CBN.com Imagine what it would be like to homestead in Alaska’s vast interior – one of the most remote places on the planet -- pitting your skill and determination against whatever nature throws at you... from forest fires to wild animals to temperatures that can dip to 80 below.
What happens when you get sick or injured? Could you handle three months of almost total darkness? How would it affect you? How would it affect your faith?
Tom and Penny Green live just such a life. Deep in the Alaskan interior, 150 miles from the nearest town, the couple makes a living hunting, trapping and growing most of their food. I spent some time with Tom and Penny to find out what life is like for believers in the heart of "the last frontier."
Tom Green: You realize that there’s nobody that’s going to come and save you. When you’re on your own, you got to keep that in mind.
Chuck: So tell me what role does duct tape plays in your medical –
Tom: Major. In Alaska, duct tape is a necessity anyway you go.
Chuck [reporting]: Alaska is the nation’s least populous state with about the same number of citizens as the city of Omaha, Nebraska.
A third of the people live so remotely that they cannot be reached by road. They make a living on homesteads and in native villages where moose often outnumber men. Tom and Penny live next to Lake Minchumina near the very center of Alaska, 65 miles northwest of Mt. McKinley. They have spent most of the last 30 years homesteading in this area.
Chuck: So you grow enough food for the whole year?
Penny: Most of it, yes. You’d be surprised what you can live off of.
Chuck [reporting]: In the wintertime, Tom and Penny spend the majority of their time running traplines along the edge of Denali National Park. Deanali is the local name for Mt. McKinley. They live in log cabins that Tom built by hand. They cook and heat with wood. For much of the year, the Greens do without things that most of us take for granted like running water and electricity.
Chuck: Don’t you get lonely out there?
Tom: No, I have never gotten lonely. I have an inner peace. I have known the Lord since I was a little boy, and I have an inner peace. With that, loneliness just isn’t a problem.
Chuck: And you keep plenty busy?
Tom: And you keep busy, yes.
Chuck [reporting]: Tom and Penny agree that they always enjoyed winters the most because along with the snow and bitter cold comes a slower pace of life and more time to spend with family.
Now that their two children are grown, Penny says that if they had it to do all over again, they wouldn’t raise their kids any other way.
Penny: I think it was really good because there was a lot of freedom but there was responsibility. There was direct connection with life to where they felt like they were an important part of the family unit.
Chuck [reporting]: While Tom is thankful to be able to live this kind of life he is quick to point out that it’s not as idyllic as some might think.
Tom: Certainly we have worries and concerns just like people anywhere because every day has its own challenges, and you still have to put food on the table. If you don’t cook bread that day, you can’t leave it or you immediately feel the impact. In town there’s a lot of infrastructure that people can let it go if they chose to.
Chuck [reporting]: In the Greens' case, that closeness to the land has led them to be close to God as well.
Penny: You do rely on God. You have to every day. You’re doing things that can be life threatening. If something happens and you’re alone, you learn the true meaning of prayer without ceasing. You realize how small you are and how big He is.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.