Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Light Over Galena

 December 21st in Galena Alaska
Official Sunrise: 11:32am
Official Sunset: 3:18pm
 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
Ephesians 5:8-10
What have we, who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, to fear? Only our own unwillingness to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Death has no sting. Persecution brings growth and unity with Christ. The rejection by family and friends opens the door to God's families' grace and acceptance. It is only our unwillingness to obey the revealed will of God, and the subtle urgings of the Holy Spirit, that we have any reason to fear. We fear that we will be tempted to walk in the darkness we formerly walked in. We fear that we will love the dark more than the light. We know that we love Jesus and are growing in Him not by our spiritual knowledge or Bible trivia, but by our simple obedience to "come follow me". 

Today marks the Winter solstice, the 'shortest' day of the year. The day in which the north pole faces away from the sun, reducing the daylight hours given to the northern hemisphere. This's dark...a lot. When you are in this environment, you use the daylight to its fullest. You don't waist the time given. And you long for the sun's return, it's warm embrace (and the ability for the human body to process vitamin D) :).  I believe this is how it is with every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. We may be surrounded by darkness. The only believer in our sphere on influence. But we long to point toward the Son. We uses every opportunity given by the Son to do the tasks he has called us to do. We don't waist the day.  Eph 5:15-17 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 
I know what God's will is for your life. Surprised? You shouldn't be, because you do too! God's will for your (and my) life is to "Go and make disciples of all nations..." I hope this is an encouragement to you to fear not, and obey, because even though it's dark...The Son is coming again!

 Meadowlark Lemon's Harlem Globetrotter All-Stars came to Galena and spoke at two school assemblies, a community meet and greet, and a YoungLife Club. The Galena Bible Church made soups and bread for the community meet and greet, and enjoyed Meadowlark sharing his testimony with the community. 
The Students at the boarding school all went home this past weekend. Some of them would be traveling for several days just to get back to their villages, logging several thousand miles of flying. Have I mentioned how big this state is!
SEND North's Cessna 180 which is now stationed in Galena
 On Sunday December 11th, Galena Bible Church sent it's first mission team out to a surrounding village. Three men, and one young lady (my niece Kaylin) flew to the Bible church in the village of Ruby, which is the next village up river from Galena. They preached, lead worship, and had a teen/kids club time after church. The Church there is lead by a local man who wants the encouragement and support of the Bible Church in Galena. They have been looking for a pastor for several years, and we are planning to fly there once a month to support them.
Inside the one room Ruby Bible Church.
Things you can be praying for:
  • The dorm kids-Many are returning to home environments that are not positive, or communities that have no church presence.
  • Dorm staff - The last few weeks have been tough for dorm staff, trying to love and encourage student. Pray that they would be able to rest over the break, and have their minds renewed for the task of encouragement this coming semester. 
  • Support raising - We are coming to the end of the fiscal year. Pray that our financial support would remain strong as we enter the new year.

From our family to yours...A most joyous and merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

It is finished!!!...or at least flushable.

Double sink

Men's restroom


The disappearing hole in the wall.

The Unisex bathroom (for comparison look HERE)
It has been a very busy couple of weeks and I apologies that I have not had a regular update in a while. Three weekends ago we had a crew of four guys from ChangePoint Church in Anchorage that came out and completed the project that the crew of Guys from Gathering Place started back in September. As you can see they did all of the finish work and installed the new sink and kitchenette in the church office. Our plan is to put GFI recepticals along the counter top to  allow us a place to plug crock-pots for church potlucks. We are SO excited to have all of this done.
Guys from both of the church groups asked a similar question at one time or another. "Is there anyone at church that could do these projects?" The answer was "Yes, but there is so much going on in living here that it would have taken us 3 times as long to do what you guys did because we would have only been able to do it a couple hours at a time. Not the three 8hr days in a row that you were able to put into it." The other thing that I told them was that they gave a blessing to the community of Galena by freeing up the men in the church to do what the church is supposed to do, serve people. Now that the men of GBC don't have to worry about the church bathroom, they have been able to shovel neighbors driveways, haul firewood for people, fix community members vehicles, etc, all because these guys gave of their time to come take care of our need for a bathroom redo.

What do you eat for Thanksgiving when you live in bush Alaska? Pretty much the same thing that you eat anywhere else. Galena Bible Church hosted the Galena Community Thanksgiving Service this year, and the house was packed. Karrie Anderson, several ladies from the Catholic church lead in songs, and I shared some "historical thoughts" on why we as believers should be the most able to give thanks. Shell and I celebrated Thanksgiving dinner with the police officer and his family, and one of the single ladies that is an RA at the dorm. I've never baked a turkey before, so I decided that the best way to not mess up was to stuff it with bacon and coat it in Cajun seasoning. I was not disappointed!

The Galena Bible Church attempted to do our first ever mission trip this past Sunday, but thanks to a winter storm, were unable to head up river via plane to preach and minister at Ruby Bible Church. We are working on rescheduling and plan to send 4 people from Galena to serve the church in Ruby with preaching, Teen club, and kids club as well as to encourage the believers in Ruby.

Things you can be praying for this coming week:
  • Shell had a permanent retainer that came loose on one side. There will not be a dentist in Galena until January 23rd. Pray that either the other side will come loose, or that we'll be able to get her into Fairbanks soon to get it taken off.
  • Medowark Lemon of the Harlem Globetrotters plus two of his team mates will be in Galena next Monday to speak several times and show off some basket ball tricks. He is a believer, and will be sharing his testimony Monday night at a community event. Pray that God speaks loudly through his message.
  • Pray for a young woman from Arctic Village who's father committed suicide last weekend. She has been ministered to by members of GBC and is in need of comfort and guidance. Pray that God would restrain the depression that causes so many native men to end their lives. 
  • Pray that the Christmas season would produce fruitful conversations for Galena Christians with those who don't know the reason for the season.

Some Devotional Thoughts On Trapping

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
   turning a person from the snares of death.
Proverbs 14:27
I'll get to the normal blogging material in a sec, but I wanted to give you a bush perspective on a popular subject in Scripture first: Trapping! This past Saturday Preston and I had the chance to go with a father and son who are very active trappers here during the winter and spring. They've set up a one mile walking trap line that they can periodically check just by walking from their home through the woods. Preston and I were really excited to get to go with them, as they had not been out on the line in several days and were sure to have some surprises along the way. We were not disappointed. By the time we reached the end of the line there was one marten, one Ermine, and one snowshoe hare in the bag. As we walked back and I thought about the trapping setup (since I'll be able to start trapping in January!) I couldn't help but think about what scripture says concerning temptation, and the devil's snares. Basically there are two types of trap sets: one that uses bait, and one that uses comfort or ease. The one type that uses bait puts the food (usually stinky rabbit guts, or leftovers from the cleaning of some critter) on the other side of the trap such that the only way to get the food is to step on the trap. This results in either an instant kill or a traditional leg hold which keeps the animal there until the trapper can come 'finish' the hunt. In either case the trapper uses the desire of the animal to lure it into the trap. The other type puts a snare in the middle of the path that the TRAPPER walks. You heard right. There are snares set in the path that is plowed by the trapper. Now why would we do that? Well the snow is 3' deep off of the path, but on the trail it was only a couple of inches. The trail is only wide enough for one person (or animal) to walk. So the animals, when they come upon the trappers trail, realize just how much easier it is to walk in his footsteps. The only problem is that there are snares set at head level (if you are a foot tall) along the trail. The trapper can step over them, but the animal goes right into it. In this case it is the easy way that becomes the downfall. I can't think of any sin or temptation of man that doesn't fall into these two lures.
Don't get caught in the trappings of this world. 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understandings. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5-6

Monday, November 14, 2011

When the Church was a Family

Hoar frost at sunrise over the Yukon (by Keith Ramos)

Photo by Keith Ramos
A couple of years ago I read a book by Dr. Joseph Hellerman titled "When the Church was a Family". The premise behind the book was that during the early church period, the church functioned as an actual family, not just a theoretical family (like the way we casually throw around the term "brothers and sisters in Christ"). The book was a good confirmation for me as to what I had been feeling for years. Namely that the church isn't something that we go is something that we are! The church that I had the privilege of pastoring in Louisiana gave me my first ever picture of what that could really look like. Believers were loving and serving each other. Genuine authenticity, and transparency between Christians, replaced the fake Sunday morning smile when asked "How are you doing?".

Since coming to Galena I've seen Galena Bible Church make the subtle shift from "friendly church" to "family". I don't think there are many churches that fit under the category of "friendly church". Even fewer would I classify as "family" and so I am so blessed to be a part of one that I really believe is working together as a family. Does this mean that we have arrived? Absolutely not! I don't want to be saying any of this as if I am bragging, because NONE of it is my fault. God's been moving in people's hearts and we've just been trying to keep up with His leadership. But what a unique place to be in the middle of nowhere with the potential to reach into surrounding villages with the Gospel! One quote from Hellerman's book that stood out to me was that "everything we do in church is a reflection of what we theologically believe, whether we are consciously aware of it or not." In other words, it's not what we say we believe that makes us who we are, it is how we live that shows what we believe. Later in the book he writes about the early church and says "People did not convert to Christianity solely because of what the early Christians believed. They converted because of the way in which the early Christians behaved." Kind of like what James said that "Faith without works is dead". It's hard for me to communicate what I'm seeing because it is so close to me, but I hope you are getting a picture of what God is doing. And I pray that maybe through the Galena Bible Church God would awaken a real revival in other Churches, where the world would know that we are his disciples by how we love one another.

           I have this fresh on my mind because that's what has taken up my time/what we have experienced since my last blog post. ChangePoint Church in Anchorage sent out one of two teams that will be here in November. Three guys came out to build a better connection between the teens of GILA and the teens of ChangePoint that have served at the Bible Camp during the Summer. They brought paper plates, bowls, and utensils that they had gathered from their students, and then served in whatever way we had need. They shoveled a lot of snow while they were here, and spent the rest of the time encouraging dorm staff, and the SEND Missionaries here in Galena. The inter-connectivity that God is building between churches is amazing to watch.

          GBC kicked off our first youth group two weeks ago. We had 16 teens from the community and GILA! 13 girls and 3 guys. The girls are doing a book study called "Lies young women believe", and the guys are doing a study by Francis Chan called "Courage". Many of the teens that came profess to have made a decision to follow Christ, but cannot tell you what that means. We are excited to begin to share the Gospel with these teens in a clear way and to disciple them to be who God has made them to be.

          Things you can be praying for:
  • GBC Youth Group meets tomorrow night. Pray that teens will come and that we will be able to clearly teach them. 
  • ChangePoint is sending another team this weekend to complete the bathroom project and install a kitchenette in the church office. Pray for safe travel, and that our building materials will be able to make the freight flight on time. 
  • Pray that the SEND Missionaries would continue to be encouraged as they transition into bush life. As the days get shorter (Sun up at 10:30 and dark by 4:30 now) and colder (-22F currently) it is easy for cabin fever to set in and discouragement to disrupt effectiveness, especially for Missionary wives.
  • The SEND Plane may be making its way out here this week or the next. Pray for safety for the pilots and clarity for us as we seek to use this tool effectively.
My supporters are always in my heart and I pray for you often. Please let me know if there is anything that we can pray for specifically.

Chris Kopp

Monday, October 31, 2011

The weather outside is frightful...but the fire is so delightful.

To all that gave toward us being able to purchase the wood stove for the parsonage...THANK YOU!! What a blessing! We've been able to run the wood stove for about 2 weeks now and have not had to burn any fuel oil yet. This will help save the church thousands of dollars every winter. Those savings will help the church be able to do much more intentional ministry outreach.

Last weekend we hosted a SEND North Galena team building workshop. I have mentioned before the partnership that Galena Bible Church has made with SEND North in helping to equip potential Alaskan Bush missionaries in the ability to live and do ministry in rural Alaska. The vision of this partnership is three fold:

1. Providing an opportunity for missionaries to ease into the difficulties of living in rural Alaska (lack of supplies, difficulty of travel, DIY projects, extreme living conditions, etc.) so that they are able to transition from city life to Bush life.
2. Helping prepare them to minister in a different culture and context than they have before.
3. To have them in Galena means that they are exposed to students and adults from villages all over the state through GILA, Kokrine Hills Bible Camp, and Galena training events. This provides opportunities for them to develop a heart for a specific village before they go.

There are currently three SEND missionary families in Galena, and one couple 90 miles north in Huslia, Alaska. During the workshop, we met together to learn more about each other's gifting and to pray for God's leadership in church planting in Alaska. Galena Bible Church hopes to become a sister church to these new church plants and to be a support to their growth and development. In the coming weeks, SEND will be stationing a plane in Galena and we will begin to use it to support a group of believers in Ruby, AK, which is about 50 miles up river. We are so excited to see what God has in store for the interior of Alaska!
The Galena Bible Church has been doing very well. We finally remembered to take a picture at potluck. The church has been doing a great job of providing enough food for everyone. We've had some people donate paper and plastic ware, and that has been a huge blessing. THANK YOU for helping us serve these teens and our church family! For our newer readers: We do a potluck every Sunday because students from the dorms only have two meals on weekends. Brunch 11-12:30 and dinner. If they chose to come to church they basically opt out of Brunch. So Galena Bible Church decided last year to do a potluck every Sunday to remove that hindrance. As such we have seen our student body grow at the church.

 This past Saturday there were 5 guys and one young lady that helped rebuild a set of stairs for a family that is a part of the bible church. The existing stairs were dangerously rotten and went from the ground up to the house which was elevated about 9' off the ground. This would have been quite a fall if the stairs had failed. We worked in the driving snow and 5F temperature to get it finished in one day. It was such a beautiful thing to see God's people taking care of one another.

Things you can be praying for this coming week:
  • Tomorrow night we kickoff our Youth Group. Pray for the volunteers (myself and Shell included) that we would be effective at discipling students.
  • This coming weekend, ChangePoint Church in Anchorage is sending 3 guys on a mission trip to Galena. Please pray that we can utilize their time for the most impact.
  • Safety - The weather is cold and we've had more snow than usual for this time of year. Pray that as people begins to navigate the land via snow-gos (snow mobiles for non bush speakers) that they would be protected.
  • Spiritual Protection: The enemy is keenly aware of what God is doing here, and I have seen signs of attack. Pray for courage, and steadfastness for us and the rest of the believers as we continue to serve in spite of challenges.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Fiddler Floated Down The Yukon

Are you scared of heights??

We've now been in Galena for almost 10 months and I keep waiting for the season that "slows down". Maybe next week. The past couple of weeks have been a blur of events, projects, and spiritual conversations. Two weekends ago I was asked to be the Master of Ceremonies for the 2011 Yukon Jamboree, a fiddle and folk band concert that promotes sobriety and highlights musicians from 5 villages, and several student bands from GILA. It was a great privilege to be asked to serve since this is a "native" sponsored event. In between introducing bands, Shell and I educated some of the locals on the Cajun two step. There were a couple of other couples from Church that are proficient in country dancing, and even swing!Who said Christians can't dance.
We successfully  hooked up the plumbing at the church and once again have a flushing toilet. We still have a lot of finish work (paint, flooring, trim, etc) to do, but we are in good shape with the rest of the project. Since the Church bathroom is operational, I began working on the wood stove in the parsonage this week. We should have that operational by the end of today. 
YoungLife sponsored a Basket Ball Clinic for JrHigh and High school students Thurday, Friday, and Saturday. They averaged 45 students at each event. Saturday night the Church housed a youth event where the lead Basket Ball coach for the clinic could share his testimony and personal walk with Christ. This time at the church was advertized as a Christian event (no bait and switch here) and was still attended by 46 students!! We pray that Cornelius Williams' testimony impacts the lives of these students in a life altering way.
          Cornelius preached for me on Sunday morning, and was a blessing to us as a Body; not because of what he said, but because of what he received. He shared with us what we have been sensing from the Holy Spirit: This is a healthy body! Praise God! I have asked some of the people that have attended the church for a long time if they have EVER seen the body acting as they are now. Their answer was without hesitation: no. Community is going really well at Galena Bible Church, and when I have time I hope to blog about it and give you a snap shot of the Acts 4 type church activity that is taking place here.
The boys got to make their pizzas before the teens arrived. Hooray for Pizza!!
         Shell and I have also been busy getting to know more of the boarding school students through hosting dorm events. We hosted "Bakers Autonomous"- 14 teens descending upon our kitchen making fudge, cookies, and rice crispy treats. We also hosted another pizza making event with Jane Thistle similar to the one that we did not long after we arrived in Galena. Both of these events were an awesome opportunity for us to get to know a bunch of the dorm kids, and model a Christian home and loving relationships. A couple of the dorm kids have asked if we can be on their "sign-out" list, meaning we would have permission to check them out of the dorm individually. We're looking forward to having them over.

Some things I ask you to pray for:
  • Pray that this Spirit of Unity can be shared with other churches, and that we would guard against the certain attack of the enemy.
  • Pray that People who are not believers but who are attending church events would understand the difference between religious activity, and Christ's design for their relationship.
  • Pray for our Youth Group that will be starting in a couple weeks. Pray God would lead volunteers to step up to disciple Christian teens to boldly live out their faith.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Full Freezers and Warm Hearts

We have Moose!

Well, actually we now have hamburger, breakfast sausage, maple breakfast links, roasts, stew meat, ribs, backstrap, tenderloin, and 25 lbs. of moose andouille sausage. Have I mentioned how BIG a moose is? An average Bull Moose has about 300-400 lbs. of meat.  The church worked together with great effort to make sure that everyone's meat needs were met.  There were more people at church this year that could not hunt than could hunt.  (Law requires you be an AK resident for one year before you can shoot a moose).  So the church family rallied together and organized pairs of hunters with non hunters with the intent of the nonhunters going along to help with the whole process of getting the meat out of the wilderness and into freezers.  Consider it grocery shopping by boat.  When the church operates as a family it is easy to see God being honored. Acts 4:34a comes to mind: "There were no needy persons among them".  I believe part of my 'job' is to help meet the physical needs of the church as well as the spiritual.
Moose Heart...Don't knock it till you've tried it.

Right after my last post, I received a phone call from the chef at GILA, the boarding school.  He was wanting to show appreciation for what the believers have been doing for the community, so he invited us to cut meat that had been donated by guided hunters, most of whom only want the rack  Fifty percent of the cut meat goes to elders and to the GILA cafeteria to feed dorm students.  The other fifty percent we got to keep.  So we invited three other families in the church to help us cut four front quarters, four sets of ribs, and about 200 pounds of neck meat.
I hunted with Keith Ramos the following week from Monday to Friday. We came home with a moose, but not one that we shot. Steve Pavish took a medium sized bull and gave it to us to share. This completed our meat need for the winter. I thank God for the generosity of his people.

I arrived home from hunting on the 23rd and 4 guys from The Gathering Place Church in Alexandria Louisiana arrived on the 24th for a week long mission trip. Job number #1: Cut meat. The above meat pictures are from our 10 hour cutting party. The guys were such a blessing to us and our community. They cut meat for 5 families, gathered, cut and split firewood for a lady at church, leveled a porch, helped clean before winter snow, and worked at the church removing the failed sewer tank and beginning the bathroom remodel. I think the guys attained sainthood for their work removing the tank. Once we got it out, we found 3 quarter sized holes IN THE BOTTOM! 
The way it was.

As always we loved having the guys stay with us. They are already planning on coming again, and bringing their families with them.
Well, I feel that this is an inadiquate post for the business that has been the past month, but the business isn't over. I'm off to go work on the church bathroom some more.

Things you can pray for this week:
  • Pray for a young native guy who I got to spend some time with today. He made a profession of faith last year, but has just started college and is struggling. Pray that he will connect with the believers I put him in contact with in Fairbanks.
  • Youth Group: The Bible Church is going to be starting a youth group this month. Pray for guidance and leaders as we begin this ministry.
  • YoungLife Basketball Clinic: The YoungLife youth ministry will be hosting a basketball clinic in a week and a half. Pray that the last minuet details fall into place and that the Holy Spirit will lead students to attend and hear the Gospel.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hopefully the "Cattle on a thousand hills" includes moose.

Didn't know that a three wheeler was a family vehicle.
In Psalm 50:10 God says "For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills." That's good news for the missionary in Bush Alaska. However, so far, God has not let us have one of them. I successfully took a group of 6 people plus myself 30+ miles down river to hunt for moose. We saw several cows (female moose), and a calf or two, but no bulls. I should have taken a picture of the boat loaded, because we were a sight. Seven people, one three wheeler, all our gear, 40 gallons of fuel, 10 gallons of water, 3days worth of fire wood, and a lot of hope for meat. It was my first time to navigate the Yukon on my own, so getting there and getting back was a very exciting event. All of the people that went attend the Bible church and most didn't really know each other, because they are new to town. It was a great opportunity to hear the heart for ministry that all had. God is MOVING and we are so excited.

Keith Ramos and I left out this past Sunday afternoon and hunted until Wednesday. We found a beautiful spot and saw over 10 different moose. But all were cows and calves. We are going back this Sunday after church and are ready to stay until Friday or until we get a moose. We did have a blessing come our way. One of the church members shot a black bear and gave us two quarters of it. You haven't had good breakfast sausage until you've had bear sausage!!
My Nephew Daniel hanging bear quarters while I'm away hunting. Thanks Daniel!!
Watching dad cut meat is only fun for so long.
Church has been awesome the past several weekends. Sunday school has been going great. We've had about 11 or 12 children in their new Sunday school class, and we've been having all of their parents attend the other class plus some without kids! We have too many attending the adult group for the small classroom that they have to meet in, and are looking at our options with that. We had two other community members attend church for the first time this past Sunday and the Body seemed to really rally around them. Potlucks have been going well. We could really use some help with paper products. If you would like to help in this way please let me know.
Yesterday Shell and I helped with the monthly YoungLife Flight that is provided by Illiamna Air Taxi. They flew out several people on the flight, some were YoungLife supporters who came to see Galena. Some came to stay over the weekend and put on a wrestling workshop and share Christ with the students who attend  that. There was one couple that came that I was especially excited to see. One of the new dorm staff's parents were coming out on the flight to visit them. Come to find out the dad of that dorm staff was my first Youth Pastor when I was in the seventh grade. And now I'm his son's pastor! BIG state, but small world.

Things you can be praying for this week:
  • Safety and harvest. If we don't get a moose, there is a good chance that we will not have enough meat to make it through the winter. We are hoping to have enough to be able to share with the other families that have just moved to Alaska and can't hunt. Pray that Keith Ramos and I will find success and a safe return.
  • Safety for the the other church members and community members who are on the river hunting. Some are traveling as far as 6 hrs. by boat to hunting areas.
  • Pray for dorm kids. As I have mentioned before, dorm life is challenging for a lot of these teens. Homesickness, and cultural shock lead to depression and a desire to go home for several of the teens. Pray that God would strengthen the dorm staff to be encourager to the students. Pray that believing dorm staff would be able to show Christ's love and care for these kids.
  • Sept 23rd Four men from Gathering Place Church in Pineville Louisiana will be traveling to Galena for a week long mission trip.  Pray for safety and stamina (I think their total flying time with layovers is about 28 hours.) Pray for them for that week that they'll be able to get done all the projects that we need help with.
Thank you so much for your prayer and support. Please feel free to comment or email me. I love hearing from you. Also feel free to share this blog with anyone who might be interested in Alaska missions.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Praise and Prayer

Hello friends! I'm a few minutes to do a short post to bring  you up to speed on the Awesome things God is doing and how you can pray specifically for us and Galena.
1. Praise - Shell and Clint flew into Anchorage to see a pediatric cardiologist and optometrist. Our local Dr had heard a heart murmur on Clint and wanted to get it checked out. The cardiologist confirmed that in fact he heard two heart murmurs, BUT they were both quiet (this is how they gauge the severity) and that they sounded like the kind that Clint would out grow! Praise the Lord! Shell and Clint arrived home safely yesterday morning.
2. Praise - Last Sunday we had 64 people attend church! There was even a lifelong Galena resident that came for the first time in her life!
3. Prayer - Tomorrow I leave to take 6 other people down river to hunt for moose. I will not be hunting, but acting as a transporter, and pack mule for any meat that is harvested. 5 of the 7 people going need meat for this winter and we'll have the ability to get 3 moose between those able to hunt. Pray that God blesses and fills our freezers. Pray for safety as well.
4. Praise and Prayer - Today we start Sunday School again. We are so excited about the Children's ministry opportunity that God is building before us. Please pray that we would have the enthusiastic volunteers that we need to make it an impactful experience. Pray for Brad Fox as he begins to do the Adult discipleship aspect of our Sunday School as well.
5. Prayer and praise: The past month has seen 3 village elders deaths, all from natural causes. This past week a long time resident of Galena passed away. His brother attended our church from out of state while visiting him here. He shared with me how most of his brothers life had been spent in anger toward Christ and the things of God. BUT he also shared with me that the previous week, his brother had asked him what he needed to do to be right with God. His brother lead him to know Christ! Yesterday at the funeral his brother was able to share the clear Gospel to a community hall full of Galena residents! Pray that this act of God's grace would penetrate the hearts of people who knew this man.

Thanks you for you love and prayer for us!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fall means "HURRY!!"

Fresh from the garden: Kale, Carrots, and broccoli.
We grow 'em weird here!
 I feel a bit like Paul Revere as I hurry about the chores of early Fall, only the chant that you can here me yelling is, "The snow is coming! The snow is coming!" There is a business that has occupied my time and the time of those around me in wrapping up the details of summer before the barges quit running, school begins, moose season starts, and the snow comes (there should be a dramatic "dun dun dun" sound when your read that last statement.) We've been spending time getting to know the new believers that have moved into the community, and have been helping them work through the details of firewood and meat for the coming winter.
My first attempt at homemade Cajun Moose Boudin to make room in the freezer. It is quite good if I do say so myself.
Church has been such a blessing. The teachers and dorm staff arrived back in Galena 2 weeks ago, and the dorm kids arrived this past Saturday and Sunday. Church was full once again, and we didn't even have all the dorm kids there!! We are so excited to see what God has in store for this school year.
We'll begin Sunday School again the first Sunday of September. Shell is organizing a kids Sunday school class and we'll be starting another class for teens and adults. We completed our series on the names of God with a sermon on Yahweh Roi "The LORD my Shepherd" with a study of Psalm 23.
 I did manage to get a couple of fishing trips in over the past couple of weeks. Being that I'm not a resident until I have lived here a full year, I was unable to do any Salmon fishing with a set net. Instead I caught Pike.
Going to take a lot of these to feed the family through the winter...

Oh wait...they do come in a bigger size

Meat is not a readily available commodity in the "Bush" unless you go get it yourself. Like firewood, and groceries, meat is one of those "chores" that you have to get when it is available to harvest so that you will have it through the winter when nothing is accessible.

As I have mentioned before, the Bible church hosts a potluck ever Sunday so that we can minister to the teens at the boarding school. If we did not do this they would have to choose between coming to church or eating lunch. Since there are only two meals served on the weekends that would be a big sacrifice!
*Would you, your Church, your Sunday school class, Bible study group, or small group like to collect food to cover a main dish for our potluck? We have people willing to prepare the food, and everyone else brings a side or a dessert. Your main course would help the small group of believers be able to effectively meet this need.
If this is something that you would be interested in helping with please let me know.

Things you can be praying for in the coming weeks:

- Pray for safety for the hunters that will be traveling the waterways of the Delta in search of this year's meat. Pray that the believers would be able to be successful in helping each other meet this need. 
-  Pray that the believers who serve the dorm students in different capacities would have the ability to show Christ's love for them. 
- Pray for Shell and Clint to have safety in travel to Anchorage to see a pediatric ophthalmologist and a pediatric cardiologist.  We discovered Clint has a heart murmur that needs further evaluation, and while he's there he'll get new glasses

Monday, August 8, 2011


S.P.A.M 2011 Mission Team from Anacortes WA
This past week has been a busy one. A week ago Thursday we picked up a mission team that had just boated into Galena for a week long mission trip and VBS. They had spent a week serving at Kokrine Hills Bible Camp, and then spent two days in Ruby, Alaska doing a mini-VBS before coming to Galena. They enjoyed one day off before jumping into ministry in Galena. Shell and I housed the four girls from Washington and our niece Kaylin for the 7 days that they were in Galena. The girls were really excited to sleep in real beds and get to use flushing toilets after their week up river.
VBS Games
 The teens did a fantastic job with VBS. Their Youth Leader, James Ruble, taught the kids in an excellent and engaging way. We ended up having about 12 kids that attended VBS and we were so excited about the turnout.
VBS was from 2-4 Saturday through Wednesday. During the mornings the teens served in the community by cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood, cleaning native elders homes, and helping with church projects. In the evenings we tried to give them some fun outings. We went bear viewing at the "mall" (our affectionate name for the city dump). We took James out pike fishing one evening, and though it was rainy, we still managed to pull in 18 northern pike. We also took the teens shooting at our local rifle range, where they were able to shoot 8 different varieties of rifles and pistols.

The Bible Church was so blessed to have this team here and we are so grateful for their service and love for us. Sunday was a great day. We had a large number of people return from their summer trips. We looked at El Shaddi - "God Almighty (God who is sufficient)" and learned of God's sufficiency for the patriarchs, Job, Naomi, and us.

Things you can be praying for this week:
- Safety for dorm staff as they return this week.
- Begin praying for the Teens of Galena, that they would grow a hunger to know Christ.
- Pray that the Galena Bible Church would be ready to accomplish the task of loving these students with an unconditional kind of love.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

And then there was more...

Eight crates, one pallet, and a trailer. That's what Inland Barge dropped off in Galena a week ago Friday. 11,300 pounds of crated goods to be exact.  A couple of the men from church helped me unload the crates into our Explorer and we began the process of making trips back and forth. While we hauled boxes and totes, Shell began putting away groceries.

Inland Barge Co. Offloading supplies in Galena. This is our version of an 18-wheeler showing up at Wal-Mart.

The forklift is unloading my three wheeler. Also notice over the excavator, There is a small boat, on a snow machine (mobile), on a trailer, on another trailer on a dump truck. The top three of those items are mine.

I have learned a new appreciations for my wife's organizational skills. It is no easy thing to put away a years groceries. We did manage to borrow a forklift (Thanks Roger) to drive one of our big crates back from the barge landing to our house. This is our Sam's crate that you saw in the previous post. It was such a large crate that Jason Harris (church member) had to drive it backwards 3 miles to our house. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of it, but it was rather funny.Since then we have unpacked all the crates, unpacked boxes (most of them), brought the crate material to the house from the barge landing and disassembled it, put away the stuff that goes in the garage, hauled boxes to the dump multiple times, assembled a table and chairs and 2 cabinets for the bathrooms, and assembled the boys bunk beds.

Church the past 2 weeks has been a  sweet experience as it usually is here in Galena. We've had a decent summer crowd (about 23) and a great time of worship and fellowship. I began a teaching series that we will continue with through the beginning of school starting. It's on the names of God. The first week,we looked at Hebrew "Elohim" translated God. We saw how this shows God to be the God of Reality (El - Power, might and strength seen in creation), The God of Mystery (Elohim being singular plural, IE trinity), and the God of Humanity (YHWY Elohim - The LORD). This past Sunday we looked at Yahwey (YHWY- The LORD). It is through this name that we know God as relational. We've had our usual potluck after church and ate like kings. One of our sweet native elders cooked smoked she-fish that is dried and then boiled. As we would say in Cajun country "Po dats some good stuff yeah!" (translation: It was really good.)

We are making preparations for Summer work projects, and are also working to coordinate service projects for a missions team from California that will be here the end of the week through Wednesday of next week.They'll be doing a VBS through the Bible Church and will be assisting in community outreach through ministry projects. We're excited to meet our extended church family as they come and serve with us.

Things you can pray for this week:
-Pray for the VBS team as they boat 3 hours from Kokrine Hills Bible Camp to Ruby and then to Galena. Pray for safety, and endurance as they have just done a week long camp with kids at the Bible camp.
- Pray for the Send missionaries who serve in Galena as they prepare to do their shopping. Pray that God would provide the resources for them to be able to accomplish this very large task.
- Clint (our middle son) lost his glasses some time during the unpacking process. We will have to fly into Fairbanks to get new ones. Pray that we will be able to get that together soon.

Thanks for praying. -- The Kopps