Arctic Barnabas Ministries

Tags: Alaska, Canada, SEND North, Missionary Care, Story

While SEND North members and other Christian missionaries serve diligently around the Far North, they intentionally live selflessly. Nonetheless, it is essential they are supported and cared for as well. As Romans 1:11-12 states,  “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” Based in Kenai, Alaska, there is an organization dedicated to just this.

The goal of Arctic Barnabas Ministries (ABM) is to serve the serving. The ministry of 17 years focuses on fulfilling the spiritual and practical needs of missionaries throughout Alaska and Canada by supporting them in various capacities. Arctic Barnabas is divided into three departments: Funding and Resources, Operations, and Ministry.   Mark Mowery, Ministry Coordinator for ABM, oversees all the direct ministry to the in-field workers.

Within the Ministry department, Mark works with his team to coordinate retreats including a retreat center, guest hosting, counseling, travel, work teams, and buying/shipping supplies unavailable in the villages to members. Another program within the Ministry division is the Minute Men-- a group available for immediate projects willing to mobilize quickly if a member is in need.

The most recent project by ABM is an orientation curriculum for new missionaries coming into the field. The idea behind this is to give team members an even clearer idea of what to expect in their particular villages culturally. ABM is excited about the prospects of this new project as they also begin developing a program that focuses on serving the support staff of organizations like SEND North.

In an interview, Mark identified the five keys to their ministry at ABM. Shepherding focuses on face to face time with in-field members. Serve includes work projects and temporarily supplying speakers for village churches. Refresh looks to rejuvenate members through retreats and the ABM retreat center. Equip provides spiritual and practical tools, as well as training. Finally, Connecting creates a network of local support churches that work with members directly.

When asked what their greatest challenge to their work was, Mark identified two: financial and staff support. ABM limits cost for in-field members as much as possible. They do this by providing transportation around town when members come in, hosting an annual retreat where members only have to pay for half the cost of the weekend, and by completing work projects in the villages at little or no cost to the members. ABM is also looking for staff who are experienced in the mission field and cross-cultural situations.

ABM is looking to the future. They are hoping to expand deeper into Canada, solidify their orientation program, and begin a branch of ministry to the organizational leadership side of other mission organizations.

SEND North deeply appreciates the care that ABM shows for our members and their investment in their lives. Our member care department fulfills a similar mission, focused on our team specifically and their well-being in the field. The ultimate goal for both ABM and SEND North’s member care team is to encourage, enliven, and enrich those in the field so they can continue to pour into the people of their communities, whom they love and work daily to grow disciples of Jesus Christ. 

Written by Kelly Quist