The training started when he kissed his wife, Amanda and son, Peter, goodbye in St. Paul and headed up the road with the family dogs, Chewbacca and Scruffy. His wife and son traveled to Kodiak by plane.
Except for getting lost in Saskatoon when his GPS stopped working, Adkins said the long trip went without incident. “I stopped a few times in the Canadian Rockies to absorb the view,” he said.
Now that he has settled in Kodiak, he has a lot of views to take in — physical and spiritual.
Adkins said that something in him “clicked” when he came here. Though different, Kodiak reminds him of Marquette, Mich., where he spent the first several years of his life.
Like Kodiak, Marquette is a port city with a military base nearby.
His dad was a firefighter for the Air force.
When Scott was eight, his family moved to a plot of land about 10 miles from Minot, N.D. “Our neighbors were farmers and ranchers,” he said.
After graduating from high school, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, where he met Amanda.
While at St. Thomas, Adkins enlisted in the Army ROTC, attending training camps where he was exposed to the Army chaplaincy.
“I felt an irresistible urge to be drawn toward that,” he said. “I kind of put (that calling) on hold, but it came back in my junior year of college. I talked to Amanda about it, and we made the decision to follow where God was leading us.”
Commissioned as a second lieutenant, Adkins graduated from the Army Chaplain Basic Course in Fort Jackson, S.C. this past summer.
In 2011, he enrolled at Luther.
Once he graduates, Adkins plans to continue his career in the Army National Guard as a chaplain and eventually get a call to a parish. “God willing,” he said.
He is a candidate for ordination with the recently formed Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.
Adkins said he looks forward to getting a call of his own wherever God decides to put him and his family, and to “minister to the people that God has placed in our midst, being able to help them and teach them God’s Word.”
Adkins said he likes to know people on a personal level.
“My growing edge has been in worship leadership in front of a large group of people,” he said.
So far in his Kodiak field training, Adkins has learned the importance of human relationships, he said. “You don’t get a lot of that in seminary (where there is) a lot more book work. How your theology is or what you make of a biblical passage really doesn’t matter if you don’t have connections with people and the way to make those connections.”
Scott’s wife, Amanda, has a master’s in the Old Testament (from Luther) and, through a distance learning program, is studying for her Master’s in children and family ministry from Bethel Seminary (St. Paul). She works as director of St. Paul preschool.
“Education and children’s ministry are her nook,” Adkins said.
Though he works as an intern, Adkins is a pastor in his own right, he said. “A lot of the things I’m doing are what a pastor would be expected in doing.” He leads worship, preaches every other week, teaches Bible studies and visits people in need. He is learning the ins and outs of ministry by following Rev. Elden Simonson, pastor of St. Paul’s.
Adkins said he and his family are pleased with the people, generosity and friendliness of Kodiak.
“Kodiak is a great town,” he said. We’re starting to get around to different places. We love the scenery.”
Adkins, whose hunting and fishing impulses have been “put on hold” because of his theological education, said he was impressed by the fishing on Kodiak Island. “Everybody likes to fish here. This is the most fish I’ve ever seen.”
The Adkins family plans to leave Kodiak in mid-August to return to St. Paul for Scott’s last year of seminary.
Mike Rostad is a freelance writer and longtime Kodiakan who writes a weekly column examining the in-depth stories of Kodiak residents. You can read more about other Kodiak islanders in Rostad’s book, “Close to My Heart-Writing and Living Stories on Kodiak Island, Alaska.