The Spanish congregation in Anchorage, Alaska, can look back on the year 2016 with a deep sense of gratitude for what can only be described as a year of unprecedented and unexpected blessings. A number of providential occurrences allowed members to experience a faint idea of what it means for God to do “exceedingly, abundantly above” our loftiest aspirations.
It never ceases to amaze me how God uniquely works. Mary Klein’s story began in 1959, and my memories of my grandmother are still vivid and clear as if it was yesterday. When I would visit her, the aroma of fresh bread and caribou stew would fill my nose. After she came to hug and kiss me, I’d hear, “Go eat, beebe!” with her thick Native Alaskan accent.
Love poured from my grandmother to my mother, Cecelia; her two sisters, Marilyn and Linda; my cousins; siblings; and me.
There are many ways we can reach out to make a difference in the lives of others. During December, Anchorage Community Seventh-day Adventist Church women’s ministries seized the opportunity to be involved in their local community by becoming the eyes, heart and feet of Jesus outside the walls of their church.
Nov. 19, 2016, the Sabbath before Thanksgiving, was a day the Bethel Adventist Company had much to give God thanks for. One of our local high school teachers, Aiden Keller, and his fiancée, Deonna Graham, made the decision to demonstrate the committing of their lives to the Lord and His ministry through baptism. But this baptismal ceremony was not an ordinary one because it was done at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Regional Aquatic Health and Safety Center. It was not only a public demonstration but an act of ministry to the Bethel community.
In the fall of 2016, the new movie about Private Desmond Doss' life called Hacksaw Ridge was released. There were quite a few people in the Fairbanks Church excited about the ministry opportunities the movie release provided. After some discussion, the church board decided to purchase 2,500 copies of Hero of Hacksaw Ridge, a book written to complement the movie, to distribute at the theater after the movie's showing.
The Juneau (Alaska) Church family supports their community by volunteering at the Glory Hole, a local soup kitchen/homeless shelter. Every fourth Sunday of the month, volunteers participate by helping to prepare and serve the dinner meal.
Since the ministry began in 2009, the church family has donated and prepared all the food on the Sundays when they serve. Members interact and pray with residents as well as sing with them before serving the meal.
Wes Youngberg, a practicing clinical nutritionist and lifestyle medicine specialist in Temecula, Calif., came to the Wasilla Church Oct. 7–8, 2016, to kick off a Diabetes Undone seminar. This was the first time a seminar such as this was done in Alaska.
The Wasilla Church was packed that Sabbath with an overflow crowd that came to hear Youngberg’s lectures on this preventable and reversible disease that has plagued so many people. The main title for his lectures was “Goodbye Diabetes, Heart Disease and Alzheimer’s: Preventing and Reversing Disease the Natural Way.”
Alaska Native Adventists gathered recently at the Alaska Conference headquarters in Anchorage for the first of what is planned to be a semiannual meeting with the goal of establishing and empowering Alaska Native people in church leadership.