July through September 2007

July 2 thru July 15
Well our first week home was rather uneventful. We did manage to hang a little drywall in one of our new stairwells but mostly we just caught up on things that had fallen behind during our crazy June.
But before we knew it that week was over and we were back in Nenana to help the transition as Brian Blair went out on furlough and then we needed to get back onto translator installs. After repairing the windows and brakes on the mission's plane we took a trip out to McGrath.
Even though McGrath is not currently broadcasting we wanted to get everything in order so that the folks out there would simply need to flip the power switch if we get FCC approval. During the spring, the church had started a project to clear and fill some land where we had installed the dish previously, in the process the satellite dish had been removed and stored. We re-installed the dish in a better location and aimed it at the new satellite.
This time Brian Blair got to come out on the trip with us. We hope he enjoyed his first translator trip. We are praying for him and his family as they travel back to Ohio to visit churches and raise their support level.
This was also a first translator trip for Billy James who joined VFCM this month as our new pilot in addition to taking on radio announcing duties in Nenana. What an answer to prayer it is for the James family to be here. They are greatly needed.
On the way back we got passed by a DC-4 traveling back from re-fueling a remote mine. Kinda fun to see something so large up there in the air with us.

Adam White has been flying us around either in his ministry plane or in VFCM's mission plane for the past month. Normally he would have converted his Maule M7 over to floats to allow him to visit folks out in remote locations and bring those folks together for the Bible studies he leads. We've kept him pre-occupied and it was the least we could do to help him make the switch over to floats.

July 16 thru July 29
Well back on the sky roads again. This time we were headed to Bethel where we planned to base our operations while installing translators in three villages. We all got packed in tight and we were on our way. We got an excellent view of Mt McKinley from the top side.

Once we passed the village of Aniak we were done with mountains and soon to be done with trees as we passed into the flatlands of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Back on the ground again in Bethel.

With a break in the weather we headed out to install Quinhagak. Bill James, who has been keeping KYKD running in Bethel got to come while his son Billy flew the plane. Unfortunately when we arrived we discovered that not all of the equipment we had shipped had arrived in Quinhagak. After Kristan did some research over the phone we were able to locate the critical piece that had been mistakenly shipped to Hooper Bay. While we were on site in Quinhagak we installed the transmitting equipment, enjoyed a great meal of Halibut and rice and Kristan got some court time in with the neighborhood kids.

Upon returning from Quinhagak the weather took a turn for the worse and kept us from flying to Hooper Bay for 5 days. Always expecting it to clear soon we couldn't get into any really involved projects but we did make quite a bit of progress. There was a lot of cleaning to do in the upstairs apartment to get ready for the August work team among many other small projects. Here Billy, Adam and Karl are changing the starter in the mission's Blazer.

When the weather finally broke we were quick to take the opportunity to get out to Hooper Bay. With everyone working together we were able to get it up and running in 5 hours. We enjoyed the tour Grant Funk gave us of some of the amazing things God is doing in Hooper Bay as a result of the fire they experienced last year.

After a good night's rest back at KYKD we were on our way back to Quinhagak with the missing piece that was delivered to Hooper Bay. Working together we fixed a connection and got the dish mounted to the building.

With all the pieces things went together well and we were up and broadcasting in Quinhagak. We left with some really good smoked salmon strips from this traditional smoke house.

We stopped off in Bethel to recharge with a real good meal and some goodbyes for Bill and Bonnie. Then we were on our way toward home stopping in Grayling to get one more translator in before we finished the trip. Even with the intense bugs it was a relief to have trees and hills in Grayling.

This installation went up in record time for an installation where we had not visited ahead of time. God provided the perfect location where we could see through the trees to our satellite as well as put up our FCC required fence without interfering with other activities.

After some quick rest we packed up and headed back to Nenana not too worse for the wear.

July 30 thru August 5
We are preparing to go back to Bethel this week. This time it is to facilitate a work team that will be doing some finish work and repair work to the facilities there. The only vehicle we have access to out there is the ministry's S-10 Blazer. While this is a great vehicle for moving people and baggage around, it will be necessary to haul some larger construction items around so we will need a trailer. Here you can see the trailer that we purchased here near our home. Even after a hefty $400 air freight charge it is more cost effective to buy it here. In order to get the air freight cost down we had to disassemble and pack up the trailer. We will be taking it in to be shipped today.

Although we are going to be away from home for a while still we did take the chance to get some work done on the house. We first installed kick plates for the main stairway.

After getting the kick plates installed we got to use our new cutout tool to cut drywall to match the stairs.

August 6 thru August 13
Since we are not sure when the weather will present a good opportunity to get up on the roof again we decided to take an evening to install some more essential snow brakes on our roof. These will protect our heating oil tank and make the back door to our garage more accessible.

On Wednesday night we headed North to Nenana where, on Thursday, we helped Bob and Billy prepare their freight run to Bethel to get the supplies needed for the work team out there ahead of us.

When Friday came, it was our turn to fly out to Bethel with Rob. The ministry's Blazer was our first focus. Rob fabricated and installed a towing hitch. Then Karl installed the trailer wiring while Rob swapped out the heater core.

With the towing capability in place it was time to pick up the trailer we had shipped out. Karl and Rob assembled it before coming back to the duplex to put matching tires on, driving straight is an improvement.

Monday morning the guys from Westwood Baptist arrived. They went right to work figuring out the best way to level out and shore up the duplex.

August 14 thru August 19
Amongst many smaller tasks the Westwood Baptist work team got done this week the larger tasks stand out. The first and most critical was leveling out the duplex where the frost had jacked up the steel pilings and had started crushing the floor joists. Rob cut the jacked up pilings and welded them back in place. Most of this work was done in non-ideal weather.

After everything was torn out and leveled the joists had to be lapped and reinforced and then the insulation and sheeting had to be installed again.

The next big item was painting. Using surplus paint we did some precision color matching. The comfort level painting the roof line of the duplex left a little to be desired when the wind picked up (as it is known to do often in Bethel).

At the studio building the change was dramatic.

The duplex wasn't such a dramatic change but it was a much needed first coat of paint on this building.

On Sunday after church, a time of rest and relaxation was had by all. Karl and Rob spent spare time working on the KYKD boat over the past week and it was ready to be tested in the Kuskokwim River. Our goal was to find a good clear water fishing spot for Bill to put his pole in.

With Karl at the helm, navigating with his hand held GPS, we were able to make it up river past several fish camps and found the village of Kwethluk.

North of the village we found the Kwethluk river and some clear water. In this picture you can see the drastic difference between the mucky waters of the Kuskokwim and the clear waters of the Kwethluk. Bill was happily baiting his hook and getting ready to find his Alaskan Salmon.

After a number of casts and no salmon bites, Don decided that he would call the fish to increase Bill's chances. To make a long and very amusing story short, after several failed "fish calls" the great fisherman finally called it a day.

August 20 thru August 26
A lot more work got done this second week in Bethel. Last week we showed some before and after pictures. This week we'll show actual work getting done. Here are some in-process and after pictures.
The pathway between the two buildings has long been an obstacle course across rickety pallets laid on the un-even terrain. Don and Lynn built a nice boardwalk to make for safer travel.

Dewey attacked the dominant foliage so we could clean up the yard.

Bill used some of the plywood scraps from the joist repair to build a CD shelf to free up the desk space in the production studio.

The storage shed got cleaned out, organized and got a fresh coat of paint.

The the upstairs part of the duplex got many interior updates. The fresh coat of paint really brightened things up.

Even the KYKD call letters got a fresh coat of paint before being installed.

From the time they came, to the time they left, these guys from Westwood kept making things better. Thanks for your hard work!

August 27 thru September 2
After flying from Bethel to Nenana it was soon time to pack up the plane again. This time we headed out to install Anaktuvuk Pass and Ambler.

Beyond the Arctic Circle the signs of autumn were very prominent. Anaktuvuk is nestled in the Brooks range and is known for the massive caribou migrations that come through to get to the south.

After finding all the parts, we got right to work to get Anaktuvuk on the air.

Once we were on the air we explored this arctic wonder a little bit. The river running through town showed some very interesting rocks and a short trek on the tundra revealed bountiful cranberries that were delicious.

What a beautiful location. We pray that the good news of Jesus Christ will bless this place.

In Ambler the vegatation certainly had grown a lot since we visited in late May. After stomping things down so we could find all the obstacles we got right to work, you'd think by now everything would be routine but something always seems to need a little bit of innovation to make things work right in each location.

The dish and antenna overlook the Kobuk River while the receiver and exciter overlook the dryer.

A quick ATV ride back to the airport and we are back in the air again.

With our flight path headed directly over Hughes, we took the opportunity to prepare the Hughes translator enclosure for winter.

Back to Nenana we were in time to celebrate with Bob and Dee as they mark 50 years of marriage together. Congratulations!!

Before heading back home (it's been more than 3 weeks) Karl completed two satellite internet installations and re-aimed our uplink redundancy dish.

You might want to re-visit that network map on the "About VFCM" page. There is only one red dot left! Praise God for allowing, providing and enabling VFCM to do what we didn't think could be done! Be in prayer for an opportunity to install in Coldfoot, that is the only one left.

September 3 thru September 9
Home, even incomplete, it is a nice place to be! While there still is plenty to do at work, we have two specific goals on the house. Once of the goals is getting the upper floor done before the baby comes. The other is getting those outdoor tasks done before the ground freezes up and snow flies.
Toward getting the upper floor completed, we started tape and mud on the stairwell.

One pre-winter task was sealing up the rimjoist insulation we put in last November. When we put it in last fall there already was ice build-up behind the foam so we couldn't seal the insulation until it melted and evaporated. Now was the time.
Another concern is paying for heat. We had expected to add wood heat later on but last year, keeping the house in the high 50s to protect the plumbing (since we were living in the ATCO cabin) took over 1100 gallons of heating oil. We do have wood available on our lot and this is going to be one of the last opportunities to get up on the roof this year so we took the opportunity to get a wood stove installed. Here is the woodstove we bought from our friends down at Spenards.

Having learned quite a bit from the boiler chimney installation (last September) the new challenge with this chimney was protecting it in the attic. This box keeps the blown-in insulation from coming in contact with it. Now the cutting starts. Well a lot has happened since the weekend but that will have to wait for next weeks update.

September 10 thru September 16
Well the week started out with a big challenge. The radio station was off the air after the transmitter complained that the antenna was acting funny and started turning things way down. After checking the electronics it was time to check the tower itself. The problem became rather obvious after a quick visual inspection. The PVC insulative cable guide had failed and arcing was melting plastic and drastically messing with the transmitter's ability to get power into the tower.
Karl climbed up to disconnect the feed wire and get the melted structure off of the tower.

The stand-offs had collected water and allowed a conductive path from the feed wire to the tower structure. Karl and Dave got to work rebuilding the insulative cable guide, this time sealing up both ends of the standoffs to prevent a reoccurance.

After measuring the failed guide Dave got right to work cutting out all the pieces to re-assemble the new guide. After some group acrobatics Karl and Dave had assembled, glued and rewired everything and we were back on the air in less than 5 hours.

Back on the house it was time to keep working on the chimney installation. With the hole cut in the roof it was time to start adding the pipe sections.

Then to seal the chimney down to the roof and get it braced.

Inside we are closing in on the upper floor. Right now we are trying to finish things that need to be done before the flooring can go in. One of those things is the island in the kitchen. Everything is secured now and Kristan is painting the plywood that hold the two cabinets together. For some reason it took more effort than necessary to get the wiring done but that got straightened out and we are excited to see what it is going to look like once the countertop is finished.

Now that we have the chimney outside it makes sense to get a wood stove inside. The wood stove needs to be on a fireproof surface so we are installing tile (as much as Karl hates tile). First laying out the tiles to get the dimensions right and then laying out the cement backer board.

Outside it would be nice to not have any reason to go on the roof for the rest of the year. In order to protect the new chimney and reduce the snow shoveling we needed to install snow-brakes on this side of the house too.

The seasons are changing fast. The frost is coming heavier and heavier each morning. The trees are changing color and dropping leaves more everyday.

September 17 thru September 23
Kristan is out in Bethel this week. Bill James finished up his stint manning KYKD for the summer. He did a great job but he and Bonnie are now visiting with Billy and Marti before they return to Georgia, thanks for your good work guys!
Ben and Pat have volunteered to hold down the fort at KYKD for a while. Kristan is out in Bethel to give them orientation and training. They have experience with missions radio in Honduras and they are picking up the KYKD routine quickly. We thank our Lord for volunteers who are willing to give so much of themselves.

Back in Houston Karl has been working to get things ready for winter and our expected arrival. This week the web update is a little special. Since Kristan is away, this will be the first time she gets to see the progress too. One of our listeners gave us a king sized bed for our master bedroom. He only had frames for twin size so one of Karl's projects was to make a king sized frame out of two twin frames.

Well to install the wood stove we need this tile fireproof floor near the woodstove. Here you can see Karl laying the tiles into the thinset mortar that holds them to the concrete backer board we installed last week. Then the mortar needed to dry for more than 24 hours.

Then next step for the tile is the grout. First it is applied with a rubber float. Then the real work begins scrubbing it over and over with a wet sponge.

In the tile down times Karl worked on the walls in the stairwell. After the final sanding it was time for texture. Then came the first coat of primer.

Well enough of the indoors stuff with all the dust and waiting for things to dry. Outside it is time to get some wood ready for this wood stove.

It definitely is time to get ready for winter. The temperatures are staying cold and brisk and you can see the "termination dust" creeping down the mountains.

Still there is plenty of autumn color and beauty to enjoy. Here you can see a duck who took some time to enjoy our pond on her journey south.

September 24 thru October 1
This week Kristan finished up her latest stint in Bethel. The Burkeys are doing great on air and they are settling into life in Bethel.

One of the adventures in Bethel this week was getting heating oil. While a $0.50/ gallon savings actually isn't that much percentage wise, once we fill all three 250 gallon tanks a few times throughout the winter, the savings of picking up the fuel at the bulk plant instead of having it delivered will add up. Kristan and Ben got all the pumps and hoses figured out and enjoyed the time outside of the radio studios.

Back in Houston the winter is still rapidly approaching with colors turning and leaves falling all around.

On the wood stove front, the tile finally is finished and the woodstove in place. The wood pile is still growing and soon we will be lighting our first fire.

The next task was something that was avoided simply because of the planning involved. But the time had come. After a few experiments and measuring everything at least three times, Karl got started building the baluster sections.

With the sections assembled now to mount the sections to the posts. It is pretty exciting to see this progress as we get closer to finishing the upper floor.

On Monday Kristan returned. What a joy to be together again! We went from the airport to Native New Life where we helped out like we usually do every other Monday night since we trade this duty off with Dave. Here you can see Karl recording the service that he will edit so that it can be aired on the I AM Radio Network. Also Kristan helps out running a video camera when needed for the video ministry that is part of Native New Life. We were asked to share in this service and we got the chance to thank the congregation there that helped us with so many village contacts that made our translator installs such a success.

It is with mixed emotions that we will be saying goodbye to Dave Horning as our station manager here at KAGV. Dave and his family will be joining Native New Life as missionaries starting in January of 2008. We really look forward to working with Dave in this new role and we hope for God to provide new opportunities for Voice for Christ to better reach the native people of Alaska as both of these ministries will now know how to work together more efficiently. Please pray for the Hornings as they take this leap of faith.