Recently the Alaska Conference received letter and donation from the Five Oaks Adventist Christian School in Durham, N.C., for the support of Arctic Missionary Volunteer Elouise Hawkes. The church school students, along with other children from the Five Oaks Church, participated in a bike-a-thon fundraiser, a part of which went to supporting Hawkes’ work in Savoonga, Alaska. This small village of about 800 Native Alaskans lies close to the Arctic Circle, at the northeast tip of St. Lawrence Island, just off the coast of Siberia.
The event inspired excellent participation despite its having to be rescheduled to Mother's Day due to rain. The result: $1,500 was raised to continue the work in Savoonga.
After more than 20 years with little or no missionary presence in this village, Bill and Elouise Hawkes from Durham consented in 2008 to be volunteer missionaries there. Both were recently retired nurses who chose to leave their home church, family and children to live in the Arctic and minister to the people in this village of Siberian Eskimos.
An integral part of their ministry to the village has been Eloise’s work with the children. For example, at Christmas she brought the community together with a program featuring pageantry with the local children. The program was a huge hit in the village; the church was packed with people waiting to get in. Savoonga Church’s 25 members were excited to see such support for the church.
The Hawkeses had returned to North Carolina, where Bill had a surgical procedure and was recuperating nicely. His unexpected passing in February 2016 left Elouise without her life companion, but she remains committed to minister to the people in Savoonga. She continues to take up residence in her little parsonage and meet the needs of the folks there. That’s called missionary dedication!