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Spring 2014

Photos by Valerie Thomas

Bethel’s Care Ministries Recognized for Compassion Bethel Evangelical Covenant Church's (BECC) involvement with community compassion efforts has been recently recognized in at least two articles featuring two efforts to care for those needing food and shelter. On November 29, 2013, the A laska Dispatch published “Nobody's Turned Away From Bethel's Friday Night Supper Club” by Jill Burke featuring the church’s ministry that feeds hungry people. Burke explained, “Beginning in October and running through March, the church opens its doors to volunteers and diners every Friday night. What began nearly eight years ago as an effort to provide hot meals to the needy has grown into a well-organized meal service. Between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., whoever crosses the threshold is warmly welcomed.” According to the A laska Dispatch website, as the one online-only news site for Alaska, it is devoted to “to cover stories of importance not only to Alaskans but to the rest of the nation… A laska Dispatch's goal is to take an unflinching look at the state, from its massive riches to its abject poverty, and tell these stories to Alaskans and to the world.” The article covered one extraordinary night when 130 individuals came to eat at the supper club–65 to 90 eaters is the norm. Hoisin Chicken was on the menu--chicken glazed with a soybean-garlicchile sauce sometimes known as Chinese barbeque sauce. With the crowd that came, volunteers had to make an emergency soup to help stretch the meal, and volunteers who usually join in the meal went home without getting to eat the meal they served. Pastor Hugh Forbes said, “Feeding and caring for your neighbor is such a meaningful, simple way to meet a need.” He went on to explain that as the rotating churches are diverse, they adhere to a strict “no proselytizing” rule. “We have been real careful to keep it a community effort, not a religious effort. We are here to serve a meal. We keep it very neutral,” Pastor Forbes explained. If people are interested in prayer or guidance, they are encouraged to write it down and leave it as a note in a prayer box. Chris Byrnes, chairman of BECC said, “Reaching out with the nonproselytizing approach has actually afforded more conversations about grace, Christ and salvation to a broader cross-section of Bethel than would otherwise be reached.” On December 11, 2013 the Anchorage Daily News published

“Bethel Opens First Emergency Winter Shelter” by Devin Kelley that featured what has come to be known as “Bethel Winter House Uksumi Uqisvik”. Eva Malvich, one of the visionaries in the grass-roots group who organized the venture explained that uksumi translates to "during the winter"; uqisvik translates to "sheltered spot". Malvich, a former Covenant High School student from 1983-1985 wrote a letter to Field Director Curtis Ivanoff in October sharing the vision of the project responding to four exposure deaths in Bethel during the winter of 2012-13: “Our mission is simple: zero deaths from exposure in Bethel.” The letter read: “Despite its size and reputation as a social service hub for the delta, we have an unmet need in our community that affects adult males (from late teens to early 30’s) and females (ages 5060). At this time, there is no place for these at risk people to stay temporarily, if he or she is sober.” Curtis forwarded the letter to the Covenant Church in Bethel on October 30, encouraging them to “prayerfully consider how BECC could respond and partner.” On Christmas Eve, a large, empty conference room in the Bethel Covenant Church first opened its doors to the community's population of homeless adults and children needing shelter from cold. They hosted the shelter until the end of January. The Catholic Church and Lions Club facility share the 90-day rotation to provide a warm place for people to spend the night. Malvich reported that in the first two weeks, the winter house provided shelter from the cold, 32 individuals, all Alaska Natives, used the shelter. “The ages of people we have served in those weeks range from 20 to 60+. Six reported to have slept outside the night before and 12 have reported to have been homeless for 12 months or at least four times in three years.” Initial reports on services provided through mid February show that 105 individuals were served, 103 being Alaska Native. “In October, our Covenant pastors and leaders met to consider the theme of 'Witnessing through Compassion and Justice', from Isaiah 58:9-10 and Matthew 25:34-45,” Ivanoff recalled. “I am thrilled to see that the Bethel Covenant Church is an active part in living out this call in their community.” (Continued on page 10)

From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16

Living In To God’s Story

by Curtis Ivanoff, Field Director

Missional Marker #7 Global Perspective & Engagement by Pastor Ken Moore, C3, Fairbanks

What do you want to see changed? Poverty? Racism? Your marriage? A relationship? Recently, CNN asked their readers to vote on stories they wanted to see changed that were at the “bottom of the list”. They called it the “Change the List” project. Five issues were selected. One item was where rape is the most common. This is where you and I come in. Alaska is the state where rape is most common--we are at the bottom of the list. The author wrote several heart-breaking stories about those who have suffered violence. Interestingly though, the writer also told a story of someone who had committed the crime—a sex offender. I thought of a passage from Ephesians 2, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved.” God’s love can reach anyone. And that is why I believe the list can change. I am not fond of highlighting bad stories about Alaska. We live in an amazingly beautiful place, the glory of God’s creation is palpable. The people here are as hospitable and gracious as you will find anywhere. But we must also not turn a blind eye to or stay silent about real issues. In one of the articles, Governor Sean Parnell called rape Alaska’s “resident evil”, and stated that it is “culturally permissible to keep silent about it.” Is it acceptable--to keep silent about such an issue? I think not. The devastation is immense. There is need for healing—in people’s souls—for redemption, for forgiveness and reconciliation. In Christ we have a living hope for he has conquered death and defeated the grave. We are the people whom God has called to represent the ways of his kingdom. Jesus taught us to pray for his kingdom to come and his will to be done, here on earth as it is in heaven. It stirs in me a desire to pray in all earnestness—for God to write a new story for all those who have suffered and inflicted pain. Our theme for the ECCAK annual meeting April 26 is “Living into God’s Story”. This is one example of where we want to see God’s story of redemption in the person of Jesus be the big story. That is what changes lists. Sometimes we get in the way and think our story is bigger or more significant. May our churches and those who are connected to this church allow God to be the author and perfecter of a new story of redemption in Alaska. To live into God’s story is to allow our story to be woven into God’s story: to invite Him to author our lives, inspire our dreams, comfort our sorrows as we wait in hope for his return to one day bring to completion all things.

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“…You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes to you. Then you will be my witnesses to testify about me in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.” Just as a tripod is a —Jesus trailmarker guiding a Acts 1:8 traveler’s journey, this You’ve probably heard it said: “Why are we so concerned column series explores about the people around the world? We have enough probmissional markers to lems of our own right here at home.” This myopic view guide us in our journey and misrepresentation of the heart of God has increased toward healthy, exponentially in my years of pastoral ministry. It would missional churches. seem we should consider repenting of the praxis of church ministry that has withheld the gospel of Jesus from so many of the world’s people; this due to our propensity toward preoccupation of self and increased localization of our ministry efforts and resources. A few alarming statistics… The number of people in the world today who have not yet had access to the good news of Jesus is staggering. According to The Joshua Project, the premier research group on Unreached People Groups (UPGs), there are 16,845 people groups in today’s world. Of these, 7,286 or 43.3% are presently unreached—defined as those less than 2% Christian, often with little or no known Christian presence. Of the world’s total population of 7.06 billion, 2.91 billion have not yet heard the story of redemption through Jesus. These statistics should stop us in our tracks, awaken the Holy Spirit passion within us, and spur us to action. In Acts 1:8 and other charges to the Church, God’s Word consistently excludes no people group or location from its universal application of the gospel. Jesus himself was passionate and persistent that the gospel be shared with all peoples everywhere. In the words of our mission statement at C3 in Fairbanks, Jesus’ charge to his Church is: “Loving God. Loving people. HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE.” So as we seek to raise GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE (vision to look beyond our own contexts and see the WORLD) and increase ENGAGEMENT (congregational and personal involvement in resourcing and carrying the gospel to the WORLD) we follow Jesus into the WORLD, seeking to reach the vast numbers of people yet to hear the gospel story. The following three objectives articulate actions with which we can seek to permeate church culture in ECCAK and beyond.  We raise the sights of our members beyond our congregation and community by developing a biblical worldview; pray often for and reference global matters.  We have identifiable pathways to support the case of Christ globally.  Our people are equipped and growing in their ability to participate in the global dimensions of our ministry. In addition to pastoring a local church, my wife Sandy and I are also privileged to embark on regular global mission journeys through which we directly impact the UPGs in several Asian countries which together represent three-fourths of the world’s unreached peoples. How and where is God calling you to s-t-r-e-t-c-h today in order to increase your global perspective and engagement?  Giving money to global missions?  Participating in a hands-on mission trip to a global destination in need of hearing about Jesus?  Praying that the 2.91 billion without Jesus may hear of and know him?  Initiating a renewed global mission thrust in your local church?  Beginning a prayer group specifically focused on UPGs? May we across Alaska join together in living out and expanding an increased global perspective and engagement.

Covenant Bible Camp 2014 Unalakleet, AK

Staff Training & Call to Worship Vision & Leadership Camp (age 16-25) High School (grades 9-12) Middle School (grades 7-8) Trailblazers (grades 5-6) Pathfinders (grades 3-4)

May 28-June 3 June 3-9 June 9-16 June 16-23 June 23-28 June 28-July 3

(all grades are for grades completed)

Scammon Bay Church, Community Sends 32 Kids to Camp by Michelle Benisek, Scammon Bay Youth Ministry

“Great is Thy Faithfulness” Our God sure is. A year ago Scammon Bay’s goal was to get 10 kids to Bible Camp with their expenses fully paid. God more than tripled that as we sent 32 kids fully funded—which is equivalent to more than $30,000 raised. We started by gathering interested Jr. and Sr. high school youth and their parents. We shared about how Covenant Bible Camp has transformed lives for Christ, which it has many here in Scammon Bay. We also wanted to talk about ways to fundraise for campers here in our village. We started fundraising efforts with bake sales held during our school’s basketball games, which are almost every weekend. Families and youth brought what they could, when they could, and we established a rotation of youth to help sell. Just by making phone calls, we were able to get many organizations such as ERA, Grant Aviation, Ryan Air, Coastal Villages Regional Fund (CVRF), Askinuk Store, and our gas station to give us items for raffles. We tried something new for Scammon Bay and shipped in 100 frozen pizzas from SAM’s Club to sell frozen and by the slice. Many dads of campers took the lead and hosted their own bake sale and fun games during a basketball tournament at our school. I, along with the girls’ small group, filled out a scholarship application

Pathfinders anticipate a great time at camp.

through CVRF and they matched our fundraising efforts! We also had a church from Illinois, First Presbyterian Church of La Grange, give a generous donation to the campers. As the spring progressed, a few notes of encouragement and donations from churches around the state and the ECCAK office encouraged kids and families to keep the fundraising efforts going. This really was a whole village effort; there are dozens of people that contributed to these campers and campers themselves that worked hard to get to Bible Camp. I loved seeing how families stepped up and worked together: youth became energized and shared with their peers about Bible Camp. Bible Camp is a special place to meet with God and others that are following Him. I’m blessed to meet with some Jr. and Sr. high school ladies weekly throughout the year for a Bible study and Bible Camp is an important part of many of their spiritual lives. Camp last summer was such a joy for myself and our village’s pastor, Jason Stromstad, to see the plane loads of campers coming from Scammon Bay knowing God’s blessing, faithfulness, and hand was behind it all. We have started our fundraising a little earlier this year and we are looking forward to see what God has in store.

Boxes of pizza arrive for a Scammon Bay fundraiser.

Silly faces are in abundance on picture day.

Register for camp at Early-Bird registration ends April 25; Registration Deadline: May 23 Spring 2014// 3

Fairbanks to Host Annual Meeting in April; Register Online “Living in to God’s Story” will be the theme of the ECCAK annual meeting to be held at Community Covenant Church (C3) in Fairbanks, April 2-6, 2014. Church delegates, pastors, leaders and others will gather at this year’s meeting to consider how the story of Christ and God’s work through the church in Alaska and beyond can energize our lives, ministries and how we share the story of God with others. Diane Brask of International Ministerial Fellowship (IMF) will be one of the presenters in afternoon workshops, two evening messages and the women’s worship gathering. Diane works as an international ambassador to develop strategic, indigenous partnerships to help evangelize, train nationals, and plant churches among unreached people groups in remote or neglected places of the world. Her current ministry partnerships include work in China, India, Kenya, Liberia, Philippines, Mexico, Myanmar, South Sudan, and Uganda. She has ministered in over 40 countries in the last 12 years, partnering with indigenous leaders. Ken Moore, C3 pastor will also preach during the week along with ECCAK Field Director Curtis Ivanoff. Richard Lucco, ECC executive director for ministry development and interim executive minister of church growth and evangelism will be attending the meetings and will preach Sunday morning. The Covenant Women will host a women’s worship time followed by a meeting to highlight women’s ministry efforts statewide in the past year. The annual craft sale will also

be held Saturday afternoon to raise money that provides needs of rural parsonages and supports various projects in our churches, nationally and world-wide. Donations for the craft sale can be sent with your church delegates or

held on Friday night after the evening session. In order to help stream-line the organizational demands of hosting a conference of this size, ECCAK is asking anyone planning to attend the event to register for the event ahead of time at or over the phone or by mail for those who do not have access to the internet. “The Fairbanks church wants to make sure they are attentive to the various needs of all attendees, and having a registration process will greatly help, “ Curtis explained. “The registration consists of gathering basic information contact and church affiliation, but will also include information related to travel planning, housing needs and preferences and transportation needs once in Fairbanks.” Diane Brask Ken Moore In order to offset some of the cost of meals and other expenses related to hosting the conference, a conference fee of $25 will be part of the registration process. Kristi Ivanoff is serving as ECCAK’s event coordinator for this annual meeting and will be assisting those attending with any questions regarding the annual meeting. She can be reached by email at The ECCAK office manager is also available to give information if necessary via email ( or by phone (907-694Richard Lucco Curtis Ivanoff 6348). KICY radio station in Nome will broadcast mailed of delivered directly to ECCAK. evening services at 7:00, Wednesday-Saturday As in other years, individuals from attending at AM 850. Live streaming will also be availachurches will have an opportunity to sing a ble on their website at Details special number during one of the worship regarding schedule, speakers, meals and registimes, and a “Singspiration” service will be tration are available at

Timely Answered Prayer Opens the Way for New Chugach Location Chugach Covenant Church of Anchorage is celebrating their unexpected relocation to Begich Middle School after having been told initially that the location would not be available to them. Katherine Propst, leadership team member explained, “Begich was by far our first choice for a new location for our growing congregation, but when Pastor Dan inquired, he was told another group was using the facility and it would not be available. So we searched for another location.” Pastor Mark Mariner, a colleague of Pastor Dan encouraged him to not give up. They appealed to the Lord in prayer for Begich to come available. The next week Dan received a call that the church could use the school beginning in January. Chugach Covenant had been meeting for 18 months at the Totem Theatre and felt like the time was right to find a location that would allow the growing congregation to connect more easily during worship times and provide a better-suited area for children’s ministry. “We were sensing that the restrictions of meeting in a theater were inhibiting added growth. Begich Middle School provides us a light and bright atmosphere that makes for a jovial mood,” Katherine said. “The acoustics of the room are great during our worship together and there’s a really nice view.” Kids can play in the gym and Sunday School teachers feel that classroom space allows them to provide fun learning activities in a cleaner environment for little ones. Pastor Dan Krause added, “Our new location is much brighter than Totem but most importantly, it provides us an opportunity to better serve our children's ministry. We hope this space will help us have a greater impact on our community. ” Services meet on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m.

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“True North” Awards Given to Three for Alaska Volunteer Service, Three long-time volunteers of Alaska’s ministries were presented “True North” awards. Keith Hamilton, president of Alaska Christian College (ACC) presented a plaque to Glen Mehrkens, Red Wing Covenant Church and Marv Bjorlin, Excelsior Covenant Church, both in Minnesota. Hamilton also gave each of the men a personal note of appreciation from Alaska Governor Sean Parnell for their history of volunteering in the state and demonstrating a godly example of servanthood. This award is presented to Covenanters who live outside of Alaska and have a history of traveling north to serve. Mehrkens has brought teams from his church and other congregations for 11 years to remodel dilapidated parsonages in remote villages and repair some of the churches as well. Mehrkens and his wife, Millie, also served at ACC for five years full-time in maintenance and administrative support. Bjorlin served Alaska ministries for more than 10 years, constructing and serving at radio stations in Bethel and Eagle River and helping with construction at village churches. ECCAK Field Director Curtis Ivanoff said, “This award is one small way we can express gratitude for their part in helping to build and grow God’s kingdom here in Alaska through the Evangelical Covenant Church. Weatherizing churches and parsonages, doing an extreme parsonage makeover, helping in the advancement of Alaska Christian College, radio ministry, missionary aviation—they have offered extensive and sacrificial service to encourage the body of Christ here in Alaska.” In October, Chuck Hunter (Bellingham, WA) and his wife Jane travelled to Nome to celebrate with the Nome Covenant Church for the dedication of the new church building. However, they were unaware that Chuck would be honored with the “True North” award, in part, for his service in Nome to the church and KICY.

Keith Hamilton presents Glen

Mehrkens with a service award. “Knowing that this trip was of special significance for them increased my desire to honor them here on Alaskan soil,” explained Curtis Ivanoff, field director. “Chuck has been a blessing to our churches through his service and has been a blessing to Alaskans who have traveled his way over the years with hospitality and care, often for those who have traveled to Washington for medical issues.” Chuck made many trips to Alaska during his career as a fisheries biologist in Washington state and began mission trips while working, but most took place after his retirement. His first mission trip was in Unalakleet. He cleared land up at North River where the Covenant garden was and planted potatoes. On another trip to he worked on the youth building changing out windows in the upstairs and building an apartment downstairs. Chuck worked at Bethel when the Covenant radio station KYUK started and helped build the station's duplex. Chuck built the arctic entry on the church. He remembers scrounging around Shaktoolik Chuck Hunter with Curtis Ivanoff for materials. Both the old Elim church and the construction of a new church were beneficiaries of Chuck’s handiwork. Chuck worked with Dave Peterson in Golovin building their new church parsonage. Chuck said that he was “treated royally” when he stayed with Maggie Olson there. The White Mountain parsonage was also touched by Chuck’s care. He made several mission trips to Nome serving KICY building radio towers as well as the transmitter and emergency generator buildings. “These men demonstrate to all of us how best to use our retirement years for the glory of God,” Hamilton said. “We hope that many will continue to follow their example.”

Craft Night Brings More Than 300 Women Together by Colleen Brown, Equipping and Connecting Director, Eagle River Community Covenant Church

The Eagle River Community Covenant Church women’s ministry hosted their third annual “Joy of the Season Make It Take It Craft Night” in November. An crowd of more than 300 women enjoyed the evening together. The crowd was made of gals from all walks of life. Women from other area Covenant churches, students from Alaska Christian College, as well as women from the community participated. This was truly a unique way to share the love of Christ to the world! Laughter filled the entire church as busy hands created all kinds of crafts. There were twenty projects to choose from such as, stain glass tiles, felted soap, and post it note clipboards. The evening started with prayer and a potato and salad bar dinner. Lots of door prizes, live entertainment, and a silent auction accented the evening. Some of the proceeds from the auction were donated to the Anchorage Covenant House, Alaska Covenant Women’s Council, and a Philippines’ classroom to purchase Bibles. Over fifty people volunteered to put on this fun gathering. Hats off to all of them!

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Witnesses to All the World Project Supplies Congo Hospitals Within 65-year Tradition Last February, nine ECCAK ministries including village churches, road-system churches and CYAK college ministries participated in the Covenant Women’s annual project “From Alaska with Love” to benefit Congo hospitals. The state-wide effort resulted in more than 400 rolls of bandages, 44 baby layettes, 17 pairs of eye glasses and $675 raised for postage and customs. Churches across the country have participated in the effort for more than 65 years. Plans are on hold for the 2014 project as conditions in and near Congo are too dangerous for goods to shipped there at this time.

Unreached People Groups Hear Gospel from Fairbanks Pastor by Ken Moore, pastor, C3 Fairbanks

For six years we have partnered in Global DAWN Network (GDN), a mission to Unreached People Groups (UPGs) primarily focusing on South Asia where the majority of the over 7,000 still unreached people groups are located. Our travels last fall took us to India and Myanmar, Burma to equip, encourage, and train pastors and church planters to accurately story-tell the Bible to non-literate people groups and cultures of these Asian countries. The indigenous believers then take the gospel stories to those who have yet to hear the good news of Christ and churches being planted. The light of the gospel permeates the darkness of Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions. The Intha people group of the Shan State of Central Burma was one of our target UPGs where more than 15,000 villages are without a

single church presence. This region is one of two most concentrated opium-producing areas in the world and is also known as one of the world's greatest strongholds of Buddhism. It is referred to by many as the place where the devil lives. Thus the gospel has not even begun to penetrate this state of 5 to 6 million people, presently less than 1% Christian. In Taunggyi, Shan State, we met with over 100 church leaders in a first ever statewide gathering of Christians. In Shan State focusing on the Great Commission and teaching strategies and tools for reaching the lost and planting churches. It is impossible to put into words the impact the four-week mission had on us. But what’s more exciting are the reports that are coming back because of God’s faithfulness through GDN—additional leaders being trained, many people coming to faith in Christ, new churches being planted, and miracles experienced.

First Covenant Church Anchorage’s Own Go Global With YWAM

This past season I was serving in Samoa with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). I was on staff in a Discipleship Training School (DTS), an entry-level school to become a missionary with YWAM. Together with my Samoan co-leader, I led a team of seven students to a tiny island nation in the South Pacific called Tokelau. We mainly built cement foundations for rain catchment tanks as the rain tanks are the only source of clean water on the island. We did construction work alongside many local Tokelauan people and were able to gain credibility and build relationships allowing us to really speak into their lives and encourage them to pursue Jesus. Two of the Tokelauan youth we became friends with are enrolled to do DTS for more Bible and service training! God has continuously put me into positions that have been much too hard for me, so I've had to rely on Him. The Lord allows us to partner with Him in winning the nations back to Him. He doesn't need our help, but He lets us be a part of it anyway. I've found what I believe I was made to do and that is to love the nations with a willing heart and working hands and to follow God wherSara Markwood, 2011-2013; South Africa, ever He would have me go. —Sara Markwood Samoa, and Tokelau, New Zealand

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At the 2012 ECCAK Annual Meeting, the church considered the call to be “witnesses to all the world.” Here are a few of the ways our people and churches have joined in God’s heart for seeing the world come to know Christ. Unalakleet Young Adults Answer the Call To Go Overseas Who:

Katie Daniels, 17, along with First Covenant Church, Oakland When: June 16-July 4, 2014 Where: Former Khmer rouge villages in Cambodia What: Outreach to students, children, prisoners; deliver food and medical supplies to the poor

"I did not decide to go to Cambodia: God made the decision for me! Opening the door and erasing my doubts was God's way of telling me that I needed to go to Cambodia. Please pray that God will open the hearts of the Cambodians to receive our message and our love."


"My hope is that God will reveal more and more of himself to me and that my heart will be receptive to those revelations. I hope that I will find direction and be open to whatever and wherever God calls me to next. I want to know more of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.”

Tricia Ivanoff, 23, North Park University Graduate When: Jan.-April, 2014; March 2013 Where: Pune, India What: Acts 29 International Discipleship School 2013 ministry among low caste people with Truthseekers Intl. Who:

Donald Erickson, 19, with Community Covenant, Eagle River When: July, 2012 Where: Former Khmer rouge villages in Cambodia What: Outreach to students, children, prisoners; delivered food and medical supplies to the poor

David Beltz, 2012-2014; Nepal and Bangkok, Thailand.

“My mission trip to Cambodia revealed a God that transcends borders. Growing up in a fairly sheltered and small environment created an idea of God in my mind that was far too limited than it should be. I was able to see a God who knew no boundaries and existed and moved across the Pacific amongst people who spoke an entirely different language than myself. Experiencing their pain and poverty as well as their reliance on the Lord's guidance was extremely significant on my interaction with God.”

I've been apart of YWAM Colorado Springs for two years now. I am currently on staff with the campus and am working in their communications department. Formerly I was a part of the DTS program, went overseas to Nepal for three months, and led a team to Bangkok, Thailand for two months. One of the biggest things I've learned being overseas is how Jesus sees the people we go to “help”. We may see them as poor or angry and in need of saving but Jesus sees them as beautiful; they are His children. He doesn't see their social status, He doesn't play with just the dirty children. He wants them all. I used to go with a social bias of whom I was to be catering to but The Lord loves them all equally. Once I began viewing them as they truly are, children of the King, I found an endless well of love for people of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. —David Beltz See page 8 for another young adult from First Covenant who served with YWAM.

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Reflections on God’s Work Through International Discipleship Training and Asian Mission Outreach by Charlee Millett, Anchorage First Covenant Church

Last summer, I served with YWAM (Youth Another time that I was able to be encourWith A Mission). I left in June to New Zea- aged was while we were on outreach, serving land for a three-month discipleship training school (DTS). My reason for going was to explore and test out the waters overseas. The timing worked so that I would only miss one semester of school rather than a whole year. I wanted to go on this trip away because I was not feeling real motivated by school and not sure what I wanted to do. So on this trip, I wanted God to be more a part of my life. During the experience, God did relight a fire in me. I was attracted to this idea of going to New Zealand because there was a chance to ski and snowboard. Getting the chance to snowboard with a group of people who were all in a similar place in life was amazing to be a part of. We all got to see each other grow and experience healing together in many areas of our lives. It was an honor to be a part of that in each person’s life there. When I arrived to New Zealand I met Above: In Japan, Charlee’s team worked to twelve other skiers/boarders for the training. form and maintain a garden in land a church After about three months of the program, we owned. She helped prepare the soil for seeding for the small church of many elderheaded out to serve in two different teams ly members. Below: Charlee (far right) and put what we learned to work. I went to poses with her outreach team. Japan for three weeks and another communist country for four weeks. While away I was challenged in many ways, and I experienced healing from wounds of not having a father as well as past relationships I had. The community of God’s people poured love into me, evidently from Him. They were able to help me see God as my father. He is amazing, like in Psalm 139, how God knows us and nothing could ever separate his love for me or anyone else!

ECCAK ministries are dependent on the generous support of individuals. Would you prayerfully consider giving monthly to support the work to encourage pastors, develop indigenous leaders, disciple youth, and resource churches in Alaska in order to see more disciples among more populations in a more caring and just world? 8 // ECCAK Sinew

in S.E. Asia. I was scared of sharing and my family in Christ helped me and encouraged me! I found so much encouragement and healing in knowing that God’s people will care and be by my side. God says He will never leave you nor forsake you, and that is right. He places people in our life to help. I have begun to have more faith in people and not be so afraid of being left. I have been very encouraged by the song, “Oceans” written by Hillsong United. I really like these verses: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders Let me walk upon the waters Wherever You would call me Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith will be made stronger In the presence of my Savior I will call upon Your Name Keep my eyes above the waves My soul will rest in Your embrace I am Yours and You are mine” I love these lyrics because I want God to lead me. It reminds me that I can dream to do anything in the world and that it is possible through God. I know it won’t be easy getting there, but if God does call me in that direction He could take me as deep as He wants. I know that He will take care of me. In doing that, my faith will be made stronger and when I do start to sink that I can call on my God to keep my eyes above the waves. I know that my soul will rest in His embrace and knowing my Father will take care of me.

A "Gift of Grace" was given to ECCAK in honor of Pastor Joan Hill of Safety Harbor Covenant Church, Safety Harbor, FL, in special recognition of her support and encouragement of the students and staff of Alaska Christian College and in celebrating many years of fruitful ministry. Described “as a wonderful role model and pastor” her mission heart has blessed many in Alaska and in many other places as well. Give a “Gift of Grace” to the ongoing work of ECCAK in honor or memory of a special person. “Gift of Grace” donations are recognized annually and support the ongoing work of ECCAK.

Mekoryuk Sunday School: A Blessing to Children, Adults—Pastor Included By Heather Smith, Mekoryuk Interim Pastor

I spent three amazing months in Mekoryuk on Nunivak Island in the fall. I was asked to fill in for a short interim period as the pastor of the Mekoryuk Covenant Church. I was thrilled to discover a well-organized Sunday School Program that was in place for folks of all ages. When I arrived on Sunday morning, I found that there was a teacher and substitute for each age group; preKKindergarten,

grades 1-3, grades 4-6, junior high, high school, and adults. Not only were they in place, but they already had their materials in hand and ready to go. Their Sunday School superintendent, Melanie Shavings, assured me that all was organized and that I could just come to class and enjoy. Enjoy I did. I heard each class tell about the scripture lessons they had studied for the day and listen to them repeat the lesson focus for the day. When I looked over the kids each Sunday, they were excited and the Sunday School class averaged about 50 youth in attendance. The adult class numbered about 15 -20 each Sunday morning and their lessons were interpreted into Cup'ig by a very gifted teacher.

All this took place before the 11 a.m. worship service. I was told that all I had to do was preach the sermon. This organization of the classes made my work much more enjoyable. Praise God for all the gifted and willing folks in Mekoryuk.

Meet Melanie Shavings: Q & A on serving in her home church Melanie Shavings, age 25, serves the Mekoryuk Covenant Church on the church board and as the superintendent for Sunday School. She also serves as a YK Delta representative on the Covenant Women’s Council. Melanie grew up in Mekoryuk and graduated from high school in 2007. She attended Alaska Christian College in 2009-12 and hopes to one day pursue medical missions.

How did you come to serve on the church board and superintendent.

God had been placing on my heart in the year of 2012 to serve in some way, so I began to pray for opening opportunities. I was asked if I could help assist the Pre-K Sunday school teacher and I agreed. As time passed along, God provided me the opportunity to move up to become the teacher. In the spring of 2013 the church was in need of a new superintendent. I felt God speaking to my heart, opening up a new door towards leadership in our church. God opened yet another door to serve him, when I was selected by members of the Mekoryuk Covenant Church through a nomination ballot for serving on the church Board. I kept my mind open to what God was asking of me. When I was called out and elected through the ballot process, I felt that it was God’s will to serve on the board.

What are your responsibilities as the superintendent?

I oversee our Sunday School program. Responsibilities include making sure there are enough teachers, including substitute teachers, for each Sunday School class. I order materials and lead the morning Sunday School service where children get to recite what they learned in their classes. I also lead and prepare for the annual church Christmas programs.

What are your memories of Sunday School as a child?

I always liked hearing different stories from the Bible and learning who Jesus is. I fondly remember singing Sunday school songs and reciting our memory verse for our parents and adults. Something that I learned from one of my Sunday school teachers and relied on throughout my life is when we choose to listen and be obedient to God, we will be a blessing to those around us.

What are some of the struggles/challenges you face in this ministry?

Something I have struggled with, but I believe I am learning how to achieve, is how to ask for is help. When I was first learning and adjusting to my responsibilities, there were times I felt overwhelmed or faced situations I didn't know what to do, and I had to ask for help. I quickly learned it's healthy to ask for help. Being young and knowing I have a lot to learn yet, I sometimes feel under-qualified to serve. Through lots of prayer and encouragement from others, I am learning how to face a lot of challenges that I encounter in this ministry.

Do you have an encouragement for others seeking to serve in their church?

1 Timothy 4:12 says “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for all believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." These verses give me the strength and courage to be bold in Christ. Whatever talents and gifts—big or small— the Lord has blessed you with, use it to glorify the Lord. As we live in the body of Christ, we are all called to serve and to glorify God. If you feel the need or desire to serve or volunteer in your church talk about it with your pastor or youth pastor about what God has placed on your heart. We are called to share the love of Christ with others, and by taking the time to serve others you won't only be a blessing to others, but you will also be blessed by those you are serving.

Spring 2014// 9

UAA Forum Considers Questions of Faith, Science, God

The UAA classroom that seats 70 was overflowing as more than 120 individuals attended a February evening V eritas forum cohosted by campus ministries including CYAK’s Arigaa-UAA ministry. MIT professor Dr. Cullen R. Buie addressed the group in a lecture entitled: “What is your faith in?: Questions on God, Science and Self.” Veritas forums are university events that engage students and faculty in discussions about life's hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life. They are hosted by campus student organizations and are connected to a network of 70 campuses nationwide supported by the national Veritas forum team. Jamie Rose, Arigaa-UAA director learned about the forums from a North Park Seminary professor while attending there. “Prof. Max Lee told me about the ministry of V eritas. He was in campus ministry before and had personal connections there. He knew that V eritas had long wanted to bring a Jesus conversation to Alaska's universities, but never had,” Rose explained. “It was from the fall of 2011 until spring of 2014 (Feb 6) that we prayed and considered where God might be leading us in the ministry of Arigaa.” The leadership team agreed that they should only move forward to host an event in partnership with other campus ministries. YoungLife College and Intervarsity ministries co-hosted the event as well. “This fall God began to put those partnerships together. Going into the event we weren't sure if we would fill the room’s 70 seats. It (Continued from page 1)

Bethel Covenant Church Compassion Ministries “Winter House and Supper Club have been a blessing, not only to those being served, but also to those serving,” Byrnes said. ”It has strengthened our partnership with the greater Christian community within Bethel.” To follow the group’s progress, volunteer or donate, check their Facebook page called “ Bethel Winter House - Uksumi Uqisvik” . Related stories can be read at the following links: Pastor Hugh Forbes and his wife, Lanette, in the church kitchen. The Bethel Covenant Church is the site of a free dinner, dubbed the Friday Night Supper Club, which runs every Friday night October through March. Photo by Jill Burke

10 // ECCAK Sinew

was standing room only!” Rose said. “Praise God for the way he used V eritas to bring our students, and those far off from God into a room to hear how Jesus is Lord.” Dr. Buie has quite a long, distinguished list of accolades behind his name. He is the Mitsui Career Development Chair and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. Cullen attended Stanford and obtained his M.S. (2005) and Ph.D. (2009) in Mechanical Engineering. His research at MIT is applicable to a diverse array of problems, from antibiofouling surfaces and biofuels to energy storage and bacterial infections. Cullen is the recipient of numerous awards for his research and service including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2012). UAA Assistant Professor Dylan Dodd teaches philosophy and served as the moderator for the event. He has done research on skepticism, the theory of knowledge and the philosophy of language. After the lecture and questioning between the two professors, students were allowed to ask questions related to the presentation. "Veritas was an intellectually engaging event. I believe it planted a seed in UAA students hearts and minds to reflect on placing their Faith in Jesus,” Charis Erhardt, UAA student leader with Arigaa said. “I thought Cullen delivered his view of faith and science in a way everyone was able to connect with. I hope to be a part of future Veritas events, especially at UAA."

Around ECCAK Jennifer Steinbrecher is ECCAK’s new office manager. Her office hours are from 10 a.m-4 p.m. Tues.-Friday and she can be emailed at Kristi Ivanoff will be serving as the ECCAK contact for events and licensing/ordination matters in the transition period. Jenn has lived in Alaska for seven years and fellowships with Eagle River Community Covenant Church. The River Covenant Church has a new location for Sunday worship services. They now meet at K-Beach Elementary School in Soldotna. The new worship time is 10:30 a.m. Chugach Covenant Church has moved to Begich Elementary School in Anchorage. Sunday Services meet at 10 a.m.

Spring Prayer Calendar Monday




Phil (Kate) Cannon, Assoc. Pastor First Covenant Church, Anchorage

Don (Fei) Cross, Pastor Mountain Village

Nick (Nikki) Bruckner Bible Camp Director

 Adoption hearing and details  Rest and refreshment for Phil during sabbatical  Joy and energy in parenting


Chris (Mary) Hansen White Mountain Church

 Sustained fervor in the midst of car-  Preparation for first child in May ing for grieving congregants  Healthy delivery for mom and baby  God would bless regional gatherings  Bible camp planning details  Revival in church and community

Brad (Julie) Olson Pastor, Golovin Covenant Church

Brent (Leah) Amundsen Director, Arigaa-UAF

 Comfort in loss  God will draw more guys to ministry  That God would pour out his grace  Safety for Brad’s flight to lower 48 in and a Bible study for men to form and wisdom for relationships we have  God would raise up leaders for May with others. CYAK internships  A youth pastor for the church  Blessing on Get Together planning




Wass (Jean) Mute ECCAK Ministry & Staff Pastor, Koyuk  Annual Meeting planning and gather For increasing strength in recovery ing during first week of April from January heart attacks  Joy in serving church at large  For guidance and provision for  New Office Manager Jenn church and family in retirement  Increased giving to ECCAK Dale (Mary) Smith Jeff Keyser, Student Ministries Western Alaska Ministry Training Mekoryuk Covenant Church Community Covenant, Eagle River  Logistics for May classes in Bethel For comfort and grace as March 6 is the  Strength and energy for volunteers  God would call more Alaskans into 8th anniversary of the death of their  Spiritual growth in students vocational ministry beloved daughter Lauren. Smith and  Upcoming transition to seminary  WAMT would grow in size and Charlie families to be ministered to. depth as it serves Alaska’s own  Wisdom and continued vision Lauren Ernst, Anchorage CYAK Communications  CYAK Care Connection would bless those who are called  Praise for encouragement for Midwinter; for sustained joy & vision

Jenni Jobe, Anchorage Fairbanks Covenant Church Arigaa-UAA  For Annual Meeting planning team to  God to be a healing force in students; be unified and joyful in their task in physical, mental, emotional needs  Blessing for congregation in hosting  Provision for all logistical and finan-  Training for staff in areas of care for trauma, counseling, emotional needs cial needs

Alaska Christian College Students  For strength to face difficulty of leaving the ACC community  Guidance for future decisions  To get active in a local church  2014-2015 class recruiting

Important Dates March 14-16

Norton Sound Get Together, White Mountain

April 2-6

2014 ECCAK Annual Meeting, Fairbanks

April 11-13

Lower Yukon Get Together, Mountain Village

May 4

ACC Graduation, Soldotna

May 12-16

Western Alaska Ministry Training, Bethel

May 23

Bible Camp Registration Deadline

June 23-28

Gathering 2014/ ECC Annual Meeting, Chicago

Spring 2014// 11

2014 ECCAK Annual Meeting Fairbanks, Alaska • April 2-6, 2014

Living Into God’s Story


Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska

In Him we live and move and

P.O. Box 770749 Eagle River, AK 99577 Phone: 907-694-6348 Fax: 907- 694-6378 E-mail:

have our being. Acts 17:28 The Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska ECCAK is a nonconference “field” of the Covenant Church of America, dependent on the gifts from churches and people to carry out our mission for Christ’s sake in Alaska. Ministry Priorities

For more information, or to REGISTER, visit our website at

Pastoral Care Youth Ministry Leadership Pathways Congregational Vitality Church Planting Field Director: Curtis Ivanoff Associate Field Director: James Barefoot

Can’t attend? Tune into KICY AM 850 at 7:00 p.m. April 2-6 for live broadcasts of the evening services or listen to live streaming at

Office Manager: Jenn Steinbrecher Sinew Editor Kristi Ivanoff

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