On the 31st of January Martin Hornfischer (SEND Missionary) and I flew to Anchorage then drove to Soldotna for an ArcticBarnabas Men's retreat. Martin and I used our time the best that we could to meet with people and tell the story of Galena and what God is doing here. We met with the dean at Wayland Baptist College in Anchorage and his wife for dinner in Anchorage our first night and then went to an Evangelism Conference to meet Baptist Pastors from around the state. Wayland is looking to forge a ministry partnership in Galena with the Bible Church, SEND, and YoungLife and we are prayerfully looking at ways to foster that connection.
On the first a van picked us up to head down to Soldotna. A blizzard also decided to tag along. You know you live in Alaska when a "retreat" involves pushing a 4x4 truck that's stuck while its chained to the 15 passenger van that you are riding in! Once we finally reached Solid Rock Bible Camp we were finally able to relax. Neither Martin nor myself really realized just how physically drained we were from the month of average -45 temperatures. We had the opportunity to meet missionaries from all over the state and encourage one another in love and good works. Some of the stories that I heard broke my heart and others gave me great joy at what the Lord is doing. One brother who's family has been serving in a small village (about 150 people) has done 26 funerals in five years, of which only 2 were natural deaths. He also shared a story of a native man who was walking out of the village with a rifle to end his life. The man was intoxicated and later told him he heard a voice say "turn right". He he didn't see anyone but thought "I can walk out of town that way too." so he turned right. A little bit latter he heard the same voice say "turn right". Still not seeing anyone, he turned right again, which led him up the steps of the missionary's home, at 3 in the morning. The man let himself into the house, and my missionary friend had to jump up to see who it was. The man handed him his rifle and said, "I know you, I can talk to you." After a couple pots of coffee, and God's amazing grace that reached into the souls of men this man put his faith in Jesus and is now a regular attender at the village church! Thank God for coffee and Jesus!!
Martin and I were encouraged by the servant hearts of the men who serve at ArcticBarnabus, and were renewed in our passion for the work that we are doing here in Galena. I flew home on the 6th and on the 7th a youth team from Faith Bible Fellowship in Big Lake, AK came for a week and a half of service. This was the rush. My vehicle was the primary transportation for the team. In the week they were here we put about 250 miles on the explorer. Did I mention there are only about 5 miles of road in town!! They cut, split, and stacked close to 8 chords of firewood, cleaned homes, painted rooms, visited elders, baked cookies, helped with two youth group events, a teen valentine social, and the 10th annual YoungLife Valentine Banquette (which is the only date night all year). We housed the 7 girls at our house, and our house was also the site of all of the team meals, and devotionals. 20+ people at each meal makes for quite the full kitchen.
Galena Bible Church sent our second team out to the village of Ruby this past Sunday to support the church mission that is there. Brad Fox (SEND Missionary) preached and the rest of the team helped with a youth Bible study and game time after the service.We are so excited about the opportunities that the Lord is opening for us to build the Church in interior villages.
Thank you for your faithful prayer for us, and encouragement. Here are some things you can be praying for in the coming weeks:
- We will be traveling on the 20th to head to Texas and Louisiana to visit with family and do support raising. I'll be speaking at or with 5 churches while there. Pray for safety, rest, and Kingdom conversations.
- Pray for Martin, and Brad as they preach at the Galena Bible Church while I am away.
- Pray for a young man (22) who tried to take his life this past Saturday. The Lord spared him and he has expressed a desire to have a second chance at life. Pray for David Pavish (Galena YoungLife Leader) who will be discipleing him.
- Spring has been a historical time of suicides in the bush. Pray that the Lord would hold back the spiritual darkness and allow the Gospel to replace hopelessness.
- Pray for the Parenting Workshop that the Bible Church will be hosting on Thursdays for the next 7 weeks. Pray that community members would be encouraged to attend.