Tuesday, June 12, 2007

nothing ever stays the same . . .

We just finished day 2 of our village VBS. This has been a phenomenal trip so far. Completely different from last year, but in many ways better.
In some ways, it reminds us of our second year of ministry in Tyonek, a village out of Anchorage where we worked in the early nineties. The first year we started going in, we did Kid's Clubs every weekend the weather allowed us to fly in. The kids loved us but the adults would cross the road to avoid us. And we got cussed out a lot.
The second year, however, everything had changed. The chief had died of cancer, and for whatever reason, his son and nephew had found the Lord during that dark season. So, went we started going in that summer, we were given the key to the tribal center and treated like old friends. Adults we'd never met would now approach us on the street and ask us to pray for them, that they would quit drinking. We became such good friends with Emil and Virgil--the Chief's son and nephew--that they came to our going away party when we left Alaska and even gave us Tyonek Chief T-shirts, making us unofficial village members.
How cool is that?

The first two days we were in this village, we had a stream of adults we'd never met, dropping into the rec center (our home away from home) to visit with us. All of them thanked us for coming and told us how grateful they were that we'd traveled so far to work with their kids. One man, slightly inebriated, told us to take all the kids home with us. He said there was nothing good for them here in the village.
That's been the overiding sentiment of the adults we've met. Get our kids out of here and give them a chance.
Could have something to do with the stabbing that took place the night before we came.
Last year, the kids came everytime the rec doors were opened, but the adults pretty much avoided us like the plague. I befriended a few village women, but overall we were left to our selves. This year, there seems to be a desperation. They know they need help, and they appreciate anyone who comes to their aid.
What they haven't figured out yet is that they need to cry out to Jesus.
I have to go now, will write more as soon as I'm able.
The boy in the picture is Cimeon.