And we're off. The match has begun, in one corner we have Heidi the Freight Train Wilder weighing in at a lean 144.6 lbs and the other corner we have Lyle the Cyclone Wilder tipping the scales at a hefty 165.9 lbs. One week down, 31 to go. Feeling guilty for leaving but very excited, we flew out of our precious, comfortable home for the journey of a life time, leaving our comfort zone in the dust. Our trip officially started on Oct. 1st when we left Port Alsworth, however, I think the adventure started several weeks before as Lyle and I frantically finished up the "must do" list before departing.
So far the journey has been better than anticipated. Before leaving Alaska Rhet and Rebecca had us out to the valley for a fun evening with friends. Lyle had a great time catching up with old friends and I enjoyed building new friendships with his compadres (I'm practicing my spanish : ). Thank you Rhet and Rebecca!! While in Anchorage, Lyle and I also had the privilege of being a part of a new life in Alison and Dennis' delivery of their baby! (no Lyle did not practice his doctor skills) Alison went into labor 3 weeks early and it was a great experience fo us to share that time with them. Seeing Dennis and Alison only hours after the baby was born allowed us to share in their tremendous joy over their new little bundle of fun and witness their first sleepless night!
October 3rd Lyle and I winged our way to Portland, OR. where we have been doing house remodel projects, running most every day, eating delicious food, rafting the Clackamas river, and enjoying crazy good weather!! Reid and Eike TenKley have been putting up with us for a week now and we have savored every day with them. Truly, it has been such a joy for me to have a relaxed, informal environment to get to know my new cousins better. Lyle has been trying to work out some opportunities to sell our salmon at local farmers markets here in Portland. I am excited about the future of Iliamna Fish Co. and visits with Eike have given me some real concrete ideas about ways I can come along side Lyle and help him grow our fish business, which is a real answer to prayer.
On Wednesday Lyle and I drove to the Clackamas river, inflated our pack rafts, and explored the river. Apparently we went through some class 2 and 3 rapids and for only my 3rd time pack rafting I was feeling pretty jolly good about myself. The truth of the matter is, I have a good guide who looks out for me. After five miles or so we finally decided to pry ourselves from the water and we embarked on my first hitch-hike ride back to our car, very exciting! A little disapointed but releived we didn't have a psycho driver, we returned to our car unscathed. Thursday night we joined the TenKley clan for a dance lesson where we were introduced to the waltz! It was a blast, such a great time. Dancing with Lyle is never boring and to share the experience with family was awesome. We loved it!!
As I reflect on the last week there is one word that comes to mind: Rest. I feel like this time in Portland has been a time of rest. We have been able to catch up on much needed sleep, we have been able to get some quality exercise, and most importantly we have been able to spend more valuable time in God's word and in prayer-together. The more I experience quiet time with the Lord and with Lyle the more I am convinced of the tremendous value of a quiet time together. We are both drawn closer together and we encourage and challenge each other in our personal walk with the God. And prayer, there is power when two or more pray together, praise the Lord for this time!
Speaking of prayer, I know some of you out there are praying for Lyle and I, thank you!! On Sunday before we left Pastor James had the church pray for us and it was fantastic for me to feel the Holy Spirit move as so many believers gathered around us and lifted us up, it was so energizing, uplifting, humbling, encouraging, exciting! For those of you praying for us we would ask that you pray that both of us have open ears and soft hearts to the Holy Spirit's leading. During our trip there will be a fair amount of time when we will not be working with a specific mission group and I think during this time it will be easier for us to get wrapped up in satisfying our own desires. We just don't want to be so distracted that we miss opportunities God may have for us to serve others, be a testimony, and glorify Him. Therefore, we want to constantly be listening for His leading.We love all of you and are so thankful that the Lord has given us so many people who care for us so deeply.