Mush to Life

Doug, Joyce, and Bea present the love of Jesus to those in the Iditarod and to the fans who love the race. Each year God increases the scope of their ministry as more and more people are open to the Good News. Following is a report prepared by Doug and Joyce of this year’s ministry presentations.

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FACTS ABOUT THE RACE:

This year the southern Iditarod route was used to race from Anchorage to Nome.  The length of this route is about 1,100 miles.  There are 25 checkpoints on the southern route. That includes Anchorage and Nome.

This year there were only 67 mushers who started compared to last years 96 mushers.
Most of the mushers are from Alaska.  There are also mushers from Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota and Wisconsin in this years race.  There are teams from Canada and Norway racing too. Each musher must take one 24-hour rest and two eight hour ones besides all the other rest they choose.

The crowds watching this years Iditarod were larger I believe.

OUTREACH AT THE CEREMONIAL START AND TRAIL:

Andrew and Kim ran into a tract handler (Drew) from Brenda Crim’s team on Saturday downtown.  Brenda had a team of 17 college students from Texas to help her at the Ceremonial start in Anchorage.  Their team was handing out the MTL booklet with a water bottle.  This all was a big surprise to us as we didn’t know she would be there.

Now we know why the Lord changed our strategy to move most of our team out on the trail. It would have been over whelming with 26 tract handlers downtown.  When Andrew was handing out the MTL booklet, he was wondering why people would say to him, “I just received one”.  Andrew and Kim had a great visit with Drew and encouraged each other.  Brenda’s team handed out 800 MTL on Saturday at the Iditarod Ceremonial start in Anchorage.  PTL!  Our hats are off to Darryl Davis who worked all night and came out to help us hand out the MTL booklets.

Our three little teams handed out a total of 750 booklets at the ceremonial start. PTL!  We found out after breaking the numbers down that each team from our group handed out 250 booklets each.  The two teams that were out on the trail had meaningful conversations and could explain the booklet to the recipient.  We enjoyed the change from a lot of noise with barking dogs and loud speakers downtown to a quiet and peaceful trail. We found that it was much easier to talk with people because of the peacefulness.  There were a lot of families on the trails and some of them had their grills and were cooking their dinner.  Great smell!

WILLOW IDITAROD RESTART OUTREACH SUNDAY MARCH 8th:

Pastor Terry Hull founder of Voice To The Village and Bea Hopkins helped Joyce and I at the restart in Willow Alaska.  The drive from Anchorage to Willow is bout 2 hours.  It was a fun trip.  Pastor Terry, Joyce and I handed out most of the tracts.  Bea was busy taking pictures for VTTV. (We sent you Pastor Terry’s web site today for you to view them.) I was the photographer for this years report.  Thanks for all your PAWS IN PRAYER for us.

When we arrived at Willow the temperature was -4 degrees.  When the outreach was over it was 22 above.  We welcomed the warm up.  It was a beautiful day.

TESTIMONIES FROM THE TEAM:

Doug:
I had a great visit with 6 men from Germany.  They were wondering what I was handing out.  So I showed them that it was a MTL booklet that had 5 checkpoints, and each check point describes an attitude of the heart in relationship with God. They could be far away from Him or close to Him.  I shared with them they needed to find out what check point they were at.  I also shared they needed to get to check point conviction to see their need to go to repentance and saving faith.  The leader of the group asked a good question.  He said, “You mean this booklet will tell us how to know God?”  I said, “Yes, in a very personal way.”  He spoke in German to the other 5 men and they all reached out and took a booklet.  They all said, “Thank you for the booklet and for showing us how to find God.” I did ask them before they left if they could read English and they said yes.  They all then put their booklets in their pockets.  After they left I wanted to get a picture of them but the national anthem started to play and they took off fast for the starting line.  I was left standing there with my hand over my heart and all choked up.

Then a young couple came up to me and they had their two month old baby.  I gave the mom and dad a booklet and explained it to then.  Then the Lord led me to ask them if I could pray for their new born baby?  They said YES!  His name is Brian.  I committed him to the Lord and prayed for his salvation and for the mom and dad too.  When I was finished they were full of joy and really thanked me for praying for them and their new born.

There were a few people who would walk by and say, “I am close to God.” I would lovingly reply, I’m sure your close to God, but are you IN HIM?  That would stop them in their tracts and I was able to show them the tract, making sure they visited the conviction check point to see if they were ready to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus to be saved.  They all took the booklet except for one.  He was in a hurry to get to the start.

JOYCE:
I found this years outreach quite amazing.  I was very surprised at the number of people asking “What is this?”  when we gave them a booklet.  It was so easy then to get in a witness.  I know this was answer to prayer.  Thank you all for PAWS IN PRAYER WITH US.

I have a few testimonies to share with you.  The first one was that I had an extensive visit before the race started with a grandfather and his grandson.  It was a lot of general talk about the race. But, it built to a relationship so when the time came to give a booklet, he was more than willing to receive it.  All I said to him, was would you like a Mush To Life booklet? It’s about God.  We could see that the Holy Spirit touched him immediately.  His eyes began to tear and he said, “I sure would like to have one.”

Another time I shared with two recovering alcoholics.  They were very open to prayer.  I told them that Jesus was in the recovery business.  We prayed (See picture IMG_1272.JPG on Pastor Terry Hull web site.) and then embraced.  They received the booklets with renewed hope after I explained the check points.

Then an elderly lady took a booklet and I leaned over and said to her softly, “There is life at the end  of the trail.”  She looked up and smiled.

Lastly and Iditarod volunteer leaned over the fence to ask if she could have about 20 for a class she was going to teach.  PTL!

PASTOR TERRY:
Pastor Terry shared that he had a meaningful visit and prayer for a lady from Wasilla for about an half hour.

BEA HOPKINS:
As I glanced across the area, thought about where I should stand.  Seems like between you two and Pastor Terry the entrance gates were covered.  I tried to pass out tracts, and most people said they already had one.  I decided to go over to the concession stands on the lake level.  Terry let me borrow his camera so I had a short window of time before I locked into a spot along the chute.

The one person who caught my eye was the lady manning the booth for the dog sled rides for the public.  I quickly reviewed the tract and compared mushing to life as Lenore mentioned.  The lady was very receptive, so I prayed with her before the next customer came along.  I gave the tract to the people in line then headed over to the chute.  The people next to me along the chute were out of state so I talked to them the longest, they went home with the tracts.  Both sets said they were Christians and took the tract home with them.  I passed out a couple of hand warmers and had batteries ready in case that opportunity came.

I think this year for me was a scanning and processing time on what we can do next year.  The Baptist church had the right idea about serving hot chocolate, candy and water bottles.  That may be the ministry of opportunity in years to come.

The Spiritual side of this year’s ministry was the fishing net being thrown on the other side of the boat.  In Anchorage, in the Spirit I saw a first Century fishing boat in mid town Anchorage. The net was being pulled up from the downtown area and tossed out toward the outlying trails in other parts of town.  The seed has been planted for a few years in the downtown area but the people out on the trail had not been reached.  The opportunity to build short relationships is much higher on the trail than in the crowds downtown.  Once the race begins, the people’s attention goes in that direction.  The window of opportunity is to go out early and be ready to cast the net.  Spread the Word like a fisherman casting his net over a new catch of fish.

CONCLUSION:
Brenda’s team handed out 1,300 booklets and guess what, our team also handed out 1,300 booklets. PTL!  We thought that was interesting.  After the outreach we walked around the starting chute and only found 5 discards.  PTL!

One hundred booklets also went to a pastor in Bethal Alaska.  We gave Brenda 1,700 booklets for Nome.  So the grand total of MTL given out this year is 5,950.  PTL!

NEXT YEAR:
Lord willing we are going to team up again with Brenda’s team in Anchorage and Willow to do a better job.  She said she wants to double her team for next years outreach.  So that half of the team can go through the dog handler training and be a part of the actual race, helping the mushers.  The other half will help us.  She plans to serve chili to the public next year.  This year only the team members received the chili.  It was so good.  Brenda has all the resources to do this.  She has 42,000 churches supporting her.  It’s unreal.  She will supply all the chili, hot chocolate, etc, and we will supply the tracts.

Yes we all agreed this was the best outreach of all four years, because of all the personal time and prayer that we were able to do with people.  It was also the faithful prayers of the saints praying for us. We give the Lord all the glory.

Joyfully submitted,
Doug and Joyce

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