In May I flew from Mexico City to the village of Yakutat Alaska for a two week Focus outreach mission. Twenty-three students and staff arrived from 19 different USA university campuses. The experience of taking these students to Yakutat was one of the greatest mission experiences of my life.
Yakutat is a fishing village located in a protected bay on the Gulf of Alaska approximately 200 miles north of Juneau. There are no roads leading to Yakutat. To arrive in the village, you have to take a 21-hour ferry from Juneau or a flight on Alaska Airlines.
The objective of the mission was to serve the community and invest in lives while sharing the love and hope of Christ. For two weeks we served th elderly, and those in need of help and encouragement. Students had the opportunity to learn the culture and traditions from Naive Alaskans while being surrounded by God’s breathtaking creation.
Each morning the mission took on projects in the community from cutting out trees in the overgrown yard of an elderly person, to cleaning out trash that had accumulated in the yard of a person in poor health. We worked on projects for the city government, the Forest Service, and churches in Yakutat. In the afternoons we held a community VBS for the kids. Each evening for dinner volunteers from churches in Yakutat prepared amazing meals. We feasted on fresh Salmon, Halibut, clams. Each evening we gathered for a bonfire on one of the Yakutat beaches. On most evenings kids and adults from the community joined us around the fire while many played soccer or surfed.
The hospitality we received in Yakutat was amazing. The community opened their lives to us. The lives of the students were impacted from the experience of serving, the conversations they had, and the opportunities to share their faith.