Everything has been the same for many years, but now Lois and I are preparing to turn our lives upside down again. As you know from previous prayer letters, I am resigning as Pastor in Inuvik to pursue the goal of solidifying the Tuktoyaktuk Baptist Church, the third and weakest of the churches in our western arctic ministry. My departure also makes way for our Assistant pastor to mature into the native pastor we have by faith waited so long to see.
I am booking meetings with pastors to present our burden for Tuk with hope to gain some much needed support to handle the endeavour. I am dusting off skills that were shelved in 1997 when deputation ended and we moved north for the second time. Back in the day, I started deputation with 35 MM slides and hand drawn maps to churches. Now churches expect DVD presentations, GPS guidance and text communications. The world has sped past us as we have laboured in the arctic for these many years, and while I can email and do other simple tasks related to the technology age, we often find ourselves looking fondly at antiques and remembering them when they were new introductions into society. Recently while traveling, a pastor friend lent us an iPhone with which we answered a call successfully but were unable to figure out how to hang up!
This letter is being written in the high arctic community of Ulukhaktok, NWT. I have been stuck here for 8 days due to blizzards here and in Inuvik. This community has recently come to some fame as a local hunter harvested a cross breed Polar-Grizzly bear. The Polargriz as it has become known has features of both bear families and DNA tests have scientifically proven this one is a second generation bear, the offspring of a female polargriz and a male grizzly.
Second generation. That term never crossed my lips until I came to the Arctic. Imagine having no believers in your family except maybe a mother or father who heard the Gospel from a pioneer missionary. Imagine in the history of your people no one except that missionary ever cared enough or loved God enough to brave the arctic extremes and isolation to tell the good news of Jesus Christ to your ancestors. I recently shed tears with Bro. Gary Forney over this very subject. Why doesn’t anybody care?
Well I do. Bro. Forney does. The 16 families of Points Baptist Mission do. And obviously you do. Thank you for your support, prayer and for just caring when so few others do. We are praying for 30 families to be part of PNBM to preach the gospel across the circumpolar region of earth. With God’s help the term, “second generation believer”, will become obsolete due to disuse before Jesus comes.
Lois and I must be successful in raising support to continue our arctic ministry. We are launching out when gas prices are outrageous, the economy is miserable, churches are suffering and we feel like a transistor radio sitting in a showcase full of smart phones. Our chances of success are slim to none. Chances just like God likes them. Our hope lies in Him and Him alone.
Thank you for partnering with us to honour God in the Arctic.
Steve, Lois and Angie Donley