Have you ever tripped and fallen with something fragile or precious in your hands? If you're anything like me, you've experienced amazing feats of balance and/or agility in order to avoid destroying that valuable thing you're holding, as you fall. Believe it or not, even when you're falling, you have the ability to prioritize where you land and on what part of your body you land on. Most of this thinking happens subconsciously, but that doesn't make it any less amazing.
This type of subconscious prioritizing and decision making doesn't happen instantly, when we are born. Seriously, have you ever watched a little kid trip and fall flat on their face? The reflexive actions needed to avoid such horrible situations come with years of trial and error. As we grow up, we begin to adapt to our surroundings and learn how to react better to unforeseen hazards, like tripping.
Similarly, in our relationship with God there will be trips, slips, and falls. Unlike our physical growth, our spiritual growth is completely up to us, it doesn't "just happen". You can be a churchgoer all your life, but still be a spiritual infant. Or, you could have come to know Jesus a few months ago and be a spiritual adolescent. It really depends on how you choose to respond to Jesus in your life. If you are constantly practicing walking with Jesus, you are going to develop mature spiritual instincts for how to handle a fall.
When we go through tough times in our lives, we have to know how to fall. If we don't, we run the risk of doing lasting harm in our lives. We have to continually practice our walk with Jesus and experience life with Him. That way, when a crisis happens, our quickest, subconscious response will be to fall on Him and let Him help us up.
Over the past few months, God has done amazing things in my heart and mind. I have been learning how to not fall flat on my face when the enemy attacks or I make a mistake. God has been teaching me how to come to Him absolutely first, before I try to fix things myself, before going to the clinic, etc. Even though I may end up fixing it myself or going to the clinic, I am learning to do those things with God's leading. That way, He gets all the credit and I learn to be in His will for me.
Since Camp Nahshii, this Summer, SO MUCH has happened here in Fort Yukon. Even though we've bee super busy, we've worked hard to keep our focus on Jesus and rest in His peace often. It's definitely not easy, and we've made mistakes along the way, but it's SO worth it! When we are all focused on Jesus and keeping our mind on His kingdom, we can accomplish much more in less time. I find that there is less strife and conflict, more unity, and more peace in our workplace and home.
At the beginning of August, we had a 20 person team from Idaho City Christian Center come up to help with much needed construction projects and a kids outreach program. A few days before their arrival, we found out that part of the church ceiling was collapsing! When Fairbanks 1st Assembly of God found out about it, they immediately purchased all of the repair materials and shipped them up to Fort Yukon. the ICCC team was able to get right to work doing some demolition and reconstruction on the church building. They also wrapped our office expansion with siding, put tongue and groove siding in the interior of the staff bedrooms, and hosted a kids outreach program. This team was such as huge blessing and we were honored to have them.
About a week after that team departed, our entire staff headed out on a ministry tour of some of the Southeast Alaskan islands. We ministered in Haines (Haines Christian Center), Wrangell (Harbor Light Assembly of God), Sitka (Sitka Assembly of God), and Petersburg (Lighthouse Assembly of God). It was a LONG journey, but we were glad we made it. We were able to connect with so many people and build on relationships that we already had.
While we were gone, my mother, Yvonne Niemuth, and my younger brother and two sisters filled in for us up here in Fort Yukon. They did a great job ministering to the community and keeping things going up here during that 3 and a half weeks.
When we returned, we immediately began prepping to bring youth to the Alaska Youth Conference (AKYC) in Anchorage. Everyone pitched in to help raise the funds and work with the families of 8 youth to be able to take them on this trip. Their lives were impacted by AKYC in so many ways. To read more about AKYC, check out Pastor Joshua's and Cheyenne's blog post.
During the prep for AKYC, Sharnay began having severe pain in her right abdominal area. I flew her into Fairbanks to go to the doctor. After an ultrasound, the doctor's determined that she had at least two large gallstones. We scheduled surgery and had the gallbladder removed. Last week, we headed home for her to recover and to get back to our regular ministry schedule.
It has been an exciting and challenging year for me, and I've seen God do amazing things in my life and my family. I am looking forward to what's next with great anticipation! Thank you for being a part of this amazing ministry!
- Pastor Jeremiah Niemuth