Arctic Mission Worker Ends Her Adventure

September 29, 2016 | JoAnn Stevens

Viola Kaiser joined the Alaska Conference as an Arctic Mission Adventure (AMA) volunteer in November 2014. As a single woman in remote Alaska, she has experienced quite a culture shock as well as challenges, but with strong faith and determination has made her time in Gambell a success. She writes:

As I write this report, the realization hits me that my time here on St. Lawrence Island in the village of Gambell has gone by with a rapidity that exceeded my anticipation. The last few weeks after July camp meeting have been very busy ones.

For starters, I was delayed a day in getting home due to weather conditions on the island. When I did arrive, I found the paint crew from Palmer and another from Tennessee hard at work. They were near to completing the painting of the church making excellent use of the long hours of daylight. We had prayed that, though it was the rainy season, God would hold back the rain until they were done. God heard and granted that blessing.

The painting was completed about midday on a Thursday. After eating, the volunteers took time to go up the hill and acquaint themselves with some of the birds that dwell on the island. They were rewarded with some great shots of several birds.

On Friday, in spite of rain, they did a great job picking up and cleaning around the church. On Sabbath, they conducted the 11 a.m. church service with music and special music included — a real treat, as we have no musician for Sabbath service. They also helped prepare the Sabbath meal for everyone, including church members, and enjoyed fellowship during meal time.

After a short walk, they flew off to Nome to head back to their various dwellings on Sunday. They were a great bunch to have around. They shipped out their own food, prepared their own meals (even included me as I was able), and conducted morning and evening worship. They left quite a bit of food, which I used for the next group — an added blessing.

On the following Wednesday, Pastor Leon and Delores Ringering, along with Larry Goodhew and Lynden Belin, arrived on the evening Bering Air flight with all their baggage and food, followed by a second plane arriving with freight immediately after. With a trailer that was out of repair, there was no way to haul all the freight.

With a lack of time and space, suffice it to say that God is awesome! Through a series of astounding miracles, the freight was brought to the church by the Jared Koonooka family. Through God’s providence, the guys completed the emptying and removal of the old oil tank and, with the help of the strong arms of Jared and his son, hoisted the new one in place.

The next day, along with many other duties, the tank shed was relieved of much junk, and a new vinyl door was installed. The women kept the work crew fed and strengthened for the work with three meals per day. After a light meal and evening worship on Friday, we rested for the night.

On Sabbath, Pastor Ringering presented the message and we ate a meal with just the five of us. The men went birding, and the women took a walk around the loop by the ocean and back home in time for evening vespers. Pastor Ringering had Larry Goodhew share stories of miracles from his various building projects around the world, which we all enjoyed. Afterward we had a light meal, evening worship and off to bed in preparation for another day of labor.

On Sunday, the new line to the heaters was installed, heaters were refired, and they started running (with a bit of extra effort) — the job was completed in four days rather than the projected two weeks. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Gambell is in need of an AMA volunteer to take Viola Kaiser’s place. Won’t you consider working in the Last Frontier as a self-supporting missionary? Please contact the Alaska Conference at 907-346-1004 or email with your interest.