Born-again Native Evangelist

Ivan Juneby, an Alaska Athabascan Native, is evangelistic about his newfound faith. Robert Martinez, Northside Church ( Anchorage, Alaska ) pastor, observed Juneby’s eagerness during the Native Gatherings series held by the Bechtolds in March. “Ivan surprised me with his clear understanding of Bible doctrines,” stated Martinez. “He somehow knew the texts and the Biblical teachings so well and was able to repeat them almost immediately after hearing them for the first time.”

Juneby says, “I marked my Bible and am busy sharing these beautiful teachings with many Native people that I meet in Alaska.”

And busy he stays! Juneby has traveled to 10 interior native villages in Alaska since March sharing the love and power of Jesus. It was standing-room only in a little log-house church in Tok River. “Why don’t we have church service outside?” he asked. They took the pews outside and had a wonderful time. “They didn’t want to see us go,” he adds.

Pastor Emery, a minister of another denomination, invited Juneby to join him in his travels to Native villages. Juneby didn’t keep his Sabbath beliefs quiet. “I shared the truth about the Seventh-day Sabbath with Pastor Emery. He told me that he knew about it and that he thought that it was the correct day of worship.”

While in Copper Center, Juneby preached in a church where his cousin, Adeline Potts, testified to the change she saw in her cousin: “I have known my cousin, Ivan, for many years now. He drank a lot, and I expected him to change someday, but only when he hit rock bottom. But he didn’t have to hit rock bottom. His life is now turned around.”

Many Native people gathered around Juneby and asked the secret to the change. He pointed them to Jesus and to the Scriptures as the sources of powerful change in one’s life. “We shared our testimony and the power of God with them for hours,” he says. “Several young people in that village have become sober as a result!” When asked if he is ever tempted to fall back into his old lifestyle, he tells them, “I grab my Bible and study it. Then I say, ‘You devil, you won’t beat me. I’ll beat you with this Bible!’”

July 01, 2003 / Alaska Conference