The State of the Arctic
There is a tourism slogan that has been used in the Northwest Territories for a long time. It simply says, “Within reach, yet beyond belief”. This refers to the stunning natural beauty of the NWT and that it is possible to see and experience such a place. I have always thought this slogan fit perfectly into the spiritual side of things as well.
There are nine communities in the Arctic of the Northwest Territories of Canada. By “Arctic” I mean those communities that are physically above the imaginary line that runs at 66 degrees, 32 minutes North of the equator called the Arctic Circle. By Northwest Territories I mean exclusively that. Not the territory of Nunavut or the Yukon, and obviously not Alaska, USA.
The combined population of those nine arctic communities is 7134. For the past 20 years our focus has been on the three major communities in the extreme Northwest corner of the territory called the “Western Arctic.” Inuvik has a population of 3504, Tuktoyaktuk 935, and Aklavik has 655 people dwelling there. Those 5094 souls in the arctic of the NWT have had a gospel witness for decades. That leaves six communities and 2040 souls in the Arctic of the NWT that have had little or no gospel witness. In the same time span the western arctic has had the blessing of a consistent and clear gospel witness, the 2040 of the remaining six arctic communities in the NWT have not. They must be reached with the gospel. Is this not truly representative of “Within reach, yet beyond belief”?
So I want to start a prayer initiative. I’m going to call it the 2040 window prayer initiative. 2040 refers to the number of souls and window refers to the window of opportunity to reach those souls. At 52 years of age, the window of opportunity for me to reach those communities is almost closed. My mission director, Bro. Gary Forney is respectfully a bit older than me, so the window is a bit further closed for him. Larry Noland is focused on Aklavik and the other 13 missionaries of Points North Baptist Mission are dedicated to a ministry and people groups in other areas. The answer lies in those reading this letter. Some may surrender and go, and some may pray for the 2040 window. Some may give and some may promote Arctic Missions in their ministries. We truly are in a symbiotic relationship.
2040 window. Yep, I like it.
In lesser intense news, the meetings in Tuk have been good. Attendance is picking up since the weather has turned colder and I have experienced great liberty as I preach. Several visitors have been attending and the regulars have been faithful.
I was able to purchase a “new to me” snowmobile due to a generous love offering of a Canadian church and a specific offering from a small Ohio church. The Arctic Cat snowmobile was new to me but in actuality it was 99.3% brand new. The machine has 7 miles on it! Nonetheless was officially not new therefore the price was reflective of a used machine.
Lois is still adjusting and learning a “new normal” in dealing with her continued neurological difficulties. Angie attends Bible college in Florida and Steven and his family are living in Manitoba attending Bible college too. Becky is a mom of 3 now and is faithfully serving alongside her husband in Nunavut.
Thank you for your love and support both in prayer and finances. We are grateful God has allowed us to partner with you.
Steve and Lois Donley