Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the great northwest

Well just wanting to update you all on this time up north to St. Lawrence island.

we got in to the first village called savoonga on the 30th of september, me and 2 other YWAM alaska staff. We came with no real agenda, no programs, no set schedule. most of the places we intended to do our "out outreach" never ended up being open, young adults usually have to main hangouts, the gym(they have open gym during the nights normally but due to some major vandalism problems gym was not open) and the teen center ( a teen hangout that sometimes is open, i think run by parents or the suicide prevention team) was also closed. so we ended up keeping our time there pretty low key. Kids will flock to the church at the sound of a open door, and we got to pour into a solid group of more of the "outcasts" the kids mostly from the old housing who werent into sports. it hurts me to see some of these kids with as deep of pain as they have. i dont even like to mention the "sexual abuse rate" partly because i dont know how accurate it is and partly because it hurts my heart but the number that was on the poster was 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys and 88% arent reported. savoonga is where i heard the story of how the island once had a population estimated at 10 000 (which i find hard to believe) to 300 in one year and the power of what one man can have( hopefully my version is somewhat right). one fur trader sailed around the coast of the island trading alcohol for the first time to the siberian yupik eskimos and lots of it so much that they men were out of commission for long enough to fail to hunt in the ever crucial period right before winter. famine and having sold most of the furs proved a deadly combination.
our time in savoonga with the younger adults was very interesting, different from anything before. staying up until 5 in the morning starting worship sessions at 3 in the morning, praying for people, building friendships, calling people towards living Jesus centered lives. there were 3 funerals in the 2 weeks that we were there one young girl 1 and a half years old and a young boy 5 years old and a older man. so being there to pray and even feebly try to comfort not that i gave pat answers, but being there for a few of the family members whom i was friends with previously.

then we went to gambell which is the other village on the island and we have had a great time here so far, we added some maturity and some immaturity haha onto our team a married couple and their 2 young kids and have been more scheduled but in a good way. almost all the people we have come in contact with have seemed really hungry for God there are only a few houses that people did not want prayer at and the youth are asking for prayer, they are asking to worship, they are asking about what happens when we do bad things. there has been alot of opportunities to speak truth. we had a youth group last night where we shared a few testimonies, worshiped and watched a movie called "to save a life" and discussed it. had many meaningful conversations and moments with kids and teens of all ages because we got bombarded with 10 year olds at like midnight, they have until friday off of school and so it has been weird having people show up right as we are trying to wrap things up and quickly changing our game plan to be open to ministering in any way almost anytime. for the most part i have been impressed with the respect youth and kids have for us even though things are shifting towards children being loud and out of control. keep these villages in your prayers and Kevin Smith the pastor of the baptist church in savoonga whom we got to spend some time with and all the other people who serve so faithfully in and out of the church.

our team is doing pretty good, some minor tensions.
and i am doing good, it is a interesting feeling to have your heart broken and yet mended almost at the same time in some situations. we are in a battle, there is so much that i could share ontop of this.

God is good.


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