Mission Trip to Tanana, Alaska

Tanana, Alaska Volunteer Team Wolffs and Mellands
Tanana, Alaska Volunteer Team Wolffs and Mellands

We went on the mission trip to Tanana accompanied by a veteran crew of three (Ruth Meier and Curt and Sandra Melland) who have been going to Tanana for the past five years.

We found the people to be welcoming and enjoyed seeing Curt, Sandra and Ruth reacquaint themselves with the people they have come to know through the years since going to Tanana.

We especially enjoyed our time with the children and teens, teaching the Ten Commandments, looking up Bible verses, watching “The Skit Guys,” observing life in the village as families harvested their winter fuel from the Yukon.

We met lots of people, many of whom shared their faith with us.

A high point of our visit among the people of Tanana was to have Juanita come to us, asking us to pray for her son and his team as they fought rough waters to bring home a whale to their village near Barrow. She came the following day to let us know they had all made it safely home with the whale that would feed many. She then shared muktuk with us, which was whale skin and blubber, frozen and cut into small strips. We can safely say that we have never eaten whale before, and it was a fun experience. Thank you, Juanita!  Juanita also assisted us with the Bible school during the day, even though she was working nights at the time. She sacrificed her time to help and it was much appreciated.

We ate well (thank you, Sandra and Ruth!), played with the children, slept well (in spite of the bright skies which we aren’t used to!), prayed a lot, read devotions together and shared. One evening, we cooked and served a meal and invited the village to eat and visit, and this was received well. We were then able to meet some of the adults of the village and visit with them.

Thank you to David and Rosemary Sternbeck, who put us up before we went to the village and retrieved us whenever we returned and made our way home.

God’s hand is at work among His people and His spirit is present. We thank Him for the privilege of being Jesus’ “hands and feet” as we spent a short time in this place far away from our home. This time served as an excellent reminder that He lives in and among His people, sometimes in different ways than we expect. We are reminded also of Romans 8:28 — “And we know that all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.”

We are assured that seeds were planted, and the Holy Spirit will be the one to make them grow in His time. 

- Volunteers Jen and Walt Wolff, Hazen, North Dakota

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