Wrangell Mountain Bible Conference has been running since 1951 (or thereabout—I don’t have the specifics). It is an annual conference that involves a dozen or so small churches in and surrounding the Copper River Valley of south-central Alaska. Some of those churches are predominantly native Alaskan in membership, others are non-native, European-descended American.


Until Philadelphia’s CCC&C started running the teen program 8 years ago, beginning 2009, there was either no program or churches from the lower 48 ran them as single-year efforts. CCC&C stood out because we went back for a 2nd year, and then a 3rd, again and again.

Organizer Ken Johns is the son of one of the founders of the conference, Harry Johns. In mission year 2017, I asked him about his take on our presence at the WMBC. He used the word “commitment.” He’d been disappointed by the number of churches that had only come one year at a time. With CCC&C’s repeated involvement, he could see the impact on the Ahtna teens who started looking forward to the team’s annual return as the highlight of their summer. His take was that any effort that didn’t continue wasn’t of God in the first place.

That conviction couldn’t have been reached without recollection of the departure of SEND North and Alaska Bible College from neighboring Glennallen. I learned after a visit to SEND North’s office in Anchorage a little about what happened with their pullout: They had achieved their church-planting goal for south-central Alaska and could no longer justify being so far away from a major airport for their missionaries outside the area. ABC moved from Glennallen to Palmer, closer to Anchorage, at about the same time, around the turn of the decade. Both institutions were important to the spiritual life of the Copper River Valley and their departure was taken bitterly by many people who had been influenced by their ministries for 2 generations.

We can certainly argue that God accomplished what He needed to in the time those groups were there, and I tried to do just that with Kenny. He nibbled at the idea but didn’t bite. Yet it doesn’t remove the fact that CCC&C’s commitment to the Wrangell Mountain Bible Conference was appreciated, that it was celebrated.

On our last day when the teen program presented a special music offering in the adult program, our team leader Helen Hui (the one person who was been back for all 8 of our years of participation) was specially bestowed a bone and glass bead neckpiece by Kenny Johns himself. A former teen participant pronounced to us later that Helen could now attend tribal meetings without special accompaniment or invitation. We were all deeply moved by this expression of appreciation and Helen welled up with emotion.


I’m full of thanks for you past mission participants and prayer and financial supporters for helping to extend our commitment. I challenge CCC&C and anyone else I can get to catch the vision to go further. This blog is my effort to increase awareness of the work we Chinese have been doing for God’s sake in America’s Last Frontier so that we can persist, not just in July of each year there, but throughout the remainder of the year here.

Working toward faithfulness to my own calling in that process, I am,


Map credit: Google, 2017. All rights are reserved by the owner. This use is permitted under the Fair Use provision of Copyright Law (U.S.C. Title 17) for the non-profit, educational purpose of this use and the limited creative nature of, minimal use of, and negligible effect on commercial market for the original work.

Image credit: May Kwan, 2017. Used with permission.

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