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Entries in Art Thompson (26)


October 2015

NOTE: to download the newsletter as a document, click HERE

Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

Our Fall season (which usually lasts about two weeks) has turned out to have been unseasonably warm. We were able to get our winter preparations completed with ample time to accomplish several additional tasks before hard winter sets in.

One of those tasks was to install the new translator in the village of Iliamna. This was the last of the four translator applications that we were granted in 2013 that we had to have on the air before their November 2016 expiration date. Praise God! They are now all on the air and well before the FCC deadline.

We have a number of winter projects that we hope to start on now that the installation of the new FM and the Iliamna translator are completed. One project that has been on hold for a while has been to finish installing the backup generators at KIAM and KAGV. We have all the equipment, it is just a matter of connecting it all up.

Please pray that God would provide the break in our "normal" workload to catch up with some of the maintenance work and get some of these projects completed.

Pray too, that God will call more workers to the field. That is actually our greatest need at this point.

Sometimes it can be hard to present a ministry that is working within the United States as a "mission". It can be difficult for some to grasp that we are ministering to a culture from the standpoint of us being the foreigners in their land. The cultural differences between the cities and the villages here in Alaska are far greater than what most folks would expect to exist in the USA. Rural Alaska is very much like a foreign field with many of the same needs.

Recently, the director of a mission that works primarily in Africa visited here and commented that rural Alaska does not seem to be substantially different than where he ministers. Other than that, people are not (usually) shooting at you. But then again, it can get really cold here.

Please pray that God will raise up a new generation of people with a vision for proclaiming the gospel in this vast and wild land.

God has promised that He would call people from every tribe and every nation to Himself including the tribes and nations here in Alaska. Pray too, that He will also raise up a new generation of Native Christian leaders.

As always, thank you so much for your prayers and generous support. Your partnership with us is having an eternal impact in the lives of rural and Native Alaskans.

Art Thompson
VFCM Executive Director 


September 2015

NOTE: download the full newsletter with images HERE

Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

As I write this, our short summer has come to an end. With winter at our doorstep we are scrambling to get everything finished and secured before the deep cold sets in. Looking back over the last few months I am amazed at God's provision and Grace.

He has allowed us to get the new FM station in Nenana on the air and we have received the final approval from the FCC with the grant of a new station license for the increased coverage.

A few weeks ago, an aviation ministry that operates here in Alaska contacted us and offered to assist us with the logistics of maintaining our translators in some of the remote villages that they fly into regularly. They also offered to fly us to Iliamna to install the new translator there this fall. This is a major answer to prayer as we lack the resources to regularly visit all of our installations and there are often several that are off the air until we are able to get out to them. We were wondering how we would be able to accomplish the Iliamna installation this year. Praise God, for His provision!

As someone said to me the other day, "God never surprises, but He always amazes"

On a different note, there is a situation that we want to make you aware of that we are trusting God will work out to his glory. I had alluded to it in in several previous newsletters, but have not gone into detail about it until we felt we had discerned God's direction and leading in how to proceed. So, here goes.

We have recently had to deal with an issue that was inadvertently caused many years ago by a previous board of directors and the founder of our ministry. It is one of those things that happens all too often, in that the founders of a ministry sometimes overlook the effect that a decision might have on the next generation of leadership. Or in our case, what might happen if the founding leader suddenly goes home to be with the Lord.

What occurred was, our founders acquired from the ministry a portion of the property that our AM tower sits on. Unfortunately, the only access to the property they acquired is through our antenna farm. The FCC requires that for us to transmit, only authorized station personal can have access to that area. Since there is really no affordable way to reroute the road around the FCC restricted area, we were faced with the choice of either purchasing their house or eventually shutting down our main AM station in Nenana. While there may have been other options, none of them would have been within our ability to accomplish or would have been biblical to pursue.

What we have decided to do is to purchase the property using a combination of a bank loan, reserve operating capital, and a generous donation from one of our directors. We had been praying over the course of a year for wisdom in how to deal with this situation, after Dee had informed us that she intended to sell the house and move to Washington State to live there with her new husband.

We feel that God has led us to the best solution and we are trusting that He will provide what is needed to accomplish it. While this is not the most opportune time for us to go into debt to purchase property, the upside is that we will have a place for our newest appointees to live when they arrive on the field.

We are trusting and praying that as God provides, we can retire the loan within a few years. As of this writing we still have a few more hoops to jump through with the bank, but we hope to close escrow by the end of the month.

I share all this not for the purpose of casting aspersions on anyone, as I am sure that the arrangement that was made back in the 1980's made good sense at the time. I feel however, that in the interest of transparency we have an obligation to share with you what we are doing and why we are doing it. As well, we covet your prayers in this decision as we move forward to position the ministry so that it will be able to continue, if the Lord wills and tarries, well beyond our tenure in leadership.

We have several other prayer requests that we would like to share with you as well.

Palmer Bailey, our station manager in Bethel has just had open heart surgery to replace a defective heart valve. His surgery was successful and so far his recovery is going well. Pray for Palmer and Bonnie as they go through this time, for God's comfort and healing.

Pray also for Mike and Valerie Arena as they raise support to come serve here at VFCM. Mike has many skills in the areas of leadership and administration and they both have an incredible heart to serve.

Kelsie Anderson, who was serving at KAGV in Houston (Alaska) for the summer is planning to stay on through to the end of the year. Pray that God will provide leading and direction for her next steps in life and ministry.

And most importantly, pray that the Holy Spirit will use the broadcasting of His Word and the truth of the Gospel to touch the hearts of our listeners and that our lives and witness will demonstrate God's love for them.

As always, we are so thankful for your faithful prayers and support. You play an important part in taking the good news of hope and salvation in Christ to a dark and needy part of our world.


Art Thompson Executive Director. 


April 2015

NOTE: to download the full newsletter with images, click HERE!

Greetings in the name of our Lord.

Spring has finally arrived in Alaska. The tripod that was placed on the frozen Tanana River last winter has gone out with the ice signaling the unofficial start of spring in the state. The snowbirds (both avian and human) are starting to return as well.

We are gearing up for a busy summer of activity and ministry outreach as we see God moving in providing the resources and opportunities.

We are planning to once again participate in the Nenana Gospel Music Festival. This is the third year of the festival and the third year that we have broadcast the event live. The first year the majority of the music groups were from the Lower '48. This year nearly all of the musicians and singers are from Alaska. Radio has been an incredible way to extend the reach of this ministry to the entire state of Alaska and beyond.

VFCM will be holding its Spring Board Meetings in Nenana May 8-9. It will be a special time of rejoicing as we celebrate 30 years of God's provision in broadcasting the gospel to rural Alaska.

KIAM in Nenana went on the air in June of 1985.

KYKD in Bethel had been off the air for some time before we acquired it in 1995, so this year marks the 20th year of a continuous gospel broadcast in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

KAGV in Big Lake initially signed on in 2004, however it was plagued with technical problems and suffered from flooding. The station finally began continuous broadcasting on August 8th 2005. Ten years ago. It seems like it was just the other day... That was my first time in Alaska.

We have several groups of short-term workers that have indicated that they intend to come up this summer to help us with several maintenance projects. We thank God for this blessing as we are stretched so thin that we often have trouble keeping up with things.

Kelsie Anderson arrived from Nebraska to serve at KAGV for the summer. It will be a real blessing to have someone at the station to help with on-air tasks and give a more live presence to the programming.

We appreciate all the prayers and encouragement we have received. Seeing God's Word proclaimed and lives touched by the truth of the Gospel makes it all worth while. However, we could not do it without your faithful prayers and support.

Thank you, and may God richly bless you.

Blessings in Christ,

Art Thompson
VFCM Executive Director 


March 2015

NOTE: to download full newsletter, click here!

Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

The month of March has brought many exciting things. The Iditarod Sled Dog Race came through town, accompanied by all the excitement and media attention. KIAM was able to broadcast live from the Nenana checkpoint as the first mushers arrived.

The longer days combined with some unusually warm temperatures bring the possibility of an early breakup. We are hoping to get an early start on several projects we are trusting God to permit us to complete this year.

As of this writing, the project to move KIAM-FM up to the top of FAA hill is progressing. We have filed the paperwork with the FCC and should be able to start work as soon as the snow melts. The computer models predict that this move will increase the coverage of our FM station from 2500 people to over 40,000. Pray that the FCC will approve our request for a location change along with a power increase and for the logistics of installing the equipment up on the hill. There is already a small building with electricity in place at the site along with a tower.

We are also hopeful that we will be able to install the last of the new translators in Iliamna this summer. We have all the equipment necessary. We are just waiting for the church there to decide about installing it at their location. The building is owned by a missionary organization so they have to secure permission, etc. Pray that God will superintend this process and that He will make straight the way.

This month, the Board of Directors approved Mike and Valerie Arena as missionary appointees. Mike and Valerie have now begun the process of raising support to serve with VFCM full time. Pray for them as they begin this new chapter in their lives serving God here in Alaska.


Also this month, Kelsie Anderson will be returning to spend the summer serving with VFCM. It was great to have her here in Nenana last year. This year she will be working at KAGV in Big Lake. There are also several other volunteers and work teams that are planning to come up this summer.

We have been greatly encouraged by God's provision of people and resources, and look forward to what He will do in the coming months. The work at times seems overwhelming, but God has been faithful in providing just what we need at just the right time. The cold and dark days of an Alaskan winter take their toll on all of us here, so we are immensely thankful for your prayers and encouragement.

So, as we emerge from our semi-hibernation and move on to the hectic days of summer, please pray for us to stay focused and dependent on God and His grace. It is only through Him and His power that we are able to perform the task that He has set before us.

Springtime in Nenana

Thank you so much for being a part of taking the gospel to the far reaches our world.

Blessings in Christ,

Art Thompson
VFCM Executive Director. 


February 2015 Update

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


Greetings, in the name of our Lord.

While the rest of the nation has been experiencing an unusually cold winter, here in Alaska it has been relatively warm. Too warm, in fact. The warm temperatures and lack of snow have caused the Iditarod Sled Dog Race to be re-routed through Nenana for only the second time in its history. Because the race start has been moved from Willow to Fairbanks and the first check point is in Nenana, we have an opportunity to cover the race live as it comes through. We are excited by the prospect that there will be a number of folks listening that wouldn't ordinarily tune us in. Pray that they will hear the gospel message as it will be interspersed with the coverage.

Speaking of things moving... We have been given an opportunity to move our FM transmitter from our studio building to a hill across the river. The antenna at the studio is essentially at ground level, but the location on the hilltop is over 1000 feet. Relocating the antenna will greatly improve our FM coverage in Nenana and will fill in some areas that our AM station doesn't reach well at night. We will be able to do this at almost no cost. The owner of the site has offered to allow us to put our equipment and antenna in their building and on their tower rent free.

The new transmitter location will be directly behind the station on the top of the hill.

We have also had some good feedback from our listeners as of late. This has been a great encouragement to our staff. We continue to see God provide as we move closer to the summer. There are several work teams that have expressed interest in coming up and performing some much needed maintenance.

God has been moving and it has been exciting to see. There have been a number of blessings and opportunities that He has given us. In addition to the potential new location for the transmitter, (the FCC must still approve it) one of the folks who is seeking God's direction in serving with VFCM has begun a live morning show at the station in Big Lake. He is able to do this remotely from his home in Georgia. We also have a possibility for the AM station in Fairbanks. There is a church there that has a plot of land that was given them that is ideal for an AM tower. They also already have a low-power FM radio station and are committed to radio ministry.

As well, we plan (Lord willing) to install the new translator at Iliamna this spring.

So, as the warm season approaches, please be in prayer for our missionary staff and volunteers. Pray for safety and that the logistics will work out to accomplish the work. The summers here are so short, and there is so much to do...

We are also seeking God's direction and provision for several things: missionary housing in Nenana as well as a pilot/mechanic to help facilitate maintaining the radio translators in the remote villages.

Thank you again for praying for us and for your financial support. God has thus far met our needs as they have arisen. It is so awesome to see Him provide the opportunities and resources to proclaim the message of salvation and hope in Christ to this needy land. Thank you for being a part of this.

Blessings in Christ,

Art Thompson
VFCM Executive Director.