January through March 2007

January 2 thru January 7
The McGrath translator is on the air. Adam White flew us out in the mission's plane and both of us(Thiemes) got to be part of getting the IAM network broadcasting a copy of KIAM into the village of McGrath. These two pictures are really just a teaser. Bob and Dee will be making a presentation at Westwood Baptist in Olympia, WA (we believe it will be a 5 minute segment in the Sunday morning services on the 14th) with many more high-resolution pictures. After they get back we will post some more information about our McGrath trip in the pictures section.

There was still plenty of work to do back in Nenana before we headed back home to Houston. With more translator equipment to test and more practical experience about how to test it we packed up to travel South. While we have been up North for the last two weeks it has been snowing quite a bit back in Houston. Many thanks to Dave for covering Kristan's radio shifts, plowing our driveway and keeping an eye on the house while we were gone.

January 8 thru January 14
Karl's parents are coming to visit next week. We really look forward to their visit and the opportunity to show them our new life here. Their visit is a real motivator to get the basic amenities ready. It looks like they will be the first people to "live" in this house. Here Kristan is working on some of the trim for the bedroom.

The bathroom and the laundry room are coming along too. The bathroom is basically complete. Really all that is left is the window sill and the trim around the door. The laundry room still has a little ways to go. Here is the progress on the counter top that houses the water heater and will contain a sink hidden under the countertop.

January 15 thru January 22
Just some final work getting doors installed and working on the laundry room counter top before Karl's parents arrived.

Before being put to work Tom and Jeannine got to enjoy some of the beautiful state we live in. Tom (AKA Daddy) quickly took to riding the snowmachine. On Monday morning they both got the opportunity to be introduced to the mother and calf moose that like to visit our house.

Well enough recreation for those two, now they are back to work. Here, Jeannine (AKA Mother) is installing the furring to finish the second layer of insulation in the living room. Tom got to work on installing the railing under the main floor that will help the radiant heat transfer from the tubing to the subfloor.

January 23 thru January 28
It has been wonderful having visitors this week. Karl's parents have been working hard and making great progress on the house. Here you see Karl and his mother working on drywall and his father measuring the window.

Daddy and mother were also able to install all of the floor heating track up under the ground floor. This will allow the heating tube to be installed. Oh, yeah! Another very exciting installation. We now have our own working laundry facilities. We will miss our parents as they head back to Oregon tonight.

January 29 thru February 4
Before Karl's parents headed home they got the opportunity to attend Native New Life in Anchorage. We got to enjoy an evening in "The City" together before saying goodbye. With all the warm weather in the previous week we knew it would happen eventually. The snow came off the roof (well most of the roof). We didn't get all the snow brakes installed in the fall so we need to dig out each time this stuff comes crashing down.

On Saturday we made some more progress hanging the sheetrock in the master bed/bath rooms. Also Saturday was the first night we spent in the house. Until we have a place to cook this isn't as convenient as it sounds. It is nice to be so close to the bathroom in the middle of the night though.

Somewhat to celebrate our 02/02/02 anniversary and partially to enjoy God's incredible creation all around us we chose to take a snowmobile journey on Sunday afternoon. What an appreciation for God's Majesty and Power! We definitely felt His protection for us and really got to enjoy the beauty He has placed us in.

February 5 thru February 11
A lot has happened this week so sit back and enjoy as we have more pictures than usual. We went North to Nenana where the first thing we worked on was installing a replacment wireless network link that allows files to be transfered between computers at the KIAM transmitter site 7 miles away, to the studios in town.

The second big task was to visit two villages to seek approval for the installation of local radio repeaters and to survey the sites to plan the installations. Jim Congdon was able to fly us out. With a 50mph tail wind it wasn't the smoothest ride due to the turbulence on the leeward side of the mountains but Jim got us there safely and his recognition in the villages was clearly God preparing the way for us. The frozen beauty was incredible out in the wilderness above the Arctic Circle. Thank you Jim!

The first village we visited was Hughes where we will be installing our KIAM repeater here at their church.

The second village we visited was Allakaket where we met with the tribal council and they gave us permission to bring the repeater (translator) to their village and will let us install it at the tribal offices. This was a big answer to prayer and we thank God for the opportunity to bring the Good News here.

The joke usually is "How many so-and sos does it take to screw in a light bulb?" In this case the question was "How long does it take Karl to screw in a light bulb". At 200ft up the KIAM tower it takes a little longer than most light bulbs. Down below you can barely make out Kristan and Rob.

February 12 thru February 18
We made some progress on the house this weekend. Kristan got all of the drywall up in the master bedroom and master bathroom. Karl worked to get the last few electrical things straightened out so that the last few walls upstairs could be closed up. Here you can see that some conduits were added to allow us a few options after the walls are closed off.

This weekend we had the priveledge to have visitors. Jim and Susie brought their family and Nathan and KarlaRae got to ride snowmobiles for the first time. All of us headed out onto the trail and got to play in the snow together. It was lots of fun and the bright sun combined with a few inches of new powder made it a gorgeous day.

Karl and James went off to find a good sledding hill once we got back to the house. Before long they found some fun to be had using the snowmobile to keep the slide from stopping at the bottom of the hill. Well the day was drawing to a close so it was time to pack up the machines. But before saying good bye we all got to enjoy pizza together in town. Thanks for coming, we really enjoyed playing together, come back anytime.

February 19 thru February 25
This is the first of many weeks where the two of us are manning KAGV by ourselves. Dave Horning and his family are now on furlough to keep their supporters updated on their ministry. They will be living out of three "hubs" of Kansas City, Huntsville and Fort Worth over the next 4 months.
While there is a lot going on for us at the radio station, we did manage to make decent progress on the house on Saturday and Sunday. We have finished the drywall hanging upstairs. Kristan did the work of putting on the metal corner beads while Karl started on framing the enclosure for the wall oven in the kitchen. Here you can see Kristan marking out heights to choose the height of the oven. Then you can see Karl fitting the space above the oven for a cabinet.

Once we had the framing done we had to get this enclosure drywalled as well. The oven opening width and height had 1/8" tolerances so we chose to cut out the drywall to the framing after we had the drywall attached to the frame. Well here is the kitchen space. Lots of tape and mud to go.

February 26 thru March 4
Well Karl has been moving sound equipment around for a while but this was the first time a sled was the handiest way to get it from point A to point B. This week was spent at the annual Native Musicale where we recorded the event each night with Kristan hosting for Radio listeners. Next week we expect that the recording will be available online at Native New Life's website so you can hear her work and listen in on these performances from Natives across the state.

While we still haven't finished all the editing required for all those recordings we decided to take a break on Sunday and enjoy the Iditarod dog sled race start just a few miles North of us. Next year we hope to ride our snowmachines to the event to save on parking and to get better access. Here is Dee Dee Jonrowe who attends Big Lake Baptist church where our summer work teams had their Wednesday evening dinners. The race takes ~ 11 days for the winner to cross the finish line in Nome and all throughout the race we go online to figure out who is where and how much rest they are giving their teams. As we write this on Tuesday morning the latest news is that Dee Dee has scratched out of the race. This year Doug Swingley and Dee Dee Jonrowe(both high profile serious competitors expected to finish in the top ten) have sustained injuries on "The Steps" a treacherous part of the trail made only more dangerous by the slick hard surface caused by a lack of snow.

March 5 thru March 11
Kristan's Papa is here! He has come to help us out at the radio station. With his help the two of us can take care of work for translators and make a trip out to Bethel to prepare that facility for remote operation if necessary. Papa is doing the weather and will be covering the legal office hours requirement while we travel. You can hear him doing the weather for KAGV at the KAGV website.
After a tough work week, the three of us got to go snowmachining together Friday. It is always a good stress reliever and it is always fun to explore the creation around us. In this picture you can see Kristan riding behind her Papa on Zero Lake. Not the same as riding motorcycles together but still lots of fun.

Well weekends are always time to work on the house. Finally we started taping and mudding. With Papa's help we made a lot of progress but didn't quite finish the first coat. It is always encouraging to see the house progress.

As advertised last week, now all five nights of the 2007 Native Musical, hosted by Kristan, are available for on-line listening at the Native New Life website. Each night edited down to about an hour and a half long. We hope you enjoy listening to some of our work.

March 12 thru March 18
Friday evening we took the opportunity to show Papa some more of the snowmobile trails around here.

On Saturday it was back to sanding and mudding before packing for our trip to Bethel.

March 19 thru March 25
Our goal for this week was to do as much preparation to allow for remote operation of KYKD in the city of Bethel. We flew in on Monday morning and needed to get back Friday night. Over all we got our planned tasks done but it doesn't look like this will be sufficient without further work. Both of us were sick to some degree for most of the trip. We did get a lot done and have a much better understanding of the needs there now.
On the left is a picture of Kristan entering the radio station. On the right is a picture of the mission owned duplex.

We became a little more familiar with the Yupik eskimo language. As you can see the written language is of no use to those of us with English/Latin phonetics. A lot of Karl's work dealt with the remote operation and monitoring of the KYKD transmitter, the old transmitter can barely be seen on the left, the control equipment is in the middle and the new transmitter is on the right.

As most of you know, this year the ministry is working on a project to place 11 more translators in remote villages. While we were in Bethel we found out that the local flight services were offering a special $20 round trip fare to Quinhagak (Kwin-uh-hawk). We took the opportunity to spend our Friday morning doing an install survey and getting to know the folks at the Moravian church there that will be hosting the translator.

When we returned back to our own cabin in Houston we pretty much slept for over 24hrs, partly from exhaustion and partly to try to get an edge up on our colds. Sunday was our first real activity of any kind. After church we drove out on Big Lake to watch the ice races. One of our friends from the local hardware store invited us to come watch the races when he first saw that we both ride motorcycles. He can be seen racing on the green bike between Kristan and her Papa.

The machines all have studded tires and what we saw was simply crazy. We didn't see a single fall in all the action and for as squirrelly as the machines were, we really didn't even see any significant uncontrolled slips.

March 26 thru April 1
Outside we can see that winter is ending. The birch trees are turning a gently hue of red with their new buds. Inside it is back to more drywall work.

On Saturday more mud and more sanding, more mud, more sanding, more mud, more sanding......

Sunday we finally got to the texture. The entire upper floor has texture and soon will be ready for primer. What a relief to be done with the drywall work. Our lungs will thank us shortly.