Nearly 30 years ago the entire state of Alaska was saturated with a Steps to Christ mailing. Now, because of the vision of one family, PROJECT: Steps to Christ is reaching out to the next generation of Alaskans with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Very few people realize the vast and nearly forgotten mission field that Alaska represents. Geographically, Alaska is larger than Texas, California and Montana combined, yet it is only about 1.12% of their total combined population. There are approximately 230 villages scattered across Alaska’s expanse, averaging 400-500 people per village, the majority of these people being Alaska Natives. Personal evangelism is very difficult due to 80% of the villages and towns only accessible by air, or some by boat in the summer time.
The spiritual darkness is as deep as the near continual dark of the winter months in the far north, with shockingly high rates of domestic violence, sexual assault/abuse and alcohol use. It has been estimated that in some villages 90% of girls age 3 and over have been sexually abused. Suicide rates for youth in many villages are 400% higher than the national average, making it the leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24. A few years ago, northwest Alaska topped the charts as having the highest suicide rate in the world, at 190 suicides per 100,000 people, compared with the national average of 11.2. But this tragic problem is not just limited to the remote areas of Alaska, as the entire state is nearly 50% higher than the national average.
In 2008 my family and I heard of a rash of suicides in a village called Brevig Mission. This village is in the highest suicide rate area of the state. The Lord put it in our hearts to reach out to the people of Brevig Mission with the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. So, after ordering cases of the book “Steps to Christ” and receiving a bunch of free bubble mailer envelopes, we spent the afternoon addressing, stuffing, and sealing envelopes. When it was all said and done, the cost was over $2.00 per mailbox. Due to the high cost of postage, labor and time, we didn't do any subsequent mailings to other villages, yet it was still in our hearts to reach the people of Alaska with The Blessed Hope! Since evangelistic efforts are so difficult to do in the villages and would cost our family mission team of 7 around $5,000 just to fly to a village, not including food and lodging, we began praying about what to do.
Then one day, about 4 years later, while looking online for a source of affordable, high quality books for sharing, we happened upon the PROJECT: Steps to Christ website. It sounded too good to be true when they said that 67 cents covered the postage, handling and book to send a “Steps to Christ” to someone’s mailbox! We praised God for His provision, and the plan unfolded to blanket the forgotten mission field of Alaska’s 230 villages and 282,281 mail boxes with hope and light! We know with certainty that our Lord has raised up PROJECT: Steps to Christ for such a time as this. Please pray for the hurting people of Alaska that the darkness Satan has surrounded their souls with will be driven back as God’s Word goes out to them.
By Dylan Berger, PROJECT: Alaska Coordinator
[We have reached nearly 31,000 homes in dozens of villages, towns and cities throughout Alaska since Feb. 2014.]