Good morning! This morning I walked to a local park to pray, think, and write about our first day of ministry in Anchorage. On my way to this spot I passed Elmendorf Air Force Base (across the street from our church) as reveille was playing. There was something very satisfying to hear that call to begin the day. I’m sitting now on a park bench overlooking the port of Anchorage with majestic snow covered mountains on thee horizon. I am reminded that last year I spoke to the Chapel Singers about enjoying the beautiful architecture of Chicago as frozen music. Sitting here today, you can see the symphony of the Creator. It is awesome.
Yesterday was truly abundant. As soon as we were up, we working going through the GraceWorks orientation. This is the organization who brings in groups for 10 weeks each summer, houses and feeds them and provides the ministry spots where we do our work. It was evident that this group has a strong presence in these local neighborhoods. As soon as we arrived on site, the children started coming. It was incredible to see our students jump to action. They began playing with the children and getting to know their names. We then began by providing lunch for all the kids, a wonderful part of the GraceWorks program. During lunch we began to share the Bible story for the day. Our theme this week is the Word, and each day we will explore another attribute of it.
As soon as we came back from our time in the parks we changed clothes, ate, and loaded up for our concert.
This was perhaps the greatest testament to the providence of God that we have witnessed so far. Dr. Seth will join us tomorrow after he arrives from his tour in Austria. We have known for a while that he would not be with us for this first concert, and so we made arrangements to hire an accompanist here in Anchorage. As soon as our plane touched down, however, I received an email saying that that person was no longer available. Since we know no one here in Anchorage we had to rely on others, and God’s provision to find another solution. While the kids were doing their ministry,I was emailing, calling, and texting, strangers trying to find a way to make it work. I was supremely confident that God would make a way for us. One way or another, we would worship that evening. An hour before our warm up I received a call from one of the people we contacted and she had been practicing all afternoon to get ready for us, another of our contacts had given her the music. She was a retired music teacher, who was originally from TEXAS! It was incredible, she had such a wonderful spirit, and played very well. We were able to everything we had hoped to for that service. God is so good.
The service at the Native New Life Fellowship was very unique indeed, and hopefully something that the students won’t soon forget. The meet in another church facility that allows them to use their space. There were not many there, but it was also being streamed and taped, apparently there is a large audience. What was most unique was the sharing that happened from their members. Almost all of them spoke and shared what The Lord was doing in their hearts. It was certainly not what we are used to. When they sang it was raw, and unrefined, not anything like we are used to seeing and hearing. What we saw, however, was that this is how they connected with their community, they were sincere. And mostly, we saw that we don’t have the corner on the market of worship. In our own fellowship we have different methods of sharing and fellowship, but it was very good to see these people sharing their hearts and finding a community that would love and support them. It was a good day.