news from the frosty frontier
by Ron Wallace
Find out more about the ministry of Free Will Baptist Home Missions at www.homemissions.net.
THE CITY OF FAIRBANKS, ALASKA, located just 125 miles south of the Arctic Circle, lies on the edge of North America’s “Final Frontier.” In the past decade, however, Fairbanks has surprisingly increased in population from 75,000 to almost 100,000. Many new arrivals are stationed at the Ft. Wainwright Army Base or the Eielson Air Force Base, and recent demographic surveys reveal that a large number of these families return to Fairbanks after they complete their military service.
Northern Lights Free Will Baptist Church targets the military personnel and their families, an endless supply of new prospects. Almost all the core families in our church have some military connection, whether retired, active duty, civil service, or the Alaska National Guard.
The mission work in Fairbanks has proven to be rewarding yet challenging. Northern Lights Free Will Baptist Church gives many young families their first church experience. The church is focused on grounding and establishing them in the Lord so they will continue serving Him when they transfer to other places.
With a military congregation, however, our attendance is always in flux. We average 75 people in our monthly attendance cycle. Though the ministry is rewarding, it is also challenging. It has proven to be very difficult to reach enough families to reach self-supporting status. New families come to church and accept Christ. We disciple them and rejoice in their spiritual growth, only to see them stationed elsewhere. Because we stay in touch with many of them and know they continue to serve the Lord.
Another plus for having a Free Will Baptist ministry in a military area is the number of Free Will Baptist sons and daughters who are stationed here. The church currently has three displaced Free Will Baptist families in the congregation.
God called us to the frosty frontier. We came, and a Free Will Baptist church ministry is thriving. Is it easy? No, but the eternal rewards far outweigh the challenges. God be praised that a Free Will Baptist light shines in Alaska.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Ron and Janice Wallace are veteran home missionaries to Fairbanks, Alaska. Learn more about their church at www.homemissions.net.