Thoughts About Alaska

I’ve been telling folks at my church that the days and weeks have been running together lately. Part of this is because it’s summer, and summer days tend to be less remarkable somehow than days through the rest of the year.

The main reason I feel my days are running together is because in the last two weeks I’ve had the blessed opportunity to minister to children in Anchorage, Alaska, and at my church during our Vacation Bible School.

Myself and three others comprised our mission team tasked with working in Alaska with GraceWorks Alaska. This is an organization whose sole purpose is to minister to impoverished children in public parks around Anchorage and the surrounding areas.

Our team was assigned to Kanchee Park, a small public park near Central Baptist Church in Anchorage, where our team was housed for the week. We had anywhere from 10 to 30 school-age kids and parents every day. We fed them, played games with them, told them Bible stories, and just spent time getting to know them.

Many of the kids were latchkey. They came from various degrees of poverty. Many wore the same clothes day to day. And yes, some were hard nuts to crack. But a few of them had soft hearts in spite of tragic stories.

I had the opportunity to give the gospel twice – once during our park party on Tuesday evening, and again on Friday. I gave the Bible lesson on Friday. The whole week we talked about Easter and what it means. On Friday, I used my family’s set of resurrection eggs to go through the Easter story. Since it was our last day in the park, we handed out gospel tracks while we were packing up. A couple of the kids recognized the cross in the tract as the cross in the egg we discussed.

Although no kids that we knew of accepted Christ while we were there, I have to believe that those kids will remember this summer, and the group from Nevada came to the park, fed them, and loved on them. Lord willing, I’ll get to go back.

It’s easy to be so laser focused on our particular ministries that we fail to notice other needs, other tasks for the kingdom that God in his sovereignty can use us to accomplish. I feel like I learned to be more mindful of those around me and their particular struggles and needs. I pray I don’t forget that. I pray I don’t focus so intently on the people that come to my church that I forget about the vast majority of people that do not.

All people are souls that Jesus died for. All people matter. May that grip me in the days ahead.