Summer is here! That means picnics and sunshine, VBS and Teen Camp.
The summer volunteer program is already in full swing in Fairbanks with teams traveling to villages to bring the love and grace of Jesus to rural Alaska Native communities.
Bill Paris, assisstant at the Haskell LIGHT House, is spending the summer in Fairbanks to help with the volunteer program and had the opportunity to travel with teams to Kiana and Circle.
"We had a great time with the kids in Kiana," Bill recalled. "Everyday more than 20 kids would coming rumbling in, excited to hear the Word of God and participate in the activities. They called me Grandpa Bill, so I even grew out my beard to better fit the grandpa role! It was an amazing experience!"
While the next month will be filled with volunteer groups moving in and out of the Mission Training Center, we also make room for our biggest Teen Camp to date.
At the end of the month, more than 40 Alaska Native youth will fly into Fairbanks on small, single-engine planes to experience a week of fun and fellowship at Camp Bingle. The group will be a mix of returning teens and new campers coming from more than seven different villages.
"We're really excited about this years camp," Rosemary Sternbeck explained. "Our theme is 'Bent but Not Broken,' based on Isaiah 42:3: 'A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness, He will bring forth justice.'"
Rosemary went on to say that a lot of the teens who attend Teen Camp go home to broken families and difficult situations in the village which can make following Jesus increasingly hard. This year's camp will offer encouragement and tools to help see them through.
"We also hope, as we do every year, that the bond that has formed between teens themselves will continue to grow so they can act as support to each other," added Dave Sternbeck (Nuu-chah-nulth).
While the ministry staff in Alaska works hard through the summer, we ask that you keep them and the youth in your prayers, as well as the volunteer groups as they travel in and out of rural Native villages across the United States.