Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Two Months In!

Wow! I can't believe we've been in Alaska two months already! In the past two months the weather has gone from temps in the 90's and almost continuous daylight, to a GORGEOUS Fall with perfect temps in the 60-70 range, to snow falling this past week and temps dipping down into the 20's! My Southern mind is having trouble comprehending all of this!

Well, where to start?... There really is soooo much to share, and I apologize for taking so long to getting around to it! I guess I'll start at the beginning... When we first got here, we experienced something truly brand new! SMOKE! Wildfires were burning hundreds of miles away, but when the wind blew just right, we got tons of smoke! Some days it was so bad you could barely see across the street! Fortunately that only lasted about two weeks and then the rainy season started! After a few weeks of rain, we were treated to an ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS fall! Unfortunately, fall only lasted about 3 weeks, and now we are waiting for the snow to come upon us! It has actually started snowing already, but it hasn't been cold enough for it to stick for more than half a day, yet...

Enough about the weather, on to more important things, like the wonderful people we've met here, and how God is continuing to amaze us with His provision! Seriously, I'm almost speechless at how WONDERFUL the people at this church are! They have welcomed us with open arms, and gone completely out of their way to make us feel at home! I think this is especially making an impact on me, because Rob naturally draws people to him, and I'm more of a "behind the scenes" person. The ladies of Fairbanks First Assembly have just drawn me in and made me feel at home! I've been invited out for coffee, gone to the movies for a "ladies night", flown to Seattle for a "girls weekend" with some ladies I barely knew, and on and on...God has truly blessed me! Rob has had a few adventures of his own... He went fishing for Silver Salmon down in Valdez and brought home about 50-60 lbs. of fish for us to put in the freezer! He's been four-wheeling out in the middle of nowhere, gone moose hunting (didn't see anything), and toured a goldmine. Coleman went on a Youth trip right after we got here to Denali National Park and went camping and whitewater rafting, then a few weeks later he went paintballing with the Youth group too! One of my prayers before we came was that the boys (especially Coleman) would make friends easily! Believe it or night the very first night of Youth that Coleman attended, he made a new friend! I guess I shouldn't be in shock by now, but I was blown away at the goodness of God! Riley has made quite a few new buddies both at church and school, and so far they are both enjoying Alaska, and are eagerly awaiting the snow! We've also been on a few adventures as a family since we got here... we went four-wheeling with a family at the church, went to Anchorage with our Executive Pastors, which took us right past Denali, went hiking at Creamer's Field with the Revells, and have been to several different families' houses to eat!

God has continued to amaze me at His provision for us! Most of you know that we either sold, or left most of our furniture in storage... we only brought the boys' beds, Avery's crib and highchair, a desk, and mine and Rob's king size mattresses, not our bedroom suite. Well, we bought a metal frame to put our mattresses on, and were getting "creative" with storing our clothes between one dresser and rubbermaid tubs under the bed. After we had been here only a few weeks, we were offered a brand-new bedroom suite from a local furniture store where someone in the church works! I couldn't believe it! We accepted it of course, and are now enjoying a VERY NICE, new, complete bedroom suite! It came with a king-size bed frame, a dresser and mirror, a chest of drawers, and a bedside table! I still can't believe it! God is so good to us!

Now, as far as Rob and worship goes... let's just say he's doing what he was created to do! Sure, a new job comes with a few stresses, but NOTHING like running a construction company! He's so much more relaxed now, and enjoys what he is doing! I'm truly amazed at how "giving in" to God has already produced so many benefits in our lives! The staff at Fairbanks First Assembly is fantastic! I really had no idea what to expect, because we really didn't know them when we agreed to come to Alaska. We have been so blessed by the staff already! We've already made friendships that will last a lifetime! Since coming to Alaska, Rob has written a song, which means more are on the way! He's also been asked to lead the Saturday morning worship service at the Youth Conference in Anchorage coming up in October. In addition to that, he's going to be the host for the Katinas, the main guests for the Youth Conference! Very cool! He gets to take them out to eat, show them around Anchorage, etc...

Well, I think we've established that we ARE in God's will for our lives, and that is right here, in Fairbanks, Alaska! I'm sure we've only been shown a glimpse of what God is going to contiue to do in us and through us here in Fairbanks!

I'm sure I've left a lot of things out, but now that we've gotten pretty much settled in, I should be able to update the blog more often. I have tons of pictures I need to post, so I'll keep working on those. The slide show of Seattle is from the one night we stayed on our way to pick up Rob's parents to start our vacation with them before we came to Alaska. If you double click on the picture it will take you to another page, which you then click "full screen" and it will enlarge the slide show... I hope you enjoy the pics! Everyone back home, we love you and miss you! Please keep in touch with us, we'd love to hear from you!

One more thing... we still need to either rent or sell our house back in Greenville! We would appreciate your prayers for that matter! I KNOW God will take care of that in His timing too!

The Ruccis

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I am one with the land

Today I ate Muktuk. Our church secretary is a Yupik Eskimo. She brought it for me to eat. After saying something over me in Yupik, she explained that I had to eat it since I was a white man in the Eskimo land. She explained that Muktuk is Bow Head Whale blubber. Then she pulled out a jar of seal oil, which I was supposed to dip the Muktuk in. After eating a generous portion out of respect, I felt it prudent to inform my friends and family that if you ever find yourself hopelessly lost, starved from hunger and in the clutches of certain death and all that you find to eat is Muktuk dipped in Seal Oil, do yourself a HUGE favor and die. Death is a temporary passage into another life, which I believe is a better place to be anyway, if one has lived according to the Holy scriptures. Muktuk on the other hand, seeps like poison into the lining of your mouth and won’t leave. Ever. I’ve swallowed a can of Altoids, eaten raw limes, spoons full of sour cream, drank milk, coke, water and tea. I still taste Muktuk. It will not go away. I will gnaw off my own leg before I eat Muktuk again.
Still, I feel one with the land now, and I smell like a whale dipped in seal excretion.

Your friend,
Rob “muktuk suck” Rucci

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We Made It!

Well, we finally made it to Alaska! We have just finished 10 wonderful days of vacation with Rob's family in Washington state! We had a wonderful time, and saw some absolutely beautiful places!! Rob's Uncle Steve lives 3 miles south of the Canadian border in a tiny little town called Curlew. What a beautiful place! We had a much needed time of relaxing and visiting with family before we headed to the far north! When things settle down a bit I will post some pictures of our vacation...

We arrived in Fairbanks around 3:30 pm this past Sunday afternoon. Pastor Paul, and Chris and Jeannie and crew were there to meet us at the airport! The boys were so excited to see their buds again! Then, that evening our new church home, First Assembly (Fairbanks), held a welcome barbeque in our honor! Rob spoke and basically shared with our new church family about the amazing ride we have been on the past few months! God has truly shown us how big and amazing He is, and how all we need to do is trust Him to provide for us, and He will. I'm not sure if all of you reading this know that we sold 6 vehicles in about two weeks right before we left Greenville! The amazing thing about that is that these vechicles were all pretty pricey, and Rob and I basically sat around with our jaws wide open as one vehicle after another was driven out of our driveway! Anyway, back to the barbeque... We had a wonderful time of meeting our new church family, and of course eating wonderful food. Then, to top things off, the church had a pantry shower for us! Let's just say there is so much stuff, I'm not sure where it is all going to fit! We have truly been blessed by our new church family!

Now that we are in Alaska, hopefully things will settle down a bit, and I will be able to post updates more frequently! To everyone in Greenville, we love you and miss you, but we KNOW we are doing what God wants us to do!

One final note... I just want to say again, for anyone reading this that may doubt God's will and blessing for your life... all you need to do is be WILLING to say , "YES". If you do that you will truly be amazed at the miracles that will unfold as you walk along that path of faith!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Leaving one good thing for another - Thoughts from Rob

Looking back at 39 years of living, it seems that life, at least my life, can be categorized into chapters, much like a book. I can look back, as most of us probably can, and identify defining moments or events that have transported me from one chapter to the next. This move to Alaska seems to be one of those page turning moments that leave you with some lament over the ending of one great chapter, yet looking forward with anticipation to what you might experience in the next. And so it is with our family that we run with eyes wide open, not away from something, but rather toward something else. Having gleaned so much from this last chapter in life, the characters in this story, the events we've shared with them, the great moments that you linger in for as long as they will allow and the deep bonds that transcend any written expression. So much to be thankful for and so many to thank for it. A great portion of who we are today is because of so many of you pouring yourselves into us. I am so humbled by it, that it's hard to talk about. Still we want to express our most sincere thanks to all of our friends and family that have supported us for many years and even in this move. Our relationships certainly don't end here, it just seems like the appropriate time to pause and take stock of our lives up to this point, before the next chapter begins. We're excited and a little scared, but most of all grateful, to God and all of you, as we leave one good thing for another.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Fond Farewell

Wow! Life has been a whirlwind of activity for us! We hit the panic button last Monday! We have accomplished alot, but not enough! Miracle of all miracles, the largest item we had to sell, (not our house), the ONE thing we just KNEW would NOT sell, our Airstream, is the first item that has sold! A couple from N.C. is coming to pick it up in the next few days! I mean, who would buy such a thing the way the economy is right now? God is in the miracle making business!

Now down to business... Last night our church, Greenville First Assembly, held a farewell reception for us. What a wonderful thing! Pastor Owen surprised me by handing me the mic, so I could say a few words! Any of you that know me, I am NOT a public speaker, that is Rob's job! In retrospect, I really had soooo much more I could have said, but I wasn't prepared. Greenville First Assembly has been such a wonderful place for us to call home for the past five years! We have all grown under Pastor Owen's leadership. The people of First Assembly are so wonderful! Our family has made lifelong friendships that we will hold onto dearly, no matter where we are! Our boys have been ministered to in such a powerful way under Pastor Kenny, and the Ranger Program! In those programs, multitudes of people have ministered to them. I will NEVER forget ALL the people that have had an influence on the lives of my children, even Avery, who has just started this life journey with us. I could go on and on, but it would take up way too much space, so, to EVERYONE at Greenville First Assembly, we say THANK YOU!

Rob also got to lead worship one final time last night. I know I'm biased, but HE ROCKS!

Well, our moving date is quickly approaching, and we have much to do! We appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers!

The Ruccis

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Alaska... Are you crazy?!!

Yes, that's what I said. Our family is moving to the far north... Alaska! I can hardly believe it myself. The past few months have been a wild and incredible ride for the Rucci family! I will attempt to explain what has led us to this incredible place...

As most of you know Rob has been leading worship on a part-time basis at different churches for the past 13 years or so. After stepping down from his most recent position at Greenville First Assembly, we both felt God tugging at our hearts to "take a leap of faith" and pursue a full-time worship pastor position...WHEREVER that may be. However; before we actually started looking for a position, some dear friends of ours, the Revells, moved to Fairbanks, AK, where Chris Revells took a position as an Associate / Youth Pastor at Jubilee Worship Center. Rob and I decided to go with them and stay for a week, hoping to help ease their transition to such a faraway place. Apparently God had another plan in the works as well. While there, Rob led worship at Jubilee Worship Center, which led to the pastor wanting to introduce Rob to the pastor at First Assembly of God in Fairbanks, right across town! To make a rather long story short, we met Pastor Paul, his wife Cindy, and Pastors Jeremy and Charee' . They asked us to stay and lead worship on Easter sunday. They even paid the extra money for our hotel, car, and plane tickets. So, we stayed, Rob led worsip, then we came home.

The next week, Rob got an email from Pastor Paul asking him if we would like to join the staff of Fairbanks First Assembly! We were blown away! We did not go to Alaska looking for a job, we went to help some friends paint a house! As God would have it, He knew how hard a decision this would be to make, to leave all of our family and friends, so we were presented with a unique offer from Pastor Paul. How about an 18 month contract? That way we could go up there, and have time to figure out if that is where we are supposed to stay. If not, we go home. Plain and simple. When we got that offer, we KNEW we were supposed to take it.

So, now we are in the process of selling things, shutting down our business, and cleaning out our house. I am the last person in the world that EVER thought I'd live in Alaska! I always teased Rob about just, "sending me a paycheck", when he talked about moving up there. As you can imagine, this is a bit of a dream come true for him. He will get to do something he loves on a full-time basis, hunt a bunch of big animals, hike Denali (Mt. McKinley), and find a hundred new hobbies to take part in. Truthfully, the whole family is excited and we are looking forward to a great adventure in Alaska! More than that, we are looking forward to what God is going to do in all of us through this.

One final note... we got the idea for this blog from our dear friends, the Revells, and thought it was a fantastic way to keep our family and friends up to date with us. I will update this from time to time as we approach our moving date, which at this point will most likely be July 16th. We are actually going to Washington State with Rob's family for 10 days, and then on to Fairbanks around the 26th, if we can get everything done here. This is intended to be a family blog, so I promise I will get Rob to post his thoughts from time to time.

We appreciate your thoughts and prayers!

The Ruccis