Changing Course…

For seven years now, Campus Lutheran has been sending a volunteer team to Anchor Point, Alaska to lead Vacation Bible School.  In 2016 my daughter Norah and I served on our congregation’s Alaska Mission Team as a father/daughter duo and planned on doing so again as part of this year’s team.  However, due to recent surges of Covid-19 and the risks associated with this pandemic, none of our team members will be going to Alaska this year.

Norah-Kent_AK2016Less than a month ago, with encouragement from our host community and appropriate Covid-19 safety measures, our team was still planning to travel to Anchor Point.  However, as our departure date drew closer and Covid-19 risks did not decrease, our team decided to cancel our in-person VBS in Anchor Point and provide a virtual VBS in its place.  Protecting the safety of our friends in Alaska and our team members is the most responsible way we can serve God and His people right now.

So, what’s next?  We will still provide VBS for the Anchor Point community.  Our team is currently preparing “Virtual VBS” kits that will be shipped to Anchor Point families.  These kits will allow children to experience Bible lessons and songs via video and will include materials for hands-on projects.  Thankfully, we live in a time when technology allows us to connect with one another even when we can’t do so in person!

Norah-Rocky Railyway 2020Our Alaska Mission Team is also already planning to return to Anchor Point in 2021.  Team members will be able to apply the value of their airline tickets toward next summer’s travel.  We give thanks for all of your prayers and support!  Stay tuned for future blog updates to learn more about “Virtual VBS” and how we will continue to serve Christ and His people in Alaska.

Serving Jesus with you, Pastor Kent

Swabbing for our Savior!

Greetings my brothers and sisters in Christ! It is a wild time to be alive! We are in the planning and preparation stage of our mission to the kids in Anchor Point Alaska. Our team is keeping a close eye on the travel situation and praying that everything works out for our mission. My name is Luke Lilienkamp and this will be my 7th opportunity to be sent, by my wonderful congregation of Campus Luther, to serve the children and community of Anchor Point Alaska!

As the date of departure draws near, we are all very excited and anxious about our mission this year. As of today our plans have not been changed, just slightly altered. Our mission will require a few extra precautions than normal this year. One such precaution is that we must all get tested for COVID 19, twice. For those who do not know what that entails, they have to stick a very long swab up our noses and tickle the back of our nasal passages for 10 whole seconds! (Hence the blog title) This will happen once before we leave and once after we land. We must come up negative both times before we will be allowed to travel through Alaksa. While we await our test results in Alaska we will not be allowed to travel, so we will have to stay quarantined in a hotel.

Another one of our precautions is that the Alaska Mission for Christ, has asked us to wear masks while we are in contact with the people that we are there to serve. Our team has also taken it upon ourselves to clean and sanitize, to the best of our abilities, the church between VBS days. The supplies needed to do this will add to our expenses as well as the unplanned hotel stay.

These changes, as well as the situation here at home in Columbia, have really stretched our funding for this year’s mission. With the stay at home order we were unable to do some of our normal fundraising activities this year, as well as some clever ideas that had been tossed around in some brainstorming sessions. That fact, on top of the other things I discussed, has left us short of our goal for the year. We are very blessed to have the continued support of our home congregation, as well as our family and friends outside of our congregation. We would ask that you keep our team in your prayers, as we continue to looks for ways to fund our mission, and as we travel to and from our designated mission field.

We pray that we will have a successful mission this year, and I very much look forward to giving a full report when we complete our mission. Until then, stay safe, love one another (from an appropriate distance) and keep the transforming love of Christ shinning in your life, for all the world to see.

Your brother in Christ, Luke Lilienkamp

 

Alaska mission trip update

Greetings Brother and Sisters in Christ, from the Alaska mission team!
We hope all is well and that everyone is staying well. I can’t believe that it is already the month of June. Our mission trip to Anchor Point, Alaska is planned for next month. We are looking forward to returning and seeing everyone again.
I’ll introduce myself, I’m Amy Zimmerschied. I’m sure I have met you at one of the worship services. This is my second time participating on this mission trip.
We are still planning on traveling to Anchor Point and hosting Vacation Bible school. This is a very exciting event to host. Currently, the two week quarantine period in Alaska will be replaced by a COVID test instead.
We are very grateful for your continual support and prayers.
Blessings,

Amy Zimmerschied

 

Meet the Team & our Backup Plans

Hello from quarantine! On behalf of the Alaska mission team, we hope that you and your families are doing well and staying healthy during these trying times. There have been lots of big changes in the last few months, and new developments continue to happen everyday. We are keeping a close eye on the status of travel to/from Alaska and will continue to keep you, our church family, updated on our mission trip.

As for right now, we decided to let each team member take a turn writing the weekly blog and have a chance to introduce themselves. Last week was Bryan Ross. This week is me, Jenna Bohler.

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When things are “normal,” you can usually find me in Ellis Library at Mizzou or working at one of my three jobs… At Campus Lutheran, I have served on the Belize mission team (Dec 2017-Jan 2018) and the Alaska mission team (2019). This is my second year on the Alaska team. I have also acted as secretary and treasurer for LSF. Next time we can all gather together in person, come say hi!

Now back to our Alaska trip….as I was saying above, things are changing every day. While we are desperately hoping that we’ll be able to fulfill our mission in person in Alaska, we don’t know if that’s God’s plan for us. So we must consider what to do if we can’t travel.

At the beginning of this year. Alaska Mission for Christ had 50 teams lined up for summer mission work. Now, only 10 teams remain committed to traveling. We are one of those 10 teams. Bryan has been in contact with those teams that aren’t going to Alaska. Just like Campus Lutheran, they don’t want to completely cancel Vacation Bible School. Instead, those teams are doing a virtual VBS with the Alaskan kids. Whether it be live on Zoom or pre-recorded, they have all committed to putting in maximum effort from a safe place at home. This is our contingency plan. If extenuating circumstances prevent us from traveling this year, we are going to do the same with our Alaskan community.

In the past, our team has divided into different roles for in person VBS. These roles include being in charge of craft, snack, opening/closing, games, and more. We have already decided our roles and are beginning to create our plans. If we end up doing a virtual VBS, we will keep the same roles and adapt our plans for an online environment. We are also working with the Campus Lutheran VBS team to coordinate filming and sharing decorations/props.

Please keep us in your prayers as things are up in the air. We are posting and updating weekly prayer requests on Church Updates (https://campuslutheran.churchupdates.org/login/). Thank you for your continual support for the last 7+ years that we have sent a team to Alaska. And thank you for your support especially this year, as we navigate mission work in the era of COVID-19.

God’s blessings to all.

-Jenna Bohler

Mission Work in the Era of COVID-19

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Our host church in Anchor Point

In July 2013, Campus Lutheran Church made a commitment: to send short term mission teams to the village of Anchor Point, Alaska for three years to host a Vacation Bible School for the children in the community.  That three year commitment has since grown into an annual outreach, with the families of Anchor Point welcoming us back each year to their town, into their homes, and into their hearts.

In the seven years of this mission work, 24 different members of our congregation have heard God’s call to directly serve Him in Anchor Point, and countless others have joined us as prayer and financial supporters.  Each year there have been returning team members, and members who have never served on a mission team before, with one member of the congregation who has served on the team EVERY year (way to go Mary Anne!).  But more importantly, there are the children of the town who have come to hear God’s word.  Well over 100 children have come to our Vacation Bible Schools.  And like our team, some are the same familiar faces every year from families we’ve grown to know and love, and others are new friends that we get to make each July.  All of them are God’s children, and it has been our privilege to serve Him in this way.

Now, it is May 2020 and our nation, our community, and our church are all facing a new challenge.  As I write this blog entry this evening, there have been over 1 million confirmed cases of COVID 19, resulting in 81,000+ fatalities, and that’s just in the United States.  There have been confirmed cases here in Columbia, Missouri and there have been confirmed cases in Anchor Point, Alaska.  No corner is unaffected.  However, the community of Anchor Point has asked us to please return again in 2020 to provide our teaching to their children.  To that end, we at Campus Lutheran Church have assembled a team to continue to carry forth God’s word.

Over the next nine weeks our team will continue planning our mission trip and want include you through this blog.  Our team meets weekly on Thursday evenings (via Zoom) to plan VBS activities, map out logistics, and figure finances.  Following those meetings, we will post updates here, as well as introduce each of this year’s team members.  We are also including our team’s prayer requests on the church’s weekly updates (https://campuslutheran.churchupdates.org), and starting next week will be posting our financial goals and progress.  I want to thank everyone who has supported us in the past, and those who are supporting us now.  We have not been able to do this work without you, and that is especially true this year.

Thank you, and God’s blessings to you.

Bryan Ross

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Anchor Point VBS, July 2019