Monday, February 25, 2013

Baptism at ten below


Theresa (SEND missionary) who spent a year living the gospel in front of Kimberly!
Well, as you can tell by the above pictures we cheated the weather for this baptism. It may have been -10F outside, but thanks to the City of Galena, the indoor pool was very comfortable. Sure beats cutting a whole in the Yukon (don't worry, we wouldn't actually do that.)
Kimberly shared her story of God's great grace towards her. We celebrated baptism after our normal church service and all drove over to the pool. Later that day I was talking with Martin Hornfischer (a SEND Missionary in Galena) and we realized that since we've been here, there have been four people who have become believers who are faithfully growing in their walk with Christ! What a great encouragement to know that God is blessing the faithful service of believers in Galena.
Last week the youth group from Faith Bible Fellowship ended their 8th annual mission trip to Galena. They were such a blessing to the various ministries in Galena. One of the guys spent an entire day helping me get the transmission out of our explorer. Praise God, we got it out and sent into Anchorage to be rebuilt. Hopefully we'll have it back by the middle of March and can start putting the truck back together. Just another example of the unique challenges experienced while serving in the bush.

Things you can be praying for:
  • We'll be sending a team to the village of Ruby in the next couple of weeks to encourage the group of believers there. Pray that God would grant safety, and provide new connections to the community.
  • Pray for Brad and Madeline Fox (SEND Missionaries) as they continue to wait on the Lord's leading for where to plant a church in the interior of Alaska.
  • At the end of March Galena Bible Church will be hosting a Marriage conference. I (Chris) will be leading the teaching and a team from Louisiana will be providing child care and facilitating a date night for those who attend. Please begin praying now that as we advertise this in the community we'd make some connections with couples that need encouragement. Pray for the couples from the church that will attend, that they will be reminded of what it means when Solomon says "This is my beloved, and this is my friend." 
  • Pray for Carry the Cure & Broken Walls as they come and share their message of hope along the Iditarod trail. They'll be in Galena March 5th.

The Work of the Gospel: Adoption

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Martin Hornfischer preaches on Adoption at the Galena Bible Church on February 24th, 2013.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Do you like the soup?

To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews … To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.  (1Corinthians 9:20&22)

Moose nose soup is an Athabaskan cultural tradition. Moose nose soup is also an acquired taste. The last bowl that I ate was beautifully prepared, with herbs, noodles, spices…and moose nose cut up into quarter inch squares. It has a unique quality about it in that it is mostly cartilage and they use everything from the inside of the nostrils to the ribbed palate inside the mouth. And yes you can tell the difference. The problem with cartilage is that no matter how much you chew it, it never seems to get smaller. So the question one would ask at this point is, “Did you like the soup?” For me the answer is very simple: I love the people that I’m eating it with.

The occasion of this cultural cuisine was a potlatch for a native elder who had died earlier in the week, and had been buried not three hours before the potlatch. He was a friend, and regularly attended our church. I missed him as I ate a bowl of soup that he would have undoubtedly loved. When he died I was called to help ‘prepare’ the body. We washed him, dressed him, moved and made his body ready for the wake and funeral. Local men built the casket, and dug the grave. I officiated the funeral service, and drove my sno-go 14 miles to the cemetery at -20F. We did a short grave side prayer, helped to lower him into the ground, and shoveled six feet of dirt back into the ground by hand with shovels.

This is not my culture of origin. But being willing to live incarnationally in a culture not my own allows me to do as Paul did. To the Athabaskan, I become as the Athabaskan, to the Yupik’ I become as the Yupik’, to the white guys I become as a white guy (culturally classified as “Red Neck” I think). Not because I will win them all, but because there will be some who will take notice of the life that you and I live and realize their deep need for Jesus. As we live what Christ has done in us, and speak about what we are learning in Him there will be some who will be transformed by the work of the gospel in their lives. But they will never see Jesus if they don’t see us sitting at the table with a bowl of their favorite soup, smiling, laughing, and loving a people not our own, in Jesus name. How do you become "All things" to the people where you live?

Things you can pray for:
  • A youth mission team from Faith Bible Fellowship is here in Galena this week serving the community, YoungLife, and the the church. Pray that they would remain safe as they work cutting wood, and that the transforming nature of the Gospel would be seen in them to the community.
  • The Galena Bible Church - SEND North Partnership is creating new opportunities for church planting and outreach. Pray that we would have wisdom to know where to invest our time and resources to see churches planted in every village in the Interior.
  • Pray for the group of missionaries that are serving in the Yukon/Koyukuk Delta that the Lord would reap a harvest through us.