This is gonna be big. I’ll quote the trip leader.
“…we have 36 young people from 10 different villages and 10 chaperones ready to roll…will be cooking for 46 people…a small village moving down the road…an 8000 mile adventure…to the greatest Native youth gathering for the cause of Christ on the planet…Pray!”
He asks for prayer more than once, so pray!
-for the money still needed to cover expenses
-for scheduling and organizational stuff
-and then for real heart of the matter, pray about the spiritual struggle and for God to work in a great way, to save the lost and build his church by raising up a new generation of Native believers, a future force of indigenous leaders to spearhead the work of the Gospel across the north, for this, after all, is what we are all striving for. (Mt 16:18-19)
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Travel. Going from one location to another. It’s a nice idea, sometimes it even goes as planned. Quite often though, weather has its way and plans are put on hold, adjusted, even scrapped altogether.
That is how a guy flying from Fairbanks to a village on the southwest coast may end up knocking on your door at midnight if you live along the middle Yukon. Villagers all across the north are accustomed to “uninvited guests” because sometimes you just need to offer shelter to a stranded traveler. And shelter may be an overnight, a couple of nights, even a week, depending upon where you live and how unpredictable your local weather may be.
Interior Alaska in winter can get bitter cold , grounding planes for many days at a time with minus forty, fifty or sixty temps. Communities on Kodiak Island, the Alaskan Peninsula and other coastal areas may have stormy weather associated with low pressure systems that continue day-after-day. If you fly to a remote village there, an overnight stop can turn into a week-long trip.
So make your plans well, but be flexible. God controls the weather.
“The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.”
Spring break-up along a river begins in the headwaters and makes its way down to the mouth. Currently the break-up “front” on the Yukon River is near Mountain Village, on the lower stretch of the river.
In preparation for the ice break-up the city removed the pipes from the river, pipes that supply the community with water, a necessary procedure to protect them from destruction as tons of ice pass by. The back up water supply is a spring, which is currently under many feet of ice, so that leaves…
A community located on the bank of a major river, choked with ice but no available water. Weird.
The municipal water has been out for a week.
A drive along the “road” to Pitkas Point / St. Mary’s is the way to get water, take a shower and do laundry, for now.
In the mountains to the north of Anchorage a small group of men have gathered.
Leaders of a large church planting ministry serving across the state of Alaska and Canada’s Yukon and Northwest Territories, they seek to determine the Lord’s will as they plan, develop strategy and implement ways to engage the unreached and establish reproducing churches across this great land.
It is their hearts’ desire to see a new generation of indigenous leaders spring forth; Alaska’s Alutiiq, Athabaskans, Inupait, and Yupik peoples joining their Inuit, First Nations and Métis neighbors in the work.
These men have dedicated their lives to this end. They are not “keeping their options open” or considering alternative careers, but are fully invested into this eternal endeavor.
What will happen? Will they accurately determine what God wants them to do? Will a new generation of Native Christian leaders arise and take responsibility for reaching remote communities with the life-changing message of the Gospel? Will time eventually show that these men have wisely invested their lives?
No, time won’t, for time can be misleading, but the Lord will. He will decide. He will make it clear if these men were faithful to the call He put upon their lives.
Until then…they work. They peer into an uncertain future with great consequences at stake and attempt to focus on the unseen, the eternal. They move forward one step at a time, by faith. And they believe God for great things!
Standing at the firearms counter in a local Fred Meyer, I struck up a conversation with another guy; we both were waiting…and he was getting frustrated with two clerks trying to sell him the wrong shotgun. While the clerks struggled to figure out why the short-barreled gun in the box wasn’t the long-barreled gun on display, we talked.
He was soon to go out west for spring/summer bird hunting. His features told me he was Native, probably Yupik. His western destination confirmed it, so the conversation he had on his phone, in Yupik, was further, but unneeded verification of his ancestral heritage.
I was there to buy a few boxes of non-toxic shot for a buddy in ministry in Galena.
I teased him about the short-barrelled gun, wondering if he “liked to hunt them on the nest?” and we laughed.
He wished me “luck” as I left. My task was completed but his was still mired in a swamp of confused clerks.
This is the time for rural Alaskans to harvest white-fronted, snow and Canada geese, and an assortment of ducks, before they start to nest.
Up before six.
Out on the porch enjoying the quiet, a good cup of coffee and the sun peeking over the Chugach Mountains, throwing amber illumination recklessly over the land.
Then the burglar shows up, pilfering new growth in my neighbor’s yard with an eye toward mine. I know what he’s thinking.
He’s heard about the famous peonies that surfaced just days ago. Two neighbors in as many days have told Kim and I about the spectacular floral show scheduled to go on stage in a few weeks (photos will come later and hopefully the plant lives up to its reputation). So no miscreant moose will be allowed to…nibble.
After a 40 minute “Anchorage stand-off” he moves on, leaving my pansies, posies and future flowers intact.
Back in the kitchen. While brewing a second cup, there’s a rumble. “Is that a dozer coming up the street?” Nope, just an earthquake, 4.6, centered a few miles away in the inlet.
Moose and earthquakes; both pretty common in Alaska’s “big city.”
“We serve a God who is worthy of bottom-of-the-heart, deep worship regardless of what happens in a certain situation, but it is a soul pleasure to see Him endear His name to us all through a public and dramatic display of His mercy.”
Troy Roberts, referring to God answering prayer for sick young man