Fairbanks Teen Camp was a huge success this year! 17 teens from five villages spent the week in our home, learning about life and what it means to have “contagious faith,” based on 1 Timothy 4:12: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
We are grateful to everyone who prayed and supported us in this event. In all, there were 27 people at our home, which served as our Mission Center for the week. We prepared and served countless meals and everyone experienced such meaningful interaction!
Some of the projects included music lessons offered by Belle Mickelson with Dancing with the Spirit; skin sewing taught by Mabel, an Alaska Native elder from Barrow; and a building project of concrete and a fire ring, which were donated by the Barkdulls and organized by the Robinsons, both of whom are members of our home church at Zion Lutheran Church, Fairbanks. We also took the teens horseback riding, swimming and shopping and on a tour through the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Each morning, noon and evening, we gathered the teens around the Bible for lessons,fellowship and prayer. One evening we told the parable of the Lost Sheep. We explained to the teens that Jesus is the Shepherd who became the lost sheep and that He walked our path of lostness and loved us so much that He sacrificed Himself on the cross, forgiving our sins.
That evening, six of the teens expressed their desire to be baptized. It was truly amazing to see God’s Spirit working in the hearts of these young men and women through His Word. After sharing with them what God promises to us in Baptism and that it is His work, not ours, the next day we took them to the Chena River and there we witnessed God fulfill His very promises for each of them. The joy we feel even now is indescribable.
This week was worth the entire year of preparation and planning for this event. We appreciate Pastor Scott Johnson and his wife, Denise, who, for nine years, have traveled with members of their family and other faithful volunteers to Deering to teach vacation Bible school. In fact, every one of the 17 teenagers who came to Teen Camp this year have been impacted by Lutheran volunteers over the years, all of whom have formed lasting relationships of trust with these young people and their families.
We thank God for being able to interact with these youth and share His Word with them, that they may have “contagious faith!"
Rosemary Sternbeck, Volunteer Coordinator, Interior Alaska Missions and Volunteer Center