I'm reading through what may be my favorite book for the second time this year. I read again to remember truths about God's nature & for the pure enjoyment of good writing. I came upon the best analogy of God's love for me on page 35 tonight. Maybe I'm partial because of my little loyal friend, Teco, but I'm thankful for an opportunity to understand more of God's complex love through her simple companionship.
Excerpt below taken from The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis
Another type is the love of a man for a beast - a relation constantly used in Scripture to symbolize the relation between God and men; 'we are his people and the sheep of his pasture'. This is in some ways a better analogy than the preceding [artist & art], because the inferior party is sentient, and yet unmistakably inferior: but it is less good in so far as man has not made the beast and does not fully understand it. Its great merit lies in the fact that the association of (say) man and dog is primarily for the man's sake: he tames the dog primarily that he may love it, not that he may serve it. Yet at the same time, the dog's interests are not sacrificed to the man's. The one end (that he may love it) cannot be fully attained unless it also, in its fashion, loves him, nor can it serve him unless he, in a different fashion, serves it. Now just because the dog is by human standards one of the 'best' of irrational creatures, with that degree and kind of love which is proper to such an object, and not with silly anthropomorphic exaggerations - man interferes with the dog and makes it more lovable than it was in mere nature. In its state of nature it has a smell, and habits, which frustrate man's love: he washes it, house-trains it, teaches it not to steal, and is so enabled to love it completely. To the puppy the whole proceeding would seem, if it were a theologian, to cast grave doubts on the 'goodness' of man: but the full-grown and full-trained dog, larger, healthier, and longer-lived than the wild dog, and admitted, as it were by Grace, to a whole world of affections, loyalties, interests, and comforts entirely beyond its animal destiny, would have no such doubts. It will be noted that the man (I am speaking throughout of the good man) takes all these pains with the dog, and gives all these pains to the dog, only because it is an animal high in the scale - because it is so nearly lovable that it is worth his while to make it fully lovable. He does not house-train the earwig or give baths to centipedes. We may wish, indeed, that we were of so little account to God that He left us alone to follow our natural impulses - that He would give over trying to train us into something so unlike our natural selves; but once again, we are asking not for more love, but for less.
CJ & I have returned back to Port Alsworth after another July in the Brooks Range with some of our favorite kiddos. We directed Brooks Range Bible Camp again & had the pleasure of seeing God at work in big ways. We were pleased beyond expectation by the new camp location & facilities. What we were panicking about in June became a true blessing in July. Volunteers worked hard to build a camp facility at Crevice Creek in two short weeks & camp was given permission to be at the Crevice Creek homestead indefinitely. With the help of a Casa from Samaritan's Purse & lots of C-206 loads we were able to transfer all our building supplies and Avgas out of Paradise Valley where things were delivered by snow machine this winter. We held camp in a main building with a part-time generator & water pumped from the creek. The campers slept in six tents with wooden platforms & we were spoiled with two new outhouses & two bucket shower stalls.
Fourty seven kids age 8-18 attended camp this year from the villages of Allakaket, Wiseman & Anuktuvuk Pass, AK. We were blessed to see many of these children for years in a row & have come to know & love them. It is so fun for us to watch them grow every year & hear their stories. This year I actually cried in the plane as we took off from their village as it was so sad to say goodbye again. But we rejoice in the Lord that seven teens accepted the gospel truth during camp. It has been our pleasure to be a part their lives each summer & we hope to visit them more often starting in September.
After showing the building process step by step, I thought it would only be right to show what our house looks like now that we're moved in. Enjoy.
Thursday CJ flew with Lake Clark Air to Anchorage, drove the Subaru from Anchorage to Chicaloon & flew a C-182 from King Ranch to our new camp location at Crevice Creek. He will be spending the weekend hauling builders & supplies into the grass strip at Crevice Creek. Please keep the pilots & builders in your prayers as this is a pivotal time. They will be creating a facility for Brooks Range Bible Camp from scratch in one week! Praise the Lord!
We had the honor of attending the dedication of Samaritan Lodge Alaska last Thursday. Port Alsworth security tightened & air traffic increased with special guests Franklin Graham & Alaska Governor Sean Parnell. The community was invited to help celebrate with lunch the completion of a huge project & the start of a new ministry. Samaritan Lodge is a ministry of Samaritan's Purse and part of their Operation Heal Our Patriots project. All that said, we have a lot of friends who have been working really hard in Port Alsworth over the last few years to get an aging fishing lodge in pristine condition to welcome wounded military personnel. Starting this week they are hosting ten couples at a time for a week of blessings. As I understand it, the couples will receive a free week of good food, fishing, boating, touring in a float plane, bear viewing, marriage enrichment classes and general relaxation. It is neat to see this ministry take place in our own back yard to honor soldiers who sacrificed for my freedom.
May was busy. We saw almost all our family on all four sides. We traveled to Michigan & Chicago. My sister got married. We bought a truck. We installed a septic tank system. We spent our first night in the new house. We flushed toilets with 5 gallon buckets of water. I finished the school year as a teachers aide. We cooked our first meal for guests in the new kitchen. CJ used his third grade rope climbing skills to install a stove pipe. We took care of some cute kids. We planted a strawberry patch. We tapped nine birch trees.