AnnaLee is offering 1 e-book edition of the reader's choice of either TILL THE STORM PASSES BY or A STAR TO STEER BY to 1 randomly drawn commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, February 6th between 5-6 PM EST. To be entered in the Giveaway, please leave your contact information within your comment.
Here's a sneak peek at the opening of TILL THE STORM PASSES BY:
My Watershed Moment by AnnaLee Conti
The watershed moment that would change my life forever interrupted my freshman year at Seattle Pacific College on March 27, 1964.
I grew up in a missionary family in Alaska in the fifties and sixties. We lived by faith on Daddy’s meager pastor’s salary. My personal faith grew as I experienced many answers to prayer. Feeling called to fulltime Christian service, I wanted to attend a Christian college, where I hoped to find a godly husband. I knew I couldn’t expect financial help from my family, but with a scholarship and money I’d saved from hundreds of hours of babysitting and ironing, I enrolled at Seattle Pacific College, an accredited Christian college closest to home.
Clocks stopped at 5:36 p.m. that memorable Good Friday in 1964 when the largest earthquake ever to hit North America struck South-central Alaska. At 9.2 on the Richter scale (the recent Japan quake registered 9.1), the quake centered in Prince William Sound, along the northern edge of the Gulf of Alaska. It generated tsunamis and devastated every city, town, port, connecting highway, and railroad in the region.
|Seward, before the quake. Courtesy US Geological Survey|
Horrified, I watched coverage of the destruction on television. Seward, a port just south of Anchorage, where my entire family lived, had been hard hit: the docks swallowed up by Resurrection Bay; oil storage tanks ruptured, belching flames and black smoke for weeks; homes destroyed; bridges stranded 8-12 feet above shredded ribbons of highways. Several tsunamis carried burning debris inland, setting everything on fire. Many people were killed. For a torturous week, I didn’t know if my family had survived.
That summer, I returned home to a very different landscape. Miraculously, our church and parsonage had survived, but everything south of us was gone—many homes, the docks where my father had worked as a longshoreman to supplement his income, the shrimp cannery where I had pulled several night shifts while in high school. Ninety-five percent of the industrial area had been destroyed. Family men couldn’t find work, let alone a single college girl. And no one needed a babysitter.
As that jobless summer progressed, I prayed and tried to have faith, but I knew it would take a miracle for me to return to college that fall. In July, evangelists visited our tiny church. We agreed together to make it a matter of special prayer, and my faith increased.
|Seward, ayer the quake. Courtesy US Geological Survey|
The first week of August, the local librarian asked me to help her catalog new books. She could only promise me babysitting wages (50 cents an hour at that time). It wouldn’t pay my way to college, but it was something useful to do.
While I was working at the library, a bulletin from the Ford Foundation arrived announcing an “Earthquake Relatedness” Scholarship for those who had lost a family member, property, or employment due to the earthquake. It would cover up to full expenses according to need. I was eligible.
But there was one catch. This scholarship was only for students attending universities in Alaska. I could not use it at Seattle Pacific College.
Although it was not what I’d hoped for, I knew this was God’s answer to my prayers. I immediately applied to the University of Alaska in Fairbanks and felt peace. At least I would be able to continue my education.
The week before school started that fall, I received my letter of acceptance and a scholarship covering full expenses for the year. It even included money for books, a fur parka essential to living in the interior of Alaska where the thermometer reaches 50 and 60 degrees below zero for weeks on end, and spending money. And all of my credits transferred. When I graduated three years later, the scholarship had covered all of my expenses for all three years.
But that’s not all. Not only did God meet my needs, He gave me the desire of my heart. The first week of school that fall of 1964, I met a young man at Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. We married three weeks after our graduation in 1967. We will celebrate our 48th anniversary in June.
Check here for more photos of Alaska's Good Friday Earthquake.
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AnnaLee Conti is an author, teacher, and ordained minister. She resides in the Mid-Hudson River Valley with her husband, Bob. Together, they have pastored churches in New York State for 35 years, including pioneering a church. She has taught ministerial and Bible courses, and served as minister of Christian education and music in the three churches they have pastored as well as statewide on denominational Christian education and women’s ministries committees. Now retired, her greatest joy is time spent with their son and five grandchildren who live nearby.
Conti worked as an editorial assistant at Gospel Publishing House, where she wrote freelance articles and short stories which were published in EPA award-winning magazines such as The Pentecostal Evangel, Youth Alive, and Woman's Touch, as well as church school curriculum on assignment.
While showcasing the majestic beauty of Alaska in these stories, she explores important themes she has struggled with in her own life—God's love and human love, forgiveness and reconciliation, rebellion and redemption, fear and faith. She tries to give readers satisfying stories that inherently illustrate, without being preachy, the value of choosing God's way.
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