Don and Brenda Ernst with InterAct Ministries April 2009
We heard the health aides call for some young men on the radio and assumed they had a work project need. Then we got a phone call saying that Don’s friend (J) was in the clinic…heart attack! He had been out shoveling snow all afternoon and pulling snow machines out of drifts, all as a result of 8 inches of snow combined with strong winds. Not feeling well, he called his daughter and she ran him to the clinic, where his wife happens to be one of the health aides. He doesn’t remember doing it but he said he was fine and walked out of the clinic. One aide watched him walk away and saw him collapse. Immediately she radioed for help (the young men call) and set up the defibrillator while some men in the clinic ran to J and realized they had to start CPR. When we arrived, his heart was beating on its own but he was not alert and was very agitated due to the lack of oxygen to the brain. While we helped restrain him, others started shoveling out the clinic van, some started plowing from the clinic to the airport, many sat around the clinic in support, others started phoning family or helping family here make arrangements to go to Fairbanks. This one was hard for us. We are friends with J and his wife M and are the same age. Don kept thinking that ‘J and I make caskets together in my shop, I can’t be making one for him!” While we were restraining J, our Christian brother and sister in the Lord, Wilson and Eleanor, arrived at the clinic and led out loud in prayer. On J’s return home, we visited and witnessed of God’s amazing grace, that J was in town and not on trap-line, that people saw him drop and responded immediately, and that a Dr. happened to be at our clinic for the first time in many years. We told J that God is giving him another chance but he insisted it just isn’t his time. Amazingly, 6 weeks later, J just left for his job of driving dump truck again!
We praise God for the healed physical heart but pray that J & M will ask God for a sin cleansed heart through Jesus Christ!
The young single girl was anticipating the beginning of her baby’s life in May. But due to physical deformities, she delivered in March and held her baby as it died in her arms several hours later. Again the shop was used for making the outer box and cross. There was a night of gospel singing with Don and Wilson on guitar and Brenda on the mandolin plus others. Then Don had the funeral service while Wilson led the graveside service. This young lady, L, came to our WWJD teen ministry, which allowed us to build a relationship with her. It opened the door for Don to perform the service.
We praise God for the chance to share the gospel during the funeral but we pray that L would personally embrace Jesus Christ and His love for her!
It was time for the girls’ basketball team to leave for their play-off games. They stood in the dark at the airport, huddled as the wind whipped the snow around them. Their plane kept circling, unable to get the runway lights to turn on through a switch on their plane. The plane radioed their office in Fairbanks, who called the school to relay that someone needed to turn the runway lights on manually. So the school got on the village radio to locate the airport maintenance man. After a wait (a cold one for the girls), he was located and arrived on his sno-go, turning the lights on and allowing the plane to finally land. Our high school girls’ team won their regional play-offs and went on to state competition. While there, their record was 2-1, putting them in 4th place. We are proud of the coach and the team for their accomplishment. But we are especially proud of the coach and team for their other achievement…the Sportsmanship Award. During 1 game, their opposing team had only 4 players able to play. Our girls decided to play with only 4 as well. They could have played with their 5 players and put the game away but risked possibly losing for the sake of fairness. Our team won by 2 points.
We praise God for the safety of the team and their sportsmanship but we pray they would turn to the ‘light’ of Jesus to guide them in life.
It is time to end our programs. Spring is here with longer days and warmer weather, so we start dropping in numbers. The kids are out playing and lose track of the time, missing our programs. We wrapped up the Old Testament stories in Kids Klub and had some special games. For the WWJD teens, we grilled hotdogs along with chips and pop, plus sledding on our last night.
Pray for better behavior from the kids next season so we may do more fun events with them and so that they will listen better in order to know Jesus.
For the young adults, we had a special meal. One of the ladies, on returning from Fairbanks, brought the food items to make shish kabob. The 2 couples and 2 gals enjoyed the grilled treats! The guys watched a Sweet 16 game while the ladies talked.
We praise God they desire to continue meeting but pray we would know what to teach next and that they would desire to have Jesus help them to be better parents and mates!
Don and I will be gone from Huslia during April and May to visit family and report to7 churches. Before leaving, we wanted to encourage the church folks, so we had them up for a meal. They will continue to meet on Sundays with Wilson leading the singing, Wes leading in prayer and both sharing the teaching. Jessie will teach the kids lesson and Eleanor will handle the snacks and drinks.
We praise God that the church will continue on without us but it is discouraging when numbers are down. Pray they will stay encouraged and continue witnessing as they have been to their family and friends.
Your brother and sister in the Lord, Don and Brenda Ernst