Wednesday 15 July 2009

Life in The Melchizedek Order VI - more from Nicholas and Pam

Prayer Letter – June 2009.
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV)
Descending through the clouds a sombre view appeared before us of tundra beneath and a lagoon ahead. The two-engine aircraft banked to the left and there in the distance was the small Eskimo settlement of Wales. Nestled between steep hills to the east and a beach on the west, this small community of one hundred and fifty-three people is isolated. Landing safely on an airstrip close to the sea, we, along with three others disembarked from the six-seat passenger aircraft. Wales is next to the Bering straits and is the furthest settlement west on the Alaskan mainland. It is only about twenty-five miles from Russia and the International Dateline and the weather there is notoriously unpredictable. There had been no flights on the previous day and our plane had already been delayed in the morning by two and a half hours, as the weather was down. But it cleared, and there we were finally at our destination and asking about the flight out. There certainly was reason behind this as we had recently spoken to someone who had been stuck in Wales for three weeks! This was a prayer trip and so having only about two hours we quickly walked off. The settlement of wooden shack-like houses was stark in comparison to a large and well equipped school that seemed surreal in its setting. About one hundred miles to the south-east of Wales is a town called Nome of about four thousand people. The proprietor of the bed and breakfast where we were staying for two nights had asked us if we would take a box for the acting Lutheran pastor called, Gilbert. This we did and someone at the landing strip took the box to him. So entering the school we met Judy an American teacher and asked about Gilbert. It turned out that she was a Christian and we were able to pray for her. Judy then took us on her four-wheeled motorbike (All Terrain Vehicle) to Gilbert’s very small house.
Gilbert is an Eskimo and appears to be a strong Christian and we also had the privilege to pray for him as well. He said that a group of Christians were coming from South Africa in July to travel from Wales to Jerusalem. Judy then took us back to the school where we could wait for the aircraft. We were told that the plane had arrived and someone came and picked us up with their ATV. Holding on tightly we drove speedily along the beach and then onto a long gravel road to the waiting plane. We arrived back in Nome which has the feel of a frontier town and is the hub for the surrounding villages. The next day we were at Nome airport waiting to fly back to our starting point of Anchorage. An Eskimo woman thought that she had seen Nicholas several years before. Later on when we were on the plane this same woman was sitting ahead of us and turned around and said the same things again to Nicholas. Interestingly Nicholas had bought a book in Nome that he was reading called, “Jesus and the Eskimo.” This woman recognised photographs of different people in the book and said that her father had been the pastor of the church in Wales at one time. She had a problem with her back and we were able to pray for her. The world seems to get smaller when God makes the appointments!
When we went to Israel this year the Lord reminded Nicholas of two things that He had shown a number of years before. We always pray about what the Lord wants us to do and how He wants us to do things and so this is what we did regarding future trips to arctic Finland and Alaska. Pam is very good about researching the logistics of travelling but we found that it was very difficult to make contacts with people in Alaska. Also Mount Redoubt, a volcano to the east of Anchorage had erupted earlier in the year, and had become quieter. But the potential to disrupt fights through another eruption was high. This all became frustrating and in the end we just had to put the whole trip to one side. On Friday 22nd May Pam was doing her Russian language on the computer and she heard a voice within saying, go and look up flights in Alaska. Pam went to Google and put in, “How to fly to the Bering Straits in Alaska?” Up came an instant web-site. This was the Holy Spirit speaking in such a clear way and from that point Pam found all of the flights that were needed. On the Tuesday prior to our leaving Latvia, on Sunday 21st June, Nicholas had a problem with a tooth and on the Wednesday and the following two days was at the dentist. We are thankful that this did not occur in Alaska! Whilst on our journey we had to change planes in America at Minniapolis. We boarded the plane for Alaska and the pilot said that there had been an earthquake eighty miles to the north of Anchorage, but that everything was all right! Then we had to change planes as one of the two air-conditioning units which also help pressurise the cabin had failed and they could not risk using this aircraft in case the other unit failed. The reason being that we were to fly over mountain ranges of over 10,000 feet and this was above the safe level at which breathing without air pressure becomes dangerous. We certainly have interesting travel! The time difference from Latvia to Alaska is eleven hours and our bodies have coped remarkably well. It has been one of the longest prayer trips in distance that we have undertaken and has certainly stretched us.
We seem to pass through nations as we pass through rooms of a house. We forgot to mention in our last prayer letter that we were in England between the 16th and 22nd April and had a very busy and successful time. Between the 3rd and 16th of May we were on a prayer trip into arctic Finland via Norway. Before we left Latvia the weather forecast for northern Finland was getting progressively worse, but it did not materialise and all the roads were clear of snow. We then spent some time with our friends in the area of Norway that we used to live in the past. The trip was successful and we drove over 1,100 miles. The next day after our return Pam completed her first half-marathon race in Riga, which she was very pleased with.
On May 22-23 we were invited to the Holy Spirit weekend of the Alpha course that our Latvian friends have run. Nicholas spoke on the Friday evening and a friend of ours spoke on the Saturday. We saw God touch people significantly over the weekend. Two people gave their lives to Jesus, one of them being a husband of one of the attendees. It was amazing as he had never been before and left a new creation. On Saturday 6th June we went to a Messianic fellowship and Nicholas spoke briefly. It is interesting how the Lord is opening up the Jewish world to us. On Tuesday 16th June Nicholas spoke at the last Alpha course dinner and this was a special time especially praying with people afterwards.

This last six months in Latvia has been very different to any of the other times that we have been there in the past. We feel that we have had a greater depth of relationship with our new Latvian friends and have seen them grow in Jesus at a fast rate. Their perseverance and faith and their unconscious love for each other and those around them is something we have never seen and has been an example and an encouragement to us both. So all of the teaching that we have done has been for them to rely not on us but on the God to whom we all belong. We think that we will return to Latvia at some time in the future, but as yet we do not know when. We go to England on Tuesday 7th July and as yet we do not know where the Lord will lead us next. We would certainly value your prayers for our next steps.
We thank you so much for being behind us in prayer and appreciate this greatly.
May God bless and open up new doors of opportunity for you.
Nicholas and Pam