Tag Archives: Death

January 2016


I intended to post an update last week.  Unfortunately, a family, the fire department, and the entire community entered a period of grief and the update was postponed.

Monday January 11th, 2016, a believer was promoted into heaven.  He was a young man and a fellow firefighter and medic.  He was saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  He comes from a family of believers.  The Christian community has experienced hope and joy even in a time of sorrow knowing that we will see this young man again.

Please be in prayer for the Nolywaika family in their season of grief.  Also, pray for the fire department.  We lost a friend and colleague.  We also were the first responders to the motor vehicle collision that resulted in his death.  I was one of the medics that had the privilege of providing care for him on the scene.

The funeral was a declaration of his personal faith and an invitation to all present to find comfort in Christ.  For believers, we were reminded of our blessed hope and comfort in Christ.  The unbelievers were presented with the Gospel and the hope for all sinners who come to know Christ as Savior.

Now that I have shared our grief and comfort, a few updates from the family:

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July 2012 Update

August is here already and it seems that autumn is too close.

The month of July saw many fun times with Emily.  She is now walking everywhere.  She totters about and mostly doesn’t fall down.  However, if she does, she no longer needs something to pull herself up.  She now can stand on her own from a seated position.  Also, in the past few days, she has started making baby signs to us.  Her two signs are “want” and “nurse”.  Sometimes we aren’t sure what she wants, but she keeps signing until we figure it out.

Ethan spent much of the month being a boy outside.  Our temperatures have been far more mild than what many of you may have seen in the lower 48.  He has some neighborhood friends and they disappear into whatever play world their imaginations can create.  He and I have taken to throwing a football around.  I won it at a community meeting.  It took me awhile to remember how to throw a good spiral.  Ethan caught right on.  So we find ourselves playing catch and just enjoying one another.

Aerin was able to go to horse camp at Camp Li-Wa outside of Fairbanks.  In addition to basic Christian camping, she received instruction on riding and care for horses.  We missed her that week, but at almost 14, I think horses may have been all the proof she needed against homesickness.

Rebecca is quite the gardener.  This started 5 years ago when cleaning up the yard at the parsonage.  The yard had little good soil for a garden, so we began composting all the yard trimmings and leaves.  We have our chickens now and they contribute in their own way to our soil.  This summer, Rebecca made several planters filled with her own composted soil.  We are now getting greens and zucchini and some green beans.  Voles ate our broccoli.  We are eagerly awaiting tomatoes and carrots.  We get fresh eggs every morning and fresh produce every day.

We have also added to our produce with the help of friends who farm locally.  They call us up when things are ready and we go out and pick it.  Their prices are much better than Fairbanks and much tastier too.

Bill has had several chances to minister to folks in need.  Much of this has been some pastoral care.  Substance abuse here is so terrible as we’re sure it is everywhere.  In the face of such great need we share the good news of Jesus Christ and offer whatever help we can provide.

We hope to take vacation in state at the end of August or start of September.  We have typically spent vacation in the lower 48, but decided to stay here this time.  So many people save their whole lives to see the beauty of where we live.  So we hope to travel a bit and see many friends around Alaska.

For your consideration and prayer:

Recently, several families have experienced great grief in the loss of loved ones.  A local man passed away suddenly.  A young woman was killed in a tragic accident.  A friend had to fly out of state at his mother’s passing.  Please pray for these families.  Pray for their comfort and the peace of God.  Pray that they grow closer to him.  Pray that our family and others minister well to them in their grief.

Also, please continue with us in prayer as we look ahead to our baby coming this winter.  Rebecca has a doctor’s appointment coming up.  Pray for a good pregnancy and healthy birth.  Please pray too as we are in need of a vehicle that can seat the entire family.  Our current car seats five, but the next baby makes six and car seats are often bulky.

Thank you so much for all of your support in finances, prayer and love.


Long Overdue Update

This update is long past due. Following our trip in November much has happened. I felt overwhelmed each time I thought about getting this blog up to date. So I will give some brief updates on several topics.

First, last year we experienced the pain of a miscarriage. As many know and have known, we are eagerly awaiting baby Emily who has May 22 as her expected due date. Her two older siblings were both later than their due date, so we think Emily may run a little late too. We also had an ultrasound recently that gave us a great view of Emily.

Baby Emily

Also, many know that my mom passed away in late February. I was able to get to Iowa in about 24 hours. I spent about 2 weeks there. I was privileged to conduct her service myself. Many thanks to the folks at First Pentecostal Assembly of God in Ottumwa, Iowa for hosting a luncheon following the service. Even more thanks to all who helped me clean out mom’s home (special thanks to Steve, Brenda, Shawn, Teresa, Will and little Will, and my father & many others.) All in all, the trip was pleasant and I enjoyed seeing family. A second trip is necessary to finish her business with the bank. That trip will be on April 10th and my son will accompany me. During that trip I will join mom’s siblings in picking out a marble marker and inter her cremains in a family plot in Missouri.

A unexpected joy while in Iowa was spending time with my father and brother. We spent some good time visiting and catching up.

Todd and I

Dad and the boys

Again thanks to everyone for the prayers.

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Homeward Bound

The Troxels are starting the trip that takes us home! We will be on a plane this evening and arrive early morning into Anchorage. We will grab some sleep and then hit the road and get to our hometown by Friday evening.


Prayer Update:

I asked for prayer for a lady fighting cancer. She passed away last Thursday. Please pray for her husband and children and the rest of the family and friends. My fondest memory of this great lady is her smile. She had a smile that lit her entire face and the face of everyone around her. Her joy and love for life, her family and everyone around her was always evident. Join my family in praying for her family.


Travel Update:

We thoroughly enjoyed the time worshiping with the brethren at Clover Valley Community Church. The morning service included a wonderful testimony of one of the members. I was particularly moved by how the love of the folks at the church had made such an impact on his life. For the main service, I was able to share a few minutes of the ministry in Nenana and how blessed we are to live there. The message was an excellent handling of the passage in John concerning Jesus’ teaching of the vine and branches.

Monday morning, Ethan and I traveled with our district representatives to the conference location. Rebecca and Aerin came later with fellow Village Missionaries. The conference was in Ocean Park, Washington at the Sunset View Resort. The resort was wonderful and is a Christian organization eager to host Christian conferences.

The time in conference was blessed. The opening session was by Bill Wayland. Bill shared the role of suffering as God grows us into the image of Christ and for ministering to one another. Fellow missionaries, Bob and Ruth Silver, conducted several sessions. Bob focused on the challenges of pastors and the Scriptural truths that apply to them. Ruth took her experiences in Christian counseling and shared how pastoral families can work toward emotional health and stay healthy. She also passed along several tools to aid pastors in the spiritual care of God’s people.

Also during this time, Brian Wechsler, gave us a financial and state of ministry report for VM. While VM has been presented with several financial challenges in the past 2 years, God’s sovereign care is evident. For every challenge, God has lavished grace and glorified his name by providing for the needs of the mission and the missionaries. I am very thankful for the godly leadership within VM.

Following the conference, we got a ride into Portland with Butch and Jennifer Hallenbeck who serve in Glenwood, Washington. We checked into the Mark Spencer Hotel in the downtown area. That evening, we went to Powell’s Bookstore just a few blocks away. Fortunately they offer inexpensive shipping to anywhere in the U.S.

Today, we spent the day relaxing and with the kids doing the last of their homework. We will be taking a cab to the airport at 6:30 p.m. Oregon time. By midnight AK time we will be in Anchorage. We are very homesick and eager to arrive home to Nenana by Friday evening.

Thanks to everyone who has been with us through prayer. Continue praying for our safe travel home. We feel very rested and eager to get back to life and ministry at home.

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Miscarriage continued

I wanted to share the latest news. We went for a doctor’s visit in Fairbanks on Thursday.

The doctor looked over the information from the hospital in Hawaii. He also gave Rebecca a sonogram. The baby’s body was no longer discernible, but a lot of tissue remained.

We were told that Rebecca had a “missed miscarriage.” This is where the baby dies, but the mom’s body carries on as if the baby is alive. This can cause great health concerns as the baby’s body can cause infections in the mom. While the mom may deliver the baby, she may not. The doctor was concerned that given the baby’s developmental age and the fact that Rebecca had not delivered the baby in the time since the baby died that Rebecca could be at risk.

After considering several options, it was decided that Rebecca would undergo a procedure in the office. This required a dose of pills before the procedure, a local anesthetic and further pain pills and an antibiotic. During the procedure, the remaining tissue from the baby and placenta was removed. There were no complications.

We are thankful for friends that watched Aerin and Ethan (on Thursday) and for the meals so many have provided. This has allowed me to care for Rebecca without needing to worry about feeding everyone.

Further news…

The doctor has no concerns about future attempts to have another baby. He has advised another visit in two weeks to verify mom’s health followed by three months for healing and rest. Sometime this summer, we will try for another baby. We pray that the good Lord will bless us with another child.

Concerning the child we have lost, the kids asked if we could celebrate the baby’s birthday as being on March 1st. Their reasoning is that on March 1st, our baby went to heaven. The evening after my last post, we went to downtown Waikiki and had cake and ice cream. Aerin also suggested a name for our baby. Since our baby brought us so much joy we will be calling Baby Troxel “Joy.” Baby Joy is truly a part of our family. While we are grieving, we also celebrate the joy God gave us.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support.

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Thank you for your prayers. The Lord is good all the time. Baby Troxel has miscarried.

We went to a local hospital and had an ultrasound. The results showed that Baby Troxel had no heartbeat. There is no current word on any cause. We have a doctor’s appointment this coming Thursday. We will be back home Wednesday evening. We need our people around us. We can’t wait to be back to Nenana.

We are hurting and in need of further prayers. Mom is fine physically. Emotionally we are wrecks. We need all the support we can get right now.

In a few hours, the kids will be brought back to us from a trip with grandma. We will tell them then.

I will be preaching on Sunday. For years I have told my people to trust in God, find peace in Him and joy in Him even when it hurts. This Sunday, we will share why we still have joy and hope even when it hurts so bad.

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First Potlatch

We had a young man die late last week.  His sister also died young and his mother and surviving sister were obviously deep in grief.  I had the opportunity to attend the funeral on Monday, before AWANA.  The funeral was conducted by the Episcopal deaconess and was designed to comfort the family.

After AWANA, the entire family was able to attend the potlatch.  I was deeply touched, as the family asked my to bless the food before it was distributed.  You may not have had the opportunity to attend a potlatch, but if you do – you should go.

Several friends assured us that our presence as a pastoral family was a blessing.  These are times when the community is hurting and they need to know that God’s servants care.  When our friends found out this was our first potlatch, they took time to help us understand what was going on and how to take full part in the proceedings.

We had some new experiences.  Among those was muktuk – or whale blubber.  It was chewy, but had little taste.  One friend also pointed out that I had received elder portions out of respect for my position as a pastor in the community.  I was deeply touched.

After the meal, we pitched in to clean up the native hall for the music and dancing.  After that was done, we all took part in the dancing.  One dance is the beaver dance – the dancers are on their knees and pretend to chew a “tree” – a wooden pole held in place for the dance.  We also danced as a large group in a circle, holding long pieces of fabric that ended in a tug of war.  The drumming was exceptional and the dancing was fun – but tiring for someone who does not dance much.

After the dancing, a lady in the community was asked to bless the dessert – which was served just prior to the passing out of gifts.  The family gives gifts to the participants as mementoes of the service and a memorial to the life that was lost.  I was asked by the chief to pray a blessing over the gifts.

During the gift giving, the family gave me a pair of gloves, a bandana, and a jar of smoked salmon.  Rebecca received beautiful pieces of cloth and the kids each received a bandana.  We were touched by the gifts as well as the hugs from the family.

Our friends assured us that we had done well as we took part in the event.  One close friend showed me photos he had taken while I danced.  He has promised to email them to me – when I get them, I will post them here.

We also received news of a potlatch this Saturday.  Another young man died this last weekend.  He was on a snow machine and had an accident.  It seems that we are losing so many people this winter.  Please pray for the families and for us as we try to serve our Lord by ministering to the people of Nenana.