Song of Songs 5:16 "...This is my beloved, and this is my friend..."
|Getting seated for date night in the decorated church.|
Marriage and relationships take a special kind of abuse when one lives in a place such as rural Alaska. There are stressors and battles that are somewhat unique to the environment. Lack of date type opportunities, physical demands of a subsistence lifestyle, and the direct exposure to loss and grief on almost every level take a toll on marriages. I've seen this from a distance before being here and have witnessed it first hand even in my own marriage since beginning to pastor the Bible Church. The primary job of a pastor is to shepard his people as an under-shepard to Christ. This means that one of my main jobs is to lead them to places of rest and refreshment. I can't make them rest, and I can't make them refresh themselves, but I can provide the opportunity for it to happen. It's also REALLY expensive for me to say "Hey there's a marriage conference in Anchorage ($900per person round trip) or Fairbanks ($420per person round trip) you should go!" So what does the 'do-it-yourselfer' in me do... we do it ourselves!
April 1st and 2nd Galena Bible Church hosted a marriage conference that we titled "My Beloved Friend" based on the scripture above. On April 3rd we held a date night for anyone who had attended at least one of the sessions of the conference. By God's grace a team of four guys through Arctic Barnabas Ministries and AK Mission Connection were able to come and help put on a Bible kid's club with the help of our local CEF teens to provide childcare for all three days! They also coordinated the meal preparation and served the food at the date night!
After multiple unsuccessful attempts at finding a speaker I ended up teaching the two different sessions. We offered two time slots during the day to accommodate for those who work an evening shift. The first day I taught about five threats to oneness that effect every married couple and lead us away from God's intent of husband and wife to be "one flesh". The second day I taught on friendship in marriage as it relates to romance according to Song of Songs 7 and 8. All told we had 32 people who attended the conference sessions! Unfortunately there was a virus that started around the village and a ton of our kids got it so there was a big drop off the night of the date night (major bummer!). But those who were able to attend extremely enjoyed the Halibut enchiladas, Mexican side dishes, and non-fried fried ice cream for dessert! We made up plates and delivered them to the other attenders at their homes. All said and done, it was a huge success and I pray that marriages will be strengthened through what we learned in God's Word.
Things you can be praying for:
- Next week we'll be heading in Anchorage to attend the SEND North Annual Conference. Pray that we'll be intentional to take it as a time to rest as a family.
- Pray for the ministry team here in Galena as the Lord continues to open up doors for church planting and ministry in the surrounding villages.
- PRAISE - For Easter Sunday we had over 80 people in attendance at Church. Pray that the Gospel that was presented would soften the hearts of it's hearers.
- Galena Bible Church's annual meeting is at the end of this month. Pray that as we seek to implement some changes in the constitution that the body would be unified and directed.