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Praying Pelican Missions Logo

Benedictine College

Serving In Alaska
March 7, 2020
Community: Wasilla
Partner: Mat-Su Covenant Church
Staff: Mel Frecceiro (Trollman), Rick Millikin

Welcome to Alaska!!!

by Mel Trollman | March 9, 2020 12:20 AM

Well, it's not Peru! We landed safely in Alaska and were picked up by our PPM staff as well as our host, Pastor Rick Millikin. After a quick bite at Wendy's, we headed North to our partner church in Wasilla, Mat-Su Covenant Church.

Originally our travels were to take us to Peru this week. But all of us were open to the quick change and are excited about what this week will hold for us here in Alaska! 

Welcome to Alaska!!!

Joining the Lifted Up Radio Show

by Rick Millikin | March 9, 2020 12:56 PM

Aaron, Jake and Zander join Pastor Rick for the live radio broadcast of Lifted Up. We’re studying the 12 Apostles and what we can learn from them. You can listen live at 9:05 am AK time, 12:05 CST. Www.kjlp.org  click listen now and press the play button. 

If you miss an episode, you can catch it here. 

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/397l6y20tf13ijs/AAByNGIbUvjP6jRa23DcvX9za?dl=0

Joining the Lifted Up Radio Show

Getting Started!

by Mel Trollman | March 9, 2020 1:03 PM

While part of the team was down at the radio station with Pastor Rick, the other half of our team decided not to wait to get started on building shelves. We are converting an old library in the church's community building into a storage room.

Getting Started!

Out with the Old!

by Mel Trollman | March 10, 2020 1:44 AM

In very little time, we cleared out the church's library, books as well as shelves. It's amazing how quickly we were able to get through our tasks working as a team.

Out with the Old!

Now the sorting begins

by Mel Trollman | March 10, 2020 1:49 AM

The books from the library are being sorted by the church's librarian, and some of the books and shelves are being brought over to the church where people can utilize the library more easily.
Now the sorting begins

We break for chili

by Mel Trollman | March 10, 2020 1:56 AM

We paused our work at the church to eat chili with Pastor Rick and Librarian. Nothing like hauling hundreds of books and a snowy day to build up an appetite for hot chili. It was a good time of fellowship as well; we talked about Alaska and the things that make it unique.
We break for chili

Shoveling

by Mel Trollman | March 10, 2020 2:04 AM

It snowed the entire day! The walkway between the church and community center buildings was constantly piling up with snow. We shoveled a large area in the parking lot  where people walk as well as the handicap ramp and deck.
Shoveling

Playtime

by Mel Trollman | March 10, 2020 2:07 AM

Work turned to a bit of play outside in the fresh Alaska snow. The snow was heavy and wet, which made for great packing snow. And there was quite the impressive hill at the back of the parking lot where the plow truck would pile up the snow throughout the winter. It made for a perfect wall for snowball wars as well as a prime spot for digging snow tunnels!
Playtime

When in Alaska

by Mel Trollman | March 10, 2020 2:10 AM

Our fearless leader decided to try an Alaskan popsicle, with a little encouragement.
When in Alaska

Kaladi Coffee

by Mel Trollman | March 10, 2020 2:13 AM

When our work at the church was done for the day, our PPM staff treated us to a trip to Kaladi Brothers Coffee. It's a popular local coffee company. Cheers to one day of work well done!
Kaladi Coffee

Around the World

by Mel Trollman | March 10, 2020 2:20 AM

Our evening was spent at the Hoffman's house, a family from the church that invited us over for dinner. There were other members of the church who also came over to meet us because we were unable to be in church on Sunday. They had a ping pong table in their garage, and we got several games of Around the World going with the family kids and other guests. It was a lot of fun!
Around the World

Trying the local dishes

by Mel Trollman | March 10, 2020 2:24 AM

For dinner, the folks from the church donated meat so we could try some classic local dishes. We were able to taste moose stew and salmon chowder! It was hard to pick a favorite.
Trying the local dishes

Codenames Battle

by Rick Millikin | March 10, 2020 2:29 AM

The Team battles for dominance in a game of wit and strategy.

After dinner, we played 3 rounds of Codenames with the church families. It was a time packed with a lot of silly moments and laughter. What a great night of fellowship!

Codenames Battle

The Sun Comes Out

by Rick Millikin | March 10, 2020 1:33 PM

...and we couldn’t resist sharing in God’s amazing creation by showing the Talkeetna Mountains behind Mat-Su Covenant Church. 

The Sun Comes Out

St. Theresa’s Camp Snow Rescue

by Rick Millikin | March 10, 2020 9:54 PM

The directors of the Catholic Bible Camp has a large task for us today. After several inches of snow fell in the last 24 hours, we shoveled and cleared the stairs and archery range for an in coming group. But we also conquered this epic sledding hill. 

St. Theresa’s Camp Snow Rescue

Tuesday Radio

by Mel Trollman | March 11, 2020 2:16 PM

After breakfast, three more of our team members appeared on Pastor Rick's show, Lifted Up. We read some scripture and chatted about our time so far in Alaska. The time goes by so fast when you're on the air! A half hour show felt like ten minutes.

Tuesday Radio

Making a path

by Mel Trollman | March 11, 2020 2:29 PM

We were asked to help shovel out an archery range at a local camp called Saint Therese's so a group of middle schoolers could use it that afternoon. We bundled up and went for it! It was in a sloped area where it would be too difficult to take a snow blower down. Good old elbow grease was the best bet! But first, in order to get to it we had to create about a 50 yard path down there. We lined up and plowed through together, each person shoveling the snow the people in front of them had missed. It was a system that worked out great!
Making a path

Heavy lifting

by Mel Trollman | March 11, 2020 2:34 PM

We spread out over the archery field and dug in! It was a lot of heavy lifting, and some areas of the snow had piled up way above the knee level. But we cleared the entire space!
Heavy lifting

Broken Shovels and Laughter

by Mel Trollman | March 11, 2020 2:41 PM

We paused a moment for a band-style group shot just after a shovel was broken in half from Quinton's efforts. An epic moment! We had a lot of fun working together and occasionally playing in the snow to keep the laughter and energy going.
Broken Shovels and Laughter

Chilly break

by Mel Trollman | March 11, 2020 2:46 PM

The completion of our morning task was celebrated with every one of us taking a rest in the snow, a nice place to kick our feet up... we lasted about 40 seconds.
Chilly break

Sledding!

by Mel Trollman | March 11, 2020 3:05 PM

Of course we couldn't take off from the camp without having a little fun on their famous Suicide Hill! After lunch and a warm up break, the director Rudy mentioned he had a bunch of sleds and offered to take us up there for a little post-work fun.

Sledding!

Taking it all in

by Mel Trollman | March 12, 2020 5:42 PM

Our team thoroughly enjoyed sledding down the camp's hill. We also walked out onto the Frozen lake where we could see the beautiful mountains surrounding us. A couple members of our team spelled out "Alaska" with giant letters that could easily be seen by the small planes flying overhead.

Taking it all in

Iditarod Museum

by Mel Trollman | March 12, 2020 5:48 PM

Wasilla happens to be home to the Iditarod Museum. We snapped a photo with the famous Balto statue, (identical to the one in Central Park) shopped in the gift shop and watched an interesting documentary on the Alaska sled dog.

Iditarod Museum

The Yak

by Mel Trollman | March 12, 2020 6:01 PM

The Yak is a hangout space for youth in the community of Palmer. Our Tuesday evening was spent hanging out in that space for a special gathering. We provided the pizza and chili, brought tons of games from the church and put out an invitation for any of the Yak staff and volunteers to come for food and fellowship. 
The Yak

Meet the Yak staff!

by Mel Trollman | March 12, 2020 6:09 PM

These are just a few of the staff members who volunteer hours of their time each week to love on Alaska's youth and provide a safe place for kids to be kids. The Yak is part of an initiative to show kids they are special and important, combatting the depression and suicide that occurs too often in Alaska. The kids find community at the Yak, they can receive a free meal if they ask, and they have adults connecting with them whose desire is to show them Christ's love every time they walk through the door.
Meet the Yak staff!

On the Air again

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 12:34 PM

Another morning of appearing on the air. We're thinking about going pro!

On the Air again

Thrifter's Rock

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 1:09 PM

We served at a Christian ministry thrift shop called Thrifter's Rock this week. The profit they make goes towards local and global missions. It's been a rough winter for them, and the packed ice surrounding their garage door was hindering their ability to use that entrance for moving furniture and large items in and out of the store. We chiseled the ice and pushed it away with a wheel barrow.
Thrifter's Rock

Did somebody ask for painters?

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 1:17 PM

Inside of Thrifter's, the rest of our team got to work priming the walls of the staff break area. We were also reported to be an energizing presence for the staff as we entertained ourselves with British accents and humorous chatter.
Did somebody ask for painters?

Make it blue!

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 1:20 PM

We let the primer dry over lunch, then slapped some turquoise blue on the wall. It really lightened up the place! We were invited to come back the next day to paint the floor and their staff restroom.
Make it blue!

Good ol' Wally World

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 2:06 PM

On our way to dinner, we paused for a quick run to Walmart. Had to check out the souvenir isle, of course!

Good ol' Wally World

Winter Campfire

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 2:11 PM

After a delicious dinner made by Pastor Rick's wife, we went outside to enjoy a campfire in the parking lot. Naturally we cooked s'mores, worked on our ongoing side project of creating a functional fort in the parking lot's excess snow pile... and the grand finale was spotting a moose in the yard next door!!!

Winter Campfire

Our finished first project

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 2:16 PM

The very first project we worked on this week was pulling out books from the library, moving the wooden shelves into the church building next door, creating new metal shelves, and finally hauling all the supplies from the various storage spots around the building all into a brand new, organized storage space. It's well equipped now to easily host the homeless, transitional families and future mission teams! Pastor Rick and the other church staff are so excited about this accomplishment! It took three hours to accomplish what would have taken days otherwise. We've also been sorting sheets, rolling towels and helping to organize various supplies sporadically throughout the week.
Our finished first project

Our last day on the radio

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 2:32 PM

We jumped on the radio for the last time with Pastor Rick. It's been a fun experience for our team to take turns speaking on live air, sharing scripture with those listening around the valley!
Our last day on the radio

Painting at the Yak

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 2:40 PM

We returned to the Yak, this time to paint some of the walls and add some fun color to the youth space!
Painting at the Yak

Hanging out with Jeff

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 2:45 PM

Jeff, the Yak director, came to visit our team at the Yak. He was so excited about our team coming in to paint! It means a lot to him when folks are able to volunteer their time to improving the environment for the kids in Palmer. We got to hang out and eat lunch with Jeff, listening to him share stories about life in Alaska.
Hanging out with Jeff

Tricky tasks

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 4:35 PM

Some of the areas we painted were tricky places to reach and required a few coats of paint. We did get a good system going, however, and finished strong.

Tricky tasks

That's a wrap!

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 5:32 PM

We finished up over at Thrifter's Rock. The break area now has a sharp look with the blue paint on the walls and freshly painted floor. We also painted the staff bathroom in record time.


That's a wrap!

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 5:48 PM

We finished up over at Thrifter's Rock. The break area now has a sharp look with the blue paint on the walls and freshly painted floor. We also painted the staff bathroom in record time.

That's a wrap!

Palmer

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 5:54 PM

This is a snapshot of the beautiful view we've had driving to the town of Palmer where the Yak and thrift store are located. Palmer sits at the base of Lazy Mountain at the center of the Mat-Su Valley. We've been enjoying the stunning view of mountains all week!
Palmer

Thunderbird Falls

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 6:26 PM

Another post-work field trip, this time to Thunderbird Trailhead. The great thing about Alaska is there always seems to be a great hike option close to wherever you are. We've been looking forward to this hike all week!

Thunderbird Falls

Made it to the overlook

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 6:33 PM

There is a lookout part way down the trailhead that give a good look at the river below and the waterfall, now mostly frozen, off to the right. Many people stop here as the trail down to the waterfall at that point becomes more steep. But that wasn't going to stop us from completing the hike...

Made it to the overlook

Up close to Thunderbird Falls

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 6:40 PM

We made it down to the waterfall. It was beautiful! There were many areas where the ice and snow bridged the small river flowing from the waterfall. The waterfall itself was mostly frozen, but we could still see the rushing water behind the glassy ice in some areas. It was an incredible view and a great hike too!
Up close to Thunderbird Falls

Children's Lunchbox

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 8:14 PM

This morning we woke up early to head down into the city of Anchorage. We helped in the warehouse of Children's Lunchbox, a program that feeds children lunches all over the city. Due to the recent health concerns around the U.S. the program has decided to take a different approach to serving food over the next week. They plan to fill their truck with not only the usual lunches they distribute, but also pantry boxes filled with canned and dry goods to give to the parents of the children they feed. We formed an assembly line, some making the boxes, others filling and labeling. Together we quickly made 184 pantry boxes to be distributed. The staff there were excited by our quick work as well as good timing with their recent idea to do this for the community.

Children's Lunchbox

Bean's Café

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 8:18 PM

We spend the remainder of our morning helping out at a soup kitchen called Bean's Café. Because we brought our cold gear with us, they asked our team to organize cheese and bread in the walk-in cooler. We're getting used to this cold business.

Bean's Café

Kincaid Sand Dunes

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 8:26 PM

Well, obviously there is no sand to be seen now, but during the summer this whole area is nothing but a giant mass of sand hills juxtaposed against lush green trees and mountains. We had a lot of fun climbing around the hills and checking out Cook Inlet from our high vantage point.
Kincaid Sand Dunes

Basketball TV Broadcast

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 8:50 PM

Pastor Rick was scheduled to broadcast a High School basketball competition in Anchorage, so after our work was done, we joined him at the game. He invited Abram to do the play-by-play with him.

Basketball TV Broadcast

Pit Stop

by Mel Trollman | March 13, 2020 8:59 PM

On our way back to Wasilla, we stopped at an old bridge over the Matanuska River for a little photo op. The reflection of Lazy Mountain on the water was breath-taking. And naturally we had to take a band photo.
Pit Stop

Salmon night

by Mel Trollman | March 14, 2020 2:17 PM

Pastor Rick's wife, Lesa, has cooked our team several meals this week. Friday night she prepared a salmon bake with a pistachio topping for us. It was a Red Salmon caught in the Kenai by a member of the church who brought it in for us to taste.

Salmon night

Downtown Anchorage

by Mel Trollman | March 14, 2020 3:17 PM

Saturday morning we packed up and headed to downtown Anchorage to check out the souvenirs. Crazy that our trip is nearly over! 
Downtown Anchorage

Beluga Point

by Mel Trollman | March 15, 2020 12:25 AM

We drove South of Anchorage along Cook Inlet, enjoying the view of mountains, frozen waterfalls, glaciers and the fast-flowing, icy water. We stopped to make several pit stops for photos, the first of which was Beluga Point. It is a large rocky area that juts out into the water, and during certain times of year it is the perfect vantage point for spotting whales.

Beluga Point

A Record-Breaking Moose Count!

by Mel Trollman | March 15, 2020 12:31 AM

We went to the Wildlife Conservation to see animals that were rescued around Alaska, one of which was this little guy.

And speaking of moose, the PPM staff have been keeping track of the record for moose spotted by each of their teams. Our group blew the record out of the water by spotting 25 moose in one week! And that is only counting moose found in nature.

A Record-Breaking Moose Count!

Wildlife Conservation Center

by Mel Trollman | March 15, 2020 12:35 AM

Some of the animals we saw at WCC were moose, caribou, wolves... and bears! Two bears woke up today, just in time for our visit! This guy was all smiles.
Wildlife Conservation Center

Portage Lake and Glaciers

by Mel Trollman | March 15, 2020 12:40 AM

The end of our drive South was a beautiful viewpoint of Portage Lake. It is a glacier water fed lake, and although it is hard to differentiate the glaciers because of all the snow covering the mountains, we are actually surrounded by them on all sides! A couple members of our team climbed down to venture around the Frozen lake as well.
Portage Lake and Glaciers

Hula Hands

by Mel Trollman | March 15, 2020 12:45 AM

Our last meal before heading to the airport was at a Hawaiian Restaurant called Hula Hands. There is actually a rather large population of Hawaiians that live in Anchorage, and we couldn't leave without trying some of the local flavors. Pastor Rick was able to join us as well to say his goodbyes and thank you's for everything we did this week. He said he would love to have us come back!

Hula Hands

Good Times

by Mel Trollman | March 15, 2020 12:50 AM

It's been a very fun week! Our group shared a lot of laughs, inside jokes, sharpened our British accent impressions, and created a plethora of random memories that bonded us together.... Like this moment when we decided standing together on a rock was the thing to do. 

Good Times

One Last Group Shot

by Mel Trollman | March 15, 2020 12:54 AM

We took a moment to stretch our legs in Alaska one final time before our long journey home begins. And yes, of course, there was one last moment of silly photo taking.
One Last Group Shot

Until Next Time!

by Mel Trollman | March 15, 2020 1:01 AM

A note from the PPM staff to the team:

Thank you all SO MUCH for serving with us in Alaska!!! We know your original destination was Peru, but it's clear it was God's perfect plan to have you in Alaska all along. You all were a light and a joy for us. Thank you for all you did to serve, from painting and hauling supplies to packing food boxes and simply loving on strangers... your willingness to serve in any way that was needed, the kindness you showed in all your interactions, and the great efforts you all took to serve to the best of your abilities truly shone out! You all were a great blessing for us here. Thank you again, and know that you are always welcome in Alaska!

Until Next Time!

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Comments

Daniel Cobaugh

March 28, 2020 1:47 AM

Mel I’ve thinking about you guys up there wondering how are you guys holding up of The COVID-19 that’s attacking us as a country. And Mike and I have tons of stories we’re dying to tell you in person over ice cream that you’ve made a promise to us that you’ll take us to your Fav Ice Cream Shop near The 5th Ave. Mall.

Michael cobaugh

March 15, 2020 1:03 AM

Hard work pays off big time

Mike c

March 15, 2020 12:13 AM

Go to ktva news on channel 11 Mel and missions team you guys have to watch the highlights of south central conference championship for the boys and girls I can't tell you the score but it was crazy intense it was really close game between gcs @ acs for the south central conference championship game trust me Mel and missions team you will be jumping up and down trust me it's worth it

Michael c

March 11, 2020 4:33 AM

Mel and missions team meet me @ acs for south central conference basketball championships this one is worth it

Nick Eiden

March 9, 2020 11:56 AM

So glad you are still able to serve!

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