Frozen tundra, open land, endless daylight, aurora borealis...these are just a few of the things that are enticing some to move to the Alaskan frontier right now. And just like everywhere else in the world, you don’t have to look too far to find PLNU alums!
Maya Evoy and her husband Jason took pastoral positions on the Kenai Peninsula (south-central Alaska), moving from California with their 3 children, in response to God’s call. And that’s where this story takes a yummy twist.
As you might have suspected, Alaska does not have grocery stores you can bike to or fast food restaurants on every corner. Fortunately, Maya grew up cooking. She knows what it’s like to be with and without food. You can read more about her relationship with food here. The big move to Alaska, her knack for working in the kitchen, and her husband’s prodding encouraged her to start Alaska from Scratch, a food blog that has taken off in ways she never expected.
“…Jason, being a web developer in his spare time, encouraged me to become a food blogger. I resisted this idea for months, convinced I had nothing new to offer the blogosphere, but he was relentless. He saw potential in me that I was unable to see in myself. Finally, through Jason's insistence, I sensed the leading of God to give food blogging a try. I couldn't even begin to conceive then how God would come to use it in amazing and surprising ways. I have met people all over the globe that I would never have gotten to meet otherwise, and we have families in our daily life and in our church body today that made an initial connection with us through my blog. I never imagined these things would happen.”
She attributes her blog’s success to its initially Nazarene reader base, and the current fascination with all things Alaska. “I've gathered that people really are craving things that are homemade and honest, as am I. My food, writing, and photography reflect that.”
As a husband-wife pastor team, Maya and Jason (or “Pastor Alaska,” as she refers to him in her blog) work together, being mindful of each other’s strengths, and balancing the workload.
“Practically speaking, Jason is our full-time lead pastor and I am our part-time associate pastor… I facilitate the adult Sunday School class, the mid-week Children's Worship program, and give leadership to our small groups ministry. I also preach on a rotation. This week, while Jason is in Haiti helping build a school with a team of Nazarenes, I will be preaching and taking on all the other responsibilities here at home.”
How does she balance all the prep time, family time, and of course, eating time?
“I plan and prepare meals for my family of five and, if they're blog-worthy, and if the light for photography is suitable at the time, I will photograph the food before I serve it. My family has grown quite accustomed to seeing me bust out the camera and the iPhone at mealtimes. They are also excellent taste-testers; if my kids dislike a dish, I'll make sure to mention that to my readers, since a lot of my readers are cooking for their kids, too.”
Maya receives over 200,000 page views per month. We are so proud of you, Maya!
Maya’s advice for aspiring chefs: “The best advice I can offer is to encourage them to remember that food is never just about food. It's about the people for whom you prepare it and the memories that are made surrounding it - it's about nourishment and sustenance, and most importantly, about the God who provides it all. Oh, and don't forget the salt. :)”