Dear Praying Friends, February – April 2017
The days are getting longer, and the river is about to break up so spring must finally be here! It is always a blessing when the warmer weather finally arrives, and the sunshine seems to lift everyone’s spirits in anticipation of summer.
A couple of weeks ago I went out to give the plane a good checking over after sitting through the long winter and found that the ravens had chewed another hole in the cloth fabric of the wings AGAIN! The pesky critters find a loose corner or thread and pick and pick at it until soon there is a gaping hole that has to be repaired. It is quite a nuisance, but fortunately this time was easy to fix, and after some other minor repairs, we got the airplane in the air and are now ready for the summer.
My brother Doug Claypool, who is a missionary in Sao Tome, Africa, is home on furlough,
and we were able to bring him out to Bethel to see our ministry and to preach for us over the Easter weekend. We had special services through the weekend, and it was the first time we had brought in a guest speaker in many years. It was a wonderful blessing and encouragement for the church as we renewed and refreshed our vision to reach western Alaska with the gospel. As an added blessing, Doug was able to go to the villages of Grayling and Chevak with me and be a part of the ministries there.
For the time being I will be continuing as the pastor of Bethel Independent Baptist Church, but we are still praying fervently about the Lord’s direction for our ministry and for the church. So far the Lord has allowed us to blend the two ministries together in a way that has been quite remarkable and we have some exciting ideas for the future. Since the ice and snow have melted away, we have been doing quite a bit of work on the church buildings and property. The church was started on the property utilizing surplus buildings in the early 70s when Bethel was just a small bush village itself. Since then, the town has grown quite large and the church has gone through a lot of wear and tear in the service of the King. We will be looking at a new building project in the coming years but need to do a lot of work to the property itself before that can happen. Like the spiritual, the physical labor can seem overwhelming when viewed as a whole and our motto over the last few months has been “little by little”. If we are faithful, little by little can add up to big things.
Our family will be traveling “outside” (an Alaskan term for the lower 48) for about three weeks in May to visit with family and we are all excited about spending some time in the 48. This has been a long awaited trip and will be the first time we have seen some of our family in many years. As soon as we get back to Alaska we will hit the ground running and have plans for another full and busy summer.
Your Missionaries To Alaska,