Monday, February 28, 2011

On Mission with Christ

A cloudy day over the Yukon.
Dear Friends,

The past two Sundays have been fantastic in spirit and attendance. Last Sunday we had 20 students from the dorm attend church! That's not including the 5 or so that get picked up to come every week. This past Sunday was well attended also, and I even had a student that came and asked if he could help with music next Sunday. I have been told that ministry in the 'bush' takes a long time to till and plant the Gospel before you see any fruit. David Pavish, one of the church council members and the area YoungLife director reported that a student that they have been ministering to for the past 6 years just gave his life to Christ this past week! It was such an encouragement to all the leaders of Galena Bible Church who have been laboring in the mission God has for them here. Shell and I are so excited to just get to be a part of what God's work.

Pastor Glen Whatley getting a Galena style tour of the country side.
 We also had the privilege of hosting pastor Glen Whatley of the Gathering Place Church from Pineville, Louisiana. Glen shared his heart with the church council and expressed a desire to help meet the ministry needs of Galena. They are now prayerfully considering how their church can serve the Lord here. One funny God moment happened while Glen and I were visiting one night. He told me about a missionary couple in Sophia, Bulgaria that their church supports. I have a very good friend that is serving in Sophia. Both families are from southern Louisiana, and neither knew the other was there. So from our living room in Galena, AK we were able to Skype and facebook the missionaries and make a connection for two Louisiana families that thought they were alone in Sophia, Bulgaria. Praise God for his sense of humor!!

  • Thank you for your prayer and support of us and our ministry. Most of our pledged givers have been sending their support to the Galena Bible Church. If you don't have the address for that it is PO BOX 147 Galena, AK 99741. Please indicate that your gift is for the Pastor Support Fund.
  •  I have not been in any pain from my tooth for a week. I am going into Fairbanks today to have it looked at again. Thank you for your prayers I don't know that I would have survived another week in the pain that I was in.
Things you can pray for in the coming week:
  •  The Broken Walls band is coming to Galena on their Iditarod Tour Tuesday the 1st. Pray that God uses their message of Grace to share the Gospel with people. 
  •  Pray for the Galena Bible Church Council as we make important decisions about building needs.
  • Pray for David Pavish, that the young man's decision to follow Christ would be a great encouragement for David as he can see the fruit of his labor in teen ministry.

May the God of all Grace bless you and keep you firmly in the center of His will this week.
Chris Kopp

Friday, February 18, 2011

So what ever happened to "uneventful" villiage life??

The past two weeks have been a whirl wind of events, with many praises to report. On Tuesday, the 8th, the youth group from Faith Bible Fellowship (FBF) in Big Lake, AK came out on their 5th annual mission trip to Galena. These students worked their tails off for eight days and left to return home on Wednesday, the 16th. During the day they worked on community service projects, like cutting and splitting firewood, painting rooms in houses, helping community elders with house cleaning, and many other "cup of cold water in Jesus name" kinds of ministry projects. Shell and I housed all of the high school and college girls who came with the "Big Lake Crew".  We had a blast getting to know them, and shuttling them around in 'Phil' (This is the name that all the students called our massive van). In the evenings, the Big Lake Crew would go over to the boarding school and just hang out with the students there. They made some great relationships with students who do not attend the church, and were GREAT encouragers to the students who do.There were several major events they helped with as well:

First, was a pizza dough throwing and pizza making event that we hosted at our house for dorm students. One of the adults that came with FBF owns a frozen pizza company, and brought all the supplies to make 24 pizzas from scratch. She showed them how to make a 'hand tossed pizza'. Because we have 2 ovens in our kitchen and a lot of space for tossing dough, we were able to host the event.  It was a great opportunity for Shell and I to meet a lot of local students, and for them to make a connection with the 'new pastor' at the Bible Church.

Second, the students decorated the Galena Bible Church facility to host a youth Valentine social for dorm students. There were about 45 students that attended. Shell was able to help at this event. Again this was a great opportunity to meet students, and it brought many new students into the church building that had never been there before.

Third, Monday night the Big Lake Crew helped the Galena Young Life students host the 9th annual Valentine Banquet.  It's a fundraiser that YL does every year, but it is also an act of service to the community. This year because of all the different service projects that the Big Lake Crew did in the community, we were allowed to use the new elder facility with a fantastic view of the Yukon River for free to host the event. There are no nice restaurants in Galena for you to take your spouse to on Valentines Day, actually there are no restaurants at all, so this was a very special treat. There were 74 people who attended the event, and it was a great opportunity for Shell and I to meet the state trooper, city magistrate, and fish and wildlife trooper and their wives (Shell and I thought how random is was that the Kopps sat with the cops).

Though we and the BLC were exhausted from the week of work, we have already seen some of the fruit of our labor, and believe that we will continue to see a harvest for God's Kingdom because of their faithfulness.
Things you can pray for in the coming weeks:

- Pray for Glen Whatley (pastor of The Gathering Place Church in Alexandria LA) who is flying to Galena on Monday the 21st to look at the possibility of partnering to do ministry in Galena.
- Pray for Shell and I as we continue to make connections with people at the church and in the community.
- At this time of year, teachers and staff people at the dorms evaluate their contracts for the coming year. Please pray that God would give wisdom to the believers who work in those positions, and that God would bring Godly replacements for those who leave.
- Pray for Chris. The tooth procedure that I had done last week didn't fix the pain problem of the broken tooth, so now I need a root canal. The soonest I can see an endodontist in Fairbanks is March 1st. Pray that this temporary 'thorn in my flesh' does not distract me from the work needed to be done between now and the 1st.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Settling In

Dear Friends,
Well thankfully life has been a little less "out of the ordinary" since our last post. Mostly just good opportunities to begin getting to know people and serve the church and community. Sunday the 30th was our second Sunday in Galena. That weekend the YoungLife Area Directors for the state of Alaska were in Galena for an annual meeting. One of them had been scheduled to preach for months, so after not preaching the first Sunday in Galena (see previous blog), I didn't get to preach the second Sunday either. I jokingly told the church council that this was going to be the easiest church in the world if I didn't have to preach. It was a great feeling to get to bring the Word to the body at Galena this past Sunday. I praise God, because of what he has already been doing in the life and health of the church. We almost didn't have an empty seat in the sanctuary! We'll need to add additional seating next week. I preached Exodus 33:15 and shared God's leadership in showing us that we were to go serve in Galena.
Several fun and important events that we were able to attend helped us get to know more of the church, and many members of the community. YoungLife hosted a luau at the city pool that drew about 25 students to come. Basketball  is a major cultural and civic event in this village. Most everyone in town comes out to watch the games. We had the chance to meet quite a few people at both of those events. Shell was able to attend a "ladies lunch" this past Friday that was done in one of the church members homes for any ladies in town that want to attend.
An answer to prayer: Last post I had asked for prayer that our van would start. It did! The battery was shot in it and wouldn't hold a charge. Because of an accident that it was in several years ago, there was no room to get the old battery out to put a new one in. So questions: What do you do when there is no auto body shop in town to fix a busted up van...Simple. You hook a chain to the chassis of another truck and onto the crumpled up metal of your van and back it up really hard several times. Works like a charm. (I have the words "you might be a redneck if" floating in my mind for some reason) Thanks to a donated battery, we now have a van that will start when we want it long as it's above -25. 
Things you can pray for:
- Feb 8th the youth group from Faith Bible Fellowship in Big Lake, AK is coming out for a week to serve the community and connect people to the church. Please pray for their safety in travel, and while they are here cutting firewood for elders and working on other service projects. Pray that God would use them to start conversations that lead people to him.
- Feb 9th Pray for me (Chris) as I fly to Fairbanks to fix a tooth that split in half the night before we flew into Galena. (no time to fix it before we left) There are no dentists here, so it requires a 300 mile flight into Fairbanks to have work done.
- Pray for Mrs. Virgina (a lady that attends Galena Bible Church). Her daughter is on life support and is scheduled to be taken off some time this week. Pray that her love for Christ would be a witness to her family during this painful time.
- Pray for opportunities to continue to connect with the people of Galena.
A quick tour of running errands in Galena:
Sweetsir's Grocery Store for 6 bananas and a bag of baby carrots (Total $9.59)
Galena Post Office to check our PO Box.

Back to our home in the trees.

We are currently taking suggestions on a name for the van. Current leaders are "One Eyed Willie" and "Alfred P Moose"
For the ladies that read the Blog: The latest arctic fashions, Ladies Steger Mukluks, and a little girls rabbit fur hat.