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 Alaskan villages.
God’s intervening story informs our stories. So many of our Indigenous peoples are wrestling with God and man. The sins they have committed and those committed against them, the fallen-ness of humanity, addictions, the loss of culture and family values have all left our people struggling.
The Good News is that, in the struggle, God shows up in the face of Christ Jesus and does not prevail against us!
We see people all the time, everywhere, who are hurting and in need. A person standing on the side of the road with a sign asking for help. People sleeping on a park bench, homeless, broken, and trapped in the cycle of addictions. Have you ever wondered, should I help? If I were to help would it be good or would it hurt them more?
I am convinced one of the keys to ministry in any community, maybe especially the Native American community, is reaching the fathers with the Gospel and encouraging them to take responsibility for the spiritual lives of their families.
I think of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as God offering His best in order to turn our hearts to Him, our Father God. It was a sacrificial act of the greatest order in all of history; God offering His own Son in order to unite us with Him. What great love, what great sacrifice!
And in relating their stories, they are humbled. It is then they are reminded that no matter how much effort they invest, it is only God who brings the increase. And at what time, and how that comes about, is not up to human endeavor but the work of the Holy Spirit. They are only assured that as they share His word it will not return void.
For me, there is something healing about digging in the dirt. My parents both came from a family of farmers. Perhaps, it is part of my DNA. Sometimes I wonder what it was in creation that spoke to the man, Jesus. Taught to work with wood by Joseph, His earthly father, did He sometimes run His hands over a well-finished piece of furniture and enjoy its smoothness or pleasant lines and craftsmanship?
Too often my flesh draws me away from God. Too often I am seduced into the temptations of the world and the devil. As I walk through the wilderness with our Alaska Native brothers and sisters, I see they, too, are hungry and lost in the wilderness of their lives. Our appetites deceive us, and we try to find satisfaction, fulfillment, and salvation in things that can never save. Just like the nation of Israel, we cannot overcome or find the victory over our flesh, over the world, nor over Satan on our own.
Many times, God comes to us so well disguised we do not see His image in the sea of humanity that surrounds us. In so many ways, we are like the innkeeper. He was busy with his job, earning a livelihood. He was stressed by the hordes of people who flooded into his town. His mind was on all of the things he needed to accomplish that evening, and he missed God knocking at his door.