From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 13:16:52


                        EVANGELISM PROGRAM 
                     by the Rev. Jim Campbell 
           Director, Chukotka Native Christian Ministry 
Editor's note: Yukon Presbytery and several of its churches helped 
establish and now support the Chukotka Native Christian Ministry (CNCM), an 
outreach ministry of Yupiks in northern Alaska to Yupiks in Siberia.  A 
year ago CNCM conducted an evangelism training event for Christian Yupiks 
in Siberia.  Last week CNCM held a weeklong follow-up gathering.  The 
Presbyterian News Service thanks the Rev. Janice Stamper, pastor of 
Savoonga Presbyterian Church, for sending Jim Campbell's account of the 
gathering. -- Jerry L. Van Marter 
SAVOONGA, Alaska--At worship May 30, five persons from Sereneki stood up, 
mindful that one year ago they had come to St. Lawrence Island to the first 
training session curious about Christianity.   
     From their curiosity has sprung a fellowship of 80 persons.  Then they 
laughed, "We have now been gone a week -- it is probably up to 90." 
     This week has been a whirlwind of Bible study, discussion, and 
worship.  We went from Christmas to Communion to a celebration of Easter 
with the proclamation "Christ is Risen!" in Russian, Yupik and English. 
There has been story after story of the grace of God through Christ. 
     There also have been stories of enormous deprivation.  Food is scarce 
and the ability to gather food has been limited by boats with motors that 
have worn out.  Recently two young men were lost at sea in boats whose 
motors failed.   
     "God doesn't want suffering," said one Siberian visitor.  If that is 
so, then the people of far eastern Russia are near the head of the line to 
be blessed by God's grace. 
     Three evenings concluded with Eskimo dancing, including the final 
evening (June 3) after a community potluck.  When the people of Chukotka 
heard it was a potluck they decided to create a Russian dish called 
Belimeni, using reindeer meat wrapped in pasta that is then boiled. 
     Throughout the week the discussions have focused on learning to 
discern the scriptures.  That in turn helps participants reflect on all the 
different ways the Christian message is being proclaimed by so many groups 
visiting Russia with the gospel.  This has really been helpful. 
     The testimony of the people from Russia and Alaska has also been 
helpful as they consider the wonders of God's healing spirit.  God answers 
prayers in different ways and in God's time.  That truth was also very 
important to ponder for the newly emerging Siberian church. 
     "We are here because we have so much to learn and we want to learn," 
said one participant.  "We want very much to bring the spirit of this 
training back with us."  

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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