Latest Report From Joel and Trish

Quarterly Report to Red Hills Church, June 2016                                     

This is our first letter to you and it brings us much joy to be associated with such kind and generous people. Trish and I live on Prince of Wales Island (POW) where we have been hosting mission teams for the last 5 years. It has been such a joy to see people come to Prince of Wales from all over the United States, which of course includes Newberg.

Our ministry started nearly 5 years ago when we met Rod Koop (North of Hope). He called me just after Alaska was designated a mission field and ask if I knew of any outreach possibilities on Prince of Wales. Raised in this area of Southeast Alaska I knew of many needs of some of the villages.  Something really heavy on all of our hearts is preserving culture for our grandchildren.

Our short term mission teams have been very successful in breaking down many barriers that have been established over the years. In fact, we have an established church in Klawock that has no pastor and we are believing for a Foursquare Pastor to be called to fill this need. They are meeting weekly and feeding themselves spiritually until a long term Pastor can be placed. Our outreach teams have allowed us to establish the relationship in Klawock to even make this possible.

Our primary method of ministry is building relationship(s) and trust by helping with our hands and hearts. We have helped build a new carving shed in Hydaburg, Kasaan, and rebuilt a newer larger carving shed in Klawock. We have been helping where the villages have requested help and it is evolving into many personal relationships that have and will have lasting impacts for many years to come.

One of my favorite stories is when we were getting ready to pour concrete at our home. We were hosting a youth team from Montana.  We were still trying to finish our home and felt as though we were supposed to pour the concrete even though no one in our group had ever finished concrete before. We prayed for favor 10 minutes before the scheduled truck arrival.  As the truck was pulling in the driveway, a stranger came walking up the driveway. After introducing himself he asked if we needed a hand.  Of course I said yes and asked him what skills he had. He told us that he paid his way through college by being a finish concrete worker! The amazing part of this story is that he was sleeping in a tent down on the beach and had caught a cab from the ferry in Hollis. He was only here one day and I have not seen him again as he left the next day on the ferry…I feel the same excitement and blessing about every team and individual that chooses to come and share their heart and resources with a proud people on Prince of Wales. I get to tell those that listen that people are coming from all over North America to share God’s love with their hands just to show them that Jesus loves them. It is working! We are finding inroads and favor with Hydaburg, Klawock, Kasaan, Southeast Island School District, City of Coffman Cove, and many individuals on Prince of Wales and Southeast Alaska.

So far this year we have had teams from Renton, WA, help with a new totem park in Klawock and Ignite from Virginia help in Coffman Cove at our place and in Hydaburg splitting shakes for a new Long House (“Big House”) project in Hydaburg. We currently have a team from Beaverton Foursquare and the River Church in Kansas City in Hydaburg working on foundation for this very important project.

Looking to the rest of the summer we have teams coming on June 4th for a week, June 18th-26th from Salmon Creek, July 8th-18th from Camas, July 13th-20th Beaverton, July 31st-Aug.6 West Salem, Aug. 1st-7th Beaverton, Aug 7th-13th West Salem, Aug 10th –17th Newberg is sending two teams, and possibly a team from New Hampshire.

In addition to the above schedule we are hosting 3-4 summer interns: two from Ignite, two from Newberg. In addition to the summer interns, there will be two from Life Pacific for two weeks in June.

As you can see our Lord is doing a good thing here on POW and it is going to be a very busy summer!

I currently work off the island and help on my days off as much as I can with the teams.  Our greatest need is enough financial support so I can be home full time to help assist and coordinate teams and outreach for each season as the seasons are getting longer every year. We have much to look forward as we stay the course and I can easily see a very different face and culture with our current path. I know of no other outreach of this kind in the history of the missionaries coming to Southeast Alaska.  I would ask you to see into the future with us that brings the Love of Christ with no strings attached. A future where we have encouraged healthy villages and communities without assimilating and dominating them from the outside. A future that includes room for songs to be sung in Haida, Tlingit, and English that tells of a time when the “Church People” came. A future and time when we shared the Light that is within us to a people that need it so!

We have much to look forward to and it is our prayer that this letter finds you with much joy on your heart and a smile on you face!

Would you please take the time to pray for the people of Southeast Alaska, Prince of Wales, and Trish and me? Would you please consider your time and resources to help? Your prayers mean so very much to us!

With much respect, your brother and sister in Christ,

Joel and Trish Buchanan