The Warren Family
Greetings in the Name of the Lord,
The Lord has blessed me with a net for fishing! It is a 50 fathom (300 foot long) drift net that came from the local net store, AKA the village dump, and although the mesh was still good, not having dry rotted, it needed several holes patched, as well as requiring to be rehung, because where the mesh was attached to the float line and lead line every few inches by twine, the mesh was stretched too tight, allowing fish to bounce off instead of get entangled. After two days of patching holes in the mesh, and cutting knots in the twine that held the mesh to the net every eight inches or so for 300 feet on the float line and 300 feet on the lead line, we then reattached the mesh to the float line and top line, using new twine, and tying a knot every eight inches or so for the combined 600 feet of rope that makes up the top line and bottom line. If the Lord had not provided this net, we would have had to purchase one for thousands of dollars, Thank God for the net!
There was a food shortage in the villages earlier during the Corona Virus lockdown, due to the RAVN Airlines going bankrupt earlier this year, so the supply of groceries being flown out was cut in half. Being able to go out and drift for salmon not only has provided much meat for us for a year, but also provided every family that comes to church with food, as well as a multitude of families that do not attend; not only has this net provided a way to physically minister to the saved and lost, but also a way to spiritually minister to them. It is not safe to fish by one’s self with a net, ideally having three men: one to operate the boat, and two to bring in the net, remove the fish, and put the net back out. At different times I fished with every saved man who comes to church, and a few lost men, having long hours of drifting down the Yukon River, and being able to delve into many doctrines of the Bible with the saved folk, and share the Gospel with the lost folk. When giving the fish out to households who do not have a net or boat, I was able to witness and pray with people, praising God for the opportunity during the Corona Virus to minister physically and spiritually to the precious souls God has put in my life!
All of this talk of a net is leading us to spiritual fishing: as I spent hours repairing the net, drifting the river, and putting the fish up for the winter, I reflected on how many holes do we have in our “witnessing net”: have we read our Bible and prayed, or are we unprepared to “close the net” on souls we meet that day, will they slip right through, never to be seen again? Is our “net” mesh too tight or too loose, does our attitude, appearance, politics, etc. repel souls that come into contact with us? Do we have loose knots in our “mesh”, are we doctrinally grounded ourselves, ready for any question that comes our way? The subsistence salmon season on the Yukon River is opened and closed by emergency order, you don’t get to pick the time or weather you get to fish in, you go when circumstances beyond your control allow, and so it is with ministering to souls. You must always be prepared, even if it’s inconvenient to spread the Gospel, and be an encouragement to those that are downcast or weak in the faith. Once the salmon pass you, they are gone upriver, sometimes over a thousand miles, where they will die. The people we do not reach with the Gospel will die, lost and undone in their sins, and go to hell; what excuse will we give? Bad weather, sickness, government interference, unpreparedness?
Catching the salmon is only the beginning, they must be cleaned, filleted, packaged, and frozen, or cut into strips and dried or smoked and put into buckets with lids to keep the bugs out. The souls we do win must be discipled, baptized, grounded in the faith, introduced to other Christians, lifted up when they fall, encouraged when downcast, helped when weak. One day they will be presented to God, and we want them to be a sweet smelling savour in his nostrils, pleasing in his sight, instead of something unsightly, such as a salmon incorrectly cleaned, put up, or cooked. One time, at someone else’s house I was served salmon with worms wiggling out of it, I prayed and ate it anyway, but was revolted by it the whole time I was eating it. When I prepare a dish called “pig salmon”, which is king salmon chunks wrapped in bacon slices, put on shish kabob sticks, liberally dosed with Cajun seasoning, smeared in BBQ sauce (I BBQ, not grill!), and then put on the BBQ grill, I want the fish moist, the bacon crispy, and the BBQ sauce unburned. It takes me about six hours to make 85 shish kabobs of pig salmon and cook them for a church fellowship, but I am rewarded by everyone’s big grins and thanks. Do we put as much time, thought, finances, and energy into the souls we have won to Christ, or do we rely on others to disciple them?
Our one year old, Nathan, gave us quite a scare, as he had a seizure and quit breathing! One evening, we noticed he had a low fever. Our bedroom is the coldest in the house, so Rebecca had him sleep in there with her that night. In the middle of the night, I awoke to Rebecca shouting for me, and upon running to our bedroom, I found our child convulsing, with his eyes rolled back in his head! About the time I got in there, he quit breathing, but after several minutes of crying out to God and desperate effort, he began breathing again, thank God! We called the clinic, and the nurse was already awake, and jumped on her Honda and met us there, and after an hour, was able to get the fever that had caused his seizure to go down. It was 103 degrees when we got there. She found the cause of the fever to be a simple earache that we were unaware of. If Rebecca had not been sleeping in the same room as Nathan, we would never have known that he was having a seizure; our two older kids somehow never woke up during all of this commotion, so we didn’t have to deal with them in addition to taking care of Nathan; the nurse had never went to sleep that night, feeling that something was going to happen, so at one o’clock in the morning was able to jump on her ATV and meet us at the clinic promptly; we found out later, a lady in Palmer, Alaska, was up that night taking care of family sick with Covid 19, and was praying for us when this was happening! God was so good to have all of these details worked out, and for hearing our prayer and letting us keep Nathan! He seems to be fine, and has all of his little mannerisms and gestures he had before the seizure. We thank everyone for their prayers for us, as there is no hospital out here, and it took several days for his fever to go away, during which there was terrible ice fog and freezing rain, so no medivac could fly him out, prayers are worth more than gold to a missionary!
In Christ, Israel J. Warren Psalm 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!