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Jim and Linda Schulz
Missionaries Jim and Linda Schulz.

Missionaries in Venezuela, South Africa, Alaska, Belgium, India, Bolivia, Romania and more have benefitted greatly from the $200,000 the annual national Girls Ministries Coins for Kids missions giving program typically raises each year.

Yet, with new annual focuses every year, past years' projects can sometimes be forgotten. But in the land of the midnight sun, Alaska, the Coins for Kids 2012 giving project to help build a permanent building at a camp for children, has come to pass.

But it was more of a miracle in the making than anyone ever imagined.

The creation of Camp "Agaiutim Nune," which means "The Place of God," and is also known as Camp AN, began with a miracle. The pristine property was donated to AG missionaries Jim and Linda Shulz to create a camp for children.

Camp AN David Huff
Volunteer David Huff with wood beams traveling up the Yukon River to Camp AN.

However, Camp AN may also be a dictionary's definition of "middle of nowhere." Located on the banks of the Yukon River in Western Alaska, with no roads in or out, and accessible only by boat, Camp AN's nearest neighbor is a small village 17 miles away . . . the nearest city is 500 miles away.

But not to be detoured, the Schulzes have been operating the annual camp since 1996. Their focus is on demonstrating God's love and compassion to girls and boys, who are mostly from the Yupik Eskimo tribe, and introducing them to Christ.  However, with limited resources, the camp has had to utilize tents for church services, cooking, eating and sleeping, which had to be shipped in, set up, taken down, and stored every year.

Middle of Nowhere
Where is the "middle of nowhere"? How about Western Alaska, on the Yukon River, 500 miles from the nearest city with the only access being by boat? That is Camp AN!

In a more temperate zone, tents may be the ideal camp experience. But at Camp AN, the temperature sometimes drops below 40 in the summer. The building of a permanent multipurpose building that would protect campers and staff from nature seemed like the best of plans.

Yet even the best of plans hit roadblocks. After the strong giving effort through Coins for Kids to make the building possible, the Schulzes learned that barges couldn't navigate the river to their remote location — there was no way to transport the large, heavy steal beams or other equipment and supplies necessary to the building site.

But where barges failed, God prevailed.

"The very logistics of this projected indicated that it was impossible," Jim Schulz admits, "but God gave us wisdom, creativity, and sheer manpower to move and handle extremely heavy pieces of building materials without the use of heavy equipment."

Steel floor supports
Wood beams and steal floor supports are in place, awaiting layers of decking.

Schulz says that with the help of many volunteers and using their two relatively small camp boats, they transported 80 tons of building materials to the project site. From the ground to the locked doors, it took just 32 days to put the building up.

"Many men and church groups from both Alaska and the 'Lower 48' worked extremely long hours to accomplish the task," Schulz says. "So many miracles happened before and during construction that a brief statement like this could never begin to enumerate."

Volunteer David Huff, who attends Central Assembly in Springfield, Missouri, learned about the Camp AN project through a Pentecostal Evangel article. He agrees with Schulz, stating that the miracles that took place for the building to be completed are too numerous to name.

Nearing completion of building
The building nearly enclosed.

"Even though I have a background in carpentry, this project was very unlike anything I had ever done, due to the remote location and lack of equipment," Huff recalls. "There were lots of challenges that seemed insurmountable, but God provided solutions at just the right time.  

"We had 10 very large and heavy beams and 26 large red iron trusses that we had to move by boat, and unload them without equipment," Huff explains. "At one time it seemed completely impossible, but God gave the answer how to move them." 

Huff even praises God for the weather, explaining that typically August is a very wet month in Western Alaska, but during the two weeks he was there, the building effort was blessed by only two short periods of rain. "It was really amazing and incredibly unusual," he says.

Enclosed building at Camp AN
Through the efforts of missionaries and many volunteers, the Camp AN camp building is built in just 32 days.

Schulz says that the new building will house the chapel, dining hall and kitchen. 

"We have used the tents for 19 years and they show much wear," Schulz says. "Now we will be able to continue with a safe, dry, warm facility to continue reaching and disciplining souls for Christ. Next summer we have some 'finish' work to complete — outside steps, windows, two side doors, electrical work and insulate. We are confident God will continue to help us with this as well."

To view additional pictures of the building project in different stages of completion, see the Schulzes' Camp AN Flickr pages. To learn more about Coins for Kids, click here.

 


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Churches look to long-term response for traumatized Newtown

Mon, 07 Jan 2013 - 4:34 PM CST

Friday, December 14, is a date the small town of Newtown, Connecticut, will never forget. It is the date that the nearly 700 hundred children attending Sandy Hook Elementary School, their parents, siblings and extended family members and many in the community had their lives changed forever as 20 children and six adults lost their lives by the hand of a gunman who sought out the defenseless.

Philp and Alli Morgan
Pastor Philip Morgan and his wife, Alli.

According to Philip Morgan, pastor of First Assembly of God in nearby Brookfield, Connecticut, the impact of the shooting reached far beyond immediate families. "Indeed, there's no one in our city who doesn't have a connection in some way to the tragedy," Morgan says. "None of the shooting victims were from our immediate congregation, but almost immediately, connections began to appear."

As Morgan lists off some of the church members' connections, the impact area of the horrific act quickly broadens.

"Sandy cared for a young special needs girl, who she took to school late on Friday morning, just 10 minutes before the shooting - the little girl was killed," Morgan begins. "Bob was the dispatcher who took the first frantic 911 calls from the school; Meagan, a freshman college student, taught ballet to two of the girls who were killed; Pete manages a nearby Starbucks, one of his barista staff was a substitute teacher on Friday and was killed; we have several teachers in our congregation who have worked over the years with the Sandy Hook principal, who was killed; Paul, another teacher, works with a parent whose son was killed . . . ."

Morgan says that First Assembly, along with many other churches in the community, offered a prayer service that fateful Friday evening, with the church filling with the shocked, numbed and grieving, along with special services on Sunday. And Christmas, which typically arrives with an unlimited sense of happiness, joy and celebration - especially for children and families - came about with an overhanging sense of heaviness, and for some, fear and uncertainty.

"Sandy Hook is such a quiet little community," Morgan says. "Here the cliché, 'Never thought it would happen here,' really rings true. Of all the places, this really is the last place on earth to expect something like this. People have been processing disbelief for a long time. They're asking, 'Where was God?' and 'Why did He allow this to happen?'"

The Sunday following the tragedy, Morgan's sermon was entitled, "What in the world is God doing?" He explained to the hurting and still shocked audience that the Cross is the answer and sin is the problem. "Everyone was kind of numb," Morgan recalls. "People tried to make it as normal of a Christmas as possible, while victims' families were tucked away just trying to get through it as best they could."

Morgan says that the church had already planned 21 days of prayer and fasting to start the New Year, but now one of the focuses of prayer is the church's response to this crisis and those suffering due to the tragedy.

However, the evangelical community in the area is far from simply self-focused. With dozens of churches already part of an active and coordinated evangelical church fellowship, when tragedy struck, Morgan says they were able to come together quickly and begin a coordinated response.

"One of our members contacted churches who were involved in response in the Columbine and Virginia Tech tragedies to attain what to expect," Morgan says. "It was the same story - short term, the media was all over it and people were giving, but once the media spotlight went elsewhere . . . the real need is longer term."

With that in mind, the churches worked to develop a three- to five-year response effort, with the mission statement of: To create a long-term, proactive, integrated and planned response to the needs in the community following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, so that there is healing and Kingdom advancement.

One of the fist things the group did was set up the Sandy Hook Response Fund at a local bank.

"We want to be able to provide long-term counseling needs for victims," Morgan says. "We have two excellent, Christian counseling services in our area, and in addition to continued pastoral counseling for families, we want to offer professional counseling services as well."

Morgan is also quick to note that even if someone had no connection to this particular tragedy, there are plenty of individuals who can be impacted due to Post Traumatic Stress disorders.

"This is a trigger event," Morgan explains. "What happened here can bring up traumatic events that happened to people in their past - and their need for help can be just as great."

Morgan says that many in the community are still struggling to find answers. "Our message is that God didn't cause this," Morgan says. "This is the result of sin in the world and God is more grieved than anyone about it."

For churches and individuals outside of the area wanting to know how to help, Morgan says people can contact the church for additional information about contributing to the recovery fund.

However, Morgan's greatest request is simple. "Don't forget Newtown."

He urges churches and individuals to continue to prayer for families and long-term recovery.

"I ask people to specifically pray for the healing and recovery of the victims' families; the wider school community, students and staff; and the responders - the police and people who had to be there," Morgan says. "Also pray for the community itself. Just like somebody who had someone break into their home, that sense of violation, the city has that feeling of violation as well.

"In some ways, we almost want to get the door closed a little bit, so people can get on with their lives and their normal routine," Morgan continues. "But as I was talking with the wife of Bob, the dispatcher, she told me how you'll think you're doing okay, but then all of a sudden something will remind you of what happened, and all the emotions come flooding back . . . . "

Yet for Morgan and the churches he's working with, the answer to the problem is clear.

"The real answer - not just for Newtown or the city of Danbury, but for the nation - is revival," Morgan states. "We are desperate for an awakening and a spiritual move by God. These things are only symptomatic of the real problem - so we are praying for a real move of God across the land, and for it to start in New England as He has done it before."

For more information about Brookfield First Assembly or for contact information, see its website.

 

Keywords: AG churches
Authors: Dan Van Veen

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