Friday, May 31, 2019

Home Again

It is good to be home.  Many ministry agencies call what we just did 'home service' but Galena is home for us.

We were incredibly blessed and encouraged from all of our time spent with family and friends and although we are waiting for churches to meet and decide if they will financially support us we feel the trip was successful.

We arrived home May 1st and jumped right into getting settled and catching up with everyone in the village.  May is always a busy time of year, and also a transition into the summer projects.  Our projects are compressed because of Chris agreeing to manage a Samaritan's Purse building project starting in July.  Some of the projects are getting wood for the church and the parsonage, building a wood shed, repairing the church sewer, and  a long list of general maintenance.

Break up happened May 8th this year.  Here in Alaska 'break up' describes the river ice moving out.  Thankfully it was uneventful, and we now look forward to using the river.  Praise the Lord we were able to get all the wood we need for the parsonage and the church.

Graduation week involves lots of community events, a major one being the senior barbecue.  Chris grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and enjoyed being with other men in the community who were also grilling.  The joint Catholic and Bible Church Baccalaureate service was held at the Catholic church this year, and Chris led the closing prayer.  Please pray for graduates as they make life decisions, especially for believers.  Also pray for teens returning to their home villages for the summer.  Many of them face difficult circumstances. 

During this time we also enjoyed a visit from Shell's parents for 2 whole weeks.  We had so much fun being together!

Shell and the kids have finished school for the year, and Preston headed off for Nashville, TN with the Galena Academic Pentathlon team. We are incredibly proud of him and so glad that his team qualified for nationals.

Chris just returned from a two day trip to Ruby, AK with the other men from Galena. They joined a Samaritans Purse team who was working on the volunteer lodging for the church building project in Ruby this summer. Ruby Bible Church is actually the mother church of Galena Bible Church and their log church building that was built in the 1950s was starting to rot and had a significant mold problem. Samaritan's Purse asked Chris to be the project manager for the construction of a new church building this summer. We are excited to see what God does through the efforts of Ruby Bible church in the coming years.

In summary:

-Praise the Lord for driftwood coming down the river, a team from Kaleo Church in Anchorage to help Chris get the wood out of the river as well as cut and stack wood at the church, and safety while working on it.

- Pray for teens returning home to challenging circumstances. 
- Pray for seniors, especially believers, as they make life decisions.
- Pray the Lord would use the open positions at the school and dorm to bring more believers into the community
- Pray that the Lord would call a youth pastor to minister specifically to teens

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Part 6 of the "Thaw Out" Tour

We had a fantastic time visiting with new friends, Josh and Janel Metsker and family in Springfield, MO.  Josh has traveled to Galena twice. Preston's birthday fell during the time we were there and we had a fun time celebrating with our wonderful hosts (the Metskers) and a few other new friends.  Happy 13th Birthday Preston!

Preston requested Josh bake his cake

In Springfield we were able to meet with several individuals interested in missions in Alaska.  Another fun part of connecting with people is getting to meet families of men who have traveled to Galena.  

Sunday morning we visitied One Community Church.  Chris was able to share about the Lord's work in Galena in an interview style with the Pastor during the service.  We were also delighted to reconnect with Aylise Tisdale, and also meet her daughter,.  We first knew Aylise when she was in our youth group when we lived in Lafayette, Louisiana around 2004.

Sunday night Chris shared at Second Baptist Church of Springfield.

Moving on from Missouri, we traveled to Salina, Kansas, and the next day we made it to Evergreen, Colorado which is where Chris' brother, Greg, and family live.  Two days after arriving in Colorado Shell and the boys traveled to Fairbanks for the boys' swim meet over the weekend.  The boys were glad to be with their team and both swam really well at their meet-dropping time in every single race.  Fun fact: it costs the same amount of money to fly from Denver, CO to Fairbanks, AK as it does to fly from Galena, AK to Fairbanks. Meanwhile, Chris and the girls spent the weekend connecting with various potential supporters and partners. 

 The girls sure do love their cousins.

Sunday morning Chris attended Aspen Ridge Church in Evergreen, CO. He and the girls then traveled to Colorado Christian University and shared with a college group that is doing a mission trip to Alaska this summer. 
 An Alaskan missionary kid (son of a missionary friend) attending CCU.
 Some old Galena faces, Jake and Amanda Hoekstra were dorm staff in Galena and now are on staff at CCU. 

Later that evening Chris and the girls met with several folks from Stapleton Church.

To date we have driven just over 6800 miles.

This coming week we will be sharing at Mile High Church, in Brighton, CO. This will be our last scheduled speaking weekend and we'll begin driving back north!

Thank you for all your prayers.  Please continue to pray for our safety as we travel and praise the Lord for his care and provision.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The "Thaw Out" Tour Part 5

First Baptist Church of Lack Jackson TX holds the current record for the most mission teams sent to Galena. To date they have sent 9 teams to the Great Land. The Chamblees were gracious hosts for us for four days, and hosted 2 dinner parties for us to meet with folks from FBCLJ who have been to Galena on mission trips. 

Sunday was an incredibly busy day. It started with Chris teaching the young adults Sunday School class, immediately followed by the morning church service in which Chris Preached from Romans 15. 

After church we had a staff lunch with staff from the church, and then attended a Sunday night small group. It was great to see friends and reconnect with volunteers!

We went from Lake Jackson to Katy TX and spent a couple of days there with Shell's parents and Grandparents. On Wednesday of that week the whole family had been asked to share at a Christian Elementary School's chapel service. Since it was for K-5th grade students we decided that it would be much more memorable if the students heard from our kids. So Shell and Chris interviewed Preston, Clint, and Cara on "A day in the life of a missionary kid." The kids did great, and the students asked some great questions. 

This was a little video we put together to show at the beginning of our talk with the kids. 

From Katy we drove to Pineville Louisiana, where we shared at two campuses of The Gathering Place Church. We have not been with this church in 6 years and it was far past time to reconnect with these brothers and sisters. 

After this, we began a week long marathon of a different camping spot every night. Monday in Monroe, LA, Tuesday in Minden, LA, Wednesday in Longview, TX. Each of these stops afforded us the opportunity to visit with longtime friends and supporters. We then started our northern progression Thursday in Maumelle Park, Little Rock, AR, and Friday in Springfield MO. 

Jonny Pye was in Chris' first youth group when Chris just started in ministry 19 years ago. 

Wade and Regina Butcher, came to Galena to help after the 2013 flood.

Lunch in the Camper

 We're now staying with new friends in Springfield MO. Josh Metsker has been to Galena twice on trips as their church seeks to engage in rural Alaskan missions.

To date we've traveled just under 5700 miles, are about to have our second oil change, and just put two new tires on the camper. We are so grateful for God's faithfulness in our protection along the way.
Pray for us as we speak at One Community Church and Second Baptist Springfield and then begin traveling to Denver, CO.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The "Thaw Out" Tour Part 4

The Kopp family had our first family vacation that didn't involve extended family...ever! We spent a restful five days together as a family in between speaking engagements.

Departing from Florida we went back to Mississippi to get our camper, and hurried to Lafayette Louisiana where members of our former church were hosting a crawfish boil for us. Not only were we incredibly blessed to see so many, but we were also grateful for their generous giving. It's an incredible thing to be separated from church family for nearly a decade and it was as if time had never passed. Makes us long for heaven even more.

Chris traveled to Ville Platte, Louisiana that Saturday night after the crawfish boil so that Daylight Savings would have less affect on his preaching the 8am and 10am services at FBC Ville Platte. Shell and the kids joined him for the 10 am service. Pastor Kevin West, who has pastored there 20+ years, was a seminary student with Chris. Ville Platte has supported us since we moved to Galena and has even sent some folks up to visit Galena.

This past week we have visited with Chris' parents, Shell's brother, and local ministry supporters and friends in and around Lafayette, Louisiana. On Thursday Chris spoke with the young 20somethings group of FBC Broussard. Chris did Bible study in the small building where he and Shell met over 21 years ago, and taught on the subject of Biblical neediness from Luke 7.
 Shell"s brother Jon
First Baptist Church of Broussard's youth center. This is the place were Chris and Shell met 21 years ago.

So far we have traveled just over 4000 miles.
Pray for us as we share with First Baptist Church of Lake Jackson Tx. FBCLJ has sent 9 mission teams to Galena since July of 2013. We're thankful for their ministry partnership.