 58 sets of boxes and presents were packed and delivered by 4 pm. A volunteer force of over 30 people made light work of the effort. On top of the blessing of helping our friends and neighbors, Railbelt provided free pizza and soda.
Often at this time of year, we can forget that giving is far too be preferred than getting. I must confess that Christmas can bring a list of personal wants to my mind. I am thankful that the Lord provides opportunities to give. We gave a few hours and a little effort and 58 families were also blessed.
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”Acts 20:35 – ESV
Just one year (and some months) and we see such a difference in our ministry here. When we go places, we know pretty much everyone and are known by the same. We are getting to know the events of the town and wee were already gearing up to enjoy the Christmas Bazaar.
A few days before the bazaar, I received a phone call from a friend in town and she started by asking me if I felt jolly. This was her way of casually asking if I might be the Santa for the bazaar. She was so busy trying to talk me into it, she didn’t quite catch on that I had already said “Yes!”
Later, she explained that she usually has to badger or guilt-trip someone into playing Santa. She also was really open to any hour I might be available. As it turns out, an hour is usually all she can get someone to take the job.
I played Santa for 8 hours. Not that I sacrificed “so much” – but I had a WONDERFUL time. I got to the civic center at 9:30, fully dressed and ho-ho-hoing away. I was given several cases of candy to give away and a comfortable rocking chair by the Christmas tree.
During the course of the day, I spent time with all the vendors. I handed out enough candy to keep the dentists in business. I also had about every kid in Nenana divulging their Christmas wish list. A lady was on hand to take photos and print them off there for 3 dollars. Also, people were encouraged to use their own cameras if they had one.
The sad part of the day was time with one young girl. Like most of the kids, she knew I wasn’t Santa. I work with all of them in AWANA and such – they all know my voice. It was just easier to pretend. She is feeling the holiday blues because she has been wishing for her mom and dad to get back together, but she knows now it’s not going to happen. Dad got married this summer to another woman.
I also was able to talk to some of the adults about the real Saint Nicholas and many of the things he believed. It’s amazing how God will use community events to provide ministry opportunities for his servants.
I was also asked to be the narrator of the community nativity – a new event beginning this year – as well as quiet requests that I might serve as Santa at other events this year and next.
We are so thankful for these opportunities to serve our community by being a witness of God’s love and salvation at this time of the year. Thank you for your financial and prayer support – because you are our partners in this work that God has graciously given to all of us.