Alaska Mission for Christ works to build ministry bridges and equip volunteers to be involved in sharing the Gospel through various servant event opportunities. They also partner with the LCMS congregations of Alaska to identify needs, build relationships, and witness throughout the state. Here are just a few recent examples of what this looks like:
Jan Bruick – Servant Event Coordinator
IMAGINE, for a moment being a 17-year-old high school student. You have been given the “once in a lifetime” opportunity to travel on a mission trip to Alaska.
IMAGINE the excitement of exploring our 49th state for the first time—”Will I spot a moose—and how big are they really?” “Will I see the Northern Lights dance in the sky at 3 am?” “Will I make new friends from a native Alaskan culture while sharing Jesus’ love this week?”
Then, IMAGINE the crushing disappointment when receiving a call the night before your flight, canceling the trip. This happened in 2019 to the Faith Lutheran High School students from Las Vegas, NV. These students entered the “Service Leadership & Missions” class expecting to take what they had learned from teacher Alex Klenz and put it into practice in Alaska—serving others in a different culture from their own. Would they dare to IMAGINE planning this trip in 2020? Nope! The pandemic issues were too unpredictable, and plans were canceled a second time.
Klenz shared that Faith’s administration and coworkers were very supportive through this process of canceling the trip two years in a row. He shared, “Having to call each of my 25 students in 2020 to tell them our trip had been canceled was devastating. However, seeing 11 new students jump on board and plan a trip in 2022 has been ultimately rewarding.”
Critical insights for this high school course came from the book Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton. This text helped frame discussions about where, when, and how to start planning a mission trip. Klenz shared that through reading this book and connecting with Nathan Milan, AMC Interior Missionary, shifted their goals to desire a deeper understanding of someone who serves as a long-term missionary–someone who is forging relationships with the local community for a lasting impact in Gospel-sharing.
How God will bless this experience for HIS good—changing lives with the Good News of the Gospel?
Nathan Milan – Interior LMC Coordinator
Many positive emotions came to mind as I said the final “see you later” to Faith Lutheran High School’s “Service, Leadership & Missions” class this past month. Their mission trip had been a long time coming, and it might never have happened even at the last moment. After persevering through the challenges of Covid-19, the night before departing, Alex Klenz discovered one of his fellow chaperones was unable to attend.
Thankfully, another one of Faith’s teachers rose to the occasion and packed her bags with less than five hours’ notice. The team welcomed Mrs. Hayes wholeheartedly. After all, there were many things to do in Alaska, and the team needed all the help they could get.
We experienced a whirlwind of adventures during our time together, learning about Alaska’s place in the world, studying culture, geography, and how its unique mission environment takes many forms. Specifically, we looked at how long- and short-term missions accomplish the goal of witnessing to others in the community locally and throughout Interior Alaska.
The team was incredibly busy during their trip. We served the Fairbanks community by providing meals at Stone Soup Kitchen, helping FYNDout Free Pregnancy Center move into their new building, thanking first responders with a hot meal, and learning from Helping Alaska about family support and re-entry services.
Although it was a full schedule, we found time to gather and enjoy the warmth and ambiance only a log cabin in Alaska can provide during late-night conversations at our home outside Fairbanks.
Sadly, the team’s time in Alaska came to an end. I wished them well and sent them off, knowing they made a difference here. With peace in my heart, I reflected upon the many questions posed by students before their arrival. They overcame fears, demonstrated an increased understanding of high and low context cultural differences, applied their God-given talents to serve others, supported each other, and planned a successful mission trip. This team brought together people and organizations to focus on a shared goal: Serve your neighbor and share the love of Jesus Christ.
Despite all the setbacks and obstacles faced, we know that this transformational time of service impacted everyone involved by changing perspectives and deepening faith.
What a blessing we all have to be a part of God’s powerful and life-changing mission!
Deac. Britt Baumgartner – Development/Communications
As we walk through life, there are undoubtedly experiences that change us irrevocably. I think of the path a caterpillar walks before transforming into a butterfly. There are good times of leafy abundance, scary times of evading predatory birds, and maybe times of sickness or injury. Eventually, the caterpillar spends time in a chrysalis and emerges as a butterfly.
God is always working through this life to transform us into the image of His Son, Jesus. God’s love impacts and transforms lives, from the student who served with the Faith Lutheran team to the hungry who received food by their hand. His love transforms people not just in the moment but for eternity. A donation, a hug, a hand up, a hand out – these things change us.
Just imagine how each encounter can share the love of Jesus. Imagine how encountering Him can transform the world!