Monday, May 4, 2009

Dillingham Developments

Here are excepts from an e-mail sent to us from Judy Thompson. For space I have to leave out a lot. So, if you see Judy, ask her about the pizza miracle, it's good!


"In February, we were thrilled to witness the baptism of the parents of one of my students at school. Eric was born and raised an Adventist, but has not been a part of the church for many years. But recently, the Lord has been working on their hearts, and when Misty and Missy and the others started the children's church here a few months ago, they decided that maybe this was the time to recommit their lives to the Lord. We certainly praise the Lord for the dedication of our young people here!

In March, S from Togiak, committed his life to Jesus in baptism. This was our first baptism in the Togiak church, and one that we've waited a LONG time for!!It is so thrilling to see people stepping out of the crowd and committing their lives to the Lord.

Dillingham SDA School is the last Adventist school in “Bush” Alaska. It is located about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage in Bristol Bay. We are maybe the only true mission school left in the United States. Only two of our students come from Adventist homes, and almost half of our students have to be sponsored by local church members, on top of the regular subsidy that the church pays to the school every month.

In spite of the financial challenges that present us at the school, church and conference levels, we want to see the work here grow forward and NOT backwards. The [school] board committed to hiring two teachers again for next year, and also starting a Pre-K program as well!!! We have been looking into the idea for a while, and a couple of months ago, placed an ad on the GC website looking for someone to volunteer to get everything up and running next year. We don't have a single penny to put into it. In fact, as a school, we've been on a "no purchases" program now since Christmas! Somehow the Lord supplies all our needs, and the fuel bills are getting paid, one at a time. But we have been impressed that there is a need here for a good Christian Pre-school program, and that this will contribute to our enrollment as well. So we figured if we could get another volunteer up here for next year, we'd have them work on getting that running. This will give us one room with Pre-K and Kindergarten, one with Grades 1-4, and one with Grades 5-8. We've had two wonderful volunteers the last two years, Misty who was here last year, and is STILL here, working as a court secretary now, and Missy (we call them M&M :) , who is here at the moment teaching Grades K-2 for us. Missy has one more year of college to finish her teaching degree, and is planning to do that next year. We've been teasing her all year that she might change her mind like Misty did, but she has been determined to graduate next year....

Anyway..... a few weeks ago, Misty and Missy got together, and discovered that they had both been impressed over the previous few days that THEY should be the ones to volunteer next year in the Pre-K program!! They were very surprised to discover that the Lord had been prompting each of them separately along the same lines, and started talking about what it would take to do that. Missy began inquiries with Southwestern Adventist University to see how much of her studies for next year could be done by distance, and found out that she can do ALL of it that way!!! So they came up with a plan that they presented to the board: Misty will move into Missy's one bedroom apartment (that Jim has agreed to donate again, rent free), and they will share expenses; she will quit her good paying job at the Court House, and they will work together to get the Pre-K program running. Missy will do her studies by distance part of the time, and help as well. They figure with two of them working part time, that should equal one person working full time. So once again, we are thrilled at the way the Lord works when we step out in faith and follow His leading!!! Oh, that there were more young people as dedicated to the Lord as the two we have here!!!!!!!!

Another big event that happened about three weeks ago, was that we finally made it down to Chignik Lake to install a radio station there!

Friday evening (last night), we had another wonderful celebration! A couple from Togiak that we have been working with for a while.....who have been having a real struggle with alcohol and drugs, were married in our church :) . About three months ago, M was convicted that he shouldn't be living with his girlfriend, who is also the mother of at least one of his children, unless they were married. But he didn't want to marry her, unless she made a commitment to follow Christ like he had. So he moved out. She got mad, and moved to Dillingham with the kids and refused to have anything to do with him. Finally about six weeks ago, he came over here for something, and the booze got the better of him, and he got drunk. He was at the grocery store here making a scene, and finally threatened to kill someone, so they had him arrested. He spent a month in jail, and when he was finally released, he ended up at K's place here in Dillingham. They were having a real hard time of it, and finally the court took their children away from them for the last time. This totally devastated both of them, and finally drove them both to seek the Lord again. I got a call from M at school one day, saying that they would like to come to Pastor Brian's meetings at the church, but didn't have a car. So I let the pastor know and they and others have been working hard to get them to all the meetings since then. Pastor Brian has also been spending time with them nearly every day, going over the other meetings that they missed, and giving them studies in preparation for baptism. Last week, they decided to get married, and we have all been rushing around trying to help them put together a wedding at very short notice, and no money :) . And it turned out very beautiful! They asked me to take the photos, so that kept me busy, and then we had a pot luck meal for the reception. On Thursday, K gave Pastor Brian her last pack of cigarettes, and said she wanted to be baptised. So today, we celebrated their life commitment to the Lord!! What a wonderful weekend!

Love you all!!!!!!!!!!

Judi and Gavin :) "