An Outpost for Native Ministry
In 2012, Rev. David (Nuu-chah-nulth) and Rosemary Sternbeck moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, to serve among Alaska Natives with a threefold mission in mind:
- Grow a more robust volunteer program and volunteer center.
- Create a mission center for Natives coming in from the bush to receive theological instruction.
- Develop partnerships with agencies in order to make a Lutheran contribution when addressing the needs of Native people.
I n a nearly 4,000-square-foot home, the Sternbecks have ample room to welcome guests year-round. In the summer months, volunteers come through on their way to remote Native villages. Here, they have a chance to finalize their preparations for vacation-Bible-school events or hammer-and-nail projects. Volunteers also come through on their way home for a chance to debrief and share the blessings of their experience. In their home, David and Rosemary can host up to 18 overnight-guests comfortably.
David also established a conference room/information technology (IT) lab for those he is mentoring. Whether individuals or groups are addressing suicide, addictions or other trauma, or participating in Bible studies or theological training, there is ample room at the Sternbeck home and plenty of time during Alaska’s long, dark winter months for these activities.
David writes, “God is opening doors for making connections and building relationships. He is giving us a clearer vision and a plan to reach out to Alaska Natives. Natives both young and old whose lives have been touched by volunteers coming into their villages are in need of additional mentoring. We are doing all we can so they can take their place as leaders in the Church and in their communities.”