MECHANICSVILLE — Bodenburg Butte Baptist Church is located in Palmer, Alaska, a town approximately 45 miles from Anchorage and 4,700 miles from Virginia. Last month a 14-member mission team led by Don Carter, a member of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Mechanicsville, traveled “way up North” to help this congregation construct an 800-sq. foot addition to its facility and refurbish its existing building.
The mission team consisted of members from Hillcrest, Cool Spring and Black Creek Baptist churches in Mechanicsville, Mount Vernon Baptist in Glen Allen and St. Peter’s United Methodist in Montpelier. The connection between these churches and the one in Alaska was through a relationship fostered when Carter was on a mission trip to Venezuela.
Two teams of 20 people from Oklahoma and North Carolina had preceded the group from Virginia. When they arrived on July 11 the addition which includes a new kitchen and fellowship hall had been framed and a metal roof installed. The Virginia team continued the project by installing siding, flooring, caulking and painting and installing doors.
The team stayed at the InterAct Ministries Alaska Field Office camp, just outside Palmer. They awoke to temperatures in the 30s and 40s but were able to shed their coats when afternoon temperatures reached the upper 70s.
Virginia team members attended worship at Bodenburg Butte Church. Carter says there were 40 or so people in attendance. But this is summertime in Alaska with only 4 hours of darkness each day. People are busy during the summer months doing what they are unable to do in bad winter weather. Attendance during the winter would likely be 80 to 100 members.
When the team concluded its work each afternoon, they drove around the countryside. They found mountains, glaciers, lakes, forest and meadows. They saw moose, but luckily no bears. Four members took a boat cruise and spotted otters and seals and three whales blowing air and doing flips in the water.
“On mission trips, someone is always touched as much if not more than the people we go to help,” says Carter. You receive a blessing knowing you’re using the skills God has given you to give back to others. The congregation in Palmer, Alaska, is thankful that God led Carter and the Virginia folks to their part of the world this summer.