Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
As I write this devotion a team of St. John members is preparing to travel to the village of Eek. We plan to lead Vacation Bible School on behalf of Alaska Mission for Christ for the children of this village. Perhaps the most stunning aspect of this trip is how much we do not know. Rod and Temple Christiansen, Sara Guhl and her grandson, Gaelen Swigart, Marilee Nufer and myself are traveling to Eek . . . but none of us have been there before.
So, on the flight to Bethel, and then to Eek, we will be facing the unknown. On Monday night before we left my daughter, Mary, was explaining to me about traveling through the Bethel Airport. Mary explained that after we arrive inBethel on Alaska Air, and transfer to Raven airlines for the flight to Eek, we will need to get our luggage and take a shuttle to the “Raven Airport.” I just expected that the Bethel airport would be like others through which I’ve traveled. It just shows what I don’t know.
We have talked to our local contact in Eek, George Alexi, to ask questions about what we might expect. We asked George about how many children might attend. George’s first estimate is 30-40 children. However, we also talked to Paul Seidel from Saginaw, MI, who had led teams to Eek before. Paul too says they started with about 30 children in attendance. But, after a few years 90 children attended. Of course, then George told me, “I don’t know. For the last day of Sunday School we prepared 400 hot dogs. They were all eaten!” So how many children will attend? We are prepared for 60. Do we have too many supplies or too few? We don’t know!
We will be staying in the Ministry House next to the church. We have been told there are 2 beds, and a kitchen in this house, but no running water. George says there is a town well where we can get our water. Paul says we should take filters, so we have done that. But, we will find out the situation better when we get there. In truth, we just don’t know.
I asked Paul, and I asked George, about fishing. Paul said the only fishing was done with nets. But George told me the different kind of fish they catch. He told me to bring hiking boots, and that if I bring a fishing pole he’ll “have to go with me.” Mary said that if I go fishing the children will follow. I’m bringing a little equipment. Will I really be able to fish? Will I be able to build relationships through this recreational activity? The truth is, I don’t know.
So, the six of us are going to Eek for the purpose of teaching children about Jesus, but not having been there, we don’t necessarily know what we will find. We’re not sure how many will attend. We are going trusting God will provide.
Have you ever faced life as a child of God not knowing what the future holds? Listen to what the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” We are UNCERTAIN of what we will experience and find. But, what we trust is that God will provide. With the presence and help of God we will have what we need to do His work. We are not trusting ourselves, but we are trusting God and His eternal love. We are UNCERTAIN of how many children will attend. But we are certain that these children, as all children, need the savings love of Jesus.
Life is full of “unknowns.” In the midst of life’s uncertainty there is one thing certain, the love of God in Jesus Christ. So, our team is facing the unknown as we travel to Eek, sure that the Lord who loves us eternally in Jesus will provide what we need to do His work.
A Child of God, Trusting God When Facing the Unknown,
P.S. Here are some pictures of a halibut fishing trip with friend, Pastor Tony Schultz. We fished on Friday, June 29, out of Seward, AK. https://photos.app.goo.gl/v7AjypRkgcPMuPQm6
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.