LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Mark Beeson: Stuck in a Snow Blizzard in Alaska

Many of you know...Mark Beeson loves the outdoors. About 10 days ago he flew with a friend to a remote north of Kodiak in Alaska. He was supposed to come home on Friday. That is, before a "super-storm / snowicane" hit Alaska last week. He has been stranded in harsh blizzard conditions ever since. He is safe, but stuck. So you know how to pray, here are some excerpts of email correspondence between Mark and Sheila (shared with permission)... Friday, November 11,  Email from Mark to Sheila:

Looks like everything in Alaska is shut down. Anchorage airport is closed. Kodiak airport is closed. All air traffic across the island of Kodiak is restricted. No one can fly. A blizzard hit last night and we're here for a while. Everything is fine. Steve and I went out this morning in the blizzard and shot ducks. Well, he shot ducks and I took pictures. It's been a wonderful week. I can't do anything about getting back home so I'm trying to simply relax and let another day on Kodiak sink in. It's the most amazing place. Incredible.

So, if you've been praying I'd get a lot of time on Kodiak Island, your prayers have been answered.  :-)

Since the law shut down all flights, we're here for the rest of today.... at least. We'll see about tomorrow. They're predicting high winds, which make flying impossible, so I'm not sure when we'll get back to the city of Kodiak. Once there we'll fly to Anchorage, then follow our previous flight plans. However, with so many flights cancelled, I can't say when we'll actually be able to get on a plane.

Our guides have been great. They're helpful and they know everything about Alaska. My guy (his name is Rob Wagner) has guided in Alaska for 30 years.

 Saturday, November 12, Email from Mark to Sheila:

The storm that hit Alaska has been awesome to see. Yesterday we got a ton of snow. Last night the winds blew at 70 - 80 mph. Our boat sank so we're pulling it out today. The Outfitter lost some gear from the boat (since it swamped) and it floated away. We'll see what we can find along the shorelines today. The winds have shifted so they're coming out of the Northwest this morning. Much better this morning; winds are in the 40's now so it won't be as difficult getting the boat back in fine working condition. It's an 18' LUND with a huge 50 horsepower Honda engine. Luckily, the boat swamped at low tide so it's not completely underwater. We'll get it.

Yesterday we spent some time bringing firewood in. The little stove is the only heat we have, but it is sooooo much warmer than the tent I stayed in on my Caribou hunt that it feels like Shangri-la.  :-) I'm warm and fine. I didn't say anything about this earlier but all of the water froze our 2nd day here. So we've had no running water this week. That's a lot like tent-camping.... since the only water available is water carried from the nearby streams... in 5 gallon buckets. It's all quite rustic, and quite delightful. I'm actually having a blast. It's such an "other" experience... like being in an environment so totally different and so totally unique to my experience that everything is more fun than frustrating.

I've very little hope that any planes will fly today. The winds are fierce. Pilots won't fly if it's dangerous. Period. So, don't worry about me. I'm in a great place and I'm having a great time. I just with I could be with you...and I'm looking forward to leaving...but there' nothing either of us can do about this. The weather won't permit our departure. Until it changes we'll keep praying for each other and trusting God with our lives. We're in HIS Hands. No worries. I'll hold you close in my prayers and see you as soon as I can get back home. Forecasts today are for 50 mph winds. I may be here a while.

You can tell the staff, your friends, our kids or anyone at GCC any of this information. There's no secret to this. I don't care if the church is made aware of the situation. And if people pray for a safe return, that'll be fine too.  Whatever you want to do with this info is fine.  I love you.  :-)

 Sunday, November 13 morning, Email from Mark to Sheila:

We got up this morning...no water because everything is frozen solid....so I heated up some water on the stove and washed my hair. It's not good, but it sure is better than it was. :-)  I've not missed the water at all. There is a breezy outhouse less than 100 yards from the cabin. We've got a stream nearby and I have the bottle with the water purifier that I brought with me. I'm in good shape.

Looks like the wind is going to blow for a while. It may slow down for a short time this afternoon, and if it does we'll be on a plane headed for Kodiak City. If not (and we assume it will not) then we'll probably be able to fly out tomorrow. I think the winds are dying down then. The only other factor is the guys who are out in the wilderness in "spike camps." Some of them may be in bad shape and I'm guessing they'll fly out the "nearly frozen and dead" before they come for us.  However, we're closer to the airbase, so they might get us just because we're close enough that they can. Some of the "spike camp" guys are two or three times as far away from Kodiak City as we are, so they may get us when they can't get the others. Whatever. I'm fine.

Sunday, November 13 afternoon, Email from Mark to Sheila:

We're not flying today. At least, that's the word as of now. Hopefully the wind will settle down tomorrow and the fog won't ground the planes. Can you imagine the poor hunters who've been sitting in Kodiak City all these days? Their hunt is cut short... and there's nothing that can be done about it. They'll get here on the plane that takes us out. I'll bet they are really frustrated! At least we are in this beautiful, rugged, amazing place while the winds blow. They're just sitting in a hotel. Too bad for them.  Good for us.  :-)

Sunday, November 13th evening, Email from Mark to Sheila:

Our outfitter just got word from Andrew's Air that they are closing down the base for today. No more flights. The good thing about that is ... now we know. I'm not flying to Kodiak City tonight. You can go to bed without wondering. :-)

Our weather forecast just changed too. Earlier it said Monday would be winds of about 10 mph. Now they are saying the winds will be steady at 35, with gusts much higher. Of course, you can't trust what the weatherman says. They're wrong as often as they're right.  :-)  We'll just wait until tomorrow and see if the weather breaks. I sure hope so. I miss you soooooo much!

It's gotten quite cold in the mountains where we are… I'm fine, but it is much colder. You can feel it.

They outfitter just keeps saying they've NEVER had weather like this. They've had days like this, but not days and days all in a row! It's unheard of....and my outfitter has been doing this for 27 years on this inlet of Ugak Bay. Amazing. Not only that, but as of tonight we're setting a record. In the last 27 years he has never had a group "weathered-in" here at the camp for as long as we've been here. So we'll be holders of the new "longest amount of time weathered-in" at this hunting camp. Quite an honor, don't you think?  :-)

It really is beautiful. It really is awesome. This place is remarkable and I'm astounded at the world God made. I keep looking around me thinking, "If this is only the creation, think how awesome the Creator must be!!!"  I'm moved by it. God feels near.

If you go to Experiencing God Monday night, it's OK to let people know I'm stranded in the wilderness mountains of Kodiak Island in the "Super Storm" that slammed Alaska.  More praying can't hurt anything.  I'm sure the class will be awesome on Monday and I hope you'll go and enjoy it.

If you think of it, pray for Mark Beeson and Steve Evans and their safe return. Stay tuned to LeadingSmart.com and I'll let you know further updates!