They sat together at Teen Camp, intently absorbing the words they were hearing.
“Pastor Dave was telling us the story of the Lost Sheep,” Andrea recently told a volunteer. “He explained it so well, that suddenly, it hit me. I am a lost sheep! Jesus wants to save me, too! It hit me so hard that I started crying right there in the living room, with everyone watching. I knew it was time - I wanted to be baptized.
"And when I felt that water, I honestly felt like my sins were washed away, that I was starting over. It was a day that has changed my whole life, and I want to learn how to give that gift to my friends, family, and village.”
Rosemary and I are pleased to share this recent story of the Holy Spirit moving in the life of Andrea, a Native teen, but this is just one of the lives changed thanks to people, like you, committed to Native ministry.
You see, for almost two decades, volunteer mission teams have traveled in and out of Alaska’s remote interior villages, teaching Vacation Bible School and forming strong relationships with families in these villages. Returning year after year, the volunteers become a part of the family, watching four-year-olds become 18-year-olds who struggle with the stresses of life in a remote native village.
Teen Camp begins to help these young adults deal with the pressures of drugs and alcohol that are so prevalent in remote villages and Native communities. For three years now, through your prayers and generous gifts, Lutheran Indian Ministries has sponsored Teen Camp, a place where these young people can go, away from the pressures to conform to this world, to hear the Word of God and learn to apply it to their lives.
But it took years to get to this point.
Like everything in life, we had to start small. Lutheran Indian Ministries began work in Alaska by simply offering a helping hand. Volunteers provided the tools and know-how to replace the foundation logs on a church, repair an elder’s leaky roof, and freshen up an aging sanctuary with a new coat of paint.
We, first, had to build relationships in the communities and earn their trust.
Now, through our core of volunteers and the ministry staff who served before us, and through you, our faithful partner in ministry, we are seeing God work in the lives of the children, teens, adults and elders in these villages and lives are being changed in service to God and His Kingdom!
Our mission at Lutheran Indian Ministries is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Native American peoples, to disciple Native leaders to share the Gospel with their brothers and sisters, and to provide resources for the healing of intergenerational pain, sorrow, and suffering in a way that honors Native cultures.
Rosemary and I thank you for your prayers that have upheld us and your gifts that have supported that mission as we minister to the lost and broken in Alaska.
And now, it is my privilege to share with you that a dedicated donor has already committed $15,000 toward ministry in Alaska, and ask you to continue your support of this ministry.
Please, prayerfully consider making a gift today that will help us continue the Gospel outreach so needed in the remote interior of Alaska.
As we begin another busy summer of volunteer activity, reaching out to villages with VBS, Teen Camp, and servant projects, we need your prayers and faithful support to continue to share the Gospel message of hope and healing.
Thank you and may God bless and keep you always.
Rev. David (Nuu-chah-nulth) and Rosemary Sternbeck
Lutheran Indian Ministries