Anchorage Service Adventure unit (L-R): Tyler Gehring, Lizzie Schrag, Renee Neufeld, Mariah Denlinger and Alex Navari.

Interview with Renee Neufeld
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Susan: Hi. This is Susan Nisly (director of Service Adventure) and I'm sitting here with Renee Neufeld. And Renee was a Service Adventure leader for three years in Anchorage, Alaska, and then completed another term when there was an accident in one of the other locations that took the leaders away from there.  

So, Renee, I guess the first question that I would ask is what advice would you give to someone who is getting ready to do Service Adventure or another kind of service program

Renee: I would say having an open mind, and there will be lots of people that will have different opinions and have different ways of doing things. And also being willing to compromise; even when you're a leader, being willing to listen and hear what others have to say and not get defensive.

OK, Renee, my next question would be if you could talk about a time or a place or where did you see God during your time of service?

One of the things that comes to mind is when I was asked to finish out the term in Jackson, Mississippi. It was a difficult situation and I wasn't sure if I was the right person for the job. And I did a lot of praying and there were several songs that came on the radio, the day that I was asked, that really spoke to me. One of them was BraveSo they helped me be brave.

And then the decision to go down - another thing that was on the ride home that day that I was asked - there were two Sun dogs in the sky and it was kind of like a rainbow reminding me that God's promises are fulfilled and that he would be with me. So that's one of the times that sticks out to me.

OK, just for fun, is there a story that if I say tell me a story that just brings a smile to your face from Service Adventure,  do you have one of those?

Yeah. It didn't bring a smile at the time. We were camping in Fairbanks and we had a three-mile hike in to the cabin and one doesn't realize how long three miles is until you're doing it in the dark at 10 p.m. in -30 degrees. We eventually made it and we get out to the cabin and one of the guys has not had any water. I was like, "Why didn't you bring water?" And he said, "You told us to bring water bottles." And I said, "Yes, but I thought you would bring a full water bottle."  

But, no, he had emptied it out actually to take it with him, I guess, you know, less weight. And then we get ready to go to sleep and the same person has not brought a sleeping bag. Keep in mind it's 30 below and he doesn't have a sleeping bag. Thankfully,  I had an emergency sleeping bag. But the icing on the cake was that once we got back after three miles of hiking, in the light this time ... and icicles forming all over our faces, the van would not start and so we got rope-towed to Chena Hot Springs. Which ended up being great, but the part that really makes me smile is when we were in the restaurant there and we were taking off our layers of clothing and we were unthawing, and as we waited for our food, we broke out our banana bread and everybody was looking at us very strangely, and that part was really good. It was an experience.

Did your unit always have banana bread?

We had banana bread or friendship bread all year. It was fantastic!

 

 

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https://www.pjsn.org/blog/Keep-an-open-mind

Renee served as the Anchorage Service Adventure unit leader from 2013–2016, and then served in Jackson, Mississippi, for the spring of 2017.

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