VFCM Happenings

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format

 

Entries in Art Thompson (26)

Monday
Jun132016

May 2016

NOTE: click HERE to download the newsletter

Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

May has been a very busy and eventful month.

We were able to reinstall the FM translators at Hughes and Sand Point in a more reliable and permanent location. We will hopefully be doing the same for the village of Grayling this June. We are well on our way to the goal of having all of the stations back on the air this summer.

We have also made great strides in the area of arranging local contacts in the villages who will help us with the maintenance of these stations. It is very encouraging to see people in each of these villages become excited about the gospel witness and discipleship the programming we broadcast provides. While most of the villages that we have translators in now have a functioning church, there are still several villages that do not.

We also were able to iron out a number of glitches with our new automation system and reduce some of the work load that the seemingly constant computer crashes were causing.

Speaking of workload, our longtime KIAM station manager Brian Blair will be moving on after 12 years of faithful service with VFCM. His wife Laurie also served as our office manager. We are sorry to see them go, but they feel God is leading them elsewhere. We are keeping them on our payroll until November to give them time to transition to whatever God has next for them.

Please pray for the Blairs as they seek His will and direction. As well, pray for VFCM as we will have to find a way to distribute the approximately 50-60 man hours a week of duties to our already overworked personnel.

God has already provided a couple of experienced volunteers to help with the on-air duties at KIAM later in the summer. This will give us some relief but it is only temporary. Pray that God provides the financial support for our appointees Mike and Valerie Arena to come to the field soon. Pray that God will call others as well. There is just so much work to do.

Another challenge that we would ask prayer for is our aging buildings in Nenana. We have a number of pressing maintenance needs that we simply don't have the manpower to accomplish. There were two work teams that had tentatively committed to coming up this summer, but now it looks like they probably will not make it this year. We know that God has everything under control and that His timing is perfect. I just pray that some of this can make it through another winter.

I do want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for praying for us and supporting the ministry of VFCM financially. Your support has made it possible to take the gospel to some of the darkest and neediest places in the world.

Again, thank you for your part in taking the gospel to the furthest reaches of this vast and wild land we call "The Last Frontier"

Blessings in Christ,

Art Thompson,
VFCM Executive Director. 

Wednesday
May042016

April 2016

Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

Spring has definitely arrived here in the great north. The ice has gone out on the rivers and the fires that burned in wood stoves all winter have finally gone out as well. It is now nearly midnight before the skies are completely dark.

This time of year is particularly busy as we attempt to arrange and prioritize projects based on the anticipated resources. As they say here, "summer is short and winter is coming".

So, here is a quick update on the goings on at VFCM over the last few months.

Kelsie Anderson, (now Kelsie Vrenna) came up from Nebraska last year to help for the summer at KAGV in Big Lake. While in Alaska, she met Daniel Vrenna and they were married on February 20th. Kelsie plans to continue helping with KAGV. Praise God for His provision for her and for the ministry!

Mike and Valerie Arena are still in the process of raising funds to be able serve in Nenana. Pray that God will provide the finances soon as we are in desperate need of additional personnel.

Palmer Bailey at KYKD in Bethel is working on a project to record a Yupik audio Bible. They are at about 20% of completion, and are making great progress. This will be a great aid to those who speak Yupik, but do not read the written language very well.

We are hoping to be able to repair and upgrade several of our village FM translator stations this summer. Pray with us for the logistics and weather to work out to accomplish this task.

The warm winters we have had over the last two years have caused the permafrost to start to melt at the KIAM tower site. A small sinkhole has developed under one corner of the transmitter building and is causing the structure to tilt slightly. Pray that God will provide summer work teams to help with stabilizing the building as well as several other urgent maintenance projects. We have had inquiries from two churches regarding sending up workers for a mission trip, but nothing definite as of yet.

There are several other items that are still "up in the air" as of this writing. I hope to have more to report in our next newsletter.

As always, we thank you for your faithful prayers and support. It is such an encouragement to see God working through His people.

Blessings,Art Thompson

VFCM Executive Director 

Tuesday
Mar082016

February 2016 Update

NOTE: to download a printable version, CLICK HERE

Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

The days are growing longer and the sun is getting warmer. Spring is almost upon us here in the Great North. Soon this land of darkness will give way to the land of the midnight sun. Even though it will be a couple of months more before the ice and snow disappears, this time of year always brightens our spirits as we anticipate the coming summertime. We are now gaining around 7 minutes of daylight per day.

Sadly though, for a number of folks here in Alaska, the dark days of winter have taken their toll. The hopelessness brought about by alcoholism, domestic violence and abuse, when combined with the lack of sunlight produce a crushing depression that for some is simply too much to bear. Suicide, especially among youths, has become an epidemic in Alaska. This winter has been no exception. While these issues are not unique to Alaska, the harsh environment here has had the effect of amplifying a bad situation.

We know that true hope, healing, and forgiveness can only come from a relationship with Christ. There have been no social programs or secular counseling that has proven effective. The only thing that can cause a lasting change in our villages is the Gospel.

Please be in prayer that more people will answer the call to come to minister to the people of Alaska. The various reality shows that feature Alaska have called attention to the Last Frontier, but not always in a good or accurate way. The need here is great, but the workers are few.

Pray also, that God will give us more opportunities to share the Good News using the medium of radio as well as in person. We have a busy summer of ministry and outreach ahead of us, do pray that God will give us the strength and the resources to accomplish the task.

As always, we are thankful to God for your prayers and support of the ministry of VFCM. Your partnership is crucial to us being able to take the message of hope and salvation in Christ to rural Alaska.

Blessings,

Art Thompson
VFCM Executive Director

Wednesday
Feb032016

January 2016

NOTE: to download the newsletter with pictures, click HERE!

Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

As we embark upon a new year we are encouraged that God has already provided us with new opportunities for the coming year. Winter is barely half over, and we already have several new projects scheduled for this spring and summer.

The year started out with VFCM being awarded a grant from the Shasta Regional Community Foundation's, Elmer H. Schmidt Christian Broadcasting Fund. This grant is designated to purchase the materials to renovate our studios and headquarters in Nenana. The facilities are over 30 years old and the buildings are in various states of disrepair. Two work teams have tentative plans to come up this summer to perform the needed repairs. This is such a blessing from God, as we are not able at this point to do anything more than keep the stations on the air.

We also have an unexpected opportunity to relocate a translator from a village where the population has dwindled to just a few individuals, to a village that has a population of nearly 900.

Normally the FCC would not permit this. However, since the new village has no other radio service at this time the FCC said they might allow it.

The current village has been virtually abandoned since the sole source of employment there burned down a few years ago. Due to the remoteness of the village and other factors, there are no plans to rebuild.

Please pray that the application for the move will be approved, and that things will go smoothly. We had applied for a translator license in the potential new location back in 2003, but the application was dismissed. The believers in that village are very excited that there could be another chance to have a Christian radio station there. We will keep you posted as to the progress.

We hope to visit as many of the translator locations as we are able this summer as well.

KIAM once again had a booth at the Nenana Christmas Bazaar. We did a remote broadcast from the bazaar and in the process we were able to test some new types of equipment that we put together to better cover indoor events within the village. The test was quite successful, and going forward we will be able to send a high quality remote feed from anywhere in town without using a phone line or a big outside microwave antenna.

We will also be able to broadcast the Nenana Gospel Music Festival this summer with even better sound quality and efficiency.

As always, we are so thankful to God for your faithful prayers and support. The impact you are having on some of the most remote and inhospitable places is significant. God's Word, and the good news of salvation in Christ is being proclaimed in even more places thanks to your partnership with us. To God be the glory!

Thank you, and may God bless you.

Art Thompson
VFCM Executive Director 

Sunday
Dec132015

November 2015

NOTE: to download the newsletter with images, click here!

Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

The Holiday season is now upon us. As we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, we praise God for His provision and grace. Most of all, at this time of the year we are eternally thankful for the provision of His Son as a sacrifice for the payment of our sin.

During this season of thankfulness and celebrating the birth of our Lord, we are working to use this time to point people who have no hope to the Savior.

Here at VFCM we have much for which to be thankful. God has been faithful to provide for His work in awesome ways.

Back in September we were in the process of obtaining a mortgage to purchase property that the ministry's founder had split off from the KIAM tower site. It was necessary for a variety of reasons for us to put the property back together.

During the course of applying for the mortgage, we had experienced numerous hurdles and delays. We were concerned as the closing date was approaching and we were still being delayed by the bank dragging their feet.

We now know that it was God that was delaying the loan. Less than a week before closing, we received an anonymous donation that made it possible for us to buy the property without taking out a mortgage. I can't tell you how good it felt to tell the bank (after all they put us through) that we no longer needed the loan. The amazing part about all this was how God worked it out so that not only did we not need the loan but we were able to make the purchase without depleting any of our reserve funds. The donation was in the form of publicly traded stock and, between the time it was donated and the time it was sold it had increased in value. In fact, it had gone up in price dramatically, so that along with several other donations the funds were almost the exact amount (within $500) of the total purchase price.

To add to that, the stock price declined to the previous level just after the shares were sold. Only God can do something like that! (Just ask any investor.)

God is just so amazing. We are rejoicing in what He has done and we are so encouraged that He will provide for His work.

We are also thankful for the opportunities that God has provided for ministry in the last few years. We got word that after the Iliamna translator went on the air, a church in Anchorage planned to purchase FM radios and distribute them to everyone in the village. The new FM in Nenana is reaching out to several villages where the AM station is difficult to receive at night due to interference. As well, we are getting feedback from the three other villages that now have new FM translators indicating that they are having an effect for the kingdom.

We have also had several personnel changes over the last year.

Mike and Valerie Arena, who were accepted as appointees last March, are still on track with their fundraising. Lord willing, they will be able to come on as full time staff by this time next year. Please pray for them as they work toward coming to the field. We are so short handed and it will be a great blessing to have them come on board.

We have also had several volunteers that are helping us this year, Kelsie Anderson and Debra Housmann have been working at KAGV in Houston.

LeRoy and Sarah Miller, after several years of deputation with VFCM have come to the conclusion that their ministry here in Alaska would be better served if they were independent missionaries. They will still help VFCM from time to time, but they are no longer pursuing full time service with us. Those who desire to continue supporting their ministry should contact them directly as they are no longer officially with VFCM.

In 2013 Dee Eldridge, the widow of VFCM founder Bob Eldridge, met and married Jim Miles of Port Angeles, Washington. Jim did not wish to relocate to Alaska so at that time Dee left the field and moved to Washington State to live with her new husband.

Normally, under those circumstances our mission's policy would have required her retirement. However, we decided on a trial basis to allow them to serve as representatives for the mission. Unfortunately, she has not been able to raise sufficient funds to cover her salary. Also, since she is not on the field, she is not able to devote enough time to direct mission work for us to be able to justify to the IRS her full time missionary status. As a result, the board of directors of VFCM has requested that she retire effective the first of the year.

Please be in prayer for Dee as she embarks upon this new chapter in life with Jim and their ministry in Washington and Oregon with the IFCA and Young Life.

I am also pleased to report that even though we have had some significant increases in our costs and expenses this last year, it looks like VFCM will be ending the year in the black.

Again, we thank God for His provision and we thank you for your prayers and support. While many of the teaching programs that we air are pleading for money at this time of the year to make up for some significant deficit, we are praising God for providing us with what is needed to accomplish what He has given us to do.

May God bless you richly this Holiday Season.

Art Thompson
VFCM Executive Director