Friday, December 11, 2015

Break?

It's the eleventh of December? Christmas is around the corner. Where did the semester go?

Fall semester - full of adventure, life, good people... The list goes on. It was a long semester, it was crazy - your typical roller coaster of life. There was lots of down days - but I long felt more up days; mostly because I avoided lots of those down days. I hiked mountains to feel alive because I didn't want to lay in bed and feel the emptiness inside me boiling like hot water the week after a car accident I was in. I made jokes because I didn't want to cope with the feelings of depression I felt through the month of October that Alaska was a struggling through a stage of multiple suicides.

I was running away.

I didn't want to stop - I didn't want to believe what was going on.

But eventually the running has to come to a stop. I'm exhausted. I'm sick of feeling like I live a black and white world - of people making war. A war of sin. I'm tired of running. I have nothing left in me.

But I guess that's where my man JC comes in. He loves the man on the side of the road who feels depressed. He loves the lady in the store who is an alcoholic. He loves the little boy in the house being beat up by his parents both physically and sexually. He loves the man that is having an affair. It's done. He was sick of seeing the black and white world we live in - so he took his life. The burden is gone. It's broken. He did it all - he loves us in the midst of chaos.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33


Christmas break is here. That means I get to go home - not only for break. I'm taking the semester off.  Because I'm tired of running; I'm going to stop. It's going to be a time of rest. A time to breathe. And a time to adventure - adventure the light of life. 

A time to kill and a time to heal.

    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:3-8

But I don't know what I'm doing. Maybe I'm going to be in an office answering phones. Or at the store. Maybe even learning to fly planes. Maybe I'm going to spend lots of time with my nieces and nephews - who I only spent time w twice a year. Maybe I'm going to be a Young Life leader.

I will live in Bethel - a population of 6,000. A town with one high school, one road, two grocery stores, one hospital , and four churches. A town of darkness. Bethel doesn't have a Young Life program {yet}. Such a beautiful statement; "doesn't have a Young Life YET".

Young Life has been a huge impact in my life. I've seen people who devote lots of their personal time to pour out onto high school students. I've seen those people become friends with students. They love those coffee dates and even come to sports games. They love screaming and shouting names at club, even when it means getting whipped cream all over their face.



They love students. They love because God first loved. I want that in Bethel. You are worth it. You are worth the whipped cream on the face. You are worth the coffee dates. You are worth the death on the cross.

I want to show that to these kids. 

But I'm scared. It's going to be a war zone. It's going to be dark. 

It's a good this JC's got my back. I need the prayers. I need your encouragement. Support. Love. I need it all. It's going to be a journey.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I am Yup'ik

As a kid - I loved to ride bikes, jump from one barrel to the other, play tag with out touching the ground, play basketball, and kick the can was my personal favorite. We didn't care how we looked, we weren't afraid of getting a little dirty [a lot of dirty really], but we definitely loved being surrounded with classmates, with friends, all of your cousins. 

Some of this might be true for a lot of kids who grew up in a village. You were surrounded by people who you raced with in the school to finish your math with, or who you raced with from the school to the playground, and even fought over who had the fastest bikes or who's grandma made the best spaghetti [my grandma did]. 




"You can be a real Yup’ik even if you don’t speak your language, because what if the opportunity to speak it wasn’t there? But yet you live your subsistence lifestyle—that’s Yup’ik. But to make that element whole, you need the language, the lifestyle, and the culture. Never think you are not Yup’ik because you can’t speak the language." - Ludwina Jones, Yup’ik Language Immersion Teacher at the Ayaprun Elitnaurvik School in Bethel, Alaska.

I lived in a community of people who depended on one another. They not only taught me to put other before myself, but they lived the talk themselves. When a nukalpiaq [new-guh-tl-b-ia-q : n. man in his prime - named to men who hunt] catches his first seal or moose - his mother is proud she uqiquq [oo-gee-gook : n. women's throwing party]. Women around the village gather - as the mother is throwing items the is needed in the daily use - such as spatulas, soap, bath towels, pans, basins, etc ended with candy. But throw parties could be thrown in different varieties of celebrations - such as first marriage or birthdays.The subsistance catch is often shared with the community as well. This is one example of how I see people in the village put others before themselves.

We lived in a lifestyle of being taught our Yup'ik values. To respect your elders, and respect others. To share with one another - as a community. Put others before yourself. Work hard - never give up. When one falls, we all fall - help a hand out. Do not seek for revenge, forgive easy, don't hold grudges. 
In all of this - put God first. 

I am Yup'ik. I love my culture. I love to Yuraq/eskimo dance. I love to laugh with friends. I love to fish, pick berries, eat moose, etc - all in the presence of my family, peers, and anyone who shares good company. 

Some people say I am the happiest person they've ever met. That I laugh so much - and share joy with others. Some people say I'm fun to be around - that I make them laugh. Some people say I am great at encouraging others. 

I don't doubt it - I love to laugh. But behind my laughter can be covered with so much pain. I struggle in life - I am not perfect. I struggle with appearance. Or whether or not people will like me, or if I'm not enough. I'm afraid people won't accept my hurt, so I share a joke. I'm afraid people won't think I'm enough if I don't like the things they like. I'm afraid I won't have anyone to catch me when I fall. I'm scared. 

But it's okay - because now I don't have to hide that. I have friends to share that with - yes I do hurt, but I can express it. I can share it. And eventually share a laugh, share jokes. Ultimately - this isn't because I'm braver, this isn't because my friends showed me they care. But it's because we have a God who want's all of it, who wants the whole package. And he gives life through it all. 


I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:9-10

Recently, Alaska has lost a handful or young adults to suicide or murder. This is devastating to us as a state. For a long time we've struggled with suicide - and we always ask ourselves why does this happen? How can we stop this tragedy that continues to happen to our loved ones? I can only bring this back to our Yup'ik values - to respect one another and love each other as yourself. Connecting that to scripture: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. And the second is this: 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.' There is no greater commandment than these.Mark 12:30-31. 

You matter.
You're loved.
You're beautiful. 

We can not live with out you. You are special. You are going to do great things in life. I hope you never forget that. Choose life. Do not give up. Remind one another their value - know your value. You are IMPORTANT. You are enough.

Uqiquq 






Rural Alaska Transportation

Salmonberries





Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I can't even...

The past six weeks were full of so much laughter, so much coffee, and the utmost love God has showered on both staff and campers. My heart is overwhelmed with joy, I can't even handle it. I have spent the past month at a Covenant Bible Camp in the most beautiful town you can ever imagine, Unalakleet, Alaska. I was in total awe by how welcoming the people of UNK were, and how much love we all poured into each other at camp. I'm sad camp season had to come to an end, I am looking forward to another summer of returning and serving at a supernatural place.

Camp was ten miles outside of Unalakleet, so ofcourse running water and electricity were limited. That meant living off of outhouses and showering once a week. That also meant no cell service and internet. By the end of each week, I literally couldn't tell if I got a solid good tan, or if it was just dust. Ninety percent of the time it was just dust. I can't fully grasp how great camp was. From making plain ole oatmeal cookies to sharing riddles and jokes, spilling coffee on my way to chapel, teaching Yup'ik lessons, singing the blueberry prayer for five meals in a row, and playing batball on the beach, I wouldn't change any of it for a million dollars, or even a pot of glue. Even if it meant finding string in my pancakes... SPK.

God was definitely working, each week lives were changed. I think that I was beyond blessed by these campers than I were to them. I wouldn't have made it after highschool week if God wasn't continually renewing my energy and strength. I was constantly reminded that not only did God create our paths, but he is also walking the path with me. No matter how dark life is, his persistent light is always there. God is bigger than any mountain.

Some of my favorite camp quotes -
"I didn't know you liked people!"
"Are you guys sisters?! I think you two were made to be sisters!"
"I'm not your boyfriend at camp okay!"
"I'm done for the season!" - this one was from a staff member who jumped off the bridge, pretty much everyone was done for the season.
"Real men jump off the bridge." how to convince others to jump off the bridge, or even into the slough...

"I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies." Psalm 18:1-3

I'm home for two weeks before I leave for another camp. I will be serving on Summer Staff at a Young Life camp, Malibu Club in Canada!! I would appreciate prayers from you all! I'm super stoked to return to Malibu, see old friends and meet new friends! God is so good. Quyana tamarpeci! Thank you all!
Ark - where lives are changed.

The beach - where all the fun is.

Jr. High week shenanigans

HIKE DAY

Enjoying this view as well as this plain old oatmeal cookie, how much better can it get.

No electricity means no projectors, leads to handheld song cards.


Only the best coffee was made this way.

After 3 weeks of milk and coffee, we finally got 3 bottles of hazelnut creamer in! #bestweekever

My signature when I was a camper at camp!



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Slow down, look around, love more.

Trying to get back to school from spring break is rough. Especially because I never had spring break in high school, so I don't exactly know how to jump back on the train, yet. Last stretch of the school year. The end of the semester is so exciting because we get more daylight, closer to summer... But it also means more stress with all the finals coming up. And coffee.

March has zoomed by. In my last blog, I was stuck in California, at a stranger's house, for five days...wasn't exactly how I wished my spring break would be spent. It was tough, it was awkward, it was hot, definitely some experience. I have never been so excited once everyone came back.

Then Sea-Tac happened. My group and I were stuck at Sea-Tac airport for three days. Three long days. Traveling standby at the end of spring break is a bad idea. I saw the airport turn from really busy and stressing to slow and empty. Three days at the airport with expensive airport food and so much time spent with the same five people. To try so hard not to be irritated with each other with three hours of sleep. The amount of different gates we went to is ridiculous. Airport is my least favorite to be now. It's been an adventure.

March was fun while it lasted. I think this month was like...a slap in the face. God has taught me so much through traveling, scenic views, and most definitely the people I'm around. I've learned to be patient and to trust. To be real. To reveal myself to people (I'm not spider-man or cat-woman, big disappointment.) It's easy to say you love God and people. But I think that once you're open to God, and fully let go yourself, you learn to love with out any borders. That's huge. You make the biggest impact on a person just by loving them. Your family, your friends, your teachers, it's the key to the relationship.

"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind." Philippians 2:1-2

"Fully loving and fully living are not only synonyms, but the kind of life God invited us to be a part of." - Bob Goff

Throughout the semester, I took out my camera. And since it's a small GoPro, everyone made faces. The outcome....is this video. It's been so much fun getting to know these people as we go to school together. Thanks for all the laughter, fun, and joy you give. And always reminding me how extravagant God's is love for us all is. Quyana! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Kickin' it solo in California

How do you survive 78-101 degree weather? Apparently this weather is just right for these Californians. Even 77 is chilly, keep your jacket handy you might need it. As for an Alaskan, THIS IS A HEAT WAVE. Give me ice, give me a milk shake, anything cold please, I need it. 

So, I told you all I'm spending spring break serving in Mexico. Nope, God said no, I'm leaving you in California with people you don't know in a place you've never been, in the heat. Good luck bud, you'll see your friends in 5 days. My passport didn't come on time, so all my friends I came with left to Mexico...and I'm in California. With people I've never met before, who knows...they can be murderers, kidnappers....or just really nice people that like Alaskans and will invite me to their home.  

It was tough. I hate adventuring on my own. Some of you see me as this really loud outgoing obnoxious person, but when it comes to meeting new people, I'm back to my shell. I'm in the corner, barely any words come out of Dolena, just this quiet person you never thought I'd be. Some of you still see me as this quiet person. 

First night, everything was just so sudden. Happened so fast. Everyone I know already left me, so I'm at this random persons house. They're asking me ridiculous questions like 'what kind of clothes do you wear? Does Alaska have cars? Do you have a dog sled? Is it true you don't get daylight in the winter?' Of course I pulled their legs a little bit and said I still live in a two story igloo and they're welcome to come anytime. But since 77 degrees is a little cold, how are they going to handle -15? It's fun sharing all these stories about home and nobody knowing anything about Alaska. I might've told them that we have moose as pets instead of dogs and that changed their mind about visiting Alaska. 

It was hard for me to do this on my own. I couldn't handle any of it without being homesick. I'm sure if I had atleast one person I know with me I'd enjoy this trip. But this was too much to take, thank God for phones so all my friends were a text away for encouragement otherwise I'd be on a plane headed home a long time ago. 

What I got so far....God has taught me to trust my whole self with him. To get out of my corner. He's taught me that through it all, he's always there. Instead of going to people to fill that empty void, to come to him. It's been a growing experience, and I still have another three days before I head back to Alaska. 

All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. John 6:37 

First In N Out
You don't see this in Alaska. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

First time for everything.

Good coffee, great music, grand friends. How much better can it get? Scratch that, mid terms are here, essays need to be written, stress level has exceeded it's limit.

I hate writing (Free writing is an exception, I like blogs.)... I hate essays. I just finished a midterm essay for a class... As I'm writing my first paragraph, I thought, "I deserve a break... Netflix sounds like a good way to spend a break." Next thing you know I've watched five episodes and I only have one sentence, no big deal. I still have a good six hours before it's due. Then I started to feel bad for myself... I blamed Switched at Birth. So I spent my other five hours crying and stressing over this dang essay. Working at McDonalds isn't stressing and doesn't assign any essays, sounds like a dream job. I eventually got it turned in, McDonalds isn't worth an essay I already turned in. Thanks for the job offer Kenai McDonalds. (they didn't actually offer me a job)

TWO MIDTERMS TO GO. SPRING BREAK IN A WEEK. MEXICO IN A WEEK. #turndownforwhat #legalinMexico #alsolegalinAmerica
I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm happy. I'm anxious. So many emotions. I've heard  so many stories from my friends who have been on this trip. Story behind applying for this trip... I saw a poster that students have the opportunity to spend Spring Break serving in Mexico. So of course, I said "PETER let's apply!!". We were both hopeless and applied just for the heck of it. Next thing you know, we're both in. Then we had to raise money, we had to write essays to keep our grades up, we had to follow rules. None of which we do. But we did. And we're going to Mexico. Prayers for and through out the week of this trip are appreciated.  #AdventureAwaits #ChangingLives This is the first time in four years I have a spring break. Edgecumbe doesn't have any spring breaks. I went to the school that everyone makes fun of for not having time off, but we start summer earlier than everyone else. So who's the real winner here?

This past week has been stacked with procrastination and adventure. Also with basketball. Throughout the month we played, we've won one game. We got slaughtered twice, and rewarded ourselves with McDonalds anyways. Cause real winners go to McDonalds. The basketball court is probably the only place people see me mad and aggressive, I apologize for that, hahah.

Often times I can be really selfish, want to be in control. And I need to learn to let go of that. I think that God has taught me that this past week. To let go. Be the copilot. To stop stressing over school, stop controlling, let go of myself, watch the plane go back up and stop stalling. There are so many opportunities that God has given me, but I like my plan better and fail to see that his plan so much bigger.
"No one is remembered for what they just planned to do." - Bob Goff

Set a fire down in my soul.

I looooooooooooooove bonfires and campfire music spent with the coolest people on earth.

Thankful for friends and coffee

Dolena selfie update

THERE IS A YUP'IK TRANLATION OF THE BIBLE ON THE INTERNET,
well I guess that makes sense, the internet has everything.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Life Guard saves...

Fun fact - I don't know how to swim. Deathly afraid of water, unless it's in a cup then I'm fine. I take risks like kayaking on the ocean hoping and praying I won't tip over, or going to the pool and swimming as long as my feet are touching the floor, and even using a life jacket. #kidsdontfloat Half the time it's because all my friends are doing it and I want to be a part of the cool group.

If you haven't noticed any of my instagram pictures, or facebook, I upload pictures of Malibu Club probably atleast once a month. I was lucky enough to have spent a whole month serving with the coolest people on earth in the Summer of 2013. We had the chance to spend the day in the ocean, aka water that never ends and my feet can't touch the ground, on one of our day offs since we worked so hard in the 85 degree weather (dude, that's wayyy hot for someone who lives in AK). I figured I should put on a life jacket even if I knew I wouldn't jump in, but I knew someone would eventually try to push me in the water. There were so much going on, kayaking, caribe, and cooling off in the water.

"Dolena, jump in!" said everyone on the the dock. I was afraid, my feet can't touch the ground so it was an automatic no. But they never stopped bothered me to jump in until they eventually pushed me on the caribe. Which looked a little bit like this...
As you can see, I'm screaming my lungs out and was already thinking of how am I going to get back up if I can't swim? So what's the point of this whole caribe thing? There are 5 people, and the caribe is dragged by a boat. When the boat turns, all 5 people have to lean the way the boat turns, otherwise it'll flip over. When it did flip, everyone let go. Except me. I was holding on and screaming under water. I never wanted to let go. I was too scared that I would never be at the top of the water. Eventually, I did let go. GUYS I WAS AT THE TOP OF THE WATER, and my feet weren't touching the ground (good thing I used that life jacket). I was on the other side of everyone else because the driver had to drive around to pick us up. Then ofcourse after I got the hang of this whole thing, I started enjoying the next couple rounds of riding the caribe.
"No more dark, no more hiding, no more caves. What's the point of all this, to follow the light. " - The Croods
God gives us so many opportunities and it can be pretty scary to jump in the water because your feet can't touch the ground. Summer 2013 was when I first left Alaska, actually I even left America. Who knew there was an airport(Seattle airport) so huuuge it's 100 times bigger than the village you grew up in? So many people, so much rush, so terrifying. I went from knowing everybody in my town, to absolutely nobody. In a whole month, strangers became family, I gained a real relationship with God that I never knew was even possible. So when God has something for you, it's worth the jump.

Even if I could swim, I'd be a bad life guard anyways.