Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Thankful for Vital Communication that is ALWAYS Open!

Dear Members and Friends of St. John, 


I’ve heard many times in recent years that we live in “The Age of Communication.”  People are “on-line”, “plugged-in”, and “connected” . . . supposedly.  Modern technology exists all around the world.  People in Alaska can talk to and see what is happening in New York City, in China, or Africa!  Even in the village of Eek we saw children on their cellular devices – connected!


But some say, with good reason, that there is too much information available and we experience “information overload.”  Have you gone to Google to find out information on a topic?  Have you visited Wikipedia?  Once you find your information, is it reliable?


Others say that we are so “connected” that there is no real communication.  People communicate by Facebook, or by text message, or by e-mail (like this one).  But, how many people sit down and look another person in the eye, and talk person to person about something really vital or important?  Perhaps in this “Communication Age” there is less real communication going on in the lives of individuals.


These topics fill my mind and heart because we had a communication challenge while our St. John AMC VBS team was in the village of Eek in early July.  I had thought of trying to get a GCI cell phone for our trip, knowing that GCI is the only network that works in much of rural Alaska.  (I learned this fact most vividly when my daughter, Mary, was teaching in Chevak.)  But, I never got around to making those arrangements.  We had no GCI network phone.


So, while in Eek, all our adults had cell phones, but we could not use them to call, or to text, or to get onto the internet.  This created some communication challenges.  Not only could we not communicate with family at home, but also had some challenges reaching people in the village.  For example, our contact, George Alexie, would come by the place we were staying a number of times a day.  We could ask questions and get things taken care when George visited.  But, if we needed to contact George we could not do so.  We did not have phones that worked.


In order to travel by plane to and from the villages, a person gets in touch with the Airline Contact.  Emma was the airline contact person in Eek.  When we wanted to check on our flights out of Eek we were told to get in touch with Emma.  But, we did not have phones that worked.


One of the blessings in Eek is they now have a water system up and working.  George says he got water to his home last summer.  However, there was no running water yet in the place we stayed.  Yet, the village did open up the washerteria for us.  Fritz was the person in Eek in charge of the washerteria and opened it up one night so we could use the showers.  Realizing how much we appreciated the showers, Fritz later came by to tell me, “Anytime you want a shower, just call me up and I’ll open it for you.”  But, we couldn’t call Fritz.  We did not have phones that worked.


Our team is not the only example of people having trouble with communicating, even with all our technology.  How about you?  Have you ever called someone, but they did not answer?  Have you ever text-messaged someone, but they did not text back?  Have you ever e-mailed someone, but have gotten no response?  Listening is the most important part of communicating.  But sometimes we also need to speak.  What if you speak, but you are not heard?


There is one very important communication that does not require cell service, and where the One with whom we communicate always hears our message and always answers.  Listen to what Jesus teaches His disciples about prayer. 


7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!


Jesus tells us that our Heavenly Father always hears us.  The Lord always answers us, even if we can’t understand His answer, at least for the moment.  God’s answer always includes His goodness, even if we have trouble seeing, or understanding God’s goodness.


If communicating with others is important, communication with our Lord, our Creator, our Savior, our Comforter, is even more vital.  God speaks to us first in His Word, in the Scriptures and in His Son Jesus.  But, when we respond and speak to God there is never a network problem.  Our Heavenly Father hears and answers with His wisdom and love.  7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.


A Child of God, Thankful for Vital Communication that is Always Open,

Pastor Jonathan          


P.S.  Here are some pictures from our garden last week.


P.P.S.  These are summer pictures of the flowers in our front yard, this week. -


P.P.P.S.  Here are some pictures of an evening of fishing on a local lake.


P.P.P.P.S.  Here are some pictures of halibut fishing with my daughter, Mary, my niece, KJ, and her husband, Brian.  (Thank you, Fred Vasilie, cousin of Mike Sweeney and Karen Sweeney Johnson!)




ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ -   I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have.  (I am regularly adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.)  However, if you do not want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message.




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