[The following is a report I received this week from our missionary friend, Justin Vold, in Alaska; it’s worth reading, from the standpoint of what kind of experiences he and others serving Christ there have at times. — MT ]
It is a joy to report to you that we experienced the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit as we were given the opportunity to evangelize in Tuntutuliak. We were able to witness the grace of God poured out on those whom God brought to the meetings and saved.
Although there were some challenges and hardships along the way, we always find God faithful. One such challenge was the severe weather which gave more opportunity to share and encourage others. I was unable to return to my family on time due to blizzard conditions.
One day we overheard that some Eskimo friends were headed up from Kwig and traveling to Bethel, which is a stop I also needed to make to get on my way home. They offered me a ride and strapped me in a tarp in a sled being pulled by a snow machine.
The snowmobile was traveling fast (50-80 mph) in order to stay ahead of the storm. Freezing rain was blowing at us sideways at about 60 mph. After eating many helpings of akutaq, two bowls of fish soup and breathing exhaust from the snow machine, I had to stop in the middle of the trip in waist deep snow to get sick. At this point I asked our driver if I could ride up front with him for the rest of the way. I felt a bit more comfortable at this point, until I noticed my arms getting soaked from the freezing rain running through my rain gear up my sleeves. Then he pointed at his gas gage which was less than a 1/4 tank. I prayed the Lord would multiply the fuel in the tank like the loaves and fishes. A big freezing slosh of water slipped through my rain gear and went down my chest.
About this time I questioned my own sanity for even getting on with them in the first place. I thought to myself, ‘I have a wife and 3 children’! But then the peace of Christ filled my heart. I thought of my dear wife who told me “go”. I thought of my kids who prayed for me before I left and for the people I would serve. I thought of all of you praying for us. And I thought of the people who over the past few days I had just witnessed repenting of their sins and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. The elderly who were filled with tears of joy, the widow who brought her 4 granddaughters that she is raising on her own. I thought of the young couple who cried out to God and the others who came to believe.
I began to smile and thank God for this opportunity to serve this world that He created. What a privilege. Finally a warmer wind began to blow and my face warmed up. Bethel was a very welcomed sight and so was a hot shower. That night I reflected on how many lives have been taken on that soil due to the danger and cold. Next time I will wait on the plane.
There is so much I would like to tell you, but I will give another update after I am back from the retreat in Oregon next week. Please pray for me as I have been asked to speak there.
Melissa and the kids did wonderful as I was away and I am grateful to each of you for keeping my family in prayer. Today my daughter Jessie said to her mother and I, “Oh look! The sky is blue in that one spot!” The sun is actually clearing once in awhile and giving us some sunlight. It feels good since Naknek is usually cloudy most all the time.
(God Bless You!)
– Justin Vold