Dillingham Member Spreads Message in Remote Villages
Jim Bingman, a Dillingham (Alaska) Church member, felt the need to visit an old friend’s son in Togiak, Alaska, a growing village of approximately 1,200 people, in the spring of 1999. Although a church member, the son was no longer attending, and Bingman thought he could offer encouragement.
That visit was the beginning of a ministry for Bingman. Over the next couple of years, he began visiting other residents of the village on Sabbath afternoon. As their friendships developed, they started asking questions about the Bible.
It wasn’t long before there was a core group meeting every Sabbath for a Bible study in the old church building. Bingman brought guest speakers each week until one week no one was available to accompany him. On that Sabbath Bingman had his first opportunity to preach a sermon. He has been preaching every week since.
Soon the group grew to 15 regular attendees. The 45 adults and 25 children who now attend the meetings on a regular basis exceed the capacity of the sanctuary. The cramped conditions of 25 children meeting in an 8x10-foot room does not deter them from coming each week.
A few years ago, a young lady from Togiak asked Bingman to take her to Dillingham so that she could tell her brother, Richard Amatunak, that their nephew had passed away. Amatunak was being held in the Dillingham jail on felony charges related to his drinking habit. He recognized a need for change in his life and began to ask Bingman questions.
Upon his release from jail, Amatunak began to attend the weekly services in the Togiak chapel. As he studied God’s word, his family began to see changes in his lifestyle. He quit using alcohol and tobacco products. He no longer felt the need for drugs in his life. When asked about the biggest change in his life, Amatunak said, “My family isn’t afraid of me anymore.”
Amatunak is studying for baptism and looks forward to the day when he can attend church in a new building in his home village of Togiak.
His advice for other young people in his village: “Change your life, pray and give yourself fully to God.” Amatunak hopes to one day preach the word in the new church in Togiak and share with others how God has changed his life. He looks forward to baptism and Jesus’ soon return.
There is a great need for workers in these remote Alaska villages where the Holy Spirit is moving just as in Togiak.