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