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.
VFCM Executive Director