Greetings Dear Friends,
As we move into spring with its longer days and warmer temperatures, we are so thankful for the change of seasons here in the far north. Even though the thaw that we in Alaska call "Breakup" is still a month or more away, it lifts our spirits to finally see an end in sight to winter's icy grip.
Spring is also missions conference season and our two teams of representatives were busy recruiting and sharing the ministry of VFCM with students at Multnomah University and Cedarville University.
Jim and Dee Miles at Multnomah University. John and Pat Fenton at Cedarville University.
We are still trying to get out to Hughes to make repairs to our radio translator there, and we have just got word that our translator in Ambler is off the air. Pray for good weather and God's blessing and protection as we fly out to these remote villages. Pray also that God will give us opportunities to share the love of Christ while we are out there.
Ever since we installed the translator network, we have felt that it would be ideal to have the programming on the translators tailored to the culture of the people group of the region. Alaska is a vast land with over twenty different native languages. In each of the three areas we have stations, there are distinct and different people groups.
Unfortunately, it was cost prohibitive to lease three separate satellite channels to feed the various translators with unique programming. So up until now we have had all the translators fed by KIAM in Nenana, which has a predominantly Athabaskan Indian format.
In the last few months we have been testing a technology that can feed the translators over the internet. This has allowed us to use KYKD in Bethel, which has a Yupik Eskimo format to feed the translator in the Yupik village of Hooper Bay. It has worked so well, that we are planning to the feed the Yupik villages of Aniak, Kalskag, and Quinhagak from KYKD.
This is a huge blessing and an answer to prayer as we will be able to more effectively minister to the Yupik people with music and scripture in their native language. Coinciding with this, the entire Old and New Testament have just this year been translated into Yupik. While English is still the predominant language among native people today in Alaska, the number of fluent Yupik speakers in the western Alaskan villages is approximately 75%
This month we retired our last vacuum tube type transmitter and replaced it with a modern solid-state unit. The new transmitter was provided at no cost to the ministry. This will save electricity and since the solid-state unit needs no periodic adjustments it will lessen the work load on our staff. God is so good.
As our part of the world moves from the suspended animation of deep winter to spring and the all-too-short summer, pray that God will allow us to complete all the outdoor repairs and maintenance tasks that are on our list to accomplish this year.
Pray for our missionaries as well, that God will encourage them and meet their financial needs as they serve here.
Pray for the native people of Alaska, that the Holy Spirit will speak to hearts through the music and teaching we broadcast.
Pray for the villages, for more of God's people to answer the call and go to these places to live out the gospel and minister to the people there.
Even though Alaska is part of the United States, the differences between the major cities and the rural areas is much like the Third World. Many rural villages are dark and lawless places plagued by alcoholism, suicide, and domestic violence. Christ is the only lasting solution for the horrible conditions and despair that exist there.
These areas are largely out-of-sight and out-of-mind to the majority of Americans and even the majority of Alaskans. Pray that more churches will see the needs in this part of the world. (Below, a typical Native village.)
Village of Grayling city office and post office. Main Street, Grayling
As always, we are so thankful to God for your faithful prayers and support. Your involvement in this ministry is making a difference that will last for eternity.
Blessings in Christ,
VFCM Executive Director