Hindsight is 20/20

Tags: SEND North, Story

Tomorrow marks the beginning of our 2015 Annual Conference.  If you have been following along, you know that SEND North is, yet again, embarking on more changes.  Change is a part of life. 

We have the opportunity for expansion of ministry that always brings new challenges.  Challenges tend to push people out of their comfort zones and invite critics from all corners (believers and non-believers).  This is nothing new for SEND North. If you are not familiar with our mission's history, here is the Penny Tour.  We began as Central Alaska Mission, founded in the 1930's by Vincent Joy.  He was one of the first 'faith missionaries' to Alaska.  That means he did not have a denomination paying the bills.  This visionary pioneer also founded the Alaska Bible College, KCAM radio, and Crossroads Medical Center.  Each of those ministries is now independent and growing, but when they began many people did not believe it was possible.  Each outreach took sacrifice, struggle, and patience.  Mistakes were made, lessons were learned, and God made it happen, transforming lives in the process. So as we move forward we can look back to draw up courage and wisdom.  

Here is a newspaper article that was written on March 22, 1963 for the Valdez Breeze.   It is a good reminder to us that change and challenge are not easy but the rewards can be immeasurable.  (It is important to note that the city of Valdez is 120 miles from Glennallen, Alaska.)

HEROES OF THE WILDERNESS Driving through Glennallen these days, one can't help looking back just a few years and making mental comparison.  Not so long ago there was no hospital, church, high school, REA, nor a half dozen businesses that have sprung up and grown in the past few years. The awakening of this area can probably be credited to Rev. Vincent Joy, Chester Schneider, MD…, and James Pinneo, MD., with the help of their followers and workers. 
These men started their church and rendered medical services to the community long before they had the beautiful buildings in which they presently work.  They treated the ills of their neighbors and helped with their spiritual guidance, which in many instances makes the difference between saving and losing a patient. They have worked long and hard and unselfishly with a staff of nurses that were as devoted to their cause as the doctors and ministers they helped.  Whether one was Protestant, Catholic, Hebrew, or non-believer, all could go to them for aid.Before the arrival of our own fine doctor, they kept the city of Valdez under their care with the aid of one or two nurses who lived here.  There is more than one person in Valdez who owes a debt of gratitude to these fine people for their very lives and good health.
All has not been easy for these folks.  They have had personal grief, financial reverses, unjust criticism, and obvious stumbling blocks put in their way.  Always they have risen above this, and in many instances, cared for their severest critics as tenderly as they would a member of their own faith. One can't help wondering if the surge of growth and prosperity would have come into being if it hadn't been for the strong determination of Vincent Joy to create the church and hospital for his followers in the place he chose.  It is gratifying to see at long last the nurses have decent quarters, the beautiful log church being enlarged, and plans underway to increase the size of the hospital.
Well done, Rev, Joy, Drs. Schneider and Pinneo, as well as to all the nurses and other workers.  Alaska should be and is proud of you, and there are still those of us in Valdez who remember the years you served this community with the love and compassion in your heart for all mankind.
Helen Long Editor -------------------------------

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