VM Alaska Project

Posted by rtroxel on Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Gearing up for Summer in Nenana and Alaska

Our family is getting ready for summer!  School is out May 20th and we are looking forward to having not so much to do!  AWANA is over for this school year and Tae Kwondo will soon be ending.  The bikes are out and so is the bug dope.

We went to Anchorage last week to get the car fixed (they didn’t have the parts, it is not fixed), and to help my parents open the Whittier Seaman’s Mission.  We took the plastic off the windows, organized the videos, washed the coffee cups, and put the batteries back in the clocks.  We had great weather going both directions.  We saw moose, caribou, mountain sheep, eagles and rabbits.


The ice went out of the river on May 1st at 8:41 p.m. Alaska Standard Time.  We got to be there to see it!

Here is a you tube video taken by Art Thompson  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blDuFObaIXA


Posted by rtroxel on Friday, January 16th, 2009

Weird weather

Can you see that the thermomenter is reading 41 degrees ABOVE zero?  Do you realize that on Jan 3rd it was -50?  It stayed really cold until Jan 11, and then a Chinook, a warm breeze blew through and warmed things up.  That is a difference of 90 degrees in three days!  Wow!

Posted by rtroxel on Saturday, January 3rd, 2009


Wow!  -50F.  It is sooo cold.  I put a blanket up over the door, the cold was coming in making clouds of cold air.

Posted by rtroxel on Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

It is cold up here!

It is -41 F.  That is 41 degrees below zero, 73 degrees below freezing!  Hello!  That is really COLD!

How do we survive?  We stay inside as much as possible.  School starts on the 12th of January, so we are not dealing with that yet.  However, school is cancelled at -55F.  


It is cold here today!  And it has been about 30 below F since Saturday!  And it is not going to warm up anytime soon.  So what do you do at -40F?  Stay inside where it is 70 above!  And start the car every few hours!  We do have a lunch to go to at two, we won’t turn the car off as there is no place to plug in to keep the engine warm.  And the interior gets so cold too.  There is another potluck to go to tonight at 8 p.m. and then some dogs to check on, and then fireworks at midnight.   


About cold, really cold. 

From 0 to -20 F is not bad.  Very liveable weather.  The car needs to warm up about 10 minutes, coats and gloves and hats are needed when going about town.

-20 to -40F is okay.  Snowpants and coveralls are the normal dress.  
The car needs about 20 minutes to function, but it doesn’t act warm until about 10 minutes of driving.  The interior doesn’t get warm, even with the heat on high.  If the defrost is lowered or changed to heat the interior, the windshield immediately frosts.  The other windows are all frosted all the time.  Moving about town is limited.

-40 to -60F is just about awful.  The car is so cold, it doesn’t warm up.  If you have to drive somewhere, the car has square tires that take a mile or so to round out.  If you get the car started, you must plug it in where ever you go or leave it running.  Snow pants, coveralls, face masks, gloves, long underwear, sweaters and layers are all required attire.  Town travel is just not worth it and road travel is just what is really necessary.  Any travel requires blankets, and all emergency gear in the car.

-60F and colder.  What is so necessary to do in this weather?  Most people stay home.  School is cancelled at 55 below.  Work is optional; so many cars won’t start, it is expected people won’t come in.  Travel is emergency only.  You won’t get warm in the car, so full winter attire, blankets and hand warmers are necessary.  

We went to Fairbanks yesterday for a dentist appointment and groceries, driving about town the signs said -38F.  So many cars are left running, the air quality is awful.  Added to wood smoke, you just about can’t breathe.  Everything is kept at ground level, the pollution doesn’t lift due to the cold.  Wow, it was really cold.  We left the car running while visiting with some friends in McDonalds for an hour, we had the groceries in the car and didn’t want them to freeze.  Winter is hard on the gas budget, so thank God that we are now paying $2.45 a gallon, not the $4.63 we were paying.  

The sun is finally peeking above the trees, it is 11:30 a.m. and it will be dark by 4.  I mean DARK.  There is no warmth to the sun, just brightness, and not much of that. I just took this photo out the front window.  The sun won’t get any higher.

Posted by rtroxel on Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

A Tragedy

A 15 year old boy was killed on Saturday night in a snow machine/car accident on the Parks Hwy.  He is a local boy, very well known and loved.  He attended our youth group.

Our town is devastated and the teenagers are walking wells of tears.  

The funeral will be on Friday evening.  The family is choosing to be alone during this time of grief.

Please pray for Pastor Bill as he will be taking part in the service, and for the boy’s family.

Posted by jthayek on Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Date Night in Bush Alaska

Jeremy and I had a date last night.  Now if you’re not familiar with Bush Alaska, those are extremely rare.  So I thought I’d tell you about it.  After the babysitter arrived (translation: After we put the kids to bed), we went to the nicest steakhouse in town (translation: Our own kitchen!).  We broiled up a moose steak, made some baked potatoes and corn on the cob to go with it, and even had homemade Italian sodas (Jeremy’s specialty).  To top it all off, we even had A1 sauce for the steak, and butter, sour cream and chives for the potatoes.  It really was rather fun – even if we didn’t “go” anywhere.

Jeremy went hunting last weekend and got a moose.  It took us three days to get it all processed and into the freezer, but we are thanking God for His provision and goodness to provide one for us.  It was a smaller moose (Jeremy thinks it was one of last year’s babies), but we are hoping it will last us all winter.  Also, he had a good time of getting to know one of the new men in our church, since they were out hunting together.  It was a good time of fellowship.

I will be leaving on Thursday to go into Fairbanks to await the birth of our baby.  The baby is due October 17, but since we don’t have doctors in Galena (just RN’s, and a PA), they send expecting mothers into Fairbanks a couple of weeks early to have their babies in town.  However, Zeke (our 4th) was born a month early, so the doctor in Fairbanks wanted me to come in earlier than just the standard two weeks.  Some friends from high school are currently living in Fairbanks, and have offered to let me stay with them while I’m in town.  I am very thankful for the opportunity to be in a home, and not just a lonely hotel room for several weeks.  Praise God that He knows our needs long before we do!  Please be in prayer for Jeremy and the other kids as they will be staying in Galena.  Please pray also that Jeremy is able to make it into town when the baby comes.

Things at the church are going fairly well.  We have had many men gone for this month, but expect to see them back soon, since moose hunting season closes on Friday.  Our Sunday school programs would normally be starting up in October, but we have not had people volunteer to teach.  So we are praying about what God would have us do.  Please pray for the church council, that God would give them wisdom as they make decisions and lead the church.

Thank you all for your prayers. We are very thankful to God for those who pray for our family and ministry!

Posted by rtroxel on Friday, August 15th, 2008

Back at home, safe and sound

We are so thankfully back at home. We did lose a few things, odds and ends, and some photographs, but we are safe. There is still some sitting water and the disaster relief agency is in town taking applications, but most things are back to business as usual. There are some people in town who lost almost everything and have structural damage to their homes.

Posted by rtroxel on Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Nenana Flood

The last time Nenana flooded was in 1967.  All the houses built after that date are built on a tall foundation.  Thankfully, our house was built after the flood, so our stuff is high and dry.  However, there are many in Nenana who have lost almost everything.  Rebecca and the kids have evacuated to Anchorage to her parents house, but Bill has stayed behind to help out the EMT in any way he can.

The river started to rise on Wednesday, July 30, and went over the banks on Friday, Aug. 1st.  By Saturday morning, the streets were full of water, enough to canoe down the street.  The fear was that the water and sewer would stop working, so most of our end of town evacuated.  By Sunday, the water was waist deep in front of my house!  Thanks Dad, for telling me to move the car!  We waded back in to the house to get some more clothes in order to go to Anchorage.  My grandma was in Fairbanks on her way to Anchorage with her friend Janice after a bridge tournament.  They gave us (and our little dog, Maggie) a ride to town.  THANKS!

The water is currently receding but rain is in the forecast for the next three days.  Rebecca and the kids might return this weekend.  School is supposed to start on August 14, and hopefully by then we will be able to get to the school without a boat!  But we are safe in Anchorage so there is no hurry to go back to Nenana.  Bill is staying at a friends house and calls every day with an update. 

Photos are at www.nenana.blogspot.com

Posted by jthayek on Friday, August 1st, 2008

Introduction to Galena

Hi!  My name is Tricia Hayek.  My husband, Jeremy, and I are the Village Missionaries in Galena.  I am new to the whole blog scene, as I just have never had time to try it, so I hope this will work.  We have 5 boys ranging in ages from 10 years down to 18 months, with another baby due in October.  We have been in Galena for a little over a year.  Life in Galena is different.  We are “off the road system” which pretty much means you can’t get here from there (at least in a car).  We have to fly anywhere we want to go.  So there have been many adjustments to make during our year here.  But we are enjoying the quietness and the slow pace of life up here.  But for the size of the community, it seems like there is always something going on.  There are around 700 people in Galena.  I would say there’s a pretty even split between whites and natives.  Many of the natives live on subsistence – meaning that instead of working a job, they hunt, fish, trap and other things to provide for themselves.  Still many do work around town.  As for the whites, most of them work for either the city or the school.  We have a city school here, that has grades K-12, and a boarding school that has 9th-12th grade students from around the state.  Last year, the boarding school had 120 kids enrolled.  Our church has around 40-50 people that attend.  Summer is the time when attendance drops down to around 25, as many leave town for the summer, help out at the Bible camp upriver, or head out to fish camps to start preparing for the long winter. 

We just recently had our Vacation Bible School.  A group has been coming up for the last few years to run VBS for us.  The leader, a man and his wife, were missionaries here in Alaska for around 40 years.  They now live in Texas, and recruit teams to come run VBS for many villages in the bush.  The teams are assembled for the most part of students from Bob Jones University.  We had a total of 49 kids that attended VBS total.  There were only between 27-30 on any given night, but the kids would alternate.  It was a great week.  I thought the group did a great job, and my oldest two boys really enjoyed themselves. 

Jeremy and I are looking forward to a trip into Fairbanks in a little over a week.  We will be going in to do our barge shopping.  We have found that we can send things out on the barge for 14 cents a pound, opposed to the 50 cents a pound by plane, or  $1.00 or more a pound by mail.  So we will be leaving the kids at home with a couple from the church, and buying all of our dried goods, and anything else that we can ship out on the barge.  We purchase all of our things in Fairbanks, and then drive down to Nenana to put it on the barge.  It takes a week or more to get it out here, but we have found that the wait is worth the cheaper shipping rates.  God has provided some friends from high school that live in Fairbanks.  They have been so awesome to let us stay with them whenever we’re passing through town.  They feed us, and even let us borrow their vehicle when we need to.  They have been such a blessing to us!  And, of course, we are also looking forward to some time alone together.  Times like those are scarce out here in the bush.  We have a few people that are willing to look after the kids, but not a whole lot to do!

I think this introduction has gone on long enough, and hopefully was not too difficult to read.  We will add more blogs as we can.


Posted by rtroxel on Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Living in Nenana

Life in Alaska is just different.

We wanted to sell our Jeep.  It is old but runs pretty good, we just didn’t need a second vehicle.  So we put a for sale sign on it.  $500.  George came by and looked at the Jeep, but couldn’t afford $500.  He just started up a small engine shop, and so his money has gone into that.  Small engine shop!  Hey, we need a lawn mower!  George, how about $300 and a lawn mower?  Can we make a deal?  The deal was reached with a handshake.  George brought over a nice lawnmower and left with the Jeep, and will make payments on the cash part.  Both parties are just thrilled with the bargain!

Our friend Miles has a river boat and we wanted a ride.  He took us an hour and a half up the river, just to enjoy the evening.  It was a wonderful time of fellowship and enjoying the outdoors.  Half an hour back down, thanks to a strong current.  To pay Miles for the boat ride, I made him a full size lasagna.  He lives alone and cooking for one is always hard.  What a deal, lasagna for a boat ride.

Life in Alaska is just different!



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Seemingly forgotten, many with no access to roads, 135 remote villages are home to fewer than 1000 people. There are only 54 evangelical churches...read more.

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