In May of 2013, Christ Lutheran Church in Milford was contacted by a congregation in rural Alaska. They were looking for a group of volunteers to help give the local children a Vacation Bible School. Just a few weeks later, a group of 12 volunteers packed up, flew into Anchorage, and made the 4-hour drive to Copper Center to share the Good News of Christ to the community. Every summer since, they’ve been sending a team to serve at Mt. Drum Lutheran Church. While their Mission to reflect Christ to creation in the Last Frontier has remained the same, the volunteer group has evolved over the past several years as they continue to learn what works best for the little, God-commissioned team and for the community.
On Pentecost Sunday, June 9, the 2019 Alaska Mission team was again commissioned by Christ Lutheran to go serve in Copper Center. They leave June 13 for their 7th Alaska mission trip. Rev. Andrew Johnson says the mission has been a blessing to the congregation, as it has taught them about the power of God and our need to trust in Him. He explains:
Mission work outside of our immediate community can feel like an impossible task, especially in a smaller congregation. Questions of cost and participation are constant companions to our conversation. We are incredibly thankful that the Lord has blessed Christ Lutheran with answers to both over the last seven years. It is only by the graciousness of God that we have been able to sustain this mission to the interior of Alaska. Many of our members have been involved with the mission and have brought home countless stories of the Spirit at work. Sharing these stories is a wonderful reminder of the power of God who works through His Gospel to shape and redeem lives. These stories have formed our outlook for mission here at home as we look for the same Spirit to be at work in our community as we share the Gospel with our friends and neighbors.
The group has a website full of updates and photos of past VBS trips to Alaska. You can see it here. Morgan Peterson, a team member who has been involved from the very beginning, tells the story of the mission in detail here. Christine Kerster, the group leader, posts daily vlogs with updates on the mission as they’re deployed. You can follow those on the website as well as on Facebook and Instagram.
Please pray for the team as they’re deployed, and maybe consider helping next year! Rev. Johnson says they are always looking for others to join them in Alaska.
VBS photos courtesy of Alaska Mission for Christ CLC. Photo of team commissioning by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District, LCMS.