Tribal Court Judge Ends Search for Bible-keeping Church

A trip to her local Fred Meyer store in Fairbanks, Alaska, two years ago, began a journey for Blanche Vest, a Tanana Chiefs Conference tribal court judge, that resulted in her baptism in Harding Lake during Alaska's Interior Camp Meeting in June. On that day, Vest met Rayna Hamm, her professional acquaintance and good friend, as she came into the store. Hamm, a Fairbanks Church member, invited Vest to a Bible study she was starting.

Vest was born in bush Alaska near Kotzebue and at an early age went to Wrangell Institute, a boarding school in Wrangell, Alaska. Her high school years were at Mt. Edgecumbe, another boarding school in Sitka, Alaska. Her grandpa was a Shaman. She was raised a Catholic but became disillusioned during her high school years when she attended a Sunday church with her cousins. She came to the conclusion that she needed to study each religion.

"I'm now on my second time reading through the Bible," reports Vest. "I cannot judge the church by its members. I have to make sure they follow the Bible."

Vest understands the devastating effects of depression. After her son was murdered, she slipped into a seven-year black hole of substance abuse. "I owe it all to God," states Vest, referring to how one day she awoke to her condition. Her determination drove her through the extended process of getting degrees in para-professional counseling and social work.

November 01, 2008 / Alaska Conference