Nine years ago, in 2008, Philadelphia’s CCC&C participated in its first mission trip to Alaska. That year, the mission service was confined to Anchorage, but the next year, CCC&C went to Copper Center for the first time. The goal since that year has been specifically to provide adolescent ministry support for the Wrangell Mountain Bible Conference.
CCC&C just celebrated its 8th year in Copper Center. Since 2009, various members of mission teams have come and gone under the planning and guidance of the church’s mission visionary Helen Hui.
For my part, I became a firstie of the AKM team 2 years ago, in 2015. God promptly challenged me to think past the 2-3 weeks a year around the Fourth of July the team visits Copper Center.
|I avoid the term “freshman” as a bit of sexism that is dying awfully hard in favor of “first-year” or “firstie.” Think Peeve, the poltergeist from J. K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series, without the arrogance.|
In truth, people had already been thinking. For years many past team members have been friending participants on Facebook, a favored internet site for Ahtna teens. Still, as a social media website, Facebook felt like it was falling victim to its very strengths, those of being in-the-moment, unstructured, and casual.
Some internet searching around the terms “Ahtna” and “Native Alaskan” suggested nothing existed—or at least nothing about the Ahtna as Christians (individually or socially). A search on “Ahtna” and “Christian” doesn’t do much better.
I began envisioning a website that could build off the relationships developed between PA and AK—Philadelphia’s Chinese Christian Church and Center and the Ahtna—so many participants had come to know over the years—a website that could celebrate the years of interaction as evidence and memory for the former participants and as information and education for future ones to contribute to the unique faith life of the Ahtna around Copper Center, AK.
During my 2nd missionary visit to the Wrangell Mountain Bible Conference 2 years later, I was eager to identify local stakeholders. No effort had any hope of success as generated from Philadelphia exclusive of those local to the Copper River Valley.
With the writing of this post, I continue in that process, hopeful, confident that he who began a good work might bring it toward completion as a result (Philippians 1:6).
|Blog entry photo credit: Author. See details in “Header Photo Credit” in this website’s right sidebar.|