Approximately 100+ villages in the Arctic do not have an established Christian evangelical church, pastor or missionary presence. Many of these villages are only accessible by plane or boat and have few or no followers of Jesus Christ. Various Christian organizations send pastors and missionaries to live and minister among the indigenous people groups in rural Alaska and Northern Canada.
Unfortunately, many become quickly overwhelmed by the spiritual, physical challenges, of living in a remote Arctic village. Challenges they face can include cross-cultural barriers, isolation, extreme weather, inadequate housing, insufficient medical care, and limited food or other supplies. In addition, statistics for this region indicate consistently high rates of addiction and suicide among villagers. With all these challenges, the locals often look to their village pastor or ministry leader for love, counsel, and spiritual formation. Some pastors persevere. Many burn out. Yet, there is hope!
God provides for these ministry families through the work and pastoral care programs of Arctic Barnabas Ministries. Pastoral care is a growing field of ministry that focuses on supporting and sustaining Christian leaders. Arctic Barnabas Ministries specializes in administering pastoral care to ministry families where the challenges of ministry and Arctic village life can be highly complex. The programs of Arctic Barnabas Ministries are designed to Shepherd, Equip, Serve, Refresh and Connect Christian ministry families who serve in remote villages throughout the North.
Jeffrey assists in pastoral care to pastor families; leads ABM’s Alaska Mission Connection arm of ministry, helps with logistics in retreat planning/hosting and provides IT support for the home office. Bethany, aside from being a full-time mommy, helps in the office, takes part in planning and hosting women’s retreats and doing her part in pastoral care with pastor’s wives. As individuals and as a family, they also take opportunities to visit families in “bush” Alaska. The addition of four boys and a girl to their family thoroughly bless Jeffrey and Bethany. Their soldiers of the Lord are Ezekiel, Jedidiah, Asher, Selah, and Gabriel.