We have officially been in Galena for one year! January 20th of 2011 my family touched down in Galena and began an epic journey of experiencing God's faithfulness, provision, and loving kindness. I could not be more happy to be serving where the Lord has led us to serve.
The past couple of weeks have been bitterly cold. Please don't hear me say that in a complaining way. That's just the way that life is here, and it is one of the unique aspects that affects what ministry looks like in the interior of Alaska. Saturday the 28th saw temperatures around town that were -70 and colder. That's 100 degrees colder than the freezing point of water. In these climates, air begins to 'pocket' itself into super chilled low spots. A 10 foot elevation change may result in a 10 degree temperature difference. One of the painful trials that comes with temperatures like this is that fuel oil (a main source of energy for heat in many houses) starts to gel. This means that it will not pass through the small copper lines to feed the boilers, toyo stoves, and monitors. I helped gather up electric heaters so that community members who were unable to heat their homes would be able to heat the lines enough for them to fuel their main heat sources. Sunday the 29th was a sweet albeit challenging church service. The day started at -58 and didn't really come off of that number. Most vehicles will not start at these temperatures. Ours was no accception. We decided to cancel Sunday School and potluck, since dorm students are not allowed off campus when it's this cold. Most of my congregation that attended WALKED to church, some from almost 2 miles away. Did I mention it was -58!! One of the teachers who's van did start offered to pick us up. We also picked up the Fox family, but before we could get them in the van I had to scare off a moose that was in their driveway. Oh the things you get to do to make church happen in the bush. I am so humbled by the hunger for fellowship, worship, and teaching that I see in my church. Think about it...do you love your church family and crave the corporate praise of God irregardless of the challenge of getting there?
I preached on the Great Commission concerning the understanding that we as disciples of Jesus are called to "teach them to obey all that I have commanded." It is not merely enough that we teach what Jesus commanded. We must OBEY what Jesus commanded. The mark of a mature disciple is not how much you know, it's how much you OBEY of what you know. We also talked about the need for disciples to remain teachable. Like leather that is hard, at first, becomes soft with use, so we too can bend to the will of the Lord even when he asks us to do difficult things. I then asked the church to share what God has been teaching them, or stretching in them. It was a great encouragement for the body to see each other wrestling with life through the lens of obedience to Christ's commands.
Things you can be praying for:
- A warm front. No explanation needed.
- I will be traveling to Anchorage on Tuesday and Soldotna on Wednesday to attend a men's retreat put on by Arctic Barnabas. Pray that God would allow me to connect with missionries from all over the state as we seek to bring the Gospel to every corner of Alaska.
- Pray for my family as they remain in Galena.
- Pray for myself and Brad Fox to have wisdom in mentoring young men in Galena.
- Pray that the church would continue to have the resources and energy to meet the physical needs of their neighbors, coworkers, and friends.
PO BOX 252
Galena AK 99741