Monday, June 24, 2013

Change of Plans

In Pelican, our Personeus grandparents welcomed us enthusiastically. Not only were they happy to see us, but they needed help. The land the town had given them for the church building had been covered with windfalls up to twelve layers deep, like a gigantic game of pick-up sticks.

Grandpa and Uncle Byron had cleared enough land by hand to build the church and had built the framework, but the heating system could not be installed until a chimney was erected. When we arrived, Daddy and Uncle Byron carted all the cement for the tall chimney in wheelbarrows up a long, steep hill on boardwalks--a backbreaking task.

The winds blowing off the inlet that summer were so cold that Mother had to keep us dressed in snowsuits inside as well as outside. By then, Mother knew she was expecting another baby, due in November. As the summer drew to a close, she began to have difficulty walking because of the way she was carrying the baby. She needed medical care, but Pelican had no doctor.

That fall, Mother and Daddy decided that we needed to go to Juneau, where there were doctors and a hospital, until the baby was born. An elderly friend and former co-worker of my grandparents offered to let our family live in her rental house on the beach half a mile outside of town. While living in this house was when my mother told me to play with a bear (see post "Encounter with a Bear").

Another morning, while I was playing on the same second story porch of this house, I somehow managed to fall head first over the railing onto the huge oil tank and onto the ground, knocking myself out cold. I must have been out for about half an hour. When I came to, I was lying on my parents' bed, and Mother was spooning hot tea into my mouth and praying out loud for me. Since I seemed none the worse for the accident, she never did take me to the doctor.

While in Juneau, Daddy needed to get a job. The only one he could find that paid enough to support the family was as a traffic man at the Alaska Coastal Airlines. But he had to promise to stay for a year. So once again, God changed their plans. One year extended into ten years as my father was promoted to boss of the cargo department at the airlines. After my sister, Kathy, was born, my parents were asked to take over the operation of the Bethel Beach Children's Home when the matron retired. She and the home's founders had worked closely with my grandparents in starting the church that is now called Juneau Christian Center. It was at this children's home that we ran out of water (see post, "No Water!"). Once again, God was "leading His children along."

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