Eagle River Gives Aid Just in Time
Eagle River Adventist Church members in Anchorage wanted to do a food drive for isolated Arctic Mission Adventure villages, but going door to door was not an option due to COVID-19. A couple of weeks later, out of the blue, a thought came to member Kerry Gallatin: Why not have people deliver food to the church on a designated day?
Flyers were made, placed around town and handed out to the community. The church also planned to sell soap and crafts, with proceeds going toward shipping. As a new follower of Jesus, Gallatin had not done anything like this before and was anxious no one would come. She took comfort in a thought by Ellen White: “Those who labor with a sincere desire to fulfill the word of the law, and to glorify his name, will be gain increased knowledge: for the Lord will cooperate with them” (Manuscript 18, 1905). So, she gave it to the Lord.
On a beautiful sunny day, the members set up tables for donations and waited. As the day moved on it, it seemed as if not many people came. But just as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, He multiplied the donations. A total of 1,100 pounds of nonperishable food were donated, and $2,500 was raised for shipping to the villages of Selawik, Togiak and Savoonga. Little did the church know just how timely their gifts would be.
A few days later on an early Sunday morning, Jose and Edna Estrella, AMA Bible workers in Selawik, were awakened by smoke coming from the local store. The Estrellas crossed the river on their snow machine, with Jose quickly joining other community members to help.
A Selawik neighbor called out, "Edna, stay here! We heard some popping sounds, and we think they are shells." In prayer, the two women embraced and pleaded to God to give everyone time as they ran in and out of the store with boxes of ammunition. Others kept battling the fire as best they could with generators that did not want to start in minus 6 degrees and frozen hoses.
Unfortunately, most items were damaged by either smoke or water. The salvaged merchandise was sorted, and Tanya Ballot, Selawik tribal administrator, graciously allowed the villagers to take home the remaining items.
One young lady stood with tears in her eyes and asked, "Edna, what do we do now?”
Hugging her, Edna replied, "We are going to trust God" and pointed to Jesus as the answer in moments when life does not make sense.
Just days before, Edna and Jose had received more than 1,000 pounds of food from the Eagle River Church — nutritious food as well as comfort items that put a smile on faces. One child said, "Yay! The cornflakes I like.” Eagle River had also sent infant items and hygiene products that were essential in this situation.
Continually in awe with God's provision and timing, Selawik believers are grateful to their Eagle River Church friends, who unknowingly met their needs. They praise God and join King David, who said, "My times are in your hands" (Ps. 31:15).