VFCM Happenings

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Tuesday
Oct282014

October 2014

NOTE: to download with images, click here!

 

Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

Another winter has descended upon us here in Alaska. The fall colors only lasted for a couple of weeks before the first snow came. As we settle in for the dark and cold days ahead, we have much to look back upon over the past months.

One project we have been working on over the last year has been to qualify for membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. On several occasions in the past, VFCM had investigated membership in the ECFA. In each case the process ultimately was abandoned, due in large part to the extra work and expense required to meet their standards of reporting and review.

In recent years, the ECFA has modified some of their requirements to make membership more affordable for small organizations without compromising their high standards for financial integrity and good governance. So, last year the VFCM Board of Directors gave the go-ahead to once again pursue ECFA accreditation. We started the process last November and on October 2nd, VFCM became a fully accredited member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. To God be the Glory.

Winter has arrived.

As we move into the winter months, do be in prayer for us here at VFCM. The short days and sub freezing temperatures along with all the other unique challenges of living here in the Last Frontier can be especially discouraging and stressful this time of year. Pray that God would give us strength and grant us His peace and joy as we serve.

Pray also for our upcoming November board meetings. Pray for safe travel for everyone as the roads can be difficult and dangerous through the mountain passes this time of year.

And especially pray for the people we minister to through the medium of radio and also those who we have personal contact with in our villages.

As always, we are so thankful for your prayers and support. We have seen God do so many amazing things and we thank you for being a part of God's work here in Alaska.

 

Blessings in Christ,

Art Thompson
VFCM Executive Director.

Wednesday
Sep242014

September 2014

NOTE: to download the newsletter complete with pictures, CLICK HERE!

 

Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

It is hard to believe that it is already September. It seems like we just got started working outside and now it is

almost time for us to put our tools away for the winter.

God has been gracious in providing for us over the summer, as He has allowed us to accomplish much to further

the gospel here in rural Alaska.

Three new radio translators are now broadcasting the message of hope and salvation to people who live in some

of the darkest and most remote places in the state. By God's grace, the resources have been provided to repair

some of the more critical issues with our equipment and buildings. Some of this has come in very surprising and

unexpected ways.

God definitely made sure that there would not be any doubt that He was the One that supplied. It is so comforting

to know that He is in control and will provide what is necessary to do what He directs.

One of the more interesting things we received was a gift from one of our listeners who lives out in the bush. She

makes quilts and her husband traps. They come into town several times a year to get supplies and sell their

goods. She donated one of the quilts she made to KIAM for us to sell to help support the station. Her quilts

typically sell for between $1,200 to $1,500 at the local fairs and bazaars.

As we were thinking about how we could sell it we considered using eBay or Craigslist. We instead decided to

offer it to our regular supporters in a "silent auction". If any of you would be interested in acquiring a hand made

quilt with an Alaskan theme and at the same time support the work of Voice for Christ Ministries, this is your

chance...

The quilt is a queen size with embroidery and intricate detail. All the quilting and

embroidery was done by hand and the piecing was done with a treadle sewing

machine. We can send or email detailed photos on request.

One of our Board Members offered to place the opening bid of $1,000. So, if

there is anyone who would like to outbid him for this one of a kind work of art,

please send us a note stating what you would offer for it. At the end of October,

we will review the bids and it will be sold to the highest bidder.

(Over)

As you can probably tell, I am not much of a salesman. However, it is my prayer that in addition to providing funds

to help keep KIAM on the air, this quilt would remind whoever acquires it to pray for us and the people of Alaska.

We were also able to get our one remaining mission house repaired and remodeled. It had been uninhabitable for

the last seven years due to multiple freeze-ups, broken pipes, and water damage. Here are some photos of the

progress:

New kitchen, floors, ceilings, paint, front steps, and a beautiful fall day to get it all completed. Many thanks to all

who helped with donated materials as well as labor and thanks be to God for His provision.

We want to thank you as well, for being a part of taking the gospel to the farthest reaches of this vast land. Your

faithful prayers and support will have an eternal effect as lives are transformed and God's Word is proclaimed.

 

 

Blessings in Christ,

Art Thompson

VFCM Executive Director.

Sunday
Aug242014

August 2014

NOTE: to download the newsletter complete with pictures, CLICK HERE!

Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

As our short summer is drawing to a close, we are rejoicing in what God has done here in rural Alaska. In just this last month, The Lord has blessed us with good weather and volunteer help. We were able to go out and repair the radio translators in Ruby and Hughes, and to do some maintenance on the KIAM studio and VFCM headquarters.

Another blessing was that the Alaska Railroad renewed the permit for our private railroad crossing in Nenana. There had been some concern that the railroad was planning to eliminate our grade level crossing. This would have made accessing and maintaining the KIAM transmitter facility on the other side of the tracks very difficult.

Our original permit and lease had expired in 2004 and had been forgotten about by both the railroad and us. They were very gracious in allowing us to renew the lease in light of a recent AKRR policy to remove all un-permitted crossings. Praise God for His provision and grace in a situation that could have just as easily gone the other way.

From a ministry standpoint, this summer has been very encouraging as well. As I write this, a new radio translator is being installed in the village of Kalskag. There is a small church in Kalskag, which is very excited that the teaching and music the translator provides will not only be an encouragement to the believers in that village, but will also assist the church in evangelizing and discipling the people there.

This August, the staff and volunteers at KYKD have been able to visit several fish camps and villages along the Kuskokwim River near the station in Bethel. Through a partnership with Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB), we have been able to distribute "Son-Set" radios to those living and working in remote areas along the river. These radios are solar powered and are fixed-tuned to the frequency of KYKD and its translators.

We had a number of people come up this month and help us with various projects.

A youth group from a church in Alabama came and cleared brush at the KIAM studio as well as removed deteriorating soundproofing material from one of our broadcast rooms and repainted the ceiling.

The saplings and weeds around KIAM had gotten so thick we could not walk around to the back of the building. As well, the rotting foam on the studio ceiling had become quite a nuisance to folks trying to talk on the air. Having a three foot section of foam fall on you while doing the weather can be quite a shock. So, it was a real blessing to us for them to come up and tackle those projects.

We also had former VFCM missionary Tim Zook and his wife Renee come up here for a visit. While here, Tim showed us how to align the big satellite dish that delivers some of our programs. Tim also helped us check the tuning of of the KIAM tower. As it turns out, it hadn't changed in the 18 years since he had last tuned it.

Tim came to VFCM back in 1985 and was instrumental in putting KIAM on the air. He served here for ten years as KIAM's chief engineer. Renee came to Nenana in 1988 as a VFCM missionary and they were married in August of 1989. They left Nenana in 1995 to serve with HCJB in Ecuador. While they were visiting here, they celebrated their 25th anniversary in the place where they first met.

It was really great to reconnect with these folks and for them to share their knowledge and expertise with us.

Do be in prayer for VFCM as we wait on God to supply the people and resources needed to keep the gospel going out not only over the airwaves but over the river waves as well. While radio can be an effective tool to proclaim God's Word, it still takes people to go out and minister in these dark places. Pray that God will send workers into His harvest. Also pray that the Word of God and the message of hope and salvation in Christ will take hold in the hearts of the people of this great land.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support. It has been such a blessing to us. We have been so encouraged by what God is doing in rural Alaska through you.

Blessings,

Art Thompson
VFCM Executive Director. 

Thursday
Jul312014

July 2014

NOTE: To download the newsletter with pictures, click HERE

Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

The month of July began with a bang as KIAM participated in the second annual Nenana Gospel Music Festival. We were able to broadcast the event live throughout the State of Alaska on KIAM, KAGV, KYKD, and on all our translators and affiliates.

The event was held on a vacant lot right on "A" street which is the main Street in the center of the village. There were many people in town for the Fourth of July parade and other events which preceded the Gospel Fest. The Gospel was clearly proclaimed and this year the majority of the musicians and singers were from Alaska. The groups included several prominent Native Alaskan bands, and many of the musicians gave their testimonies as to how Christ has changed their lives. It was a great time of ministry and outreach especially as we were able to bring the event via radio to many remote villages throughout rural Alaska.

The Gospel Fest began as a vision six years ago to offer a family-friendly alternative to a Bluegrass Festival that was held every year in the nearby town of Anderson. In recent years, this Bluegrass Festival had suffered from a lot of drunk and disorderly behavior and an unpleasant atmosphere of drugs and vulgarity.

Three years ago God sent a couple to visit Nenana who organizes these Gospel Festivals as a ministry. They, along with several local folks and churches worked to put something together for Nenana. Last year, this ministry of outreach to our community and beyond became a reality.

Kelsie Anderson hosts the live broadcast from Musicians warm up as the town prepares to the second annual Nenana Gospel Fest. commence the Fourth of July festivities.

As for the Bluegrass Festival in Anderson? Last year the organizers of the event decided to discontinue it. They cited a variety of reasons, but we know Who's unseen hand moves and directs all things. All praise be to Him!

Another event we have covered is the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics in Fairbanks. We interviewed a number of the athletes and were able to have a presence at an event that has great significance to Native Alaskans. Our prayer is that as we show interest in the life and culture of their people that God will give us the opportunities to show forth the love of Christ and communicate the good news of hope and salvation in Him.

We have been slowly working on getting the projects we had planned to get done this summer completed. We have experienced the wettest summer on record so far and the unrelenting bad weather has prevented us from getting as much accomplished as we wanted.The threat of flooding here in Nenana had also kept us occupied with moving items to higher ground and dealing with water under our buildings. Pray with us that the rain will stop and the rivers and ground water will go down. The two days of the Gospel Music Festival were the only days in nearly two months that it was bright and sunny with no wind and few bugs.

Lord willing, by this time next month we will be broadcasting in the village of Kalskag. This will complete the third of four translators that we were granted last year by the FCC. God has provided the resources to complete this project well before the FCC deadline for getting it on the air. The only remaining translator is in Iliamna and we are still looking for a suitable location for it. Be praying that God provides the necessary contacts and openings to facilitate this. We originally applied for the licenses over ten years ago, and many of the people we were working with at the time are no longer there.

We still have several of our existing translators that are currently off the air. We have all the necessary items to repair them, but we are waiting for logistics and weather to accomplish this. These are in some of the more remote and inaccessible places so we are trusting and praying that God will provide us with the means to get out there.

As always, we thank you all for your faithful prayers and support. Your partnership in this ministry extends the reach of God's word and message of salvation into lands that are truly at "the ends of the earth".

Thank you, and may God bless and encourage you as you serve Him.

Blessings,

Art Thompson
VFCM Executive Director. 

Thursday
Jul032014

June 2014

NOTE: to download the newsletter complete with images, click HERE

Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

Things here at VFCM have been quite hectic this month. Terrie and I have just returned from a trip to the lower '48 where we met with a number of churches and supporters and picked up a van load of donated building supplies. It was a great encouragement to meet with some of you and it is our hope to visit as many of you as we can in the coming months and years. We thank you for your prayers for VFCM over the many years.

We were only gone for a month and it is simply amazing how the foliage has taken over in such a short time.
Just as the plants and bugs know that the summer is short and accelerate their activity, we too are attempting to pack almost a years worth of work into just four months. Come June 21st the days start getting shorter and we begin to hear that voice in our mind whispering; "Winter is coming". By the time August rolls around, it becomes a shout.

Lord willing, we will be able to finish repairs to our transmitter building in Nenana and install the standby generator systems that were donated to KIAM and KAGV before the snow flies.

The KAGV power situation has always been a problem, with frequent power outages that last for several hours. Our previous generator caught fire last year and so we have gone off the air quite a lot since then. A replacement unit was given to us last month and a volunteer in Big Lake has offered to help us install it. God is so good...

At KIAM we have had a new (to us) generator for over a year, but the installation is somewhat more complicated so we have not gotten it online yet. Pray that God will give us the time and wisdom to complete that project as well.

The old KAGV generator after it "ran away" and caught fire.

It had failed to automatically start during a power failure when there was no one at the station. The next day a station volunteer manually started the generator at which time it severely malfunctioned. We never did find a reason for it not to have started the previous day, other than God had prevented it.

We are so thankful that God protected us from what could have been a significant disaster. The generator is only a few feet from the KAGV studio and without someone present to shut it down and extinguish the fire it could have burnt down the building.

 

Another project we are working on this summer is the renovation of one of our missionary houses. The house had sustained significant water damage from frozen pipes and has been sitting vacant for seven years. God has provided through the generosity of several folks, everything needed to complete the project and it should be done by the time winter sets in. This comes none too soon, as the only other house we were using is no longer fit for habitation and we have decided to close it down for good.

The housing situation in Nenana is something that has been a matter of concern for us as of late. On our other fields such as Big Lake there is an ample amount of decent housing for rent. As well, in Bethel through the generosity of our supporters we were able to build a nice duplex next to the station about ten years ago.

However, in Nenana there is really no decent rentable housing available. Nearly all the good housing is rented up by the school district or social services personnel and seldom comes up on the open market. What is left is quite substandard, being rodent and mold infested and often has been flooded out at some point.

When VFCM was founded in 1983, we needed quick and affordable housing for our missionaries. So, the mission obtained a number of 1960's vintage mobile homes which were then placed on our properties and added onto over the years. Unfortunately, after over 30 years of exposure to a climate for which they were never designed these "houses" are at the end of their life and cannot be salvaged. Out of the three mobiles we still have, one has partially collapsed, one is not far behind, and the remaining one was never finished or lived in due to its poor location and condition. So this leaves us with only one properly built house for our Nenana staff which, thanks to God's provision, we were able to renovate.

Do be in prayer for VFCM and our board of directors as we look to God for a solution to this problem. Just as we are trusting that God will send us more people to serve here, we also are trusting that He will provide a place for them to live as well. God's timing is always perfect and we know that He will supply what we need at exactly the time we need it.

On a personal note, June marks the one year anniversary of my appointment as the Executive Director of Voice for Christ Ministries. It has been a great honor and privilege to serve and to witness God do so many miraculous things during our time here. I look forward to seeing what God will do in the next year as he builds His church here in this great land.

One other thing that I wanted to mention is that all of our current administrative staff, myself included, serve as unpaid volunteers. We have retirement or other income that allows us to minister here. What that means is that the mission has no paid staff overhead that we need to fund. So, 100% of what you give to VFCM goes directly toward the operational expenses of VFCM, the stations, or the missionaries that you support.

As always, we thank you for your faithful prayers and support. It is such an encouragement for us to know that folks are praying for the people of Alaska and for VFCM.

Blessings in Christ,

Art Thompson
VFCM Executive Director.