Thursday, June 23, 2016

Normal Life

I found it significantly easier to update the blog when we first moved here because everything was new. For several years we refined the way we did life and ministry and so we had lots of good content. But now it just feels like ordinary life. I know for all our friends and supporters outside it still looks and sounds like a reality tv show. But for us we call it "Wednesday". 
So here are some fun highlights since our last post. 

Easter was a fun Sunday. We held services outside with chimney logs burning. We had an exceptionally pleasant winter and were not anticipating the temperature drop that Sunday. I believe it was about 0F. The communion juice had a thin layer of ice on it by the time we partook together. A little under 100 people were in attendance. 

Galena Bible church was able to send its first team to serve in the village of Tanana. 5 people from the church ran kid events, a youth gathering and built relationships that will allow us to continue to serve the village. Such an answer to prayer as we continue to pray for the villages in the region. 

Our incredible youth minister told me that she had several youth that were interested in getting baptized, and wanted to know if we could teach a class on "What is Baptism?, What is the Gospel?, What is a Disciple?, and What are spiritual disciplines?" We had a group of about 12 students who took the four week class and one adult. At the end 6 students and an adult decided to be baptized and publicly profess their faith in Jesus! Such a blessing. We'll be teaching another such class in October. 

The wood gasification boiler that was installed in the church has worked really well for us. The down side is we have to get wood to run it. The good part is God usually wills that driftwood floats down the river every May. Several men and I worked to drag in enough wood for the church and several of our houses. We did not get as much as we would have liked, but we probably got enough for a moderate winter. 

Stuff breaks. I guess it's a natural law or something. But when it breaks out here, one has to decide, do I throw it away and buy new, or fix it. When the thing that breaks is a truck axle bearing or a lower unit, you know you can't buy you learn how to rebuild a Ford rear axle. Oh I do miss the convenience of a NAPA down the road. Currently all these problems are fixed as I now chase down new problems in equipment. 

I (Chris), had the privilege of being one of the Speakers at the Leadership Week for Unalakleet Bible Camp. 16-25 year olds with a pastoral recommendation was the requirement for the campers. It was a great group and I left encouraged as I saw the church in its younger years. Join me in praying that next generation Alaska church leaders would raise out of this. 

All in all the Kopps are doing well. We decided to stick around Galena for most of the summer and enjoy the down time, catching up on projects, gardening, and spending time as a family. 

Things you can be praying for:
- safety for work teams coming to Galena. 
- that we'd be rested and refreshed for the coming school year of ministry. 
- for believers in the Interior, that they would not lose heart and would exemplify Christ. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Happy New Year!  The week between Christmas and New Years has proved once again to be the only "slow" time I have found in Galena's annual schedule. This year the temperatures were hovering around 30 ABOVE! Made for an easily warmed shop and lots of projects off the 'honey do' list.

Thanksgiving was a joy again this year. We hosted a couple local friends and had some out of town guest that came to visit us. First was a teacher from Tanana who is beginning the process of starting a YoungLife there. It was great to get to know her and connect her with our team here in Galena. We are looking at how we can regularly support the ministry work in Tanana. The Faires' from North Pole, AK are recent members of SEND North and our interior team. They do support and logistics from the road system for us and host most of our team mates when we need to be in Fairbanks area. Shell and I will be staying at their guest house for the wait for baby Evelyn to arrive. 

 The Sunday after Thanksgiving I flew to Bethel AK and spent two weeks teaching the book of Isaiah at the Bethel Bible Seminary. My students were incredible. Three Yupik students and two Korean students comprised my class. I as the Kgusuk (white guy) had a steep learning curve in language and culture as we walked through all 66 chapters of Isaiah. They and the rest of the community members that I met were so incredibly hospitable. I tried several native foods that I had never had before: Seal oil, dried herring, frozen raw Tomcod, as well as Yupik aguduk (eskimo ice cream). It was also the first time in 18 years that I steamed with several Yupik men. I look forward to my next opportunity to teach there next school year.

 Christmas brought many community events, including our annual Candlelight Christmas Eve service. Church life has been going smoothly. We currently have two groups of men and women going through the Step Studies of Celebrate Recovery. We are excited to begin launching that ministry to our community later on this year. We have already seen some of the rich healing that happens when believers don't hide in their sin but rather "confess to one another" (James 5:16) the reality of our brokenness. We continue to pray that this ministry process would bear much fruit in Galena. 

Things you can be praying for:
  • We have seen a sharp upturn in spiritual warfare over the past 9 months in Galena. Pray that the church would stand firm in the Gospel and would be able to push back the darkness.
  • Pray for Shell as she is in the last weeks of pregnancy.
  • Pray for that the Gospel would be lived and shared with power and effectiveness.
  • Pray for safety as the sno-go trails around the villages are very dangerous with the warm weather.


Monday, November 23, 2015

The Story: Hang out the Scarlet Thread of Faith

Joshua 2:21  And she said, "According to your words, so be it." Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
For the last couple hundred years there has been a tension felt in the Church between Faith and Works. On the surface the Apostle Paul seems to say that we are saved by Faith alone, while the Apostle James seems to say we are not saved by faith alone. So who's right? Both of course as we'll see in the life of Rahab the prostitute who hung the scarlet thread of faith in the window of her life. And you should too.
Sermon delivered to the Galena Bible Church, Sunday November 22nd 2015 by Pastor Chris Kopp.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Story: God fights for Us

1Samuel 17:45-47  Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand.....that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,  and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hand."

David fought the fight, but the battle belonged to the Lord. Keep struggling in your fight against your sin and flesh. It is God who fights for you. And wins!

Sermon delivered to the Galena Bible Church, Sunday November 8th, 2015 by pastor Chris Kopp.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Story: Grace to the Undeserving

Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me." But Jonah rose to flee... Jonah 1:1-3a 

Jonah didn't believe that the Assyrians in Nineveh deserved grace from God. What he didn't understand was that he didn't either. And neither do you. That's what makes it Grace. The story of Jonah is the story of God's relentless pursuit of an undeserving people. And it's still the story of God today.
Sermon delivered to the Galena Bible Church, Sunday November 1st, 2015 by pastor Chris Kopp.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Story: The Righteous Live by Faith

Genesis 6:8  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
The story of Noah and the Ark is classic children's church material. Who doesn't love cute little animals going on a boat ride with rainbows? But the children's books tend to miss the dead bodies of all humanity floating against the surface of the water that batters the hull of the ark. The ark didn't save Noah. God did, by giving His Son in Noah's place on the cross. Noah was a "preacher of righteousness" (2Peter 2:5) and his righteousness had come by faith.
Do you believe God like Noah?
Sermon Delivered to the Galena Bible Church, Sunday October 25th, 2015 by Pastor Chris Kopp.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Catching up

Me inside a 500gal water tank trying to fix a leak. Have I mentioned how much of my ministry involves plumbing?
I sheepishly begin with the reality that I have not done a stellar job of keeping current with our ministry blog. I want to say sorry for that. I've received several requests for updates as of late and I attribute that to the fact that...well I haven't updated. :)
Spring ans Summer were a blur of activity. Galena Bible Church sent it's first mission team to serve with Samaritans Purse down in Bethel, AK to help set the foundation for the Moravian Seminary that they were building there. This was the largest project that SP has taken on in Alaska, and was an incredible blessing for our team to be a part of. While there I had the privilege of preaching at the Moravian Church in Bethel and connected with the Dean of the Seminary. I have been given the opportunity to teach as a professor at the seminary the first two weeks of December. My class will be on the book of Isaiah, and I am humbled and excited!

Galena Bible Church Mission Team to Bethel

Triadedic foundation for the classroom building and dormitory.
Over the course of the summer we tried something new. We moved our Sunday worship times to the evening. This was to accommodate a couple of people who wanted to attend church but were unable to because of conflicting work schedules, and to just try something new. Although we did not experience a major boom of attendance, we enjoyed the relaxed nature of having service in the evening. One of my major projects over the summer was renovating a rent house. As we are supported missionaries (raising most of our support from outside of the local church) we have been looking for ways to offset the reality that missionaries lose financial support over time. From the outside it still looks like an old run down house (that's a next summer project) But the inside has been completely gutted and rebuilt. There are still a couple of small projects left on it, but the couple who will be renting it has already moved it!

In other family news, we announced that we are expecting our 5th child. After we miscarried in April Shell and I were extremely shocked and surprised to discover in mid June that we were expecting again. Our little girl is expected to make her appearance into this world sometime around mid February.
 Church life continues to be a joyous adventure. We launched the Casey family down river in August as missionaries to a nearby village. New families, and LOTS of new students have been connecting with the church through the church service, YoungLife, and Kid's Club. 
We brought on our first additional staff member. Caylee Redford is our Student minister and is also the YoungLife Area Director. We've been able to utilize the house we moved after the flood as her residence and she has made it a little home. It's been great to see students connect to her and streaming in and out of her home!
This past week we hosted three couples from FBC Ville Platte Louiaiana who came and did a weeks worth of training for Celebrate Recovery. CR is a Christ centered recovery program that isn't limited to Alcohol or substance abuse but deals with the whole sin nature. We are excited to begin the process with about a dozen members of our church as we prepare to launch the ministry in August of next school year.

Ways you can be praying:
  • Pray that the villages of Rural Alaska would awaken to the hope of Christ. Reports of suicide and death have become a weekly (sometimes daily) event. Pray for laborers to be raised up. 
  • We have heard and seen the enemy creating hostility towards God's people through various means. Pray that we would not bow out under persecution and that we would love visibly those who speak against us. 
  • Pray for a healthy pregnancy for Michelle and our baby girl.
  • Pray for wisdom for me as I seek to teach Isaiah to native pastors and church leaders in Bethel. 
  • Pray for discernment as we launch Celebrate Recovery. Currently there is no CR being done anywhere in rural Alaska.