2016 Adult Mission Trip – Bethel, Alaska
By Chuck Parker
Dulcie, my daughter, was between jobs and getting quite bored. Deb Vita, my fellow choir member, knew that Dulcie had been to Laredo, Texas twice with Habitat for Humanity so she told me about a Samaritan’s Purse project in Alaska. (Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian humanitarian organization providing physical and spiritual aid to hurting people in over 100 countries around the world.) I asked Dulcie if she wanted to go to Alaska for a week and her reaction was “Alaska! No, it’s too cold! Why not some place like South Carolina?” After thinking it over, she changed her mind so we applied to SP for Dulcie to go to Togiak, Alaska.
While at work a few weeks later, I received a call from SP to schedule Dulcie so I asked them to call her. When I got home, she told me that we would be going from June 26 to July 5. I said, “We?” God works in mysterious ways. When we arrived at base camp in Soldotna, Alaska, we were asked if we could go to Bethel, which was behind schedule, rather than Togiak. We said yes, so we were off to Bethel. The project was working on a new house for the Alaskan Moravian Seminar, established in 1955, which provides training for Native (Yupik Inuit tribe) Christians leaders.
Bethel is a town of 6,000, approximately 400 air miles from Anchorage and 80 miles from the mouth of the Kuskokwim River. It’s a regional hub for 56 surrounding villages. It also has a severe drug and alcohol abuse problem.
We had a 10-person team. Dulcie was the youngest (25), then a pastor from Virginia (45), then me (59), with everyone else being older. We hailed from California, Maine, Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington and Alaska. During our week, we framed the house, making it ready for the electrician and insulators to come the following week.
It was a fulfilling week and our presence there was a visible witness to the local people.