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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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Church repents for attitudes toward former pastors

Wed, 20 Feb 2013 - 3:21 PM CST

Foot washing
Madison AG Pastor Peter Joudry washes the feet of Stephen Perry, who pastored the church from 1985-90 as well as 1995-2007.

When he applied for the job as lead pastor, Peter A. Joudry knew Madison (Indiana) Assembly of God (MAG) had a reputation for mistreating clergy during the past three decades. Nevertheless, Joudry soldiered on through a seven-month vetting process that included a dozen interviews before the congregation elected him in April 2011.

However, by the seventh month of his tenure, old, entrenched patterns began to resurface. By the ninth month, 40 percent of the 260-member congregation had left.

Soon afterward, Joudry invited the four men who had preceded him as pastor during the previous 30 years to a reconciliation weekend at the church.

Even though many of the members who had wounded the pastors no longer attend MAG, Joudry determined to apologize for the offenses committed against the leaders. As an act of contrition, Joudry and his wife, Ruth, washed the feet of pastors and their wives dating back to 1983: Don and Barb Fisher; Stephen and Patty Perry; Ron and Dorene Bontrager; and Chuck and Susie Lynch. Members of the congregation gathered around the guests amid tears and hugs.

Before the foot-washing ceremony, as the four former pastors and their spouses sat on the platform, Joudry led the congregation in prayers of confession and repentance.

"We needed this weekend because of the misdeeds and un-Christlike attitudes that were displayed by our congregation toward these men of God and their families," Joudry says. "They suffered greatly under a yoke of rebellion and control while being here. They left this body wounded and deeply distressed."

At the service, the sins the congregation repented of included gossip, assuming the worst about their pastors, sending the ministers anonymous letters containing un-Christlike comments, publicly maligning their pastors, and causing a strain on their health.

Even though he has been gone since becoming pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis 18 years ago, Bontrager says he still knows three-fourths of the attendees at MAG. He said during his time in Madison he felt like a young, insecure hireling who had to toe the line.

"But all who remain there want to support the pastor; the spirit of control has been broken," Bontrager says. "The service was authentic, encouraging and extremely meaningful."

Joudry credits M. Wayne Benson, founder of Paraclete Ministries, with laying the groundwork for the reconciliation. Benson, who also took part in the ceremonies, served as MAG interim pastor before Joudry's arrival. Benson commended Joudry for his courage and conviction in organizing the event and urged the congregation to pledge their loyalty to Joudry.

The ceremony included a responsive reading by the congregation to resolve future problems in a biblical and Christ-like manner.

"What we do with rumors and accusations will help change the culture of the church," Joudry says.

Author: John W. Kennedy, Pentecostal Evangel

Keywords: AG churches

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