The Warren Family
July/Aug/Sep 2022 Newsletter
Greetings in the Name of the Lord,
July came, and with it youth camp, something we’ve been preparing for, for three years: we started by feeling an urging from God, and praying for wisdom as we began collecting vehicles and equipment. When it was all still an idea that was being prayed and talked about, a boat was donated from an elderly couple in a bush village, as you need one plain and simple, there being no roads to speak of to get away from the villages, just the many rivers and sloughs. Sturdy canvas wall tents were purchased, cooking utensils for meals prepared over a fire were gathered, supplies for field games provided for, first aid kits obtained. A man, who was led to the Lord and attends church, volunteered the use of his Native Allotment land for a campsite. Covid came and went. Finally, everything was ready, so I began over the winter of 2021/2022 talking to Brother Dave Hoffmeister about clearing the land for the camp, and he raised a crew of men from two churches in Texas to come up and help set up and conduct the camp.
The crew from Texas arrived, and boy howdy were they workers! We drove the boat 45 miles downriver, and began clearing land. Those Texas men set to it with a will, and before you know it, we had a small field cleared for field games, a kitchen area for a large camp fire to cook on (With a large cleared area around the fire site, to prevent forest fires, which if you recall, had been rampant in the spring and early summer.) Log benches were crafted and set around the fire for seating for chapel services, three large tents set up, with the largest being for the ladies and girls, and the other two for the men and boys. Two latrines were set up, the men’s 100 yards to one side of camp, and the ladies 100 yards on the other side of camp, consisting of walls of brush obtained from clearing the land, a slit trench between two trees, and a log tied two feet off of the ground between the tree trunks above the slit trench. A shovel was provided at each latrine to throw a scoop of dirt in after your business was done. Only the finest accommodations! One of the men, I will refrain from naming names, set up his own small tent to one side of camp, he being an exceptionally loud snorer by his own admission, and showing unusual compassion for the rest of us, voluntarily slept apart. We were off to a good start!
After two days of hard work, we traveled back to the village, got some much needed showers and a good night’s rest indoors, not worrying about bears and bugs bothering us, and some meals that were not cooked over a fire. After Sunday services were over the next day, we loaded up the men and teenage boys, and a saved man from the village made a trip downriver to camp in his boat, dropping them off, and spending the night with them. I remained home and got a good night’s rest before hauling the women, girls, younger boys, and a paramedic down river bright and early Monday morning. I am very appreciative of Bruce Claypool and his daughter Savannah flying up from the village of Bethel, Alaska, so he could be our paramedic, and so she could be the second lady counselor.
Upon arriving in camp, we hit the ground running, with the usual church camp activities: preaching, praying, singing, verse memorization, field games, cooking over the fire, sleeping, then get up and do it all over again. We had put up two trail cameras in camp, to see if any bears came in at night, and to discourage the kids getting into mischief after dark, but no bears came into camp, the kids were well behaved; there were no injuries other than the usual scratches and bruises, it sprinkled once or twice, and there were hardly any bugs. The weather and bugs were so well behaved, I told the men from Texas they were not getting the real Alaskan experience, but they weren’t complaining! I was in a t-shirt more often than not the entire eight days we were setting up, holding, and tearing down camp, and I never once slathered up with bug dope. God is good!
Even more important than the good physical results of camp, were the spiritual results, as this is the main reason we hold a church camp: the Texas men had an excellent spirit about them, as did the two men from Alaska, and they all were willing to preach, and commenced to do so at the appointed times with the power of God. By the end of the camp, you could tell the lost kids were under conviction, even crying. One kid had received Christ as their Saviour! But more goodness of God was to come…
After we got back to Saint Mary’s, the kids came to church the next service, and by the grace of God, six more got saved! Glory to God! With the kids that were saved at camp, and some other souls who were saved earlier in the year, we started a discipleship class on Friday nights. Please pray for the growth of these young people and faithfulness to the Lord, especially as school and sports has started up. Lord willing, we will be able to find a stock tank in the state of Alaska, and have it flown out to hold baptisms inside the church with, as the one month of 50 degree water in the Andreafski River passed a long time ago, and the water is in the 40’s again.
We appreciate, from the depths of our hearts, everyone who has given towards making the youth camp happen, God bless!
A group of men from a church in Ohio flew out in August and helped around the church building, helping move a twenty foot connex to the church for storing all of the youth camp equipment in. We started downriver to the campsite to clear more land in preparation for next year, but the lower unit started tapping, so we turned around and headed 30 miles back to Saint Mary’s, and by the time we made it back, the lower unit sounded like a machine gun going off. Thank God we made it back before it seized up! The crew from Ohio had the real Alaskan experience, with break downs, inclement weather, bugs, etc., but they plugged away with no complaining. We appreciate their hard work and the preaching that was done.
It was a blessing that the boat didn’t break down during youth camp, as you can imagine the reaction of a bunch of lost parents if that would have happened! I had to turn many kids down who wanted to come to youth camp, as I simply didn’t have time to haul anymore and be present at camp; I drove 36 hours in 8 days in the boat, and a man from the village also put in a six hour round trip with his boat. With both the break down, and not being able to take all of the kids who wanted to come, God impressed upon me the need for another boat, for safety’s sake in the event of one boat breaking down, we would still have another to get everyone back home, and bring parts and tools from the village to fix the broken down one, and to get more kids to youth camp next year, as having two boats would double our transporting capacity. The church kids started praying, and in September, the Lord provided a boat in the village at $15,000, half price of what they were selling for on the road system, and it was in the village already, so I didn’t have to spend $5,000 in shipping to get it barged downriver! God is good, we thank everyone who has given to this need!
Terry McGovern, my pastor of our sending church, Independent Baptist Church of Anchorage, Alaska, flew out in the first half of September, and preached our sixth year church anniversary revival, which was a great help to all of the newly saved people coming to church. Another lay preacher from our sending church flew out to Saint Mary’s right after Pastor McGovern flew back to Anchorage, and preached for us and helped me get the wood supply for the first half of winter cut into foot long pieces and stacked under the church building out of the rain and snow. We appreciate all of the preaching to the new converts, and the work that was done.
In the last half of September, the whole family flew over to the road system, having been invited by our sending church and another supporting church in the Kenai Peninsula to come to their missions conferences. Both of the churches were a huge blessing to us, we were greatly encouraged spiritually and physically by the time the meetings in Alaska were over. We took this opportunity to grocery shop in preparation for winter, and we also met with some acquaintances who had moved to the road system from the bush villages, encouraging them to be more faithful in attending church on the road system.
After the meetings in Alaska were over, my family flew back to Saint Mary’s, and I flew down to the Lower 48, to attend two church planters conferences. God is good, we are plugging away, and appreciate y’alls faithful prayers and support! God bless!
Israel J. Warren Psalms 34:6
The Warrens Cell: 907-438-6446 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mailing Address: PO Box 143 Saint Mary’s, AK 99658
Sending Church: Ind. Bap. Church of Anchorage, 1801 E. 68th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99507 Phone: 907-562-3004
Support Address: Faith Baptist Church c/o M.A.J.D. (include missionary’s name in note on check) PO Box 329 Cropwell, AL 35054 Phone: 205-365-3165
NOTE: Please send any personal correspondence, such as cards and letters, directly to our PO Box. Thank you!