’ve always had a fascination with mission ships, so I was intrigued when Frank Johnson III sent me a story about the Northern Light. I’d never heard of the boat, so I began to explore its history. I discovered that it was launched in 1959 to share Jesus with the First Nations people living along the coast of British Columbia. I also learned that our second quarter 1964 Thirteenth Sabbath Offering helped replace this craft with a faster ship—one large enough to accommodate medical personnel to minister to tribes such as the Takush. The first missionary contact with the Takush had been in 1938, when an Adventist by the name of W. W. Gildersleeve started a logging camp near their village. The Takush were treated kindly and invited to join the small group of Adventists for worship services. Eventually, Chief Charlie Walkus asked Gildersleeve’s business partner Don Goertzen to come teach his people about Jesus and open a school. Don and his wife,
Claire, weren’t teachers, but they were willing to share God’s love. They cut loose their houseboat and towed it to the Takush village. The need for a teacher was satisfied when Frank Johnson II and his wife, Ada, moved to the area with their children, Donald, Ethel, and Frank III. During his teenage years, Frank III worked as a fisherman and dreamed of becoming a boat captain. Instead, he served as a teacher and pastor, but God hadn’t forgotten his dream. In 1974, Frank was asked to captain the Northern Light. He and his family joyfully accepted the call to bring the gospel to the First Nations people he had grown to love as a child. As captain, Frank experienced many instances of God’s power and protection. One such instance is shared in his story “The Angel Fishing Boat,” which appears on page 16 of this issue.
Laurie Falvo Editor